The Biggest Mistakes People Make with Closet Organization

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Many people aspire to have an organized closet, but if you approach it haphazardly, you could end up with a bigger mess than when you started. It doesn’t matter how many Pinterest ideas you save or how many organizing influencers you watch on TikTok. You won’t get successful, long-lasting results if you make these closet organization mistakes.

1. Buying Storage Solutions First

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When the mood to organize your closet strikes, it’s tempting to rush out and buy a bunch of storage solutions. Many people equate cute bins, baskets, and caddies with being more organized. However, these containers add to the clutter if you don’t get the appropriate items for your space. Wait until you know what you actually need to organize and how you plan to store it before choosing any pieces.

2. Organizing Around The Clutter

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Attempting to organize without decluttering first doesn’t work. You end up trying to find a place for pieces you don’t even want, and you can’t truly fashion a space that works well for you. Also, organizing without removing everything from the closet makes the process more difficult since you can’t get a clear picture of the space or your items.

3. Making Instagram Photos The Goal

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Looking for inspiration to motivate you in your organization journey is a great idea. But don’t simply copy and paste what you see on social media without considering your specific space or lifestyle.  Organizing looks different for everyone, so make Instagram photos the inspiration, not the goal.

4. Not Considering Your Personal Preferences And Habits

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Successful organization lasts and endures over time because it meshes with your habits. For example, do you take off your shoes as soon as you walk through the front door and put them on an entryway rack or bench? If so, don’t devote a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit in your closet to shoes if that space is better utilized for folded sweaters or jeans.

5. Organizing Without A Plan

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It doesn’t matter what type of home project you’re attempting, you need a plan. Otherwise, you ultimately do more work and take longer to finish the task, if you even finish at all. Decide your timeline and what you want to accomplish, declutter items, and visualize how you want your closet to look. Know what you need before shopping for storage solutions, and have a clear picture of where your clothes and accessories will go.

6. Assuming Organizing Only Takes One Time

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A big mistake people make when organizing closets is believing that it’s good forever once they finish the job. Organizing a space requires routine maintenance to keep it tidy and functioning at its best. Although most of your time and effort should be put on the front end, expect to check in regularly to see how your system works, declutter items, and tweak as needed.

7. Forgetting You Share The Closet With Others

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Sharing a closet isn’t always easy, especially if your partner isn’t as excited as you about organizing it. But if you move forward without them, you’re due for disappointment. Your organized closet will return to its previous state since the person you share it with wasn’t a part of the plan. Include everyone using the closet in the process, and invite them to contribute to the overall plan.

8. Not Cleaning The Closet

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You don’t have many opportunities to clean your closet floors, shelves, and walls since they’re always covered in stuff. When you organize the space, and it’s empty, this is the perfect time to deep clean your closet. Don’t wait until everything is back in place to try to dust and vacuum around items.

9. Choosing Form Over Function

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Understandably, if you put lots of effort into organizing your closet, you want it to look good. However, the key element to successful design is a balance of form and function. Above everything, your closet needs to work efficiently. If it looks gorgeous but you can’t reach your clothes, things are too difficult to put away, or you devote entire shelves to decorative pieces, it won’t stay tidy.

10. Working With The Existing Closet Configuration

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Don’t think you’re stuck with your current closet configuration. The basic setup is a shelf with a clothes rod and nothing else. If you’re blessed with a walk-in closet, then maybe you have this setup three times (one on each wall). Regardless, this design isn’t the most efficient and doesn’t do a good job of maximizing the space. Add shelves, hooks, extra rods, or anything else you deem necessary for your closet.

More inspiration: 25 Of The Best Closet Storage Ideas For A Clutter Free Closet.

11. Ignoring Vertical Space

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Pay attention to wasted vertical space in your closet, including side walls, the back of the closet, and near the ceiling. Install an extra shelf up top for seasonal items. Hang hooks on the rear wall to hang formal dresses, coats, or bulky pieces you only use a few times a year. Shelves on the side walls are great for storing shoes, purses, and other accessories.

12. Using The Wrong Hangers

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Bulky hangers limit the space you have for hanging items. Choose slim, velvet hangers that take up less space and keep clothes from slipping and sliding onto the floor. Only use bulkier wooden hangers for heavier items, like coats or beaded dresses, that need the extra support.

13. Not Measuring First

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Once you declutter and devise a plan for your closet, don’t head to the store or make any changes without measuring. First, gather shelf dimensions, the height between the floor and clothing rod and between shelving, and determine measurements for any specific storage pieces you need. Also, note the available space between the closed closet door and any items inside the closet.

14. Trying To Organize The Entire Closet At Once

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Organizing your entire closet at once could be overwhelming. If you need to complete the project in one day, schedule routine breaks instead of attempting to plow through from start to finish. Break the project into manageable chunks and set reminders to grab a snack, stay hydrated, and rest.

15. Ignoring Closet Doors

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Closet doors provide valuable space for extra organization and storage. Use over-the-door pockets or racks to hold shoes, purses, hats, and other accessories. Hooks are another popular option, as well as mounting a jewelry organizer on the back of the door. It’s also important to pay attention to how your doors open. If they take up too much space, you may do better by swapping them out for a curtain.

16. Assuming Your Closet Is All You Have

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Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when organizing your clothing. Do you have other ways to store your stuff, like a dresser or under-the-bed baskets? If you have a long, narrow bedroom, consider adding tall wardrobes a few feet away and facing the back wall. Paint and hang art on the backs and leave a space to walk around to the other side to create a walk-in closet.

Find smart storage all around your room: 18 Chic Bedroom Storage Ideas to Maximize Your Space

17. Not Having A Budget Before You Begin

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It’s extremely easy to get swept up in the endless choices of fun and beautiful storage solutions. If you start filling your basket or online cart without any care about the price, you break the bank in no time. Before you begin organizing your closet, decide on a reasonable budget for the project to help keep you on track.

18. Failing To Think About Closet Lighting

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Lighting is vital for great design, and that concept extends to your closet. After all, don’t you want to see your clothes and shoes when you pick them up? Your closet may or may not have a basic overhead light, but consider adding LED rope lights, task lighting, or a dimmable bulb if you’re being courteous of others in the room.

19. Forgetting About The Clothes In The Laundry

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Has this happened to you? You spend hours organizing your closet to perfection, accounting for every bit of space and using it wisely. Then you discover two weeks ’ worth of laundry in the washroom. Before you start working on your closet, gather everything from the laundry room so you don’t forget about any items.

20. Setting Unrealistic Goals About Items

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There’s nothing wrong with wanting to hold on to a few milestone pieces. But don’t keep every piece with a “what-if” attached. You know the ones. What if — “I fit in it one day,” or, “My kid will wear it when they’re older,” or “I get to take that cruise around the world.” Organize your closet for the season of life you’re in, and limit dream and goal pieces to a few.