How to organize a walk-in closet – 7 steps to a home boutique

Keep your walk-in closet efficient and easy to use with these expert tips

A large walk in wardrobe with built in closets with sliding black doors
(Image credit: Go Modern Furniture)

It’s easy for a walk-in closet to quickly become a dumping ground for clothes, shoes, and even random household items that you haven't found the right home for. But how do you prevent clutter from building up for a closet space that is easy and enjoyable to use? 

From working out how to lay out a walk-in closet to aesthetically organizing a closet to keep clothes neat and easy to find, there are several things to consider when designing a walk-in closet space so that the area doesn't become a storage catch-all.

These are the seven best ways to organize a walk-in closet for maximum efficiency, according to professional home organizers and expert stylists. 

How to organize a walk-in closet

Perfecting a walk-in closet starts at the planning and design phase where you should consider the overall layout and what type of storage ideas work best for your lifestyle, but that is not to say that you are stuck if you're existing walk-in closet ideas are not working the way they should be. 

Here is how professional organizers bend these incredible clothes storage spots to their will.  

1. Establish zones for different categories

A walk-in closet area in a bedroom with double gallery cabinets and drawers

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

When organizing clothes for efficiency, you should always break them up into zones – no matter if you have a small walk-in closet or a full walk-in.

‘Dedicate specific areas for clothing, shoes, accessories, and jewelry to ensure everything has its place, making it easier to find items quickly,’ suggests Meaghan Kessman, home organization specialist. ‘Use built-in shelves or modular systems to allocate sections of your closet for each category. For example, assign one area for hanging clothes, another for shoes, and a separate section for accessories.’ 

2. Invest in high-quality storage tools

Closet with grey doors

(Image credit: Roundhouse)

Your walk-in closet organization is only as good as the storage products you chose to fill it with, continues Meaghan Kessman, home organizer. To start, she recommends investing in high-quality clothes hangers to enhance the functionality of your closet while contributing to a neat and visually appealing space. 

‘Utilize space-saving velvet hangers to prevent clothes from slipping,’ she adds. ‘Drawer dividers help organize smaller items like socks, underwear, and accessories. Shoe racks or cubbies keep footwear neatly arranged and easily accessible. Incorporate clear acrylic bins for storing items you want to see at a glance, such as scarves, belts, or handbags.

‘It can also be a great help to install a double hanging rod to maximize vertical space, allowing you to hang shirts and jackets on the top rod and pants or skirts on the bottom rod,’ she adds.

3. Store seasonal clothes to one side

Opulent walk-in closet, Covet House

(Image credit: Covet House)

To make your clothes easily accessible and prevent your walk-in closet from looking visually cluttered, you should split up your spring/summer and fall/winter wardrobes, suggests Tina Priestly, professional organizer and owner of Ready, Set, REFRESH. You can either keep warmer clothing on one side of the walk-in, and cooler clothing on the other, or store out-of-season garments out of the way entirely, she says:

‘To keep your closet looking tidy and up-to-date, perform a seasonal swap of your wardrobe,’ Tina advises. ‘Store out-of-season clothes in labeled bins or on higher shelves. Regularly declutter by donating or selling items you no longer wear. This ensures your closet stays organized and only contains items you love and use.’

4. Fill space with lighting, mirrors, and dedicated decor

Closet, ensuite

(Image credit: Kitchen Architecture)

To avoid filling any empty space in your closet with generic household clutter, enhance the space with more purposeful decor and design features, such as mirrors, different types of closet lighting, and specific clothes-related decor, such as fashion coffee table books or framed artwork. This will help to fill space without deviating from the main purpose of the room, home organizer Meaghan Kessman suggests. ‘By implementing these home organizing strategies, you can design a walk-in closet that looks stunning and makes your mornings more efficient and enjoyable,’ she assures.  

5. Think about larger storage additions

Large walk in wardrobe with round bench in center

(Image credit: Sarah WInchester Studios/Nicole Hirsch)

A walk-in closet with a big enough footprint will always benefit from the addition of extra closet storage ideas – such as a storage island, suggests Tina Priestly, professional organizer:

‘Opt for beautiful storage options like matching baskets, clear acrylic bins, and velvet hangers,’ says Tina. ‘These not only keep your items organized but also add a touch of elegance to your closet. Consider adding a chic island or a set of drawers in the center for additional storage and a luxurious feel.’

6. Create a spot for once-worn clothing

Dressing room with wooden doors on closet

(Image credit: Mendelson Group)

Because walk-in closets offer so much space specifically for clothes, it is easy to fall into the trap of flinging half-worn clothing onto a chair or island and leaving them there to build up. Instead, it can be helpful to develop something such as a clothing peg board to keep half-worn clothing on display and ready to grab the next day or add a visible basket to collate items to sift through before picking out something fresh from your rails each morning. 

This will keep the closet neat and ensure you cycle your clothing efficiently. 

7. Designate a spot for donations

dorm closet ideas

(Image credit: Meredith Goforth - House of Prim)

As we try on clothes each morning, we can come across items that we just don’t love as much anymore. While we could pop them back and try again another day, it is far more efficient to declutter them right away – especially in a walk-in where a full closet declutter can take upwards of a day to complete. 

If you take the approach of decluttering as you go, professional organizer Amy Berryhill, found of Spiffy Chicks, suggests designating a spot for donatable items so they don't make a mess: 

‘If you can take a minute and create a good “home” like a shopping bag tucked into the corner of your closet or a box in the garage for the returns, you’ll develop a system that serves you instead of having a home that builds clutter.’  


How can I make a walk-in closet look good?  

Making a walk-in closet look good comes down to picking out efficient storage options that give all of your clothing and accessories ample space to be stored without mess and damage, and maintaining good organization to prevent items from piling up in mounds or ending up on the floor. Keeping the area clean and tidy will do more to make a walk-in look more expensive than having it filled with luxury clothing items.  

Creating the perfect, well-organized walk-in closet space comes down to trial and error – and a lot of decluttering and reorganizing. Done right, however, and you will end up with perfectly stylish, efficient dressing room ideas that don't leave you feeling overwhelmed every morning, but inspired, and ready to take on the day.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.