8 items you shouldn't store in your closet, according to pro organizers

Experts offer their advice so you can reorganize your closet with only the most important items

blue closet with dressing table
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Organizing your closet is no easy task, what was once a space of order often turns into chaos when trying to tidy up a bedroom or store recent purchases.

There are many tricks to organize a closet, even a small closet. By organizing it effectively you create a lot more space, and save time trying to find particular items.

One way to free up space is by going through your closet and removing unnecessary items. By starting from scratch you can implement a new storage system with closet organizers keeping your closet clutter free.

8 items to remove from your closet

Below is a list of items you can remove to see an immediate effect on your closet space.

white closet and drawers

(Image credit: Go Modern Furniture)

1. Bed linen and towels

If you want to dedicate your closet to purely clothes and shoes, then you should remove all bed linens and towels. 

When stacked together, these still take up a lot of space and can also be heavy to move. One solution to this is to utilize other smart storage solutions in your room. You can place your bed linen and towels either under the bed or in the closet where your furnace is housed.

2. Unworn clothes

closet with drawers and hanging space

(Image credit: Sharps)

If you are holding on to clothes that don’t fit or that have not been worn in a year or more, take them out. ‘Focus on why you haven't worn these items,’ says professional organizer Ben Soreff from House to Home Organizing. 'Maybe it is a keepsake item, like a college sweatshirt or maybe the size is aspirational for the future.’

Separate these clothes into keep and donate piles and give the latter away. This will help create some of that much-needed space for your other items.

ben soreff
Ben Soreff

Ben Soreff is a professional organizer from Portland, Maine, with 16 years of experience helping people to organize and declutter their homes, as well as working with hoarders. As a father to two, Ben knows well the challenges of keeping a house not only functional but looking beautiful. He also brings a dad’s perspective to organizing solutions.

3. Empty hangers and shoe boxes

This is an easy way to free up additional space in your closet. After you have removed the clothes you do not wear anymore, there will be empty hangers left over on your clothing rail.

While these do not take as much room without clothes on them, they can still stack up and take up horizontal space. By removing the empty hangers, you can create more space between your clothes and see your collection much more clearly. You can also purchase some slimline hangers, available at Amazon, too.  Do the same with empty shoe boxes. Use shoe bags, also at Amazon, to protect any more expensive shoes and trainers.

4. Valuables

Other items that you will want to protect from damage are your valuables. ‘Instead of letting them disappear into the abyss of the closet,’ begins Bonnie Borromeo Tomlinson, professional organizer and author, ‘I would suggest storing them in a safer place with important documents in an organized folder and your jewelry in a safe.’

Stop buying bins book cover
Bonnie Borromeo Tomlinson

Bonnie Borromeo Tomlinson is the author of Stop Buying Bins & other blunt but practical advice from a home organizer. She was the principal of Bonnie Lia Interiors, a home organizing and interior decorating firm with clients in MD, VA, DC. She has also held positions as a senior national media buyer, museum store retail buyer, and home decor account manager. Since 2020, she has focused her attention on writing full-time.

5. Bulky coats

mudroom with coats and shoes

(Image credit: Sharps)

Bulky coats take up a lot more closet room than we often realize. One place you can move these items to is your entryway. Having a designated area of entryway storage will allow you to identify and retrieve the right coat when the weather takes a turn for the worse. If your entryway is tight on space or short on hidden storage, you will need to be more disciplined with how many coats and jackets you keep and find somewhere else to store them. For example, you could store out-of-season jackets in vacuum packs in the attic, basement, garage, or under the bed where they will be out of the way.

6 Small Vacuum Bags | $11.99 at Amazon

6 Small Vacuum Bags | $11.99 at Amazon
These smaller vacuum bags are ideal for storing away seasonal clothes.

6. Large sporting equipment

If you are someone who enjoys playing sports, the likelihood of you having large or awkwardly shaped sporting equipment is high. While it may seem convenient to store these items with your sporting apparel, in the end, they take up too much space.

Place your equipment in a specific area such as a trunk or duffel bag so that everything is readily available for when you need it next.

7. Holiday decorations

Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: Future / Mark Scott)

‘Seasonal items are definitely one of the things you should avoid keeping in your closet, such as Christmas and Halloween decorations,’ says housing expert Dave Sayce. ‘They take up too much space in an area that you use every day when you only need them a couple of times a year.’

You can store holiday decorations in other areas of the house, such as garages or attics. If they are stored in your closet, they can collect dust and be damaged, which will be frustrating come holiday season.

Dave Sayce
Dave Sayce

Dave Sayce is a home organizing expert and housing expert that specializes in making the most out of your home and optimizing space.

8. Luggage

Luggage is the final space invader. Fortunately, they are like nesting dolls, where you can put smaller bags into larger ones. 

Once compiled, store them in other areas of the house, such as the basement or under the bed. This will create more closet space and it will still be easy to get to them when you are going on vacation.


How do I add more storage space to my closet?

There are a number of ways to increase the storage space in your closet. By installing items such as vertical shelves and wall hooks you will be able to transform your closet into a space that allows for more items without it getting cluttered.

You could also try converting an unused area within the home, such as an under-staircase cupboard or utilize space in a spare bedroom.

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.