I've been using the 'tidy toss' method for years – here's why you should too

This closet-organizing method keeps clutter concealed with minimal effort

large closet with shelves, hanging space and storage baskets
(Image credit: Sharps)

It's all too easy to go down a Pinterest or TikTok rabbit hole and decide to adopt an organizing method that doesn't actually suit your daily routine. Home organizing should make life easier, and if it's aesthetically pleasing too, that's a bonus.

The 'tidy toss' method (throwing shoes in one basket, swimwear in another and not worrying about folding) is a brilliant time-saver that simplifies closet organizing so that it's easy to stick to. 

I have organized my own closet in the same way for years because it's so straightforward. And, given our busy schedules and early mornings, I recommend trying this corner-cutting technique.

The 'tidy toss' method

The good news is, with the best closet organizers, bins and baskets, it can still look great, too. Here's how this home organizing method works and why you might like to try it.

Clothes storage ideas with grey walk in wardrobes

(Image credit: Ham Interiors)

Where does the 'tidy toss' method come from?

Holly Blakey, a professional home organizer based in the San Francisco Bay Area and founder of Breathing Room Home shared her 'tidy toss' method in a reel on Instagram. The clip shows her throwing items into opaque storage bins in her closet, rather than neatly folding, arranging, or hanging them, making the point that every home and closet is different and that it's best to find what works for you. 

'I don’t neatly organize my hats, sandals or swimsuits (among other things),' she writes in the caption. 'My closet stays tidy because I don’t spend the time doing unnecessary organizing. I end up tidying because it’s not a lot of work. I know everything in those bins, so I’m happy not to see them.'

As H&G's Solved section editor, I have tried all kinds of organizing methods and have shared some of the space-saving closet-organizing techniques I actually use at home. The 'tidy toss' looks a lot like my own closet, which has lots of Ikea Skubb organizers, at Amazon and very few neatly folded clothes. This suits me because I'm not one for fiddly or overcomplicated systems, plus I don't need a great deal of hanging space.

I think the 'tidy toss' method gives us grace. It means putting clean clothes back into the closet is quick and easy, saving us time and energy. And as long as we know which basket contains what, it works perfectly and is easy to maintain. 

I recently moved house and the way the closet was arranged really doesn't work for me. For instance, there are multiple horizontal pant hangers and sloping shelves for shoes that use the space really inefficiently. There are also lots of small, fiddly drawers that gradually get deeper, meaning I have to reach down to get to the ones I can actually store T-shirts and pants in, which isn't ideal. Clearly, it worked for the last tenant, but some long shelves with baskets and a rail for hanging shirts and dresses are all I need.

The 'tidy toss' method of throwing things into concealed storage also reminds me a lot of the storage in my childhood bedroom, which involved plenty of Ikea's Trofast storage bins that were easily accessible.

IKEA skubb drawer organizers

(Image credit: IKEA)

As Holly Blakey mentions, it's worth taking the time to work out what kind of organizing system works best for you. You may find clear boxes, also at The Container Store work better because you can see everything easily and otherwise forget what's inside. 

Interior designer Breegan Jane recommends transparent storage for behind closed spaces, such as in the bathroom cabinet, to avoid rebuying products you already have. In the closet, however, she breaks this rule and uses different baskets for different accessories:

'Usually, with belts, you’re pulling out the whole basket and figuring out which one goes with your outfit. I also have a wicker basket for all my little clutches, so when I need a clutch I just pull it out and pick the color or whatever is gonna go with it because I want my closet to look more organized and I don’t want to see a pile of clutches, right? I just need to know where the clutches are,' she says.

breegan jane
Breegan Jane

Breegan Jane is a TV host, designer, entrepreneur & philanthropist in Los Angeles. Breegan’s signature style meshes the artistic and elegant with livable comfort. She achieves a stunning, modern aesthetic with decor that maximizes elegance and fosters simplicity, serenity, and supreme comfort.

'Then I don’t have to keep my clutches organized. They’re all thrown in the basket because when I’m picking one, I’m typically going in there and making a mess of it. So you allow yourself the ability for storage to be messy in areas you’re gonna go through all the time. 

'Because if you organize your scarves all nice and folded in a drawer, trust me, when you’re getting ready, and you try on three, the scarves are not getting individually folded back in little sock rolls, it’s better to just throw them all in a bin.'

Large Chichester grand wardrobe extended by Neptune

(Image credit: Neptune)


What is another simple way to organize a closet?

If you are visual in the way you organize, you could keep folded T-shirts and sweaters on shelves or in a dresser, categorized by color. Good quality hangers, at Amazon, are a must, and if you have tall closets, it's worth picking up some hanger hooks, also at Amazon, that allow you to layer clothes on one hanger, using mor vertical space.

Keep like-items together and store the most frequently worn pieces where they're easy to reach, and see if you can declutter clothes you haven't worn in a long time.

Whether organizing a small closet with lots of clothes or tidying a large walk-in that has become out of control, organizing a closet is hard. It's probably the most overwhelming of spaces in the entire house. 

So we may as well keep it simple to free up physical space and mental space so we can focus on the important things. If it takes too long to put clean clothes back, it's time to have a rethink to make sure your organizing system isn't working against you.

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.