Whether your closet is big or small, it seems like just about everyone has trouble keeping this space organized. While a little disorganization may not seem like a big deal at first, it can quickly become a major hassle.

After all, when your closet is completely unorganized, you’re going to have a hard time finding your favorite outfits. Some articles of clothing might get lost altogether. And all that clutter could even make you feel anxious and unable to think clearly.

Fortunately, as Mike Wolf, director of marketing for Inspired Closets explains, keeping your closet clean and functional isn’t as hard as you might expect.

1. Empty It Out

“Before you start making any big adjustments to your closet space, you need to empty it out completely,” Wolf says. “This may seem like a tall task, but for many of us, our organizational problems start by having too much inside our closets in the first place. Clothing that hasn’t been worn for years or no longer fits doesn’t belong in your closet — it should be donated or discarded.”

When taking inventory of your closet, separate items into categories — such as winter coats, shoes, jewelry, etc. This makes it easier to evaluate how much of each category you have so you can separate what you will keep and what you will get rid of.

2. Install Shoe Shelves

“Shoes are some of the hardest things to organize in a bedroom closet,” Wolf notes.

“Installing a shoe shelf — the Shoe Shrine is an amazing option, of course — is a great way to optimize shoe storage and provide easy access to your favorite footwear. Slanted shelves do an especially good job of displaying your shoes, turning this space into a display feature as well as a convenient storage solution.”

It may also be helpful to pack away seasonal footwear (such as flip flops or winter boots) in a separate bin when they are out of season. This leaves more shelf space for the shoes you will be using on a regular basis. Use an upper shelf or space on the floor for out of season shoes and other items that you don’t need to access as frequently.

3. Add Dividers to Drawers and Shelves

A divider may seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference for closet organization. Dividers are most commonly associated with dresser drawers, where they can be used to separate shirts, jewelry, socks and other items. This keeps items from getting mixed up and helps maintain a neat and clean appearance inside each drawer.

However, dividers can also improve shelving storage. Installing a divider between folded stacks of clothing will prevent clothes from spilling out of their designated space. Stacked shirts or pants can be kept side by side, while still maintaining a clean and organized look.

4. Don’t Forget About Accessory Storage

While most people associate their bedroom closets with shirts and shoes, this space can be used for much more. Jewelry, purses and hats are just a few of the additional items regularly stored in closets. Like the rest of your clothing, however, they need dedicated storage to keep the space organized and clutter-free.

“I would recommend using specialty storage solutions to keep accessories organized,” Wolf says. 

“For example, you could use a pull out vertical jewelry organizer with hooks or a thin jewelry drawer as part of a custom closet configuration. Such solutions keep your jewelry much easier to see than if you simply tossed them in the same drawer where you keep your socks. The right accessory storage can also serve as a way of displaying your favorite items, making it that much easier to get dressed in the morning.”

5. Use Adjustable Shelving

Your needs can change over time — as can your storage preferences. To account for this, Wolf recommends a closet system that includes adjustable shelving.

“Adjustable shelves give you total control over how your closet looks. Whether you need to make a shelf shorter so that a stack of clothing won’t tip over, or you need to create more space for hung items, this versatility allows you to continue customizing your closet as you see fit. You could adapt your space for changing seasonal storage needs, or adjust it to better reflect changes to your wardrobe. No matter how everything else changes, you can still keep the inside of your closet organized and looking great.”

6. Prevent Future Clutter

Even after your closet has been cleaned out and updated, your work isn’t done. If you don’t stay on top of things, it is all too easy for your closet to get overcrowded and unorganized again — even if you use adjustable shelving and other custom solutions. Fortunately, there is a simple way to prevent this problem.

Whenever you buy a new article of clothing, take out an existing item in your closet to sell or donate. This allows you to maintain a set number of items inside your closet so that it doesn’t get overfilled. If an article of clothing hasn’t been worn in several months, it is a good candidate for replacement. 

As you follow these tips to reorganize your closet space, you won’t just improve its cleanliness and functionality for the short-term. You can develop a space that remains beautiful and well-organized for years to come, helping your entire home reach its full potential.