Organizing a Closet (Specifically a Closet Without a Door)

One of the things I love about Baltimore homes is that they are typically over 100 years old, which means they have some fantastic character and original detailing. The downside of this is that because these homes are so old, they are often not level or square or flush or anything that might be helpful when hanging and installing things. For that reason, I have had a very difficult time finding closet doors I like.

Our previous closet doors were a set a mirrored sliding glass doors in our master and bi-fold door in our guest bedroom. My goal is to restore a vintage style door for both spaces, but since I have yet to find one I like, it’s up to me to keep the closets organized since they are exposed for all to see. No shoving things into a closet and closing the door before guests come, but you know what, I’m surprised that I actually like it this way.

To keep our closets looking good in the face of their contents being visible, I’ve found a few things helpful:

1.      Buy nice hangers for all your clothes. This is one of the easiest steps to keep your closet looking neat and organized. You’ll get a uniform look without metal dry cleaning hangers poking out every which way (which they always do, they never hang properly), and you’ll be treating your clothes nicely by giving them something substantive to hang on. I like the Ikea Bumerang because they are a sturdy wood, and they have divets in them for holding up tops with skinny straps.

Closet hangers.jpg

2.     Keep it seasonal. With a closet, most things outside of the hanging clothes don’t need to be out and visible on a daily basis, you can store a lot in containers. That being said, it’s a good practice to contain things seasonally so that everything for that season is one place; for example, keeping all your scarves together or all your bathing suits together. If you have limited space within your closet, at the start of the season, you can move the previous season’s containers to the back of the closet (or even another location), and move up the containers for the current season. Making sure to label your containers is key so you know what’s in them and aren’t moving your winter gloves to the top of your closet when its 95 degrees outside. I like something like this and this with a built in label (You’ll also note that those containers are not clear; if you are going with an open style closet without a door, putting items in clear boxes is one more place you’ll have to keep things neatly folded, which is something to keep in mind when purchasing).  

3.     Make sure certain things are easy to reach. The closet pictured is in our guest room, and because of that, I wanted to make sure if our guest needs anything, it is easy for them to get to. For us, that means making some extra bedding and blankets available, but if you have a closet in an office, that might mean keeping envelopes and paper close at hand. Think about what you’ll need most often and make sure those aren’t tucked in the back.

4.     Take the opportunity get rid of things. Every time I organize something, I always get rid of at least one thing, and it’s helpful to keep that mentality with closets. Like I said earlier, it’s a place where we shove things and close the door and then forget about them, so if you’re organizing a closet, take the opportunity to donate or trash certain items. This automatically frees up more space and gives you fewer items to work with, particularly if you want to go with an open concept closet. If you’re pulling something out of your closet that you haven’t seen in years, chances are, you don’t need to keep it.

It’s not surprising to have every closet in your house look slightly different, because you have different needs in each area of your house. That being said, if you keep the above tips in mind, you’ll never end up with a scary closet with a door you don’t want to open because you may be trapped under all the mystery items that come flooding out at you (that’s worst case scenario I think…), and it will make it easier if you want to remove the door altogether.