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9 Foolproof Tips for Organizing Your Closet, from Melanie Charlton Fowler

The closet-organizing expert and founder of Clos-ette shares her top advice.

Headshot of Parker Bowie LarsonBy Parker Bowie Larson
Closet, Room, Furniture, Wardrobe, Shelf, Shelving, Cupboard, Interior design, Building, Home,
Thomas Loof, custom closet by Clos-ette in collaboration with Caroline Rafferty Interiors

Admit it—if you’re like me, you probably use your closet to hide some of the mess in your bedroom, so at least your house will look clean. If you’ve ever been guilty of the throw-everything-in-drawers-and-closets move before guests arrive, ask yourself, What would come tumbling out if someone opened that door? Now that we are all spending our days at home, it’s time to turn your closet into a more organized sanctuary. (Plenty of studies show that an organized life equals a happier life.) To this end, we asked closet expert Melanie Charlton Fowler, founder of the bespoke high-end organizing firm Clos-ette, to share her tips on what to do.


Edit Your Clothes

Closet, Room, Furniture, Shelf, Property, Interior design, Building, Ceiling, Shelving, Cabinetry,
Genevieve Garruppo, Custom Closet Design by Clos-ette in collaboration with BNO

“Be ruthless,” Fowler says. “If there’s a stain on something and you’ve sent it to the dry cleaner three times and it’s not coming out—get rid of it! And don’t hang on to sizes you don’t fit into anymore. I’m a big believer in giving things away—gift these items to your daughter, niece, or family friend. Think about what looks good on you, and be realistic about what you wear. If you’re stuck at home right now, try things on and ask your partner or your kids—tell them to be truthful but loving!”


The Container Store Color-Code Clothes

Color-Code Clothes

The Container Store Color-Code Clothes

$15 at Container Store
Credit: Courtesy of The Container Store

“I like to organize by light to dark, from left to right—it’s a merchandising trick that helps the eye follow the clothes.”

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Zober Don’t Forget the Hangers

Don’t Forget the Hangers

Zober Don’t Forget the Hangers

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

“Use the same hangers throughout,” Fowler says. “I like lighter-colored hangers because they show off the clothes better, but at least make them monotone—white, ivory, or black.”


Showcase Your Investment Pieces

Closet, Room, Furniture, Shelf, Wardrobe, Interior design, Cupboard, Shelving, Building, Cabinetry,
Genevieve Garruppo, Custom Design by Clos-ette in collaboration with BNO

“How many of us splurge on those extra-special handbags or shoes? Why not showcase them by putting them on a visible shelf? You can even paint it to coordinate with your accessories, depending on how much of a focal point you want it to be.”


Fabrinique Accessorize (Yes, Your Closet Needs Accessories!)

Accessorize (Yes, Your Closet Needs Accessories!)

Fabrinique Accessorize (Yes, Your Closet Needs Accessories!)

Now 44% Off
Credit: Courtesy of Fabrinique

“Get the drawer inserts, the jewelry organizer, the tie and belt racks, the purse stuffers. (We love purse pillows by Fabrinique!) Buy the boot trees, so your boots will stand up straight. These are easy DIY projects.” 

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Make the Most of Every Space

Closet, Room, Footwear, Wardrobe, Shoe, Furniture, Textile, Interior design, Clothes hanger, Boutique,
Courtesy of Clos-ette, Clos-ette Custom Design Work in Collaboration with Ferguson and Shamamian

“If you are tight on space, there are two ways to organize your shoes. If you have more shelf space—that is, it’s longer instead of deeper—place one pair with the toe forward, the other with the heel forward. If your space is deeper but not as wide, then put one shoe in the front and the matching pair in the back behind it.”


California Closets Stack Your Sweaters

Stack Your Sweaters

California Closets Stack Your Sweaters

Credit: Courtesy of California Closets

“If you don’t have space for a full shelving system, consider buying a hanging cubby to stack them in—check out CB2 or Room and Board for chic wood options,” Fowler says. “Go the extra mile with a folding board from the Container Store to keep your knits neat and wrinkle-free.”


Float Your Hats

Closet, Room, Building, Interior design, Footwear, Shoe store, Shoe, Furniture, Shelf, Ceiling,
Courtesy of Clos-ette, Custom Design Work in Collaboration with Ferguson and Shamamian

“Use a floating ledge or the top of a bookshelf to display your favorites. Hats that need to keep their form should go on hatstands, while baseball caps or sun hats can stack one onto another. Other hats, like a Stetson, need to be stored upside down! Categorize them by color and size to bring cohesion to your chapeaus.”

From: ELLE Decor US
Headshot of Parker Bowie Larson
Parker Bowie Larson
Style Director, ELLE Decor

Parker Bowie Larson is the Style Director for ELLE Decor, covering everything interior design-related ranging from tabletop to furniture to kitchen and bath, and has previously worked for Architectural Digest and Cottage Living.

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