Smart Design With Suzette: Closet Organization

A custom closet designed for a client by Suzette Fox. Photo by Suzette Fox
Smart Design with Suzette
Closet Organization

Happy New Year! Many New Year’s resolutions involve getting organized. I’ve had requests to write a column on organization, specifically closet organization. It’s one of my favorite things to do!

Disorganization puts tremendous pressure on both the mind and body. Taking the time to organize your life can lift a great weight off of your shoulders and reduce stress. An organized closet can make a difference in reducing stress in the morning, whether it’s getting ready for work or getting your kids off to school in a timely manner.

But let’s face it, getting organized can be difficult and time consuming. One of the toughest parts is getting started and knowing the process. Here are some tips to help you.

Clear Out Some Clutter

The first step is to get rid of things you don’t need. This requires the most time on your part. Give yourself an hour at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Start with sorting items into four categories. Label a bag or bin for each category:

  • Giveaway/Donate: These are clothes that you have not worn in a year but are still in good condition. Donate to your favorite charity or give away to someone who will wear it.
  • Keep: Clothes that you wear frequently and are in good shape. The familiar 80:20 rule applies: we wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time. If your closet is small, you can further separate by season and store the off-season clothes in a container under your bed or elsewhere.
  • Sell: These are clothes that you are willing to sell on the Internet or through a garage sale. This takes more time and organization on your part.
  • Throw out/recycle: These are clothes that are too worn to give away, but can be recycled as cleaning rags, etc.

A custom closet designed by Suzette Fox. Photo by Suzette Fox

Organize What Is Left 

Now that you know what you have to work with, it becomes easier to organize the items you have kept. I usually recommend a custom closet system. For my clients, I determine needs for things like long and short hanging items, cubbies for folded items, how many shoes, etc., then design a system specifically based on those needs. Baskets and drawers are great for keeping like items together, or for small items. They also allow you to toss things in easily and hide the mess. 

If you’re an organization freak like me, you can take it a step further and color coordinate your clothes. Then when you want that red top you can go straight to that part of the closet and pick it out in two seconds, instead of digging through all of your clothes to find it.

I was able to get rid of a five-drawer dresser after I designed a custom closet system for my master bedroom. A well designed closet utilizes wasted space so you can put more clothes in. Yay!


Each season you should sort through your wardrobe. Make sure that the items you have are really needed, still useful and that you can find what you need when you need it.

Set Boundaries

If you really want to get organized you have to set boundaries for yourself. When you want to buy something new, something old has to go!

Countless families are overwhelmed by household clutter. Now that you know the basics to organization, you can move on to organize other rooms in your home. The most important thing is to be able to spend more time with family and friends. De-cluttering and organizing helps make that happen.

Feel free to contact Los Alamos Interior Designer Suzette Fox to suggest specific design topics or for help with your home. For more information, find her on Facebook at and on her website


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