Closet organization is no mean feat. First off, in order to really achieve the oh-so-satisfying clothes storage of dreams, you ideally need a beautiful custom closet. Once that's secured, you need to declutter your clothes in order to cut back and make the process of organizing simpler. Tick that off your list, and it's time to turn to closet organizers that aim to maximize your storage space and streamline your closet. In reality, however, these products rarely achieve that goal.
Gimmicky organizing gadgets throw themselves at us from all angles, ramped up even more in recent years by social media. We purchase them with the best of intentions; we want to make our spaces smarter and more efficient, especially in the case of closets where an aesthetic factor also comes into play. As professional organizers know oh-so-well, however, not all of them are worth our time or money. If you want the ultimate closet organization possible, these are the ones you ought to steer clear of.
1. Scarf hangers
Lengthy scarves can be notoriously difficult to organize within your closet. Not only do they take up lots of space, but they're easily caught up with the rest of your clothes and accessories, and their slinky nature means they have a tendency to sneak themselves out of their designated spot. While you might be tempted to purchase a designated scarf holder to keep yours contained, professional organizers warn against it.
'Scarves are a versatile accessory that can add flair to any outfit, but using dedicated scarf hangers might not be the best solution,' says Di Ter Avest, owner of Di is Organized. 'These hangers often take up a significant amount of space and can make it difficult to see all of your scarves at once. Instead, consider using a designated drawer organizer or box to keep your scarves accessible without sacrificing precious closet space.' Besides the practical element, we prefer the streamlined, tidy appearance of beautiful woven baskets, too. In our books, these simple vessels easily remain one of the best closet organizers.
2. Bulky or plastic clothes hangers
You might not spare much thought to your clothes hangers, but the wrong kind are a real pet peeve among professionals. The thing is, not all hangers are built the same. Some take up far more room than others on your rail, and others just aren't durable enough to last since they're prone to snapping under too much weight - the best storage for clothes needs to be robust.
Don't be tricked into buying gimmicky plastic hangers that claim to be revolutionary space savers. Instead, choose durable options that promise to last a lifetime. The same goes for bulky ones, too, especially in the case of small closets. 'We don't recommend any hangers except slimline ones,' says Ben Soreff of House to Home Organizing. 'We all know wire hangers are bad, but huge plastic ones are so bulky, rounded, and slippery that wire ones are even better.'
Di agrees. 'While plastic hangers can be cost-effective, oversized plastic hangers can create more problems than they solve,' she adds. 'These hangers take up valuable space, limiting the number of garments you can hang in your closet. Their bulkiness can also cause clothes to stretch out.' Instead, she suggests investing in slim, non-slip hangers that maximize hanging space and protect your clothes. We love a row of uniform wooden ones with grooves to prevent slipping.
3. Fabric hanging shelves
If you don't have a walk-in closet and you're short on shelving, hanging fabric shelves may seem like the perfect solution. But, as Di points out, they're rarely actually useful. 'Fabric hanging shelves seem like a practical solution to add more storage space to your closet and utilize the vertical space, but these shelves can sag under the weight of heavier items, causing the entire structure to collapse,' she says. 'Additionally, the open design allows smaller items to slip through, leading to a messy and disorganized appearance.'
If you need the shelving space, Di says it's worth biting the bullet and investing in some proper ones. 'Opting for sturdy built-in shelves can be a more reliable alternative, providing a neater and more durable storage solution,' she notes. 'However, if a different system is outside our client's budget, we use the hanging fabric shelves for light items such as diapers, shoes, and weekly outfits.'
California-based organizer, Melissa Gugni, adds that shelf organizers can be a worthy organizing-buy to take your closet organization to the next level. 'Inexpensive shelf dividers like these ones from Amazon are a godsend in keeping stacks of sweaters, shirts, or pants from falling over into each other and creating a big mess,' she says. 'One insider tip, though, is don't forget to measure the thickness of the shelf before you order - there are different styles from acrylic to wire to wood that will be the perfect fit.'
4. Electronic belt or tie holders
Similar to scarves, the likes of ties and belts can also be notoriously tricky to organize. Despite your efforts, they soon end up in a tangled mess if you don't have a proper storage method, which is why the likes of electronic belt organizers can be so appealing. But, as Ben explains, don't be fooled by these gimmicky gadgets.
'Electronic belt or tie holders that are fancy and automated aren't only bulky but complicated and prone to break,' he says. 'Better to review and keep the items you actually wear frequently available and the ones you don't use often more remotely. The guest room or home office closet makes a great area to store formal wear.' We also love Nate Berkus' belt storage hack which, combined with an efficient closet drawer, is the ultimate way to have celebrity-worthy belt organization. All it takes is a little bit of effort!
Take the professionals' word for it - these closet organizers certainly aren't up to scratch. Steer clear of these four items and we're convinced your closet will be so much more functional, and prettier to look at, too. Win-win!
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Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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