Organizing with Shelf Dividers


purse dividersShelf dividers are designed to divide and conquer closet shelf clutter.  These simple organizing tools offer an easy and fairly economical way to organize soft, “floppy” items: tote bags and purses; stacks of t-shirts, sweaters, towels and linens; and whatever else you have trouble keeping tidy on your closet shelves.

Shelf dividers are available in a wide range of sizes, styles and materials to work with all different kinds of shelving. Here are three examples of shelf dividers that can help you keep your closet shelves outstandingly organized:

  • Vertical shelf dividers such as Chrome Shelf Dividers (pictured) are the most streamlined type–they slip smoothly onto shelves yet stay snugly in place and take up virtually no space.  In addition to chrome, this type of divider also comes in coated wireclear acrylic and fabric on steel frame versions.
  • The Closet Shelf Organizer provides both vertical and horizontal storage.  It slides over any solid wood shelf up to .75 inches thick or less and the rigid design securely locks in place. The sides and top are made from non-woven polymer and the frame is constructed of steel with an epoxy-coated finish.
  • The stackable Park-A-Purse Tote and Clutch Organizer features 10 compartments with adjustable panels for customizing the sections so you can keep purses and totes of various sizes upright and neatly separated.  Designed for use on wire racks and closet shelving, it’s constructed of heavy-duty plastic and metal wire; universal connectors allow you to re-position the panels for customization, and the connectors can also be used to attach multiple units together.  A smaller version, the Modular Park-A-Purse Organizer, is also available.

Footwear Storage Solutions


shoe organization
Tennis shoes, boots, flip-flops, high heels, loafers, sandals, ballet slippers…the list of footwear seems almost endless. (Fun footwear fact: There are at least nine shoe museums around the world.)  And the more pairs you have, the more space you need to store them.

Fortunately there are space-savers designed to let you store the maximum amount of footwear in the smallest footprint (pardon the pun).

Here are three space-saving footwear storage solutions that can accommodate all different kinds and sizes of footwear:

  • The rotating Adjustable Boot Tree (only 12 inches in diameter) features three tiers of storage that can hold up to six pairs of boots or nine pairs of shoes–or a combination of both. The tiers revolve individually and are adjustable in height.  The system also includes six sets of boot shapers.  Other thoughtful features are a weighted base for stability and a carrying handle.
  • The Boot Storage Bag is only 6 inches high–making it ideal for under-bed storage–and has four spacious compartments sized to store up to four pairs of boots or large-size shoes.  The clear vinyl zippered top allows you to view the contents while keeping them dust-free. Side handles make it easy to access the bag from underneath a bed.  It can also be stored upright on a shelf.
  • The Large Hanging Closet Shoe Organizer will fit on any size closet rod and holds up to 10 pairs of shoes, yet only requires 8 inches of hanging space. It features compartments that are roomier (8 inches wide by 14 inches deep) than those of standard sized hanging shoe organizers, to accommodate extra-large shoes (including men’s) and short boots–they’re even large enough to hold shoe boxes.  Made of breathable natural canvas, it hangs from two heavy-duty metal hooks.

More footwear storage ideas can be found in my posts on shoe organizers,
boot storage and new shoe storage solutions.



Sock Storage Solutions


sock storage solutionsWhen it comes to sock storage, opinions are divided.  That is, some people prefer to store their socks with dividers between pairs, while others (probably most people) don’t.

Another way that people are divided about sock storage is whether to store socks balled up and stuffed inside each other (a big no-no according to us organizing experts) or neatly folded and “filed” on end.  Whichever way you choose, I doubt that the sock police will come knocking on your door.

Now that I have your possibly undivided attention, I’m going to share three types of undivided sock storage solutions.  (And in case you’re firmly in the camp of dividers, my post on sock drawer organizers offers several outstanding options.)

  • Sock boxes such as the Bamboo Sock Box and the Clear Dresser Organizer (pictured) are slender containers specifically sizedClear Dresser Organizer - 12 x 3 x 4 Image for multiple pairs of socks.  They work well inside drawers but can also be used on closet shelves. The Closet Bin is a wider version which has removable dividers (so you can go either way).
  • If you want to think outside the drawer and utilize vertical space, various hanging systems can be utilized for storing socks.  For example, the dual-sided 28-pocket Hanging Jewelry Organizer is designed to hang on a closet rod; the clear pockets make it easy to see and access whatever you store in them.  Another type of vertical sock storage solution is the Sockitumi, a clear plastic dispenser that can be hung on a wall or door (you can also use it horizontally inside a drawer).
  • If you’d prefer to have a designated sock drawer but have no dresser drawers Three-Drawer Organizer Imageto spare, don’t despair–storage drawers are available in a variety of sizes and styles. This Three-Drawer Organizer, sized well for a moderate sock wardrobe, can sit atop a dresser, side table or closet shelf.  Larger sock collections may require a more extensive set of drawers, such as the colorful 10-Drawer Storage Cart which gives you an easy way to color-code your sock storage system.



Sweater Storage Solutions


Hanging isn’t good enough for certain kinds of closet-dwelling apparel.  Drawers and shelves are needed for storage of sweaters and other knits that should be stored folded or rolled.  (Shelving systems also work well for shoes and handbags.)

Here are four different types of effective sweater storage solutions that can help you keep your knitwear organized:

  • Clear storage drawers.  See-through drawer fronts make it easy to view and access contents.  Stackable storage drawers closet shelf space and are available in several sizes   If you have more floor space than shelf space in your closet, rolling drawer carts are a better solution.  And if you don’t have enough closet floor space, you can utilize the space under a bed with the Under Bed Storage Drawer.
  • Sweater bags.  For storing out-of-season sweaters and other garments, the zippered canvas CedarStow Canvas Storage Bag is ideal–it features a base constructed of  interlocking solid cedar panels (designed to repel moths and other clothes-damaging insects) and can hold up to 12 sweaters. Other types of sweater storage bags can be found here.
  • Freestanding shelving.  The easiest way to add shelves to your closet is with a stand-alone shelf unit such as Four-tier Wire Closet Shelves.  For narrower spaces, the Vertical Storage Organizer works well.
  • Shelf organizers. To divide open shelf space for optimum sweater storage, the Closet Shelf Organizer and individual shelf dividers are easy and efficient solutions.Closet Shelf Organizer Image

Clothes Closet Organizers


clothes organizersThe best closet-clearing remedies are those that many people find impossible to administer consistently: seasonal wardrobe weeding, or perpetual pruning using the In/Out Inventory Rule (whenever a new garment is acquired, an older one is retired).

The alternative is to utilize every square inch of closet space, which is what closet organizing companies specialize in doing. But what if a professionally customized closet— or even a do-it-yourself version — seems like too much of a project?

The good news is that you don’t have to completely redo your clothes closet to create more storage space. A few efficient and economical closet organizers could give you just enough wardrobe wiggle room.  Here are three of my favorites:

  • The Rolling Pant Trolley–with 15 removable cedar hangers–utilizes your closet floor for slacks storageRolling Pant Trolley with Cedar Hangers Image (and not in a wrinkled pile, either). This clever cart tucks away under hanging shirts or blouses and rolls out for easy access to 15 pairs of your pants and jeans.
  • Another rollaway closet helper is the 7-Drawer Storage Cart, which can be used for storing folded t-shirts, socks, underwear and accessories.
  • You can fit more clothes in your closet by using space-maximizing specialty hangers. Tank Top Organizers (Set of 2) ImageA great example is the Tank Top Organizer, designed to hold up to eight tank tops, camisoles or swimsuits.

For more ideas on how to make the most of your clothes closet, read my post Clothes Closet Maximizers.


Answer: Baseball cap rack


Q. My husband has managed to accumulate a dozen baseball caps and he leaves them piled on his dresser.  He does wear them all so I’m not asking him to get rid of any, but I hate how messy they look.  Can you recommend something that will keep them organized or at least tidier?

A. Over-the-door baseball hat racks are an effective and space-saving storage solution for cap collections. I think the Perfect Curve Cap Rack might be the best choice for your husband’s accumulation.  It has 12 clips so he could use one for each of his dozen caps.  


Portable Closets


Never enough closet space?  Portable closets to the rescue!

Portable closets, aka rolling wardrobes, are ideal for storing out-of-season or infrequently worn clothes and accessories.  The old-style rolling wardrobe is basically just a garment rack with a zippered cover–it’s only designed for storage of hanging garments. But portable closets tend to include more features, such as shelves and pockets that allow you to also store folded clothing and other items.

Here are three types of space-efficient portable closets, all with fabric covers and smooth-rolling casters:

  • The Rolling Wardrobe Rack offers three storage sections: a top zippered shelving area for folded clothes, hats or handbags; Rolling Wardrobe Rack Imagea steel rod that provides 30 linear inches of hanging space; and a ventilated bottom shelf for shoe storage.  The roll-up door makes it easy to access hanging garments and footwear; the top section has a triangular flap door.
  • The versatile Mobile Wardrobe Center provides  multiple storage options–the exterior features eight mesh pockets (sized for four pairs of shoes), a removable hamper bag for laundry (attached by Velcro and with a shoulder strap for easy transport), a wooden bar for hanging ties and scarves, removable pockets for toiletries, and additional pockets for undergarments and socks.  The zip-up door has a clear section at the top so you can easily view your hangered clothes.
  • The Clothes Armoire with Shelves has four compartments for keeping stacks of folded clothes and accessories organized, Clothes Armoire With Shelves Imageplus a closet bar that can hold up to 50 pounds of hanging garments. The bottom part is fully enclosed (unlike that of the Rolling Wardrobe Rack) to keep the contents protected.

Other types of portable closets can be found here.


Outerwear organizers with umbrella storage


Whether or not you have the luxury of an entry closet (aka coat closet), it’s a good idea to have an alternative for hanging rain-damp items and other gear that should be aired out.

A wall coat rack or series of individual coat hooks attached to the back of an entry door (or on the wall behind it) may be sufficient for keeping jackets, coats, hats and scarves off the floor.  But that still leaves the problem of where to stash wet-weather necessities such as umbrellas, rain boots and shoes, which tend to get left in a jumble by the door.

Luckily there are several types of efficient outerwear organizers with umbrella storage. Here are three of my favorites:

  • The practical bamboo 4-Shelf Shoe Rack and Umbrella Stand has four spacious slatted shelves for4 Shelf Shoe Rack - Umbrella Stand Image holding footwear and purses, and a vertical side holder for storing umbrellas, canes and hiking sticks.  The entire unit is a relatively compact 28.37 inches wide by 10.62 inches deep by 25-1/4 inches high.
  • The handsome wooden Hallway Tree offers storage for everything but shoes–it has eight double coat hooks (two on each of the four sides); two center shelves for holding purses and totes; an umbrella stand; and a small drawer for stashing keys, gloves and other accessories. It towers at 72 inches high and is 17 inches wide and deep.
  • The elegant birch wood Mission Style Coat Rack features a lower sectionMission Style Coat Rack - Brown Image for holding umbrellas, four double coat hooks for outerwear and hats, plus two drawers on top for stowing small items. Shoes can be tucked under the umbrella section. It measures a slender 16 by 16 inches and is 60 inches high.

To learn about other kinds of entryway storage systems, see my previous posts on this topic.


New shoe storage solutions


A new year, a new resolution:  Get your shoes in order!

Choosing the right storage system for your shoes is half the battle.  I’ve written previously about the most space-efficient types of shoe organizers.  Now I want to share three of my favorite new shoe storage solutions:

  • The clear, stackable Easy Access Women’s Shoe Box fulfills the promise of its name–it features a front panel that lifts up and locks into place, making the contents extremely easy to access.  Womens Shoe Box - Easy Access ImageThis brilliant shoe storage system allows you to actually see all of your shoes at a glance and grab whichever pair you want, without ever needing to remove a box, no matter how high you stack them.  Each shoebox has ventilation holes to let shoes “breathe”. Designed to fit most women’s shoes up to a size 10 with a heel of 4 inches or under, it’s also available in a larger size that will fit up to a men’s size 12 shoe.
  • The canvas and chrome 10 Pocket Shoe Organizer holds up to 10 pairs of shoes in a freestanding unit that can be positioned either horizontally or vertically.  Attractive enough to be used in an entryway, this shoe organizer also works well inside a closet on the floor or on a shelf.
  • The Modular Shoe Storage Organizer is designed for use on wire racks or standard closet shelving.  Adjustable and removable panels allow the system to accommodate up to 22 pairs of shoes and boots (depending on shoe dimensions).  The compartments can be configured to hold all types of shoes, with T-connectors that slide up or down to adjust the size of the openings.

More types of shoe storage solutions can be found here.


Answer: Scarf storage


Q. I’m looking for the best way to store scarves. I have many and I now store them in hangers, about 5-6 per hanger. Any better ideas to keep them visible and space saving besides putting them in a dresser drawer?

A. You’re on the right track. Storing scarves on hangers is one of the most space-efficient ways to keep them easily accessible.  Scarf hangers 18 Hole Scarf Hanger Imageare designed especially for storing multiple scarves and are available in a wide variety of styles and configurations, such as this 18-Hole Scarf Hanger.

Another space-saving option is the Extending Closet Scarf Organizer, a sliding rack that mounts to any side of your closet and pulls out so you can access up to six scarves. Closet Scarf Organizer - Extending Image