Close your eyes and visualize your dream closet: What stands out to you? Is it a colorful designer wardrobe? A vast purse and shoe collection? How organized everything is? How glamorously spacious it is inside? Whether you’re DIY’ing or hiring a design team for a custom renovation, before you begin designing your dream closet, you need to start by getting clear on what is going to go in the closet once it’s completed.

Part I: Simplifying Your Wardrobe

There should be a place for everything! Here are some of my personal favorite minimalism tips for purging your closet and simplifying your wardrobe:

Closet organization

Donate or Trash

Plan a clean-out day and be incredibly editorial– if you haven’t worn/used an article of clothing in a year, throw it out or donate it to someone who will! If you’re throwing out a worn-out item, keep an inventory of what needs replacing. There are also places you can donate fabrics — not just clothing– in many cities, H&M will take any donated textiles and make sure they’re donated to the right places to be repurposed. Here is a funny and useful infographic for starting to organize your closet! 

lifehacker closet organization tips

Sorting & Getting Organized

Once you have your ‘keep pile’ finalized, pick a method of organization: sort by type of clothing and color or by occasion and season, whatever best suits your lifestyle– but choose just one so you’re best able to keep track of everything you have. Then, pull out the items you use most frequently–you might want to give those they’re own ‘zone’ in your new closet. Consider beginning your custom closet design by keeping these pieces stored at eye-level and determining what is to be hung versus folded.

Purge or Disgard Bag

For ongoing maintenance, you might want to consider keeping a ‘Purge’ or ‘Discard’ Bag or Hamper in your closet to discard of any other items you want to get rid of later, instead of continuing to store them. Another efficient way to weed out clothing items you don’t wear is the old hanger trick: make sure all of your hangers are facing forward and when you find an article of clothing you don’t wear often, face the hanger backwards. Once you get in the habit of this, it’ll be easy to maintain the organization of your gorgeous new closet! 

Part II: Design Tips for Your Dream Closet

You can actually shop big box stores, off the rack shelving units for relatively cheap. We installed four $350 units from Ikea in this closet and jazzed it up with accessories and designer details.

Closet Accessories

Designer accessories and add on’s are what give a dream closet that sought-after “wow” factor, and they are not cheap. Some of our firm’s favorite things to include that really take the design to the next level are:

  • sunglass dividers
  • glass top islands with see through jewelry drawers and watch winders 
  • drawer boxes for undies, bras, jewelry, belts
  • drawer and shelf dividers for sweaters, jeans, t-shirts 
  • shoes walls
  • purse displays
  • pull out poles
  • safes
  • pull out shelves/drawers
  • mirrors

Get Custom: What is Right for YOU?

This is where you really get to have a lot of fun and get custom! But don’t go crazy. You probably don’t need all or even most of these bells and whistles. They’re likely to just get in the way and a functional closet is all about being a one-movement operation. Wondering what your dream closet will cost? Our partners at broke down the factors that affect the cost of your custom closet. Give it a read here. 

Adding Some Glam in Your Custom Closet

Some extra aesthetic touches that have nothing to do with storing or accessing your clothing will ultimately be what elevate your closet to dream status! Here are a couple brilliant ways to do this:

Wallpapered ceiling and white cabinets in custom dream closet


Lighting beyond your general task lighting: I love adding some sparkle with a twinkling chandelier and a full length mirror, which is both functional and necessary in the closet/dressing area anyways, and has the added bonus of bouncing light around the space.


Wallpaper is very in right now and it’s such a great way to get creative in your closet and make it your own. Especially if you’re planning to buy cheaper for your storage and shelving units,consider splurging on the wallpaper. A great way to transform ordinary shelving and storage is by wallpapering behind it. And don’t forget the ceiling! That’s a great place to add a bold pattern or color. Sky’s the limit!


Add a rug! No matter the size of your closet, having something soft underfoot adds richness and extra luxe to the space. Here are some of my rug recommendations so you’ll feel like you’re walking on clouds in your heavenly closet!

Part III: Storage Solutions for Organizing Your Dream Closet

This process is all about simplifying: I can’t say it enough! It’s amazing how often people invest in custom closets and built-ins and then make the storage organizational elements incredibly complicated. Everything should be organized and accessible. 

Shoe Closet in Crazy Rich Asian Home in Bel Air

Matching Space-Saving Hangers

A great rule of thumb is to keep your hangers spaced out a finger width apart, which makes finding clothing so much simpler.

Out of Season Clothing Storage

You’ll want to keep all your no-wrinkle, knit items folded rather than on hangers to prevent hanger bumps in non-glass closed, stackable containers, that are clearly labeled. Pro Tip: Fold your clothing vertically, rather than stacking them on top of each other for easier visibility and access. Too often, we forget about the clothes that end up folded on the bottom of a drawer.

Luggage & Purse Storage

Rather than hanging bags, keep them on a shelf, in dust bags and stuffed with tissue so they maintain their shape over time. Prominently displaying designer bags and shoes was an important part of this recently completed project in Bel Air. 

Shoe Storage

Shoe storage is an often overlooked aspect of closet design, but they can potentially take up so much room if you have lots of them or can clutter up your space if you neglect to think about storing them ahead of time. Opt for shoe boxes with windows for more formal, expensive shoes, much like dust-bags for purses and luggage and staggered shelving for easy access to shoes you wear most often. Casual walking shoes can fit 2 pairs to a box, or on staggered shoe shelving for easier access.

Jewelry & Watch Storage

Jewelry boxes with glass tops are going to be best for seeing what you’re working with and keeping everything safe and it makes getting ready more efficient.

Keep a catch-all or two on your counter for rings, keys, etc. Avoid using drawers as catch-alls so you prevent re-cluttering your closet after you’ve made it beautiful. This may sound anal-retentive, but trust me, it’ll quickly become second nature and you’ll thank me later!

Shop Everything from This Dream Closet Post:

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