Quick Tips For Organizing Closet Shelves

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Quick Tips For Organizing Closet Shelves and Rooms

Organizing Shelves So They Are Neater And More Functional

Don’t you just it love when you walk into a store or see one on TV and all the things on the shelves look so neat? You go home and refold and neatly stack the things on your shelves and they look better but still not quite the same. 

What is their secret? 

  1. They leave at least a couple of inches of space between their stacks of items. Not only do they leave space between their stacks but also from the top of the stack to the top of the next shelf.

    You may say, “This is nice but aren’t you wasting a lot of space at home?” 

    Yes and no. You do lose some inches of potential storage space but, at the same time, organizing your stacks this way on your shelves makes it so much easier to get things in and out. Not only does it look nicer but it is easier to use and keep neat.

    Also this method saves you from having to spend more money on things like shelf dividers. As much as I love shelf dividers myself, if you start buying them for all your shelves and closets it can start adding up. Since we are all about saving money, it’s good to consider that you won’t need them if you just leave a couple of inches in between stacks, keep things neatly folded and don’t stack things too high. Depending on the thickness of the items, of course, but things like sweaters should only be stacked about 4 deep.

  2. This same principle works with other things like your desktop, tools or furniture. Have you every noticed something is wrong with the furniture in a room. It looks cluttered but it doesn’t have that much in it. Sometimes that is a result of not leaving enough space in between the pieces of furniture or items. 

    If something looks off in your room, try pulling things apart or away from the walls and see what a difference it makes.

  3. Keep things neatly folded. Make sure the smooth folded edges of linens and clothes are facing forward like I show on our How to fold a fitted sheet video.

  4. Keep things neatly stacked. It is very important to declutter and get rid of things but if you don’t have time to do that at least gather papers, magazines, books etc. into a neat stack. One of the first tricks I learned when professionally cleaning houses was to stack things. We weren’t allowed to throw away or put away any paper items in a home since it wasn’t our home but in order to make the place look tidy we were told to quickly gather things up and neatly stack them where they lay.

    (Mike: When I clean the house, I don’t want to move Tawra’s things, so I simply neatly stack items in the room where they are. Even when they’re not put away, having one neat stack of things makes everything neater.)



Photo By: Brendan Landis


  1. gina says

    Hi, This is so embarassing. I can’t seems to organize my study room or store room. Every time I clean and organized after awhile it’s messy again. And I am the one using it not other family members. Please Help

    • says

      Gina first those two areas are hard ones to keep under control so don’t feel too bad or embarrassed. Here’s a couple of things that might help.

      1. When you do clean it make sure you get rid of as much as you can.
      2. Then make sure everything has a home. If you can’t find a home (place or spot to keep it) then you need to either get rid of something or find another place to keep it.
      3.Next start getting in the habit of ever every time you use something don’t lay it down but put it back in its home.

      Also you have to just keep on top of rooms or areas like this. They usually get used or dumped in a lot so either daily, once a week or month set aside a time to once again clean it. You can do it how often you want although since it drives you crazy I would say clean it at least once a week.

      It is like dishes. You just get them washed and it seems like there are more to do. You can either save them up and do a mound of them once a day or keep on top of it by doing them each time you use one or after a meal.

  2. says

    My twin daughters share a room, and a very small closet. All of their stuff would daily wind up on the floor of their room. Until it occurred to me that they just needed a better organization to their closet. My husband lowered the hanging bar, and added 2 extra shelves, for a total of 3, all about 15 inches apart. (We had the shelving and some 2 X 4’s for supports just sitting in the garage, so it was free, too.) This gave them actual shelf room to put everything, instead of huge stacks that would tumble out every time they wanted just one item down.

  3. Donna B. says

    my biggest tip is never to waste a trip up or down the stairs! I always try to carry something up to put away in the bathroom or bedroom, when I go up to get something! I get to the point I don’t think my legs will make one more trip!!!!!

  4. says

    I need to know the best way to organize a kitchen pantry that is way too deep and is way to narrow. It seems that you lose stuff at the back of the shelves and everything cannot be toward to front. Got any ideas for narrow and deep kitchen pantry shelves? I would love to hear from someone. Thanks

    • says

      I know the type of shelves you are talking about and they are a mess. Here are a couple of things you could try. If you use it for something like can goods put like items all in a row going clear to the back. For example you have a row of corn. The front can lets you know everything behind it is corn. As you restock just put the new cans at the back of the row.

      You can get get different size baskets or shelves which you lay tracks down and then you can easily roll out the shelf to see it all. These are found at Lowe’s or similar places.

      You could put things in a couple of shallow baskets. That way when you need something at the back you lift the front basket out and pull the back basket (or box) forward and pick out what you would need. Of course the things you use less often should be put in the back basket. This would work good for packets of things, spices, or even light weight things like instant oatmeal, packets of crackers etc.

  5. Holly says

    Mom’s lower cupboards in her kitchen are DEEP. I have very long arms (Proof: Back when I was a size 10, my choice in raincoats at a major department store was narrowed to 2 from over 48 because of sleeve length.), but even I can’t reach to the back of the corner cupboard by the sink. And my 4’10” tall mom certainly can’t. I solved the organization and accessiblity problem we had with some clear plastic boot boxes. I leave the lids underneath the boxes. The boxes then are topless so that they can hold objects of varying heights. The right-side-up lids help the boxes slide out of the cupboard easily. This is the poor-girl’s (or renter’s) version of fancy kitchen pull-out shelving.

    • Cindy says

      I do something similar, Holly – but I use cardboard boxes. They must be the cheap-girl version!

  6. Jenny says

    Thank you Jill for yet another useful and timely tip. I think the thing that puts people off “Getting Organised” is that we own far too much “stuff”. I have just finished (yet another!!!) huge clearout of clothes and home wares. Today I finally sorted out my linen cupboard and really to my shame saw that I had unused and spare two kingsize duvets and lots of covers plus more than 20 pillowcases……….. why??? I felt really bad about sending them to a local charity shop as it just emphasised how guilty I was in the past of spending money that did not need to be spent of MORE housewares! I had to realise that I would never use a) this many pillowcases in the next ten years! and b) Since a recent re-organisation of the bedrooms – down to two single beds – I will no longer need these big duvets or covers – so they just had to go. I just hope they will go to someone else who will need them. I freshly launder everything I give to our local charity shop – a little shop run by volunteers for the benefit of poorer families in the church area. I have stopped giving to the big national charities. I recently saw an advert in the shop window for “Managers” and “Retail staff” – at a starting salary of £14,000!!!! I am not sending good quality items to these shops ever again – just how much charitable donations do they have to sell just to realise staff wages? So this is why I give to our local church shop – all the ladies — usually elderly retired ladies (!) who volunteer their services – so ensuring that the maximum amount of money raised goes to good causes. This is especially needed here in England at the moment as many families are finding it very difficult to manage due to the everlasting recession. This is how I clear my conscience – sending on good quality goods to others who need them now I no longer do. It is a salutary lesson for the future too – don’t buy anything until you really need it. In the past I have bought “bargains” in housewards etc but they just get stored and not used – well here in my house they do! So this is what started me on this reply – lots of us (!) have simply too much “stuff” which clogs up our houses. I have to admit I get a real sense of achievement now I look into the wardrobes and everything is pressed and hanging neatly on hangers and the shelves are tidily stacked. So ladies get rid of your surplus “stuff” – pass it on to people who can make good use of it – and hey! less to sort out – which makes for tidier homes and is a lot less stressful to keep tidy. Just a little thought from a very keen and longstanding fan of your most valuable website – best wishes from a very sunny England! God bless you all and keep thinking frugal living – it is SO Sensible! and you will be so glad you did! Jenny

  7. Susan says

    Jill, you are right on about how the dept stores display the merchandise on their shelves. Many years ago when I worked part time in a dept store we were taught to leave at least 2 or 2 and half inches between the stacks in order to give the appearance of a neat display so that you would want to look at those items. Life is funny when you are young you just wanted to do the job and go home not realizing that those little bits of info would help you later on!


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