Inside: Do you dread opening your closet to get ready in the morning? Here are the top ten things that make your closet look cluttered and how to create a more organized space.

When it comes to household clutter, one spot is particularly susceptible – our closet. 

It’s easy to see why. The closet is one of the few places in our homes that we can choose to ignore.

By simply closing the door, it becomes out of sight, out of mind…that is until you need to get ready and can’t find an article of clothing you want.

Then, it’s an exercise in patience to dig through all of our stuff to find exactly what we’re looking for.

Not sure why your closet is so overwhelming – and how to fix the problem?

Here are some of the biggest reasons your closet looks cluttered and what you can do about it. 

things that make your closet look cluttered

What’s making my closet look cluttered?

Most closets don’t look cluttered from a single cause. Instead, it’s a culmination of a few factors that make it feel disorganized and frustrating.

Here are some of the biggest culprits that contribute to closet clutter:

#1 – Too many clothes.

One of the most surefire ways to make your closet look cluttered is to pack it full of too much stuff.

There’s a limit to how much you can store without things getting out of hand. And for many people, they’re well past that limit.

Your hangers should be able to move freely so you can easily see what you have and take what you need. Items on shelves should be stored so that you see what’s where and can take out what you need without impacting anything else.

Struggling with an overcrowded closet? It’s time to clear out some space. Use the guidelines in this post to ruthlessly declutter your closet.

Not only can having too many clothes make your closet look cluttered, but keeping clothes that you don’t love and wear can also make your closet feel cluttered.

No one wants to sort through clothes that don’t fit, bring back bad memories, or remind you of past purchasing regrets while trying to get dressed.

Consider ditching these items from your wardrobe to not only help your closet look better but to feel better too.

mismatched hangers and lots of shoes in a closet

#2 – Mismatched hangers.

Now that you’ve streamlined your clothing, you’ll have fewer items to organize as you continue to discover the things that make your closet look cluttered.

If you have a random assortment of plastic, wire, and wood hangers, I have bad news. They’re making your closet look cluttered.

The good news is it’s an easy fix! Purchasing a matching set or simply decluttering the hangers that don’t match will instantly make your closet appear more organized.

#3 – Items hung improperly.

If you often get ready in a hurry it is not uncommon to have items put slopily back on a hanger (or perhaps not even on a hanger at all).

Now is your chance to ensure that pieces are hung properly. This will help your closet look more organized and keep the hanger from stretching out your garment.

As simple as it may sound just hanging your clothing neatly on matching hangers will have a big impact on your closet’s appearance.

things that make your closet look cluttered

#4 – Clothes that aren’t folded properly.

If you have shelving in your closet, you’ve got space to fold and stow away your clothes. However, those shelves can quickly fall into a state of disarray if you aren’t careful. 

Shirts and sweaters inside out, tank tops dangling precariously from only one sleeve… chances are, you’ve seen it before. 

Want to cut down on clothing closet clutter? Group like items together and neatly fold and stack your clothing.

#5 – Dry cleaning bags and hangers.

If you get dry cleaning regularly, the bags and hangers can add up fast. Unfortunately, they take up extra space and create a less-than-organized appearance. 

In most cases, keeping the bags on your clothing is unnecessary so you can simply remove them. If you really want to leave them on group them together in your closet so that they look less cluttered.

winter coats hanging in a closet

#6 – Bulky clothing items.

Bulky clothing items take up a lot of space and can make your closet look cluttered. Bulky items include winter coats and potentially formal dresses as well if they have a lot of fabric.

Make sure the clothing that you have in your closet is worth the real estate they’re taking up. If you rarely wear them consider if you need to keep them. For the ones you do want to hold onto, is there somewhere else you can store them?

Try storing winter items in a coat closet or put them in a storage bin during the warmer months. Be realistic with formal options and the likelihood that you’ll wear them again. If you decide to keep it determine the best place to store it.

#7 – Clothes hanging in no particular order.

When there is no particular order for what clothes are hung where it makes your closet look cluttered and chaotic. When shirts, pants, and dresses are all mixed together it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for and isn’t aesthetically pleasing.

Grouping items by type and then by color is a great way to make your closet look better and make items easier to locate.

Organize them in a way that makes sense to you and then stick with your system to maintain your space.

things that make your closet look cluttered

#8 – A plethora of bags, accessories, and shoes.

Now that you’ve decluttered and organized all of the clothing, it’s time to focus on the other items that can make your closet look cluttered.

Do you have an excessive number of purses, belts, accessories, luggage, or shoes? If so they’re adding to the overcrowded feeling in your closet.

Go through each category one at a time and decide what you can declutter. Once you’ve removed the shoes you don’t wear and the bags and accessories you don’t love you’ll free up additional space.

The next step is to create an organizational system that works in your space. It could be as simple as adding a shoe or belt rack to store items neatly.

If you have luggage in your closet, consider if there is an alternative place it could be stored in your home. These pieces tend to take up a lot of space and can make your closet feel more cluttered.

#9 – It’s become a dumping ground. 

Another one of the reasons your closet can look cluttered is because it’s become a dumping ground. If you have random items belonging to various family members on the shelves and floor, signs are it’s become a clutter hot spot.

Remove the items that don’t belong and return them to where they should go. Reclaim your space and work to create tidying habits to prevent the clutter from piling up again.

For the items that belong in your closet, categorize them and use uniform containers for storage. Prevent the hodge-podge look by sticking to one or two organizer styles to make it cohesive.

bins on the top shelf in closet

#10 – Things collecting literal dust. 

If you open your closet door to find the things inside covered with a thin layer of dust, that’s a clear sign that you aren’t using what you’re storing.

Closets are intended for storing things you actively use, but for many, they’re a place where unneeded items are forgotten.

Sometimes we feel bad about throwing something away for sentimental reasons; other times, we convince ourselves that we’ll use it again someday

If your closet is filled with dusty stuff, it’s time to clear it out and evaluate if you truly need to keep it. If not? Reclaim that valuable real estate and put it to better use.

For items that need to stay, clear off the dust and dirt to refresh your space.

“If you’re not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You’re not going to start using it more by shoving it in a closet somewhere.” ~Joshua Becker

things that make your closet look cluttered

Final thoughts on what’s making your closet look cluttered

The number one thing that makes a closet look cluttered is having too much stuff. Focus on decluttering the excess and you’ll be well on your way to creating a more usable and aesthetically appealing space.

After you’ve done that, the other tweaks can be implemented fairly quickly. You’ll feel the results of your efforts every morning as you get ready and be able to appreciate your newly organized space.

Now that your closet is decluttered you can move on to other areas of your home as needed. If you’re still feeling unsettled in your space, check out this post with 25 things that make your house look cluttered.

What things make your closet look cluttered? Leave a comment and let me know.

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  1. I’m losing my mind. From my illness’, taking care of a dieing friend, major depression I can’t get it together. After being so organized and a pretty house, it is now a hoarders hell. I have to sell my house now because of wind and flood insurance cost. I won’t let people in. have 3000sq ft of some good and some not. I’m buying an RV to live in so I can afford to live. I’m 68 and want to live my life, not be trapped by it.. thank you for the advice.. Lynn Bender Irving Dauphin Island Alabama

    1. Please be sure before you move to an RV. We did for a couple of years and it’s expensive paying for the lot. We did find cheaper place in Georgia which helped. We thought we’d spend 10 years in the RV but our bodies aged quicker than expected. We are in senior apartment now. Easier to manage.

    2. Best wishes to you Lynn. I believe I understand somewhat because I lost my best friend a year ago and my house has become hoarder-ish. I’m just now realizing this and trying to do something about it, however slowly. I do have a neighbor who planned and succeeded in traveling and living in her camper van. She loves it. She has traveled many places around the country and learned how to make living more affordable. I send my best wishes to you with love and energy.

  2. So, in a word…Clothes. Trigger warning, this is mainly a female thing, although as a guy I have a burgeoning nest of Gloves and Scarves now that appear to be mating.

    1. Really it could be too much of anything, not just clothes (although that is likely the most common one). And I don’t think it’s just women as the men in my family have a harder time letting go of clothes than the women do so it varies. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    2. I declutter my clothes extremely regularly, whereas my husband’s closet is so crammed with stuff that I went on strike and refuse to hang anything up, because when he takes out one shirt and five more fall out, he yells at ME. I told him I would leave his stuff in the laundry room until he made room in his closet to hang clothes up easily. This was, I AM NOT JOKING, at least 6 years ago. It’s easier for him to schlep his stuff up from downstairs than to downsize his wardroble.

  3. I have way too many clothes in my closet, and too many shoes. I need to go through it all and be honest about what I actually wear so that I can donate the rest of it. It’s not easy, and I’m definitely guilty of holding onto things because “someday”. I’ve also gained a lot of weight the past couple years, so I’m holding onto things that used to fit knowing that they will fit again as I’m losing the weight. But honestly, I want to build a capsule wardrobe instead of lots of “fast fashion”, so if I get rid of the clothes that don’t fit now, I’ll be forced to purchase new clothes to build the capsule wardrobe as I lose the weight. Really it’s a win-win.

    1. Hi Nicole. Another option is to save your favorite pieces and store them to review later should they fit again. If not, let them go. Shopping secondhand can be a great way to get quality pieces at a lower price too. Best wishes on decluttering your closet!

  4. I read the article and then decluttered 2 dresses and 1 pair of sandals that hurt my toes. By Sunday, I’m hoping to have made real progress in my closet!

  5. I always enjoy your ideas and tips.
    I do think its a better idea to give what one doesn’t want or use anymore to a Thrift store like Salvation Army, Goodwill etc. Someone’s cast offs are someone elses’ treasure, especially in these expensive days of inflation and high cost of living.

  6. My closet is just too small! We moved from a bigger house into a smaller house. I have cleared content in my closet twice–pounds and pounds of unused “stuff.” The closet is only three feet wide and barely holds the clothes I do wear. I’m planning another purge. But I am really struggling. No walk- in; not enough room for hangers.. My shoe rack takes up 2/3 of the floor space.

    Help! Any ideas?

    1. -box up out of season clothes
      – use other closets in the home
      – fold more and put in dresser instead of hanging
      but in the end, you only have the space you have. You might need to own less.

  7. To: Lynn Bender Irving Dauphin Island Alabama.

    My close friend just went through the same issues. She hired an estate-sale person who purged the house and set up a very well displayed estate sale. They made $18,000 dollars before costs. The house is now ready to sell. It took months, but was well worth the effort and the cost. Sometimes we need a little help.

    Maybe you’ll earn enough for a down payment on that motor home you want.

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