Feeling overwhelmed by the absolute mountain of belongings in your closet and their imminent avalanche? If you live in a big city like New York, you’re lucky if you even have a closet with functional doors to hide away “the bad mess.” I recently moved into an apartment with zero closets, meaning there’s nowhere to stash all my trinkets and dozens of coats, forcing me to get creative and VERY precise about where everything will live.
The key to maintaining an organized closet (or, let’s be honest, living space) is making sure that every object has a designated home. It’s when you don’t know where to put something that chaos ensues. Before long, you go from clean floors to rat’s nest in two days flat. But don’t fret, the best closet systems, drawer organizers, shoe racks, and storage containers on the market will help you semi-effortlessly Marie Kondo your place (before she decided to give up)—whether it’s a shoebox city apartment or palatial estate.
The best closet systems
Even though The Container Store’s Elfa closet system comes with a hefty price tag, I can personally attest that it’s well worth it. I cannot stress enough how grateful I am that I decided to commit to a custom closet solution; it was quite the investment, but all I have to work with is a random 28 inch-wide wall indent that’s now a fully functioning closet, and I needed to maximize it (even if I will likely outlive my need for it once I move to the mansion I’m currently manifesting). If you don’t need a custom solution for weird dimensions (like mine), the standard systems (which come in a variety of configurations and colors) are super easy to install with just a drill, and minimal tools, are super durable, lightweight, and are currently 30% off.
$499.99$349.99 at The Container Store
Rubbermaid makes plenty of expandable closet kits with really positive reviews. They’re available in any size you could need, and are quite affordable. One happy reviewer explains how “the varied configurations were awesome [for building] exactly what [they] wanted/needed for the space…” and says they are “now tempted to redo all [their] closets with this system” after it “changed [her] life”.
For less than $100, this ClosetMaid closet organizer kit is one hell of a deal, especially considering it fits closets five to eight feet wide, and has over 1,000 glowing reviews. Even better yet, “the assembly guide [is] super easy,” according to one enthusiastic reviewer who also wrote that “[her] dad and [she] put it together in less than 30 minutes…and doubled [the] closet space.” Sounds almost too easy.
OK, you don’t want to mount anything, and you don’t even want to look at a drill. We hear you: Grab one of these low-commitment options. This double tension rod freestanding closet organizer is great for renters, or if you mostly need hanging space. You can always add a few of the hanging organizers below for folded items and shoes.
This expandable clothing rack works just as well in a walk-in closet as a reach-in, and would function just as well in a mudroom or laundry area. If you’ve got a ton of heavy stuff you need to store, this stainless steel shelving system is a safe bet, especially if you don’t know the first thing about a stud finder.
The best hanging closet organizers and hangers
The best thing about this over-the-door organizer is that it has hooks that attach to both the top and bottom of the door, so there’s no obnoxious clanging and you won’t accidentally get pummeled by shoes when opening the door too aggressively.
Need extra space for unloading totes, belts, scarves, and other accessories you use daily? This 14-hook over-door organizer is super practical, and a much more affordable dupe for the Eames Hang-It-All.
For less than 20 bucks, you can quickly multiply your horizontal space with this six-shelf hanging storage organizer. Works great for sneakers, hats, or all your vintage tees.
These hanging cubbies have a closet rod bar at the bottom for extra hangers and are the perfect size for clunkier boots, or in place of drawers.
These wire baskets are modular and can be easily reconfigured to accommodate any space. The fact that you can see all the way through them also helps if you have trouble remembering where you put things.
You’ve probably seen slim velvet hangers. They’ve been “a thing” for over a decade now, for good reason. If you’ve never had the pleasure of using them yourselves, they’re the simplest, best solution for preventing your things from constantly slipping off hangers and winding up on the floor. Not only are these ones as thin as possible so you can jam your closet to its max potential, but the velvet keeps a firm grip on even the silkiest fabrics.
These space-saver hangers are truly a godsend. Stack all of your button downs, sweaters, tees (and whatever else), together for better organization and extra room.
Same thing goes for pants…
The best closet organizer drawers
The freestanding Elfa wire drawer units are also incredible for stashing at the bottom of any closet for sweaters, umbrellas, gimp masks—whatever you’re likely to reach for really.
If you rummage for underwear everyday as if you’re digging for clams, it’s definitely time to indulge in some drawer organizers. Stash the smaller compartments with socks and unmentionables, and use the adjustable dividers for bulkier clothing.
The best shoe racks
For less than $20, you can snag this three-tiered rack that has over 27,000 reviews from satisfied customers. Depending on your shoe size, it can easily hold 15 to 20 pairs of shoes.
For a more ~aesthetic~ option (or if you view your shoes as your children), these clear plastic stackable bins are perfect for showing off your babies and ensure they stay mint.
You got this, just imagine Marie Kondo is quietly judging you.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.