How to Functional-ize Your Closet

If you’re like me, you truly admire the type of people that organize their clothes by colour and create their own little rainbow of cottons and poly-blends. But if you’re also like me you would never do that, because — firstly — time is money and — secondly — all of your clothes are black.

Although organizing your closet by colour is a great way to find certain pieces, there are also other ways to organize your closet of clothes. (It sounds so weird and official saying closet of clothes, as if you have a closet of something else, too. Closet of pasta. Closet of shrines dedicated to One Direction members. Closet of hair clippings….There are so many possibilities when you think about it.)


Anyway, I want to talk about how to make your closet functional for you. Emphasis on you. Because not everyone’s clothes are super-colourful. Not everyone has enough clothes to make a rainbow. So I’m here to help you do it your way so you can save some time when you’re feeling pressured by society to cover up your naked ass.

Start off by imagining you are just about to change your clothes into something that is not pyjamas/lounge. Literally answer this question for yourself: What are you going to put on?

Now that you’ve answered that question, think of how you described that piece of clothing to yourself. Did you think: blue t-shirt? collared button-up? H&M dress? that fancy thing I wore that one time I puked all over that guys shoes?

Each of those things has an indicator of how you describe and find the piece of clothing you want to wear. Colour, style, brand, length, occasion — these are some of the ways you might think of your clothes. So choose the indicators you use most often when you describe what you want to wear and organize your closet accordingly. Here are some more specific examples:

By Style:

If you think along the lines of “I want to wear my Black Sabbath t-shirt with my knitted cardigan”.

Organize your clothes by the style of the item. T-shirt – Long sleeves – sweaters – jackets – dresses – skirts – pants.

By Brand:

If you describe your clothes in such a way as “I think I’ll pair my Forever 21 crop top with my Adidas jacket and Aritzia jeans”.

I can’t see this being a particularly popular way to organize, but hey, if you shop at 4-5 of the same stores only you could definitely pull off organizing your clothes by brand if that’s how you find yourself deciding what to wear. Put together all the clothes of one brand together, and so on. Adidas – Forever 21 – H&M – Chanel – Artizia.

By Length:

If you say “I want to wear my 3 quarter length sleeve plaid shirt around my waist over my mini dress”.

Organize your clothes by the length of the discerning attributes of the item (sleeve length/hem length). Crop tops – tank tops – short sleeves – 3/4 length sleeves – long-sleeves – short skirts/dresses/shorts – mid length skirts/dresses/shorts – long skirts/dresses – pants.


If your brain tells you “Today we shall wear our work clothes, but tonight we shall wear our skank attire”.

Organize your clothes by occasion. In other words, organize on a scale of casualness to fanciness. Lounge wear – casual clothes – cute casual – night’s out – slutty night’s out – work clothes – church-y clothes – fancy stuff – really fancy stuff.

A Mixture:

You get dressed by saying “I want to wear that fancy v-neck t-shirt that looks nice with the blue cropped jacket and the thin black H&M button up under it”.

If you use more than one or even tons of indicators, let that show in your closet too. (I mean, no one else is going to notice this anyways but like I said before, this is to make your closet functional for you.) And there are even more indicators than I mentioned. You can include colour, business of pattern, collar style, fabric type, stain to clean quotient…the list goes on and on.

For instance, organize by style and length: Crop tops (spaghetti strap crop tops, t-shirt crop tops, long-sleeved crop tops) – tank tops (thinnest strap to thickest strap) – short sleeves (shortest to longest sleeve) – 3/4 length sleeves – long-sleeves – short skirts/dresses/shorts – mid length skirts/dresses/shorts – long skirts/dresses – pants.

Then you could even add in Occasion and organize within those categories by how fancy the particular items are. Like this:

Crop tops: sporty casual spaghetti strap crop top, casual spaghetti strap crop top, thick tank slutty crop top, fancy tank top crop top, slutty t-shirt crop top, cut-out t-shirt crop top, fancy beaded t-shirt crop top, 3/4 length sleeve casual crop top, 3/4 length sleeve collared crop top, long sleeve jersey crop-top, long sleeve lace overlay crop top.

And on to the next style, which you then organize by length, which you then organize by occasion. Does that seem convoluted? Absolutely, on paper. But when you put it into action, it should make sense to you.

My advice is not to force any type of organization style on yourself. Really and truly take note of how you describe whatever you want to put on your body in the morning. If you’re the type of person that decides what to wear after looking in your closet, go with a simple organization by style. But if you’re the type of person who thinks about it while you shower/do your makeup/the night before, etc., really pay attention to those indicator words. Because then you will garner a deeper understanding of yourself. Just kidding. Then you can become less of a hot mess and organize your skin-protectors.

In case you’re curious, here’s how I organize my closet:

Firstly by style, then by length, then by occasion, and with an overall indication of what season the item is wearable in/thickness of fabric. What that looks like is this:

– Dresses, in order of sleeve length and fanciness.

– Crop tops, in order of sleeve length and sluttiness.

– Tank tops, in order of thickness of strap and how fancy they are (thin strap casual, thin strap fancy, medium strap casual, medium strap fancy, thick strap casual, thick strap fancy).

– T-shirts through 3/4 length sleeves and thin fabric long sleeves, in order of sleeve length and again then how fancy they are which for some reason constitutes all the collared shirts being grouped together.

– Thin pull-over sweaters, in order of how thick the fabric is.

– Thin sweaters that are open (cardigans), in order of how thick the fabric is.

– Thicker pull-over sweaters, in order of how thick the fabric is.

– Thicker cardigans/sweaters that are open, in order of how thick the fabric is.

– Jackets, in order of occasion/how fancy they are and in order of how close they are to being a jacket that I would wear as my last layer of clothes.

So in case you’ve gotten to this part but skipped over that long list, here’s an overview: I organize different styles of clothes by different indicators. That’s what works for me. T-shirts are length and casualness, jackets are occasion and weather-appropriateness. Et cetera, et cetera. And it may seem crazy and like it’s not actually even organized, but I can find things in my closet faster than Flash. To me, there are clear sections.

What do you think? How do you organize your closet? How are you going to? Let me know in the Comments section!


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