10 Easy Tips To Organize Your Closet – Q&A with Arianna Belle

Keeping your closet organized and clutter-free is easier than you think. Interior and organizational expert Arianna Vargas gave us some tips to help improve even the tiniest city closet on a small budget.

SB: What’s the first thing I should do when starting to organize my closet?

A: Declutter – which basically means edit, edit, edit. Get rid of all the items that no longer suit your style, don’t fit properly, have stains or are too worn out  – generally anything you don’t feel good in. Getting rid of all the clutter will free up valuable space and allow the items you do wear and love room to breathe.

wire laundry hamper – Container Store, pink ruffled laundry bag – UO , drawstring laundry bag – UO , free standing closet – Crate & Barrel

SB: I love a walk-in closet just as much as the next girl, but in the city that’s often not an option. What are some space-saving closet storage tips?

A: In small spaces, maximize vertical space as much as possible. Install shelves and keep out-of-season or less frequently worn items up top. Use hooks on any available wall space for handbags, belts and necklaces.  For shoes, try an over-the-door rack.

over the door shoe rack – Whitmor, coat rack – CB2, wall hooks – Kohl’s, storage bins – Container Store

SB: I often can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to accessories. Any tips on how to keep small items neatly organized and visible?

A: A hanging organizer with clear pockets like this one is great for separating small items and allowing you to see what you have at a glance.

SB: I’ve heard I should remove my purse’s contents before putting the bag away in the closet. What should I do with all my stuff? 

A: I’d only recommend that if you’re shelving it away for a while. It’s perfectly fine to leave your stuff inside your current go-to everyday bag.  When you’re ready to switch to a different bag, make transferring your stuff easier by keeping items within smaller bags and pouches

pink structured shoulder bag – J.Crew, London pouch – Oasis, silicone cosmetic case – Macy’s, monogram pouch – Yoox.com, bow cosmetic case – J.Crew

SB: When I come home, I often clutter up my room with my current bag, shoes, etc. Any recommendations on how I can maintain order without having to put my heavy-rotation items in deep storage?

A: Pay attention to where you tend to leave your items and consider creating a home for them there. For example, when I come home, I tend to bring my work tote into my home office instead of taking it to the closet since I usually have my planner, phone, etc. in there. So what I did was designate a cubby for it within the storage unit I have behind my desk (photos to come soon on the blog!)  Think about what would be most convenient and easy for you. If you tend to leave your bag in the entry, install a hook there.  If you tend to leave shoes on the floor, designate a basket to contain them.

yellow frame mirror – Horchow, rustic entry way console – Crate & Barrel, bag hook – Bed Bath & Beyond, boot tray – Viva Terra, storage bin – Serena & Lily

SB: I’ve been searching for a nice-looking laundry basket for years now. Any recommendations on how to hold my laundry and dry cleaning until laundry day?

A: I recently came across these beautiful hand-woven African basket hampers from Connected Fair Trade. Loving them as a unique and stylish option for laundry.

SB: What are your tips for storing hats, sunglasses, belts, and shoes (even the practical pairs that might not be display-worthy – like workout sneakers)?


  • hats – Hang them on hooks, or store them in photo labeled boxes
  • sunglasses – Contain them within a vanity tray or hang them on a diy organizer.
  • belts – Install hooks on a wall or try a belt hanger 
  • shoes – Practical pairs that you don’t necessarily want to display, like workout sneakers, can go in lower least visible shelves or cubbies, or if you really want to keep them out of sight you can hide them in a storage ottoman located wherever is most practical, such as near the entry so you can put them on right when you’re heading out the door and take them off right when you come in.

hat box – Container Store, monogram hooks – Anthropologie, gold tray – DVF, storage ottoman – Safaveih

SB: Any tricks for getting the look of a glamorous custom closet with store-bought items?

Asses how much of each thing you need to store, measure your space and draw out a plan before buying anything.Take your time researching pieces that will best fit  your space and needs. Use paint and wallpaper to customize and glam up the overall look. (Stylebook Tip: Get temporary wallpaper at Sherwin Williams if you rent)

Marrakesh Honey Wallpaper – Urban Outfitters, butterfly wallpaper – Graham & Brown

SB: Are there any mistakes I should avoid while organizing my space? 

A: Some people make the mistake of storing items in such a way that it’s a pain to maintain and so it quickly goes from organized back to unorganized.

Make sure frequently used items are as easy to access and put away as possible. For example, when it comes to shoes only put them in boxes if they’re ones that you occasionally use. Boxes are not a practical option for pairs you wear frequently because (1) removing the box from its location, (2) opening it, (3) placing the shoes inside, (4) placing the lid back on, and (5) putting the box back in its home, is way too many steps for the rush of daily life.  Go with something easy (like placing them on a shelf) that will require as few steps as possible.

shoe cubby – Container Store , handbag storage cubby – Container Store

SB: What’s your favorite source for interior inspiration (websites, books, movies, etc)?

A: Pinterest is a daily go-to and I can always count on the many blogs I follow to provide a dose of inspiration whenever I need it. I also love Canadian shelter mags like Style at Home and House and Home.

For more home organization and interior design tips check out Arianna’s blog here 

1 comment
  1. Sarah said:

    Wow! This is great! Thanks! I have been looking for this for ages!:)

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