Other than the rare instances when we’re seized by a fit of productivity, it’s safe to say that most of our dressers could typically be described as vaguely organized chaos. We know—roughly—where everything is, but sometimes folding and coordinating our drawers is simply not in the cards (let’s not even talk about that pile on top…).
That said, anyone who subscribes to the “look good, feel good” school of thought understands that there’s something to be said about having a consistently clean and organized living space. Beyond just being able to plan your outfits faster, having a tidy dresser helps you determine which pieces you consistently wear and which it might be time to consign. It also serves as a reminder to do laundry; which, if we’re being totally honest, is sometimes necessary.
Anna Bauer, Thumbtack instructor and owner of Sorted by Anna, has been helping people create longterm space-saving solutions through organizing their lives for years. Based in Brooklyn, Bauer understands the struggle of living in a small space firsthand and is an expert at creatively maximizing the use of any space, so we turned to her to get tips on how to effectively organize our armoires once and for all.
1. Categorize, categorize, categorize!
“The first thing you should always do when organizing your dresser is go through each drawer and work by category,” suggests Bauer. “Workout gear in one pile, jeans in another pile, and so on.” Think of each drawer as a category for a type of clothing. You can also classify according to use: For example, keeping your favorite or most-worn garments together makes finding them infinitely easier when you’re running late.
Plus, by pulling everything out and dividing your clothes into groups, you can see how many white t-shirts you actually have and which you don’t wear anymore. “Decide what you want to keep, donate, and throw out. This will help you identify the quantity of your dresser items and if there’s more you could be purging,” says Bauer. Get rid of your unwanted items to make space for that one gingham top you’ve been eyeing for months.
2. Be sure you’re folding correctly
Yes, there is a right way to fold—and chances are, you’re not doing it. “People often fold their clothes, then pile items on top of one another in a dresser. The issue there is that if you pull a t-shirt out, the rest of the pile gets messed up or you have one shirt on the bottom that never gets used because you can’t see it,” says Bauer.
Instead, she recommends file folding your clothes (see above image) to ensure you’re getting maximum use out of your wardrobe and don’t have to re-fold entire piles every time you reach for a garment. As an added bonus, tightly folding your pieces saves you space. It’s a win-win situation.
3. Set boundaries
Make sure everything stays where it’s supposed to by implementing organizers within your drawers. “Loose items like socks and underwear can be kept organized by using a drawer divider,” says Bauer. Don’t feel like spending money on a store-bought storage solution? You can easily DIY one using household items you already have lying around. “Even using old shoe boxes to hold bras or headbands is a great way to keep likes with likes and ensure items stay in one place,” she adds.