How to Organize Clothing on Shelves – The Best Storage Solutions


Are you currently storing your clothes on shelves without any organization system in place? Your clothes are likely getting wrinkled, pushed to the back, and forgotten.

If you don’t have a dresser or a space to hang up your clothes, this post will help you get your clothing organized so that you can continue using your shelves but know exactly where to find everything.

How do you organize clothes on shelves?

Organizing clothes on shelves is accomplished by first sorting by the clothing type (pants, shirts, etc), then by color and then by frequency of use. Using bins, racks, dividers, and under-shelf organizers will keep your clothes from moving around and provide a separation based on the clothing type.

Use Clear Bins or Dividers for Visual Organizers

If you are more of a visual organizer who wants to be able to see everything, using clear bins works well to be able to see what is in the bins, but still keep the clothes contained. These clear bins are a great size (12″x10″x8″) for organizing all of your clothing while still being able to see what is in the bins.

Otherwise, clothing dividers that clamp or slide onto the shelves work well for keeping everything in place. They can be moved side to side to allow you to store different widths of clothing for more functional storage.

There are also wire racks that also slide onto the shelves for a more open, airy look on your shelves.

Under Shelf Racks for Small Clothing Items

Use under-the-shelf racks for smaller items such as scarves, bras and underwear. These will create additional storage space under the shelf and save the valuable space on the top of the shelves for larger items.

Roll up underwear and insert into the rack. Any bras that don’t have an underwire can also be rolled and stored next to the underwear.

For bras that have an underwire, put them in sideways and put the bras all together side by side so that you can still easily see and access the bra that you want to wear.

Fabric Bins to Hide Clothing

If the idea of walking into your bedroom or closet and seeing all of the clothes on the shelf bothers you, then you may enjoy having a solution to hide your clothing, but still in an organized fashion.

If you prefer to hide everything and like the beautiful simplicity of bins, fabric bins will be your best friend. Just make sure to label the outside of the bins so that you know exactly what is stored inside.

More detail below on different storage and sorting options.

How does Marie Kondo organize clothes on shelves?

Marie Kondo believes in folding clothes neatly and then storing them vertically in a bin. This allows you to fully see what is inside the bin and be able to choose what you want to wear with ease.

Her organization solution means that you won’t have clothes being pushed to the back of a drawer and then forgetting about them.

She has also created bins for storing different types of clothing which are available on her website.

Marie Kondo doesn’t believe in minimalism but creating a space that contains only items that you truly love. So she recommends going through each piece of clothing to see what you feel comfortable getting rid of, but only letting it go if it doesn’t bring you happiness.

Once you have only what you love and will wear again, it will be much easier to fit everything into the bins and store them beautifully on your shelves.

how to organize clothing on shelves

How do you organize t-shirts on shelves?

Short Bins With Clothes Sorted by Color

If using the Marie Kondo method (Konmari), a short bin would work well for storing the t-shirts vertically.

First sort by color and then organize the clothing in the color of the rainbow. Put white on one side and black on the other side.

This will give you a clear idea of what is inside the bin and you can choose the color that you want to wear that day.

Label the front of the bin so that you know that you can find t-shirts in the bin.

Dividers for Clothing Shelves

You may still be able to store the t-shirts vertically between the dividers. However, if they shift around too much, consider storing like colors together in one divided area laying horizontally.

Reds, pinks and purples would go well in one divided area. Blue, gray, black in another. White, yellow, cream in the next and so on.

The separation will depend on how many t-shirts you own and the colors that you tend to prefer to wear.

Don’t make a pile so high that you can’t easily remove a shirt without messing up the rest of the pile. The goal is to create spaces that you can quickly find and grab what you want to wear that day while keeping everything organized and tidy.

How do I organize my deep clothes shelves?

If you have really deep shelves, you will need to use bins to properly organize your clothing. Otherwise, clothing will get crumpled and pushed to the back where it may not be found for a long time.

Long Bins That Fit the Depth of the Shelves

One option would be to buy long bins that fit from the front of the shelf, right to the back. This will allow you to pull out the bin, almost like a drawer, to be able to see exactly what you are looking for.

The jumbo fabric bins on Amazon would work well for deeper shelves and they are big enough that they will hold lots of bulky jeans, jean jackets, and sweaters. They are flexible as well to provide more leeway when storing bulkier items.

It is also nice that the bins have a handle on the front so that you can easily pull the bins out to choose your clothes for the day. Or if you prefer to store them sideways, there is an area to pull the bin out that way as well.

When putting the clothes into the bin, first fold the clothing neatly and then insert them into the bin vertically, so that nothing gets pushed to the bottom of the bin.

Sort the clothes first by type and then by color.

Have one bin that is only for tops, another that contains only pants, and a third bin for dresses and skirts.

If you store suits on the shelves, use another bin specifically for suits and keep them together instead of splitting them up between pants and tops. Otherwise, you could install some hooks in your closet to hang the suits from.

Finally, if you like to store underwear and bras on the shelves, there are drawer inserts specifically for these. Either put them in a bin or just put the organizers right onto the shelf.

Roll up the underwear and insert one pair into each slot. Bras can be stored one in front of the other in a regular short bin.

Use Smaller Bins for Micro-Organizing

Another option would be to buy smaller bins so that you can micro-organize.

In this case, have a separate bin for:

  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Blouses
  • Jeans
  • Dress pants
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Underwear
  • Bras

You may be able to fit 2-3 bins one in front of the other in this case. So put all bins that contain shirts one in front of the other, then beside those put all pants, and so on.

Using clear bins will allow you to easily see what is inside, but if you want your clothes more hidden, then you can get a fabric bin and label the outside with what is inside.

How do you keep clothes neat on shelves?

To keep clothes neat and tidy looking, it is important to first determine what you want to keep and what you can donate or sell.

Often the reason our clothing storage areas look messy is because we are holding onto way too much clothing in the first place.

Declutter Clothing At Least Once Per Year

Go through your clothes at least once per year and determine:

1. Do I still like this piece of clothing?

2. Would I purchase this again?

3. Is it stained or ripped?

4. Does it fit?

5. Do I feel good when I wear this article of clothing?

If you answered no to ANY of these questions, get rid of it.

It’s not worth keeping pieces of clothing “just in case” you decide you like it someday. Or that maybe you will fit into it again one day. They are just taking up valuable space in your home and are not serving a purpose currently.

organizing clothing in bins

Tidy Up the Clothes Monthly

Whether storing the clothes in bins or directly on the shelves, they are likely to get disorganized or untidy from time to time.

Once a month, go through any clothes that aren’t folded as nicely or are getting pushed to the back of the shelf and fold them again.

Make sure that you continue to sort by type and color. Sometimes when putting the laundry away, we quickly put things wherever they fit. But in order to keep the clothes organized, it is important to take that extra minute to put the clothes exactly where they belong.

Straighten everything up so that it looks tidy and you will easily be able to see what is available to wear.

If you are using bins, make sure that you are putting the clothes into the right bins and with the correct colors after doing the laundry.

Other organizing posts you may enjoy:

Free Organization Solutions You Already Have in Your Home

Tips for Organizing Outgrown Baby Clothes

Organizing Items for a Garage Sale

In Summary

You should only be organizing the clothes that you actually wear. This will cut down on your tidy-up time every month and make it easier to find what you do actually wear.

Finding the right organizing tools, whether bins, dividers, or just utilizing your shelves in a more tidy fashion will help keep your clothes organized and neat long-term.

Don’t let the clothing get out of order and you will find that locating the clothes that you want to wear and deciding what to declutter each year will take less time and save you time throughout the year.

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