Before and After: See How a Pro Organizer’s Method Turns This Overstuffed Closet into a Neat and Functional Space

published Feb 15, 2023
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Before: an unorganized closet with two walls of clothes

If an uncluttered, edited, and organized closet makes for smooth mornings and a peaceful start and end to the day, then the opposite must be true. Encountering a messy and cluttered closet that’s arranged haphazardly and struggling to find what you or your kids need means frustration and a mild sense of defeat at both the day’s beginning and its end. 

Sometimes calling in the professionals is the best way to address a closet that feels out of control. This is exactly what happened with this overstuffed space. Layne Brookshire of Ms. Placed, a professional organizing firm, was tapped on for the job. “We are first and foremost in the business of helping people and second in the business of organizing,” says Layne. 

She explains that the client felt “hopeless, overwhelmed, and embarrassed” and “expressed a desire to be able to honor her wardrobe and take back” the closet area. 

“We were not able to open or close the doors,” says Layne of what the closet was like. “She had wardrobe items in the primary bedroom, primary closet, and laundry room with clothes piled from the floor about two feet high! The client was very overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start with decision-making and categorizing and wasn’t sure if she’d be able to fit all of the items into one space.”

While Layne worked with an ample budget and several organizing assistants, the method she used to overhaul the closet is something anyone can put into practice. The closet redo goals and must-haves are as follows: 


  • Inventory the client’s full wardrobe.
  • Separate into zones.
  • Be able to access items as well as put them back after use.
  • Create a maintainable system for the client.
  • Help the client identify what items she still needs in her wardrobe.


  • All shoes and hanging items fit into the closet.
  • Keep seasonal items zoned and together.
  • Remove all overflow clothing from the laundry and floor.

To achieve these goals, Layne began by sorting everything in the closet into categories. Next, for the items to all fit into the closet neatly, the client’s belongings needed to be edited. Of course, the client was involved in this stage. Even after decluttering items, Layne says that the inventory of clothing was still too large for the closet to comfortably accommodate, so they had to come up with a solution. “We were able to present a couple of creative solutions that allowed us to store folded items into baskets within her bedroom,” says Layne. “So we did have to go outside of the closet but we were able to come up with solutions that still met her needs.”

The hardest part of this closet organization project was folding all the clothes. “There were a lot of folded items, so we had to get through the folded items to see what available space we had and work with our client to edit out these spaces,” says Layne. The easiest part, conveniently, “was being able to encourage the client that we could see the possibilities if she was able to edit them, that we’d be able to create an organized space for her.”

Layne shares the details of the closet’s organizational elements. “Since this is a wardrobe we categorize it by color and garment type for shirts (tank top, sleeveless, short-sleeve, long-sleeve) and by length for pants (skirt, shorts, joggers, long pants). For shoes, we do it by style (flats, low heel, high heel, boot).” As far as products, Layne used water hyacinth baskets, two-tier stackable mesh shoe shelves, and bin clips, all from The Container Store.

Layne’s favorite part of the completed project is “being able to really easily see everything!” She also shares how the client “could easily access shoes without other shoes or bags falling on top of her. She could take items on and off the hangers without the clothing getting tangled or mixed in with other items. We also didn’t have to step on anything to get to her items!”

For anyone undergoing a closet redo, Layne offers this advice: “Keep the faith! Start in one space and try not to get overwhelmed with the entire project as a whole. Be very realistic with yourself about what you are actually going to wear.”

This post was originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: Before and After: See How a Pro Organizer Turns This Overstuffed Closet into a Neat and Functional Space