7 cheap ways to organize your closet for under $50 (and 3 free ideas)

Welcome to your walk-in wardrobe of organization ideas

Collage of cheap ways to organize your closet on a pastel background
(Image credit: Future)

Real talk: I don't know about you, but I'd waaaaay rather spend my paycheck on new clothes, not ways to organize them. 

But if I'm going to keep being real, I know I have so many items in my closet that I've splurged on as a payday treat and haven't worn yet. Why is that? Realistically, it's because I don't have a clear vision of what exactly is in my wardrobe, and constantly assume I have nothing to wear while staring into a closet that has zero closet organizers in sight.

If you're looking at your closet and feeling uninspired, too, it might be time for a li'l refresh and reorganization. I've got you covered with seven ways to organize your closet with items under $50 each, plus three bonus ideas that won't cost you anything. 

Closet organization under $50

1. Baskets and bins are your besties

TBH, storage bins and baskets are classic for a reason. They're beyond versatile and can help you organize any space. You can find an ideal size, material, and shape for the top of your closet or bring in cubbies for the top shelf or on the floor. Use storage baskets and bins to store socks, underwear, workout clothes, pajamas, or loungewear. They're also ideal for knitwear, scarves, or any heavier clothing items that don't work on hangers.

2. Make the most of your doors

I used to get serious envy over my friends' spaces with sliding mirrors concealing their closets, but I've learned to love the doors in my space. If you're blessed with closet doors like I am, you have some extra surface area to work with. Whether you're obsessed with your shoe display, can't get enough of blazers, or are always stocking up on bikinis and accessories, there's an ideal over-the-door organizer out there for you. These are just a few of our favorite finds.

3. Utilize vertical space with drawers and organizers

No matter how tiny your closet is, you def have some vertical space to use below where you hang your clothes. Make the most of it by implementing another storage system with drawers, a collapsible organizer that attaches to your closet's rail, or some of those trusty baskets. Plus, with a stand of drawers moved in, you give yourself an additional surface to store or display accessories on.

4. Add a second rail

While we're looking at vertical space, another easy peasy (and super affordable) organization solution for your apartment wardrobe is to simply add a second rail. This doesn't have to involve any tools or hardware for installation, which also makes it an ideal solution for rental closets. 

Heads up though: Make sure you check the maximum weight and dimensions of a rod before you order!

5. Get strategic with your hangers

I speak from personal experience when I say that having the right hangers to maximize space in a tiny apartment closet is seriously underrated. By swapping your current setup for thin velvet hangers, your hanging space will pretty much double, and you'll be able to fit waaaay more onto your clothing rail. You can also get hangers with multiple tiers to store leggings and jeans vertically, meaning your entire collection of pants could take up the same amount of space on your rail as one jacket or oversized blazer. 

6. Be creative with your accessory storage

This genius idea from creator Amy Seder uses nail polish organizing shelves installed on a door to store sunglasses. These shelves would also work amazingly for any accessories, makeup, or hair products that you don't want cluttering up your bedroom or bathroom. You could also install towel bars to hang scarves or pants above and below your sunnies on the door.

No door? No worries. You can still get the look using a freestanding nail polish organizer sat on a shelf or a set of drawers in your closet.

7. Add dreamy dividers

Let's be real for a sec: That space at the top of your closet is basically the equivalent of The Chair™️, aka the space where you pile up anything and everything that you don't have time to organize. But if you clear that area out, you have some prime shelving. Pop in some shelf dividers to create extra-neat stacks of folded knitwear, spare towels or sheets, or pairs of jeans that are visually appealing and clearly separated.

And if you're on the shorter side, don't worry — you can pick up an adorable pastel step stool, like this one from Wayfair to tuck into a corner and reach that shelf when you need it.

Free closet organization ideas

8. Cut down the clutter

Before you even think about adding any closet organizers to your cart, make sure you actually want everything in it. Clear out every section of your closet, and go through every shelf and drawer. If you just can't part with that sorority T-shirt you haven't worn since Rush Week, come back to it in a few months. If you *still* haven't worn it by then, maybe it's time to put it in the giveaway pile in your next clear-out.

One great way to build yourself up to a big closet clear out is to turn your hangers the opposite way and put them back the right way forward once you wear an item. In about six months, scan through your clothing rail and get rid of anything that's still facing backward.

9. Upgrade your folding techniques

Half the struggle of having an organized closet is just making sure the clothes you do have are folded and hung up neatly. After all, what good is a shelf divider if you're just filling each section with crumpled-up clean laundry? Get your closet looking retail-level clean with some quick lessons from Sophie Liard, the iconic Folding Lady, who has countless video tutorials on folding every item of clothing you can think of.

10. Color coordinate

Keep your adorable outfits inspiring you when they are in your closet by hanging them up with intention. Fully color coordinate with every item or separate your wardrobe into clothing types (think pants, skirts, dresses, and jackets) and then color coordinate each section. Start with pink, then work your way through in rainbow order. Finish with black white, gray, and then any neutral or beige shades. Play around and find an organization system that makes sense to you, then roll with it!

Nishaa Sharma
Freelance social media editor

Hi! I’m the former social editor at Real Homes and a freelance social media expert bringing you the latest and greatest in home trends, interiors aesthetics, and celebrity finds. When I’m not scrolling or filming the best home decor for your small space, you can find me exploring the cutest villages and brunch spots, or snuggled up on the sofa with a new recipe, my husband, and our puppy, Ebble.