When I started getting myself organized, one of the hardest things for me was my closet. I kept trying to do it perfect. Which meant I would let it get pretty bad until I had time to "do it right". Eventually, FlyLady (flylady.net) taught me to stop procrastinating and to start working with myself instead of against myself.
I sat down and really thought about why I hate doing laundry and putting it away. I figured out that I hate hanging clothing up. No idea why, I just do. I also figured out that I didn't mind folding clothes so much and I even liked doing the towels. I liked the towels because they were easy to fold all nice and neat, and then I could stack them nicely in the hall closet. I liked the fact that they had a specific place and that I could see the positive results of my work. I figured out that I HATED the dresser with a passion because all the drawers were messy and full, which meant I had to stuff the clothes in and try to close the drawers. Plus, you could never find what you needed.
About two years ago, after I had a self assessment of what wasn't working and why, I made some changes. I've kept a neat and clean closet for the entire two years (thank you Flylady!). If I had a photo of what my closet looked like BEFORE this transformation, you would be even more impressed.
I should note- I'm a fan of organization, but not necessarily of beautiful organization. The ultimate goal is to have organization along with coordinated hand crafted labels and background paint. However, I realize who I am and how far I've come. The most important thing to me is to establish routines that I can live with. Peel and stick labels will do for now, and one day when my attention isn't needed elsewhere, I can make things beautiful too. But I'll never let my need for "perfection" prevent me from organizing.
This is the system that's worked for us. Our last closet was a more traditional straight bar and we did the same things, we just have more room in this walk in closet.
Jon uses white plastic hangers and I use black felt hangers (because my shirts tend to fall off hangers easily- but Jon's doesn't)
Our shoes are lined up on the top shelf neatly.
We keep our "Beach Bag" (The blue thermos tote) on the shelf as well. This holds our beach towels (we only own two), our bathing suits, sunblock, and chapstick. When we want to hit the pool, we can put our suits on, add a cooler pack to the bag and fill it up with waters and snacks. As a bonus- It's waterproof and we can stick wet suits in it for the trip home.
My purses are stuffed with tissue paper and stood up on the shelf. I'm clearly not a bag girl, so this worked well for me since I rarely change purses.
The middle section of the closet is kept clear. We keep empty hangers there. When you pull a shirt off a hanger without removing that hanger, it sticks up in the air and gets hung up on other hangers. Do this a few times and your hangers become tangled. By taking the hanger and clothing off, it keeps the closet orderly, makes it easy to grab empty hangers when you hang up clothes (no hunting), and gives me a sense of peace when I open the door to an empty center section.
I keep two giant tubs of off season clothing (washed and ready to wear again) on the floor of the closet. I can then use those as a table to hold our blue canvas accessories basket (ties, belts, cuff links etc). I also use this as a landing zone for important things that I find in Jon's pockets as I do laundry. That way, as soon as he says "Honey have you seen my....", I can say "Blue basket."
The off season clothing tubs also hold a large plastic drawer (purchased at walmart) for my pants. All of my pants, jeans etc. go in here folded up. If there ever comes a time when I have so many pants that this becomes crowded- then I purchase another plastic drawer and separate them into jeans and dress pants. The idea is to have easy access to what you want.
Because I hate hanging things up, I use plastic drawers for everything that isn't easily wrinkled. I have a container for bras, panties, sports bras, camisoles, maternity tee shirts, gym tops, gym bottoms, seasonal (underarmour, extra swimsuits etc), extra socks, shorts, and skirts. This makes putting clothes away a breeze! For instance, I only have three pairs of shorts, and it's easy to find them within their own drawer.
This works so well for us, that I used this system in the baby's room (which looks much better since all of the units were bought together). Baby has Onsies/Lounge, Tops, and Bottoms in each size up until he's 18 months. When he grows out of 0-3 month clothing, they get emptied into an old diaper box, sealed, labeled and put away for the next baby. The empty drawers that used to have 0-3 mos clothing in it, are now labeled for the next size up. We had extra room, so we also use a container for crib sheets and one for changing table covers.
We use a laundry sorter system so that I can just grab an armful when I switch laundry, I don't have to try to sort as I go. This genius little device shown below can be purchased at Target by clicking here. It's used to machine wash your bras with no damage and I adore them! There are two openings, one on the top, and one on the bottom so each holds two bras. This way, I can tuck the bras into the bags and toss them right into the laundry sorter. I don't have to pay special attention to them at all!
I keep a "Sock Monster Basket" in the middle of the closet. This serves two purposes. I can throw the unmatched socks in here and sort through it once a week to make matches. This also serves as an emergency dumping ground if something happens and I just don't have the time to put the clean laundry away. This encourages me to switch the laundry anyway and I can fold before I go to bed.
The general locations for the clothing that is hung is marked in labels. The house rule is, if you buy more clothes, you get rid of an equal amount of old clothes. Because almost all of my clothing is folded (except dresses and dressy tops), I don't need a lot of hanging space. We use the dresser for Jon's underwear, white tee shirts, both of our socks, and gym clothes.
In the end, It works great for us and is easy for me to keep up. Anything that I can keep organized without effort gives me time to work on an area that doesn't come so easily (like my car!!)