How to Organize Your Dresser Like a Pro

Bye-bye, overflowing dresser drawers! Clutter doesn’t stand a chance when you follow our no-fail plan for clearing the chaos in this messy personal spot.

By Brian Kramer for

If you often find yourself battling a stuffed drawer overflowing with clothes, it may be time for a lesson in dresser organization. Follow our six step process for decluttering your drawers and reassessing your wardrobe. With a clear organization system, your drawers will look neat and stay that way. Plus, it’ll make picking out the perfect outfit easier than ever.

1. What Do I Actually Own?

A clutter-free clothing dresser begins with a thorough inventory. Empty the entire dresser and sort it all into piles. Put like with like on the bed or floor. Avoid editing at this point, which will slow you down. Take another look at your biggest piles and sort and subcategorize some more. Tops might be further subdivided into tanks, tees, and long-sleeved, for example. Make labels as you work. Although labeling piles may seem silly, knowing all your options eliminates overthinking and speeds up decision making.

Editor’s Tip: Take a moment when your dresser is totally empty to check that every drawer is sturdy and moves smoothly. Tighten corners with wood screws and run waxed paper over drawer sides and glides.

2. What Do I Actually Wear?

Now you can start editing. Apply these four clarifying questions to figure out what to keep and what to let go of:

1. Do I Love it? Keep anything you truly love. You’ll always remember (and probably regret) giving away something you love. But be aware that keeping a beloved item might mean you must get rid of something else in order to make room.

2. Do I Use it? And if so, how often? Keep anything you use—and start storing the stuff you use most frequently in the easiest places to access.

3. Do I Have More than One? If so, edit down the best one. Of course, having more than one flashlight makes sense if you store them in different, useful places. Two waffle irons, however, may be tough to justify.

4. Can I Get Another? If you think you might suddenly need an item or it could miraculously come back in style, remind yourself you can usually buy or borrow one.

3. Is a Drawer the Best Place to Store This?

You may have better storage spots for specific types of clothing—or perhaps all your clothes. Consider hangers and hooks for work clothing. Try open shelves for folded garments that stack well, such as jeans, sweaters, and sweatshirts. Undergarments may be more conveniently stashed in a bathroom. For a kid’s closet, cloth storage bins are a great option for pajamas or loungewear.

4. What is Each Drawer’s Duty?

Assign one duty only to each drawer. Designate drawers for each type of garment (accessories, undergarments, tops, bottoms). Or it might make more sense to designate drawers by purpose like work, workout, casual, dress-up, or seasonal. Use sticky notes for the first few weeks to help your designations become habitual.

5. How Much Can I See Instantly?

Do everything you can to eliminate layers in drawers. Roll or refold clothing into packets that stand on end. Use spring-loaded dividers, bookends, and boxes to keep clothing standing tall. When clothes are folded and stacked in piles, the items at the bottom are often forgotten and rarely seen.

6. Where Do I Check My Look?

Consider moving finishing touches out of the bath or closet and establish a final primping station, using the topmost drawer and dresser top. Use a drawer organizer to keep brushes, bottles, and creams in place. Just remember to return hair and beauty products back to the drawer when you’re done.

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