How to Color-Code Your Closet to Keep Clothing Organized

Get ready for a functional and Pinterest-worthy transformation. All you have to do is follow the rainbow!

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Ready to get organized once and for all? If you missed the official spring-cleaning season, don’t worry—it’s always a good time to whip your wardrobe into shape. After a successful closet clean-out, here’s how to organize your closet using the best closet systems and closet organizers. And if you want to take your newfound organization a step further and really revamp your space for a boutique-like experience, we’ve got the perfect solution: Create a color-coordinated closet for the ultimate setup. Not only is it extremely visually pleasing, but it’s also nearly effortless to maintain.

Plus, it’s a user-friendly system that helps save you time when getting dressed, whether you have a small closet or a spacious walk-in closet. Color-coding makes it faster to find what you’re looking for and easier to know where to put things away. This will decrease your chances of reverting back to a cluttered mess because everything has a clear home and you don’t have to think twice about it. You’ll also get a clear picture of exactly what you have—you may not realize how many white button-up shirts or black tank tops you actually own—and what you lack. Follow this easy process for the optimal way to display your apparel.

Purge and prep

The first thing you should do is to clear everything out of your closet. This may seem overwhelming, but it’s an essential part of the process. Decide what you want to keep, what can be donated or recycled, and set aside any clothes you can sell online. Trust us: Decluttering will set you up for long-term success.

Next, you have to select a system. There are many different approaches to attain a color-coordinated closet, so it’s best to evaluate each option and then figure out what works best for you. The same way individual style is extremely personal so is the manner you arrange your garb. You may want to go complete rainbow by grouping every hue in one place. Or, you may choose to sort your items by category (tops, pants, dresses, etc.), then color-code within each garment type. Others prefer to line up by season, and then sort shades that way. Most professional organizers suggest dividing it up by category first, explaining it’s the quickest way to put together outfits. But the ideal solution will be the one that functions best for your lifestyle.

different types of hangers hanging in an empty closetyokeetod/Getty Images

Streamline hangers

Before you get started, there are some basic ways to optimize your color-coordinated closet. Choosing the right space-saving hangers can be the key to a cohesive design. Different sizes and shapes (don’t even get us started on wire hangers!) can be distracting—and also damaging to your threads. The first option is to choose a universal style for everything, which will give your closet a seamless and uniform appearance. Some pros swear by non-slip velvet space-saving hangers, while others prefer clear acrylic styles, which are discreet and keep the focus on the clothes.

Another way to go is to use different color hangers for each type of clothing (so, for example, beige for pants, red for tops, purple for dresses, etc.). This would act as a visual labeling system and is best for people who don’t arrange their garments by category.

Use dividers

Walk down any department-store aisle and you’ll find helpful tabs designating various sections. You should do the same in your closet—it’s a critical part of achieving order and maintaining it. However you decide to arrange your threads, you should personalize each area with something that clearly identifies its contents. Dividers come in all shapes and sizes and can be purchased from Amazon or any home-goods store. They’re also simple to DIY with tags or labels. These simple add-ons will become an easy-to-follow road map to keep your messier tendencies in check.

Organize by ROYGBIV

Next, you should figure out which color scheme to follow. Professional organizers tend to favor the classic rainbow scheme (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet—aka ROYGBIV), especially Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin of The Home Edit. Their Netflix series chronicles the duo’s penchant for meticulously designed, kaleidoscope-hued spaces (and feature celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow). According to them, our brain innately recognizes this pattern, making it an intuitive blueprint to follow, and it also happens to be incredibly pleasing to the eye.

RELATED: Must-Have Organizers from The Home Edit

clothing in a closet organized by color from light to darkKristina Strasunske/Getty Images

Or go from dark to light

If the rainbow spectrum doesn’t pique your interest, take a cue from Marie Kondo‘s wildly popular book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She prefers following a dark-to-light gradient, hanging the darkest and heaviest pieces on the left, and the lightest and airiest ones on the right. According to the KonMari method, this creates joy and a sense of balance and well-being. We’d happily try anything for an instant mood boost!

Prioritize your preferred colors

The overall aesthetic is important when putting together a color-coordinated closet, but function remains the most important factor for success. Think about your favorite pieces and what shades you always gravitate toward. If you have a penchant for pink or prefer wearing all-black ensembles, you’ll want those front and center. The items you most frequently don should be the easiest to access.

RELATED: How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

Pick a spot for prints

The final step in how to organize your closet by color is to address anything with a pattern. You can create a separate section just for pieces with unique designs (like florals or stripes). Or, determine the dominant color in the garment and then group it with the category of that primary hue. Once you have a completely color-organized closet, check out these shoe storage ideas and closet lighting ideas to put the finishing touches on a dream dressing room.

Rachel LeWinter
Rachel is a New York City-based writer, editor, and style expert. She served as the Fashion Director at a national magazine, and has spent more than 15 years styling celebrity cover shoots, writing editorials, and finding the best products you never knew you needed. At, she covers fashion, beauty, gift guides, and various other lifestyle topics.