Bonus column: Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart
The New York Times Syndicate

When you’re organizing your closet, look for storage solutions that are stylish and practical. If you have a closet that’s as considered as the rest of the rooms in your home, you’re more likely to find serenity in the morning. (And maybe that missing blouse, too.)

Adding labels to lidded bins saves time when you’re looking for tucked-away items. Left, a full-length mirror turns a closet into a one-stop dressing room. Storing shoes off the floor gives the space a cleaner appearance.


1. MAKE IT INVITING. White walls, shelving and flooring make a small space feel bright and open. Adding accessories in a unified color scheme (like pastels) and a few carefully chosen accents (like gold, for instance) provide eye appeal.

2. HAVE A SEAT. It makes sense to have a comfy place to sit while you put on your shoes.

3. FLIP AND FOLD. Raise the leaf of a wall-mounted table (far left) to make a flat surface for folding; lower it for more changing-room space.


— Storing shoes off the floor gives the space a cleaner appearance.

— A full-length mirror turns a closet into a one-stop dressing room.


Norberg drop-leaf table, $39, and Stavemirror, $50, Cross base upholstered bench, in Dusty Blush, $349, Shag Champagne rug, by Martha Stewart Safavieh, $285, Canvas milk crates, by Room Essentials, in Ombre Gray, $10 each. Huggable hangers, by Joy Mangano, $20 for 34 pieces, Brass metal bookplates, by Kaisercraft, $8 for 6, Aluminum clipboard, by Saunders, $9.50, Montauk rectangular bin, in Medium White, $20, Lacquer medium box, $145, Champagne Elegance ceiling light, $294,


A few small, smart pieces add up to big storage solutions — and look great, too.

1. GET ON BOARD WITH FOLDING. These tools will help you find charm in the chores: Use a clipboard (far left, next to mirror) as a folding board, and hang it inside the closet for easy access. When your sweaters are uniformly folded, they look neater and take up less room on the shelves.

Make your closet a go-to destination by adding a beautiful mirror, shelving and drawers. Find a place for everything you need to get ready — large and small. 



2. DON’T SQUANDER YOUR SPACE. The area above the closet rod is great real estate — but not readily accessible. Use a set of attractive lidded bins or boxes (top) to store off-season items or other things you don’t use every day, and to help keep them neat and dust-free. Label each box so you know exactly where to find what you need.

3. GATHER AND CONTAIN YOUR TOUCH-UP TOOLS. Round up all your necessities for maintaining your clothes — sewing kit, sweater combs, shoe polishes — in one place, either a box or a basket (right, lower shelf, above boots), and place it in or near your closet. The more accessible they are, the more likely you are to sew, shine and spiff up your clothes.

4. PLAN FOR TOMORROW. Your get-ready routine will feel much smoother when your outfit has been planned the night before. Create a dedicated space for it with an attractive hook and hanger.

5. LET THERE BE LIGHT — AND MAKE IT BRIGHT. Lighting is critical when it comes to closets, since most are windowless. “Ideally, you want a light source overhead that doesn’t cast shadows and is bright enough that you can tell your navies from your blacks,” says home editor Lorna Aragon. She suggests a globe or drum pendant ceiling light.

6. FEATURE A SLIDESHOW OF ACCESSORIES. On a side wall in your closet, mount a slide-out board with bars for hanging accessories. Screw two towel racks onto a 20-by-24-inch painted wooden board, then install two drawer slides to affix it to the wall.


Brass towel hanger, by Futagami, from $85, Accuride drawer slides, by Richelieu Hardware, $29 a pair,


“There’s no reason the utilitarian can’t be decorative,” says executive decorating director Kevin Sharkey. Use some of the prettiest elements from around the house to help you get dressed in the morning — and get going.

1. BRING OUT THE BAGS. Purses and bulky totes aren’t only hard to stash away — they’re nice to look at. Give them their own shelf (top) and a proper place to allow them to sit upright, rather than hang.

2. STACK AND SEPARATE. Shelf dividers (between rows of sweaters) give sweaters and other folded items their own spots and keep them from toppling over. Clear-acrylic dividers are nearly invisible and don’t require any hardware.

3. ENHANCE THE VIEW. Use a stylish table lamp for additional lighting (on dresser), and mount a decorative mirror, which helps brighten a dark space even more.

4. CREATE SMALL STORAGE UNITS. Bowls, compotes, serving trays and the like (on dresser) are perfect for organizing little accessories and fragrances. Use a small vessel to hold the jewelry you wear most often for easy-on, easy-off access.

5. EMBELLISH THE DRESSER. Adding new hardware to a simple dresser gives it a custom look.

6. FORGO THE JEWELRY BOX. Instead, opt for a jewelry drawer; keeping everything in a single layer lets you see what you have more easily. Fit acrylic containers of various sizes into a drawer that’s not too high — you need to be able to look down into it.

7. LINE AND SHINE. Brass pulls and gold mirrors inject a dose of luxe into the room; now add it to the interiors of the dressers, too, by lining the drawers with metallic paper. “I wanted to banish the feeling of darkness in drawers,” says Aragon. “Plus, the shiny paper plays off the sparkle from the jewelry.”


Midas Touches: Decorative details in a metallic finish will give your closet just the right amount of shine.


Acrylic shelf dividers, $54 for 4, JWDA concrete table lamp, $175, Bedford awning cup cabinet hardware pulls, by Martha Stewart Living, 3”, in Brass, $4.50 each, Malm 4-drawer chest, in White, $100, Stacking acrylic trays, from $6 each, Metallic foil paper, by Hygloss, in Gold Foil, $15 for 25’,

(Questions of general interest will be answered in this column; Martha Stewart regrets that unpublished letters cannot be answered individually. For more information on the topics covered in the Ask Martha column, visit