Reader weigh-in: How do you organize your clothes dresser?

I prefer to organize my clothes in a five-drawer chest of drawers based on the order I put them on: undergarments in the top two drawers, then t-shirts, pants, and finally socks in the bottom drawer. Some clients I’ve worked with prefer to organize based on weight — light undergarments and socks in top drawers, and heavier pants and t-shirts in lower drawers.

If you had a chest of drawers that had drawers side-by-side, you could store clothing from left-to-right based on how you get dressed. Or, maybe you prefer to just stick clothes in whatever drawer has space at the time so that all of your clothes are mixed together.

How do you arrange clothes in your chest of drawers? What do you believe is the most efficient method for your lifestyle? We’re interested in learning how you arrange things in your home. Share your strategy in the comments.

74 Comments for “Reader weigh-in: How do you organize your clothes dresser?”

  1. posted by Caroline on

    My top drawer has 3 cd storage sized popup boxes that hold my underwear and socks and a 4th one for seasonal items like gloves or bathing suits that get swapped out and stored elsewhere, plus there’s a torch in the corner for power outages
    2nd drawer holds tshirts and camis
    3rd drawer holds either more tshirts or sweaters depending on season
    4th drawer holds sweaters
    5th drawer holds jeans and yoga pants
    Bedlinen and nightwear live in drawers under the bed
    My closet is a small alcove fitted with a rail and a shelf above, with a basket in the bottom for shoes that I want to replace with something more organised instead of rummaging for a matching pair!

  2. posted by empty on

    I’m another person who doesn’t have a chest of drawers and keeps everything in a closet. Our house is old and thus the closet has a shelf at waist level and two rods, one above and one below. I keep boxes that hold underwear, socks, and workout clothes, on that closet shelf, as well as the few stretchy shirts and sweaters I shouldn’t hang. Pajamas go in my nightstand drawer. Pants and skirts hang on the upper rod, shirts on the lower rod. I have a hook on the closet door (inside) that holds long things like a bathrobe and a couple of dresses.

    Obviously this method is for minimalists. My closet is a reach-in no wider than the door but there’s room for everything, and plenty of unused space as well. I’ve gotten many more compliments on my outfits since I pared down to clothes that fit in the closet, actually. And it’s nice having everything in one place.

  3. posted by Annie H on

    I organize my clothing by weight. I put my light stuff such as underclothing and socks in the top drawer, t-shirts in the 2nd drawer and pants in the 3rd. I’ve never thought of why – it’s the way I was taught to oranize my clothes.

  4. posted by aspires2b on

    The clothes are in my drawers in the order I put them on, although I didn’t realize it until I read your post: underclothes in the top, then t-shirts (folded into thirds to fit the drawer), then jeans/sweatpants, then pajamas. Sadly, the bottom drawer is reserved for my “if only” clothes–if only I were two sizes smaller, if only I had a shirt to match these pants, etc. I haven’t yet mustered the fortitude to completely unclutter my clothes. But the quantity of “if onlys” is much smaller than it used to be :)

  5. posted by Menopausal Entrepreneur on

    I have lingerie in the top drawer then shorts in the next one down, followed by workout clothes and socks (mixed but that really doesn’t work!) in the third drawer. The fourth has nice tops and the bottom drawer is for t-shirts which don’t get used as much as the other clothes. I keep my sweaters, sweatshirts and winter accessories in a cedar chest.

  6. posted by Jasmine on

    I have a dresser with seven drawers: three small ones in the top row, and two rows of two larger drawers. In the top row, I put sunglasses, extra make-up, scarves, gloves, and extra buttons and straps. The next row has a drawer for tank-tops and a drawer for lingerie and socks. The bottom row has a drawer for pajama pants and a drawer for shirts and sweatshirts I sleep in. It’s a simple system, but it probably could be organized better.

  7. posted by teamcurtisfamily on

    Heh heh, this is a great discussion. It seems that the personality of the individual would have a huge impact on which way you prefer to “organize” your clothes.

    I laugh because being a Sanguine personality, organizing of clothes is lest important to me, however, my wife being the more detail oriented has a “system” to her madness!

    Great comments posted on this one! :-)

  8. posted by Kalani on

    I don’t have a dresser either. Socks, underwear, and sundries such as my bathing suit or stockings get put in square baskets that sit on my closet shelf. Everything else gets hung up, with a small stack of items that are easier to shelve, such as jeans and T-shirts.

    The closets in my house are very small, and the combination of this and the anti-dresser system seem to keep my clothes in check.

  9. posted by Laramie on

    I have a huge dresser that I’ve shoved into my walk in closet because my bedroom barely has room for a bed, much less my book shelves and crafting table. The dresser has six drawers with two stacks of three. The upper left drawer is pajamas, upper right is undies and socks, and the middle right is my t-shirts, which I fold the way the navy taught my father to. Folding them the traditional way means they fill about the front two thirds of the drawer with two stacks side by side, and a third stack without a home. The bottom right drawer is for stuff I don’t wear that often, like my silk slips or camisoles. The bottom two drawers on the left just have random junk that I’ve been meaning to go through, but those drawers are a bit hard to get to because of the hanging close in the way.

    The rod, on the other hand, is very nice for me. It’s split into three sections: Jeans, Blouses, and Dress bottoms (skirts and pants). I am very proud to say that I have finally gotten rid of all the wire hangers in my closet. :)

  10. posted by Marie on

    Interesting comments!

    We have three dressers and a closet. They all have some sort of categories such as inner layers, tops and bottoms and seasonal clothes.

    My antique dresser has five fairly small drawers. In the top drawer is underclothes: panties, bras and slips, also my pajama tops. Everything is folded or I’d have no space! The next drawer is subdivided, so I use it for socks (athletic, dressy and winter), and hair accessories+scarves. The next three drawers are for short sleeve casual shirts, bulky jeans, leggings and foldable trousers, and finally a catch-all for fuzzy pajamas or warm layers.

    My husband’s dresser is similarly arranged. Five drawers: underwear, undershirts and running shirts in the top, then socks and ties, Tshirts, shorts and god-knows what all, and finally camping or recreational clothing like thermal layers and running shorts.

    We’ve both found that certain shirts (for working out/sleeping) worked best in the top drawer where they would be found easily instead of buried among the general shirts.

    My favorite discovery in folding is that if I fold my husband’s undershirts twice over, I can pack more of them in neatly. I get four stacks of shirts (running/under) plus underwear in one drawer.

    We finally got a third dresser to store bulky winter clothing. We each get two drawers for sweaters and long-sleeved winter shirts. The bottom drawer is for random recreational gear like snow pants, thermal layers and swimming suits.

    Sometimes I arrange mine by color. Right now I’m dividing them into favorites and other to see what I actually use.

    The closet is divided 2/3rds in my favor, but I organize all of it. Like another commentator noted, the formal clothing gets pushed to the edges. From the middle, my husbands third runs: long sleeve shirts, short sleeved shirts, work trousers, jeans, and random suit jackets he hasn’t worn in years. He likes to hang his jeans for some reason. My 2/3rds from the middle runs: belts, cardigans, jackets, lingerie, blouses, dressy trousers, skirts and dance dresses, and dressy dresses and a suit.

    I’ve been experimenting with arranging by sleeve length and color. I like it so far. Every so often, I hang the clothes hooks backwards and turn each one around only when I wear something. It helps me see which clothes I actually wear!

    Oh, and my child’s clothes are crazy, mostly because she is constantly outgrowing things. The dresser we use most frequently runs: diapering gear, pajamas, tops (divided into seasons) and pants. Dresses are hung up. Hanging side pockets hold socks, her current shoes, and wash cloths.

    In the closet, I have several bags and boxes of clothing arranged by size/age for future years, including a box for footgear of all types, and a bag of outerwear (coats, gloves, hats).

  11. posted by home office on

    If you’re really serious about getting your dresser organized, the first step is to start over. Clear out all the drawers in the dresser and place your clothing in roughly organized piles. With everything sorted out, decide what clothes will occupy which drawer.

  12. posted by Marie on

    I also keep a bag from our bedroom door handle for anything to be donated. Any time I notice a clothing item that doesn’t fit/doesn’t work, I put it the bag instead of back in the closet or drawer.

  13. posted by Sue on

    I just removed all of the dressers from my bedroom. I finally realized I don’t like using drawers to store clothing. I hang most of my clothing. Bulky sweaters, workout clothing, pjs, shorts, and tanks went into my drawers. I was always tearing everything out of the drawers because I wanted that one workout tank that had slipped all the way to the bottom and back of the drawer. Very annoying.

    I had long ago removed my socks, underwear, and other little things from the drawers because those drawers became a complete mess. I keep all of that stuff in bins, seperated by type (sport bras, regular bras, underwear, wicking work-out socks, regular socks, outdoor/hiking/speciality socks) on a shelf in my closet.

    I replaced my bedroom set with several Expedit shelves from IKEA. I also bought a few of the drawer inserts, and a lot of the door inserts. The smaller items (tanks, thin workout tops) go well in the tiny drawers. The other items get stacked in the cubbies.

    I’m finding that having my items in a single stack behind a door works a lot better than having stuff in drawers.

    I’m a little amused that I got rid of very nice furniture for something from IKEA, but it looks good and works well.

  14. posted by tay on

    Okay…I haven’t read the reply’s to this post yet, but wanted to say THANK YOU. I’ve been thinking of how to ask this question….It may sound silly but figuring out how and what to store where in the drawers and also in the closet has been my biggest hinderance to staying organized as far as my clothes are concerned. I just won’t put anything away…It’s hillarious really.

  15. posted by chrisbean on

    Oh. I have a serious system.

    Top drawer: work-appropriate pants. I “roll” them, as if packing in a suitcase, so I can see all pairs at once.
    Next drawer (divided): left section, socks; center, undies; right side, bras and bits.
    Next drawer: foldable shirts (mostly work-appropriate, mostly cotton/blends, all sleeve lengths) and thin-knit cotton or cashmere (mostly v-neck) sweaters. I put them folded on-end (like a horizontal bookcase) rather than ontop of each other, so I can see every single thing in the drawer at once. No need for drawer dividers or silly extras. (I always put clean laundry in the front of each row; anything that stays in the back of the drawer too long is out-of-service.)
    Next drawer: bulky sweaters.
    Bottom drawer: jeans and not-for-work pants.

    Dresses, skirts, blouses, cardigans are in the closet.
    T-shirts and pj/workout pants are in storage cube in closet.

  16. posted by Patty on

    When I was younger it was top drawer for small items like underwear, bras and socks. Middle would be shirts and lower would be shorts and pants. I don’t really know why other than it seemed to work for me. Now neither my husband nor I have a dresser. Our house has his and her closets so we hang as much as possible. Above the hanging rods are shelves thus we place folded pants or tshirts on shelves (or a laundry basket on the ground for my husbands folded shirts) and have baskets on the shelves for the smaller under garments and socks. Shoes are on the floor under the hanging clothes.

  17. posted by Kate on

    Great post and so timely for me. Just yesterday I reorganized my dresser because it literally was not functional and FILLED with things I no longer wear, which are now in the donate pile.

    I re-org’d it like this: (top to bottom – 5 drawers)
    1. undergarments, socks, tights (sectioned with shoe boxes)
    2. sleepwear and workout clothes
    3. sleeveless shirts
    4. short sleeved shirts
    5. long sleeved shirts

    Yes, I have a lot of shirts! And I am loving the Martha Stewart bookend solution, which I think will keep my shirts from getting all jumbled up when I’m trying to find something.

    Sweaters and jeans are folded and stacked on a shelf in the closet (separated by those “sweater separaters” you can get at the Container Store). Work pants, skirts and dresses are hung in the closet. Jewelry, etc. is on top of the dresser, in the process of being organized more functionally/prettily.

    Next step: organizing shoes and getting a nightstand that actually has a drawer instead of just an end table.

  18. posted by Allen on

    Wow, it’s been a long time since I have posted.

    I have an antique dresser I inherited (that I should take better care of). The very top drawer is very thin, and it holds orphan socks, my hankies, and my two sleeping pants folded up.

    The drawer below that is divided into three (as designed). The far left has black socks, the far right has white socks, and the middle has my underwear. It is like this, because my boxers/boxer-briefs, when rolled up, fit better into the middle one.

    Below that are my t-shirts.

    Below that (in the deepest of the drawers) are my jeans, my shorts, and swim trunks.

    I think i did it just because of how it would fit into my dresser?

  19. posted by cammy on

    I have a 5 drawer dresser, with the top three drawers hidden behind cabinet doors.

    Top drawer (shallow): Tank tops and camisoles
    Second drawer: T shirts and other knit shirts
    Third drawer: Pajamas and work out clothes
    Fourth drawer: Sweaters
    Fifth drawer: Still more sweaters

    Underwear, bras and socks are in bins on the closet shelf. It’s a small closet with little hanging space, so things I would normally hang have to be folded and put in the dresser. Moving the smaller items, like socks, out of the dresser gave me enough room for the foldable stuff and the closet just fits the hanging clothes.

  20. posted by Mark Harrison on

    Two “half width” drawers at the top, three “full width” drawers below.

    Top left: Pocket squares
    Top right: Socks (four shoe boxes therein, each containing blocks of socks for “different purposes” – work, casual, skiing, etc.)

    Second drawer: Underpants, long-johns on the left (I’m not US based, I live in a climate where these are standard wear for a couple of months each year!)

    Third drawer: T-shirts, plain on the left, patterned in the middle and right.

    Bottom drawer: Jumpers (do you call them that, or would sweaters be a better word?)

    Shirts, Suits, Sports Jackets (I come from an area where these are office atire more than suits), Ties, and Trousers all hang…

  21. posted by Leigh Ann on

    I only use a dresser for socks and underwear. I used to sort them socks in one drawer, and underwear in another, but not anymore – all goes in the same drawer. Everything else gets hung up – even sleepwear, shorts, scarves, etc. This works better for me, I can see everything I have – if it’s in a drawer I tend to forget I have it. Luckily I have plenty of closet space.

  22. posted by Kate on

    I’ve just recently acquired and organized a dresser for myself. I used to have one drawer in a dresser I shared with my husband, and/or I would use plastic containers on shelves.

    I have to share the one interesting part of my (personally ingenious) idea for organizing it, because it’s at the back of my narrow closet: I put my pajamas in the bottom drawer, which only clears the floor by about an inch. The reason for this is that I have to be organized enough that the drawer opens everyday so I can access my pajamas, keeping the floor clear of (most) clutter. So far, so good! And that’s big progress for me!

  23. posted by gypsy packer on

    Keep it all in the closet and use a single-drawer vintage washstand with bottom cabinet, for electronics storage.
    Drawers stick, mildew, slip their tracks, aggravate.

  24. posted by Tabitha on

    I ONLY store socks, sleep wear, undergarments and jogging clothes in drawers. All other folded items I keep on closet shelving – I’ll completely forget what jeans or t-shirts I own, especially if they are in drawers (I’m a very visual person). I agree with some of the other comments on deep drawers – I can’t keep clothes in them; I mainly use them for boxes of photos and extra sheets (things I don’t look at often).

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