The best products for closet organization

As all of us start to put away our heavier sweaters and fleece-lined pants — and draw out lighter weight dresses, pants, and much more — let’s talk about closet organization. What do you think are the best products for closet organization? What are the best suggestions you’ve heard for organizing or decluttering your closet?
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{related: how and why to do a seasonal clothing review}
The best products for closet Organization, IMHO:

Zippered sweater Chests & open Hampers
I’ve long loved using zippered sweater chests to corral clothes (including organizing smaller kids’ clothes) — and I still love them for storing single classifications of clothes, like “winter sweaters” or “summer workout pants.” (I typically try to stick a few cedar balls inside while packing things up for the season as well.) but I’ve found that a lot of times they’re too small for the volume of clothes I want to store.

{related: how often do you declutter your wardrobe?}
A newer system I’m trying out is using open hampers to hold clothes that are out of season, only used occasionally, or hand-me-downs my youngest isn’t ready for yet. I started doing this because I know from experience that in some cases I end up discarding the entire sweater bin and sorting through it no matter how thoroughly I’d packed/separated/labeled things. So now our swimming clothes and many of the “soon” hand-me-downs (as in, soon they’ll fit my youngest) live in a huge durable hamper like this, and I’ve started using this behind-the-door hamper (pictured) to store my eldest’s “don’t fit” clothes until I have time to deal with them.

Velvet hangers
Aside from a few sturdier/shaped hangers for things like blazers, practically my entire closet is now velvet hangers. I like that things don’t fall off, and the fact that they’re all slim and the same size makes for a uniform look. I have a slightly odd system for hanging cardigans on velvet hangers; this year I also put my “half-dirty” pullovers on the hangers as well.
A well-lit space…
If you have particularly dark closets, or want to add a bit of mood to your closet, you can always add lights. There are a ton of products out there — I’m going to check out these lights from Amazon. (The motion sensor bit concerns me but I think it’ll make sense in theory because I never pass by my closet on the way to, say, the restroom in the middle of the night.

Shelf Liners for wire Shelving
As I note below, I absolutely dislike wire shelving — particularly any hanging rod that limits your moving hangers around. That said, if you’ve already invested in something or have some linen closets in your home that are a lower priority, I just gotten something similar to these wire shelf liners and have been pleased with them. (I think ours were from home Depot; note that The Container store makes them for Elfa shelving also.)

Products that never work For Me for closet Organization
Anything that involves putting things on the floor of the closet — I actually choose to relocation all of my hang rods so that the clothes are closest to the bottom of the floor, giving me much more shelf space above the clothes. I have a separate space for really long hanging clothes — a few jumpsuits, maxi dresses, a robe, and a coat. It isn’t a lot! (But then I’m typically ok to keep my trousers folded on hangers.)
Hanging cloth “shelves”
shelf dividers — they never work for me (but Kate told me she likes hers!)
Under bed storage (the hard bins are too hard to get out from under the bed and I end up ripping the soft bins)

My best suggestions for closet Organization
A easy steel rod!
I cannot STAND those white closet shelves where the hanging rod is part of the shelving unit, so you can’t slide the clothes around as needed. No thank you!! Whenever possible I take those racks out asap to replace them with just a regular steel bar. If you have a closet system you can get these as part of it, but you can also just purchase them on Amazon.

Also noteworthy: I put the steel rod as low as possible, typically determined by whatever my longest piece of clothing at the moment is. (As I note above, I have a separate area of my closet for maxi dresses, jumpsuits, and other full-length items.) This maximizes the “in your face” space that (IMHO) is better used for shelves (or a second rack of clothes!) — and minimizes the closet floor space, which I never make good use of.
Pictures on shoe boxes
I completely forget what shoes I have if I don’t put the pictures on the boxes. I vastly choose to store them in boxes because they’re dust-free and stackable, then. (We just try to keep the boxes our shoes came in, but if you’re on the search for clear shoe boxes, you can pick them up at the Container Store, Amazon, Staples, or more. I will note that it’s a lot simpler if the boxes are all the same size.
One of my most significant challenges has always been my love of black — I have a zillion ordinary black sweaters and ordinary black t-shirts, and yet (for sweaters especially) i will pick up 5 from a neatly folded pile before I find the one I’m looking for. I recently found a plastic container like this at a thrift store for $3 (I think it’s intended for paper storage) and printed out pictures of my sweaters to tape to the boxes — I hope that helps a bit. (These sweater bins with clear plastic fronts from the Container store look like they’d be good for the same purpose.)

All right, readers, let’s hear it — what do you think are the best products for closet organization? What are the best suggestions you’ve heard for organizing or decluttering your closet?
Psst: here are my newest favorite ways to store jewelry…

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