We got rid of every dresser in our house (except one that we use as a TV stand). All of our bedrooms are dresser free now. I want to show you how we store and organize folded clothes without dressers.
First, you’re probably wondering why we gave away our dressers. The short answer is because we realized we don’t need them. They took up a lot of space in our bedrooms, and after we decluttered our clothes, they were mostly empty. My husband got down to one drawer.
In our kids’ bedrooms, the dresser tops were a magnet for clutter and junk. And, my boys seemed incapable of shutting the drawers after getting dressed. The dressers made their rooms look messy.
A few months ago, my brother (who doesn’t have kids), sent my other brother and me an article about dressers tipping over and killing young kids. We already had the anti-tip kits installed, but not having dressers seems safer. It was just another reason on the list of pros for getting rid of the dressers.
How We Store and Organize Folded Clothes Without Dressers
We no longer use dressers, but we still needed drawers. We still have folded clothes and socks and underwear. We do not hang everything in our closets. We hang almost nothing for the kids because they can’t reach the hanging clothes.
Now, to organize folded clothes, we use IKEA Algot drawer units, one for each of us. The Algot System has a few different drawer choices —solid plastic, wire grid, and wire mesh. We chose the wire mesh drawers because I think they look the nicest and are the best for storing clothes. It’s also a budget-friendly solution—only $41.99 for each four-drawer unit.
The drawer units tuck away nicely in our closets and take up less than a fourth of the floor space compared to our dressers. We are fortunate to have walk-in closets in all of our bedrooms, but these units could fit into any standard closet.
How We Fold Our Clothes
The wire mesh drawers are see-through, which I was nervous about at first. I didn’t want our closets to look like a jumbled, cluttered mess.
Thankfully, they don’t. The mesh drawers just allow some of the color and silhouette of the contents to peak through. As long as I fold the clothes neatly, the drawers look great.
Speaking of folding, we have adopted the Konmari method of folding clothes. When I read about how to fold clothes in the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it never entirely made sense. Then, my friend Abby from Abby Organizes made a video showing how to fold your clothes using the Konmari method. She included tips on folding kids clothes, too. Since her video came out, I’ve been folding all of our clothes that way. Well, except our socks—I see nothing wrong with balling them up together.
How We Organize Folded Clothes for Kids
Below is a photo of my youngest sons drawers. The top drawer holds pajama sets in the back half, and socks and underwear in the front half. The second drawer holds his t-shirts. If the shirt has a design on it, I fold it, so the design is showing, which makes it easier to find the shirt he wants without yanking them all out of the drawer. The third drawer holds long sleeve shirts. The bottom drawer holds his pants. His bulky sweatshirts, hoodies, and dress shirts hang above his drawer unit.
My older sons drawers look similar. Except, his pants are bulkier when folded, so we sometimes hang jeans and lined pants that take up too much space in his bottom drawer. His thin khaki pants, athletic pants, and shorts go in the bottom drawer.
Now the boys use their closets as a dressing room. They each have a hamper right next to their drawers, making it much more likely the dirty clothes goes into the hamper. It’s 95% effective. I can’t explain the other 5% that misses the hamper (or closet) completely.
How We Organize Folded Clothes for Adults
My drawers are set up similarly with a few notable differences because I’m a girl. My top drawer holds sports bras in the back, regular bras in the middle (I only wear wireless bras, so they take up very little space), and socks and underwear in the front. The second drawer holds my t-shirts, always folded with the design facing out. The third drawer holds my shorts in the back half (which sadly I don’t get to wear for three-fourths of the year) and tank tops and camis in the front half, which I wear year-round under other tops. The bottom drawer holds my workout bottoms and tops.
All of my other clothes—pants, blouses, sweaters, skirts, and dresses—are hanging. Still, all of my hanging and folded clothes fits into less than six linear feet of closet space, excluding the space for the floor mirror.
My husband’s drawers are set up like mine, except his top drawer only has socks and boxers. His third drawer holds his long workout pants, and the rest of his workout shorts and t-shirts are in the bottom drawer. He hangs everything else.
Benefits of Getting Rid of Dressers
When my husband first proposed the idea of getting rid of dressers, I thought he was crazy. I’ve never lived in a room without a dresser. It seems like such an expected piece of bedroom furniture. But once we cleaned out our drawers and realized they were a space-hogging space to stash more clothes than we’d ever need, I came around.
We did a lot of decluttering in our closets, bedrooms, and dressers leading up to this. If you’re curious about my decluttering process, read my article Three Essential Rules for Decluttering Your Home.
By getting rid of our dressers and more effectively using the space in our closets, we’ve made our bedrooms more spacious. In our master bedroom, we gained 18 square feet of space, plus a few more feet because we changed out our nightstands too.
In each of the kids’ rooms, we freed up 10-12 square feet, so now they have more space to play in their bedrooms.
As soon as the dressers were gone, my mind naturally went to how are we going to fill the empty space. Ugh! It’s so ingrained in us to fill every possible space with more stuff. We have decided we will NOT be adding any new furniture to our rooms. Instead, we’re going to enjoy the open space.
Janis Anderson says
This is intriguing, but where are your shoes? We have regular sized closets and the space I could put those drawers is taken up with shoes.
Janis, We keep our shoes in our mud room by our garage door. I have a few off-season shoes on a shelf on the other side of the closet. I don’t have a large shoe collection – I donated all the ones I never wear. But if you need shoe storage, the Algot System comes with an option. Instead of free-standing drawers, you can use wall-mounted brackets and mix and match drawer units, shelves, and wire shoe holders: https://m.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/art/00218565/
Suzanne E says
It’s funny to see someone else do this after I recently proposed the idea of doing exactly this at our house. Our current home has walk-in closets in every bedroom too and I think putting all the clothing in them makes way more sense then having all this furniture and way less work for me when dusting.
Yes, you should do it. My bedroom is spotless all the time now. Without the dressers there to collect things, my husband and I actually put things away where they belong now. I love vacuuming the bedroom now too!
Stacey W says
I did this in our house *years* ago, with the Algots, and have never looked back. We have 6′ reach-closets in our house, and the bedrooms aren’t the largest. In my kids’ rooms, closets are half clothes, have shelves with bins for toys. My husband and I share a 7′ reach-in closet, and all my clothes are on a single rod (probably 4 linear feet) and in the Algot. My husband still has a regular dresser because he is a big dude (6’3″, 52″ chest, size 14 shoe) and his clothing just doesn’t fold small.
For a while I worked as a closet designer, and people are constantly amazed at how much you can fit in a small closet space when you design it correctly. Purging all old clothes/junk helps, too.
Stacy, Thanks for sharing. It’s good to know this is a workable solution for reach in closets too.
Do you like keeping the toys in the kids closets? I’ve been thinking about adding a matching drawer unit for them but with two deeper drawers for toys. Right now the toys are just in bins on their floor.
Stacey W says
I do! Again, these are small rooms (our home is 1400 sqft 3 bed 1.5 bath), so maximizing wall space is key. The secret to toys in bins at my house is a) see-through front bins (mine are discontinued from Ikea a few years ago) and b) label the bins with a words and pictures. Without the labels, they just toss stuff in a bin and it all becomes a jumbled mess when they can’t find a particular toy. For reference, my son is 10 and my daughter is 7.
I forgot to mention earlier that I’m with you on the magical 5% of laundry that doesn’t make the hamper. It is truly one of the great mysteries of the universe!
Love it. My boys are the same ages. I like the clear drawer front tip!
Norden Davis says
This system makes a lot of sense. I do have a dresser but I also use the hanging folding drawers in my closet for shoes & one for jeans& workout pants.
Where do you keep your jewelry & belts?
Norden, I don’t wear belts. I do have a lot of jewelry though. All my necklaces hang on wall mounted hooks by the closet door. My rings, bracelets, and earrings are on a tiered tray on my bathroom counter. We have an extra counter away from our sink where the tiered tray sits. I have some keepsake jewelry that I don’t wear that is tucked away in a jewelry box I’ve had since I was a child.
Jackie S. says
I’ve been struggling finding options for my son’s room. I hate the idea of a tall dresser and he has a larger closet in his room which is no where near filled. I love this idea and can’t wait to get started!! Thanks so much for the inspiration.
You’re welcome. I think these short drawer units are so much easier for kids. It’s even easier for them to put there own clothes away.
D Frei says
I love reading your articles, such simple concepts but very important in getting things right. Thanks for sharing your tips!
This is inspiring how simplified your clothing solutions are! I went through my entire closet & drawers a number of years ago, but realize I need to do so again (and my kids’ clothing too!) I’m not sure I can get away with no dresser for my room, but I love the simplified drawers. We use the Kon Marie for folding too! Do you have a “magic number” of shirts & pants to have for each boy?
Tonia, I don’t have a magic number. Instead my limit for them was what fit in these drawers. Every time I do laundry I pull out clothes that I’ve noticed they’ve outgrown. Then seasonally I go through all their clothes. I keep one storage tote on the top shelf of each of their closets for off-season clothes and clothes they have yet to grow into.
One other trick I do is to rotate their clothes. When we put laundry away, we push all the rows of shirts or pants to the front of the drawer. Then the freshly cleaned clothes goes in the back row each week. This helps make sure they rotate through all their clothes and don’t wear the same thing over and over again.