Resembling something between your garage and vertical junk drawers, your closets can look like they are the brunt of a longstanding grudge. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. A few simple tweaks can have your closets actually functioning like they were meant to be that way.

Declutter. Just removing all the unnecessary, out-of-place and useless garbage—call it what it is—from your closet is the first and easiest fix. Don’t use it? Throw it. Don’t want it there but will want it later? Find a spot in the garage, the basement or back in the closet when you actually have a plan. Speaking of which …

Shelving. Now the second-easiest fix—wire, wooden or laminate shelves that separate the space into sensible compartments. Instead of just tossing stuff on the ground, you’ll make much better use of all those cubic feet when there are actual cubes above your feet. How you organize each of those nine or 12 compartments (or whatever) will begin to take shape as you group things—clothes, mementos, bowling gear. You get the idea.

New lighting. With detachable, battery-powered LED lights, you suddenly have a lot more options to light your new organizational wonder from whatever angle you choose, not just the ceiling. Choose one light or one for each shelf. The idea is to light every corner for maximum accessibility and visibility.

There, was that so hard? Now your closet isn’t a glorified bin, it’s a functional storage space. You’re welcome.