How to: Make the Most Out of Your Small Closet

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Let’s talk small closets – specifically small ones that you need to hold all those clothes that you’ve managed to accumulate.
 
Does this look familiar to any of you?

 
Anyone who has ever lived in a home with small closets can testify to the challenges that they present!  Every closet and it’s storage needs are different, but there are basic steps that can be taken to make the most of your small space.
 

1.  First things first – clean out your closet.  

If you are serious about maximizing your closet space, you must be ruthless!  The general rule of thumb is to get rid of anything that you haven’t worn for a year, or more.

 

2. Now that you’ve cleaned out the unwanted items, remove everything that is left.  

 
This is a great time to spiff up the interior of your closet!  A fresh coat of paint in white or another fun color?  Wallpaper or stencil the back wall or even the back of the closet door(s)?
 
 
 

3. Determine what must go back in and identify what can be stored elsewhere.  

 
For example – can your off season clothing and shoes be stored in containers under the bed, in the attic or even in a storage building/space?  Depending upon where you store your clothing, you may need to make sure that whatever container you use will keep out moisture, bugs and dirt.  
 
 
 

4. Research, plan, measure and draw a diagram of what you want your finished space to be like.  

 
There are a bazillion closet organizing systems out there.  An option to a pricey organizing system is to create your own shelving and hanging space, using wire or wood shelves.  You can even add drawers to your closet.  This is your space to make as elaborate or as simple as you like!  
 
Some things to think about:  Can I minimize the amount of space I allow to hang long items like dresses? Can I add a higher shelf to store items that I don’t necessarily need to get to everyday?  Should I double up hanging bars to give me more hanging space?  Would I benefit from shelves or drawers going down one side or in the middle?
 
 
 

5. Go vertical!  

 
Think of your walls and the back of your door(s) as floor space.  Don’t waste it!  Organizing tools have come a long way baby and there are many wonderful choices available to help you organize smaller items.  I think that one of the most versatile items is a shoe organizer.  They aren’t made just for shoes – think belts, scarves, socks, under clothing, jewelry, gloves – you name it.
 
 
How about an over-the-door pocketbook organizer?
 
 

6. If you have folding or sliding doors consider replacing them with hinged doors.  

 
Think of all that vertical storage space you’ll gain if you change your folding or sliding doors to regular hinged ones.
 
 
 

7. Look for closet accessories that allow you to hang multiple items in a small amount of space.  

 
Here are just a few.
 
 
 
 
 

8. Organize your clothing by color.  

 
It won’t physically give you more space, but it will give you the feeling of more space since your clothing will appear more streamlined.
 
 
 

9. My final suggestion to you is this – now that you have organized and maximized your closet space, make a pact with yourself to keep it that way. 

 
I know first hand the temptation of not taking the few extra seconds to put something where it belongs, but even the most fantastically organized closet can quickly become a disorganized mess again.  The few extra seconds you take now can save you minutes (or more) of searching for something later, not to mention the time it will take for you to reorganize the closet when you’ve simply had enough of the mess!
 
 
How about you?  Do you have any tips for maximizing your closet space?  Do share – we’d all love to hear!

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39 Comments

  1. Great post – I enjoyed all these tips and need to put them to good use!!

  2. Shirley@Housepitality Designs says:

    Congrats to your baby girl…I know what you will be doing for a while!!..Now when you are done with her small closet, come over and help me with mine…My house is about 4,500 square feet and my closet is TEENY!!..

  3. Pat@Back Porch Musings says:

    A very timely post for me! I’ve been working on organizing my closet. I had a tiny closet for years and years and it was better organized. I thought this new, larger closet would be easier..nope. So I am on a mission. It’s taking so long because I do not move as fast these days.:-) I am donating a lot!!

    Your daughter’s new house is beautiful. I love this style home.

  4. FANTASTIC post. I can relate. We have a very small master bedroom closet. That is what I get for buying a house without stepping foot in it. I love my house, but that closet really makes me mad sometimes LOL. thanks for joining me. Your blog looks beautiful!

  5. Hi Suzy,
    These are great tips! You should see how tiny our closet is, and my husband and I share it! We have 4 of those under-the-bed storage containers! I fold anything that I can and put it other pieces of furniture. Your daughter’s home looks adorable.

  6. Jane Craske says:

    Great tips, hope that the move went well. Visiting fromt he wonderful Debbie’s. C:

  7. ✿ⒹⒺⒺ✿@ A Lapin Life says:

    I love this post! So many great tips and ones I plan to use.

    Thank,
    Dee

  8. My house has tiny, tiny closets and each of these tips are ones that I can use. Thanks for sharing them.

  9. Getting ready to clean out my closet tomorrow so this post had ‘me’ written all over it, lol. Thanks for all of the great tips. Found your link at YTTM’s Meet Me Monday.

    Shasta

  10. Cute post! Thanks for the idea of replacing folding doors with hinged ones – why didn’t I think of that one?!!

    Have a happy week!

  11. So many great ideas here. We live in a nearly 100 year old home so I can definitely relate to small closets. 😀 To get my purses out of my main closet I have moved them to a small shallow closet near the back door so I can change out my purse on the way out the door. I would LOVE to get rid of the old bifold door and replace it with a hinged one. Now that would be beyond my skills. Wonder what it would take to talk my big guy into doing it? 😀 Thanks for sharing your helpful post on this week’s Motivated Monday.
    pam

  12. What a great way to utilize space! I have a pretty small walk-in closet, and will have to think about how to rearrange it better! Thanks for the ideas!

  13. Mrs. Handyverger says:

    My husband and I are going through the process of maximizing our closet space currently – what a timely post! Thank you for the tips!

  14. Debbie@Mountain Breaths says:

    Great tips, and wishing your daughter the best in her new home. I’m visiting from the Cozy Home Party.

  15. Shannon@Cozy Home Scenes says:

    Thank you for sharing your tips at Your Cozy Home Party. I have a walk in closet but many of the tips are very helpful in a large space. How wonderful that your daughter is getting her own home. The two of you will have fun making it a cozy home for her.———— Shannon

  16. Charlene@APinchofJoy says:

    Great ideas — helpful for any size closet! Enjoy your time with your daughter — “new” digs are so much fun! I would love it if you would consider linking to Busy Monday at A Pinch of Joy, a Sunday through Thursday link party for ideas that make life easier, better and more fun!

  17. Very useful post! I’m pinning it now! I posted about my own small closet recently (http://tinyurl.com/7w9soqs), sharing that I think one of the keys is just keeping the size of your wardrobe in check. 🙂 It definitely makes life simpler! One of my favorite tips here is to paint or wallpaper the inside! It makes the closet such a cheerful space!

  18. I had to read this because we are MOVING, building a new home but my master closet will be SMALL. Right now I have clothes in 3 closets so I have GOT to purge…..some more. I have done alot. Thanks for all the great ideas. XO, Pinky

  19. Great ideas! Lots of good tips. I need to put some of these to use! Thank you for sharing them. My closet is not small, but it seems that I never have enough space–your tips would make that space really work!

  20. LOVE these ideas. I should totally use some of these in my closet =)
    Thanks for sharing!
    Much Love,
    L

    allglorious-within.blogspot.com

  21. GREAT tips! My closet is not small… in fact it’s not even really a closet. My bedroom is in the basement of my home which was originally a family room… so no closet. BUT there is an alcove that I am transforming into my closet so actually it’s quite large. Problem is tho… there are no closet “things” in there, places to hang clothes, shelves, etc. So these tips come in handy for any size closet… or non-closet! 🙂

    Tania

  22. wow. i really need this. my hubby and i try to share the closet, but i end up taking it COMPLETELY over! i would love for you to link this post or any other posts you want up to my weekly link party called spread the love. it’s a weekend wrap up party where you can share anything and everything you want! there is also a really awesome vinyl giveaway going on there right now too, so go check it out! http://www.lovenotesbylauryn.blogspot.com/2012/04/spread-love-5-decallove-giveaway.html
    have a wonderful weekend!
    {love} lauryn @ lovenotesbylauryn.blogspot.com

  23. Betsy @ Anna Nimmity says:

    Thumbs up on this post! Great tips. Thanks. 🙂

  24. Such a great post! I need to do mine and be ruthless! Love it! 🙂
    Melody
    One Chatty Chic

  25. Aimee - ItsOverflowing.com says:

    Great Tips! I’m excited to see the new {to her} house…I bet the two of you have lots of fun ahead! XO, Aimee

  26. Thank you for this post. There are so many articles and features on organizing closets for people who have walk-in closets the size of one of my bedrooms. I have already re-done 2 of my closets similar to what you have here but always appreciate more ideas!

  27. Thanks for sharing! Indeed, one of the best way to have a great wardrobe is to clean it. May your post inspire more people to get on with the organising and cleaning of their closets.

  28. We’re living in a 395 square foot casita with no closets at all. None, nada, zilch. We bought a wardrobe to serve as our closet AND dresser. Since it’s just the two of us, it works ok. Not great, but ok. We each have a side for hanging clothes (about 14″ wide) and the middle has a few drawers for underclothes and two shelves above where we stack my husbands jeans and shorts (or sweaters in winter). Another shelf below the drawers is perfect for shoes. It does mean we have to be very selective in what we keep out to wear each season, since the wardrobe will only hold so much. It helps that we live very casually and don’t need a lot of dress-up clothes. In fact, there is one dress and one skirt in my closet and that’s it.
    Winter is more difficult because we just can’t fit all the bulkier items into the wardrobe, so I end up keeping my turtlenecks and sweaters in a container under the bed. My husband and I have both scaled way back on clothing items, especially sweaters. I used to have around twenty sweaters (which made sense when we lived in Michigan and had winter for six months of the year) but now I am down to using just 4-5 all winter (where we live now, winter lasts about 2 months, max).
    The nice thing about the wardrobe is that we automatically close the drawers and doors, since it’s a piece of furniture. Not like when we had a regular closet and left the doors open half/most of the time.

    1. Hi Kim. It sounds like you have a great system going! I think that having a lot of space to store clothes can be a bad thing sometimes. All I would do is not clean my closet out often enough!

  29. The one I always see is, if you haven’t worn an item in 6 mths to a year, get rid of it. But, there are always a few items that you may not have worn because the occasion didn’t arise in that time period, ( a cruise / funeral / wedding / formal, etc. ) . The best advice I’ve seen recently was “Would you buy it today?”. I’m going through my clothes and asking myself that very question. It makes it easy to hang it up or donate. Happy organizing!

    1. That’s a really great tip, Joanne!