15 Tips for Organizing a Small Closet

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For most of us, closet space is at a premium. There just never seems to be enough space.  

In our old house, there was a small closet in the master bedroom which we ripped out and them created a super wide closet which took up an entire wall of our bedroom.  It included hanging bars and shelves and drawers and could contain pretty much everything.  

In our new house this just wasn't an option and the closets here are tiny. So we bought my husband an armoire to hang his clothes and I got the closet.  But it's still small, even just for me. So here are some ideas to maximize small closets and keep them organized.

Check out these tips to maximize the space you have in a small closet.

1. Purge

How many times how you looked in your closet for something to wear and brushed past that same shirt that you just never seem to be in the mood to wear?  Or how many items just no longer fit or aren't in style?

We hold onto so many clothes items because of sentimental value or the hope of one day fitting into them. In addition, we hold onto clothes because we feel guilty about the money we spent on it which makes us not want to throw it away. 

The thing is, if we never wear these items or never enjoy wearing them, they are cluttering our spaces and impacting our happiness. If you are not going to wear it, regardless of the reason, get rid of it. Otherwise it's just making our spaces cluttered and making us feel guilty all the time. 

I am so ready to go through my closet once my body settles into its post pregnancy shape. Plus, it’s so much easier to get dressed when you have less clothes. When everything you own fits and you love it, dressing is a snap. I want to be able to reach in and know that whatever I pull out will fit, look good, and make me feel comfortable wearing it. 

2. Make a List of What You Need to Store

Different people need to store different things in their closet. Maybe you need to just store clothes, maybe shoes too. Maybe you need to store suitcases and purses. 

What you need to store will affect the type of organizational systems and products you will need.  Getting inspiration from places like Pinterest is great but those closets won't necessarily meet your needs. 

In my closet, I need hanging space to store shirts and pants and dresses. I also need place for shoes and sweaters and hoodies and purses. So I need a closet system that will accommodate those things

3. Add an Extender Rod.

If you need some more hanging space for your clothes, you may want to get an extender rod. This adds a second tier of hanging space which works for item like shirts or skirts. You can check out this one from Amazon.


4. Add Storage Under Clothes

If you're tight on space, you can place a small dresser and shoe rack beneath your hanging clothes. The top of the dresser can hold accessories, like hats or jewelry. You can also stack storage cubes with baskets on the bottom of the closet.  I use cubes and baskets in the bottom of my closet. You can find a bunch of different storage cube and bin options here

5. Maximize Shelf Space with Shelf Dividers

If you have shelves in your closet, you can use this space for storing folded clothes. The problem is that with open shelves, these stacks tend to fall over and get messy. 

To avoid this, you can pick up some shelf dividers. No more falling-over stacks of shirts and sweaters. you can also use them to store purses by helping them to stand upright. Check out these shelf dividers from Amazon.


6. Double Shelf Space with Under Shelf Baskets.

If you need more shelf space, you can use under shelf basket to maximize your shelf space.  use hook these baskets under your shelf to store additional sweaters or shirts, or sweatshirts. Here's one I found on Amazon. They are definitely for more than just wax paper!


7. Use Hooks for Accessories

Do you have space in your closet that is not covered by clothes? Put a hook there. Or better yet, if you've got the space, put a whole rack of hooks.

This is a great way to reclaim wasted space. You can use those hooks for practically anything: jewelry, belts, purses, clothes that have been worn for half a day and aren't quite dirty but also aren't quite clean.

8. Use Hooks for Suitcases 

Another awesome use of hooks is for hanging suitcases in the otherwise wasted space inside the closet and above the door. Lightweight out-of-season items can be stored in the suitcases like swim suits or scarves, depending on the season. Just don't forget you put them there!

9. Use Specialized Hangers

Buying the right hanger for the job will better fit the particular piece of clothing you're organizing. Pants, for example, can easily slide on and off of these hangers thanks to their open-ended design. You can also check out these skirt and pants hangers to maximize space.

You'll be able to fit more into your closet, since they hang flat against each other. Plus when your clothes are hanging correctly they are less likely to wrinkle. 

10. Use the Inside of the Closet Door.

I keep my special occasion shoes in the boxes on one side of my closet. However, for the shoes I use every day, I have a door shoe rack that hangs on the door. This keeps my shoes in easy reach and allows me to use the rest of my closet for other things. 

There are a ton of options here. You can also use this space to hang hooks or racks for belts, scarves or other accessories!

11. Stack your Shoes.

Another option for shoe storage is to turn the bottom of your closet into a little shoe condo with multi-story shoe storage. You can use shelves or a shoe cabinet. You can find a bunch of options here.  You could also place these on top of a shelf to make the most of your space.

12. Hanging rods perpendicular to the main one.

If you have a more difficult to reach corner of your closet, you can hang a shorter hanging rod perpendicular to the main rod. This can add use to this difficult to reach space. A short tension rod is perfect for this. You can hang shorter clothes on the main rod and then more clothes on this perpendicular one. 

13. Sort Clothes By Color

This won't create more space in your closet, but it will help your clothes look more organized and help you find things easier. Just sort each type of clothing item by color

So all the blue shirts are together and then all the greens, and all through the rainbow. The same can be done for pants and dresses so everything is easy to find. 

14. Think Techie

If you have a bunch of almost identical items filling your closet, consider giving Stylebook a try. The app helps you log everything you own, and makes it easy create new looks you didn't even know you had.

It can also prevent you from buying things that are too similar to the things you already own so you don't waste valuable space on similar items. Basically, it's like Clueless in real life.

15. Use a Letter Organizer for Clutches

Have a collection of clutches? Have a wealth of wallets? A letter file can hold clutches and wallet upright. This can prevent creases and keep bags within easy reach.

You can check out this one on Amazon. 


Which of these ideas is your favorite?  Let me know in the comments!