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Closet Ideas for Small Spaces To Utilize Your Space

Small closets can have it all! We have tips for utilizing every square inch of space for the most functional closet experience.

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It’s that time of year again, and yes, we mean spring cleaning. Have you tried your best to ruthlessly edit your wardrobe but still find that you need more closet space? You don’t have to be a KonMari dropout to have a bursting closet.

Sometimes, it’s the closet that’s the problem, not your sentimental blue jean collection. (But that’s a topic for later debate.) Let’s talk about some of the best organizational methods and tools for you to get an orderly and functional storage system in a relatively painless way.

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Declutter a Bit, Then Move On

Yes, we did say painless! Decluttering doesn’t have to hurt as much as losing a bid at an auction. Getting rid of some things will be much less painless, in the long run, than constantly dealing with a floor-to-ceiling closet-shaped mass of packed-together stuff. Using these classic minimalist principles to vet your stored items can be easy and may even be freeing. 

Ask yourself these questions about everything in your closet. If the answer is no, consider giving the item away:

  • Does it still fit or work?
  • Have you used it in the last year? Be honest!
  • Is this the only one you own?
  • Would replacing this item cost more than 20 bucks and take longer than 20 minutes?
  • Should I feel obligated to keep this item?

There, now that’s done, and you can move on with your life by introducing a little organization to your closet.

Add Another Closet Rod

Inventory the type of clothes you keep in your closet to determine the best wardrobe system for you. If you rarely wear dresses, jumpsuits, long coats, etc., you can easily add a second clothing rod halfway down your closet wall. 

Double Hang Clothing Across the Whole Closet

Two clothing rods hanging all the way across the back of a closet doubles as hanging space. With this extra room, you may be able to space your clothing out a bit and more easily access those tops that aren’t so squished together. 

Double Hang Half of the Closet

If you want space to hang longer clothing items, double up your hanging rods on one side of the closet. (This goes for small walk-ins or tiny reach-ins.) Leave the other side free for longer items and (maybe) an organizing shelf system. 

Add a Second Rod Along a Side Wall 

If your reach-in closet is on the deeper side, consider installing your second hanging rod along the side wall to maximize the use of corner spaces. Wire rods and shelving units made specifically for corners can be found in home improvement stores.

Add a Closet Organizing System

Closet organization systems come in a variety of styles, from lightweight wire units to MDF shelving to custom solid wood. Feel free to mix and match to get the right fit for your tiny space.

Add Upper Storage Shelves 

Adding upper shelves may seem obvious, but sometimes we don’t even consider it when they seem too high to reach. In those cases, invest in a folding step ladder and install a shelf or two at the top of your closet. 

Keep the weight of your items in mind so that you don’t overload one shelf. The size of any sweater boxes you may store should also be taken into account: They need to fit between shelves.

Add a Drawer Unit

With double hanging rods on one side of the closet, you may have enough room for a closet unit with drawers. This is especially helpful for small bedrooms that don’t have space for a full dresser. A closet unit may be just the right amount of storage, allowing you to remove the chunky dresser and have a more minimal, soothing bedroom. 

Include Cubbies for Shoes and More

Shelving units with cubbies are perfect for a smallish shoe collection or all of those folded and rolled concert t-shirts, à la KonMari. (Yes, some things did stick.)

If you can’t (or don’t want to) make holes in your walls by installing a closet organizer, hang a shoe bag or two that functions as a cubby system. These don’t always fit larger shoe sizes well but are perfect for lightweight folded clothing like scarves and leggings.

Use Dividers To Organize Chaos

Woman organizing her closet with closet organization ideas

Whether you have a closet system with cubbies or not, you can create your own organization system in your existing shelves and rods with a few dividers.

Slip-On Shelf Dividers

Even the most neatly stacked items can merge, fall, and become a teetering pile without a divider around them. Slip-on shelf dividers create the utility of a cubby area without the need for a drill. Try a retro wire type that adds a dash of style to your closet organization. 

Baskets to the Rescue 

While baskets are sometimes just a way to accumulate more clutter, once you’ve pared down your belongings, they make it easy to keep things grouped together. Opt for a woven, natural product like maize to add texture and utility to your wardrobe storage. Use that little bit of wasted space under closet shelves by adding slip-on under-shelf baskets that are the perfect size for scarves or hats.

Don’t Waste Floor Space

Now that we’ve discussed upper shelving, don’t forget about that lonely floor space underneath hanging clothing. 

Stackable Shoe Racks

You may already store your shoes on the floor in a neat little row, but could your closet accommodate another shoe shelf above that one? Stackable shoe racks come in all shapes and sizes, making having a shoe rack that can be reconfigured to fit your closet needs possible. 

Slim Shoe Shelves Along a Whole Wall

Low shoe shelves that extend from one side of the closet to the other (often made of wire) make every square inch of floor space useful for storage. Shoe racks with individual cubbies for each shoe tend to waste space, so go for a long rack that runs from one side of the closet to the other. If you have enough space, install another rack above that one. 

Find a Different Place for Your Shoes

Want a miraculous, almost instant space maker? Simply find a different home for your shoes. Try putting them in under-bed boxes or in a shoe keeper by your front door. You’ll be amazed at how roomy your closet is without all the sneakers and boots.

Use Storage Containers Whenever Possible

Much like the overuse of baskets around a home, adding storage boxes to a closet is a slippery slope. An empty storage box beckons to be filled to the brim. Resist the urge and use storage boxes the smart way in your closet.

Keep Clear Boxes So Nothing Gets Lost

Choose boxes that are clear and make it easy to see what is inside. This is helpful for items stacked on high shelves (not to mention the fact that those clear containers won’t let you hide from your clutter). 

Keep your boxes small enough that they won’t get too heavy for you to lift high or pull down. If you already have storage boxes that aren’t clear, don’t toss them! Just add a clear label so you can track what is inside.

Use Garment Bags Instead

Garment bags are even easier to heft onto top shelves and can zip up to keep moths away from your seasonal sweaters. These are often sized to fit slim closet shelves. 

Fill Your Weekend Bags and Suitcases

Why buy more boxes and bags when you have a set of luggage taking up space in your closet? If you don’t travel regularly, those suitcases are lucky if they get pulled out once a year. Make use of the extra space inside of them by using them for off-season clothing storage. 

Use Door Hangers

Over-the-door hangers are a no-assembly-required way to gain tons of extra storage space. You can also make use of both sides of the closet door.

Use Shoe Pockets for Everything

Obviously, shoe pockets can hold shoes, but they are also a great place for smaller clothing items like tank tops, leggings, and the lint roller. These can work on the front or inside of your door: Choose one that you won’t mind looking at all the time if it goes on the outside.

Over the Door Organizing Hooks

A sharp-looking over-the-door peg system works wonderfully on closet doors for organizing hats and bags. Feature bags that, when artfully arranged, double as decor. A fun, mod organizer with large round wooden pegs in primary colors is a work of art, even when it hangs empty.

Make Your Tiny Closet Luxe

Our last bit of advice is to do anything you can to make the closet feel like a luxe dressing area rather than a jumbled micro-storage. The nicer your organized closet space is, the more motivated you’ll be to keep it that way. Get an idea of how your dressing area can be laid out with Spoak’s room (and closet) visualization tool.

How To Improve Your Dressing Experience:

  • Hang a mirror on the door or in the back of a small walk-in to create a dressing area that lets you see your look while giving a feeling of a larger space.
  • Use quality hangers that are slightly padded or thin velvet hangers that protect clothing while making room for more hangers.
  • Wallpaper the inside of a closet for a whimsical dressing experience that encourages you to keep clutter to a minimum so that gorgeous floral design shows.
  • Add fun lighting in the form of a glam pendant just outside of your closet, a semi-flush ceiling pendant inside of a small walk-in, or puck lights for the tiny reach-in. Being able to see what you have can cut down on buying more and makes taking care of your newly ordered space a joy.
  • Use pieces you love as closet storage units: choose a slim, antique dresser or decorative boxes rather than big-box store units and plastic containers.

Create a Closet You Will Enjoy Using

You have all the ideas you need to use what you have or to source the right storage items to make your small closet seem big. Your closet can have everything a large walk-in has, all in a small, orderly package. 

Photo Credit: (Left) Remodelista


The empty promises of Marie Kondo and the craze for minimalism | Life and style | The Guardian

17 questions to ask yourself as you declutter your closet | NBC News

What the Stylebook Closet Organization App Taught Me | Glamour

What Is the KonMari Method? | The Spruce

Join Spoak to discover tips and tricks on how to make the most of your spaces — large and small. 

Date Posted
June 21, 2023



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