Greta

I have a lot of clothes, and in the dozen or so homes I’ve lived in, many have had very little closet space. Here is 12 years worth of tips on how to cram your stuff into the minimal space you have.

So how do I make use of this blessing?

General tips:

  • Use all of your available space, but keep it organized
  • You’re more likely to wear something if you can see it
  • Keep 1-2 hooks empty for quick-n-dirty clean up
  • Don’t forget the backs of deep shelves, and high up places
  • Keep out-of-season (winter/summer) clothes out of the way

Creating Space:

  • Buy an armoire - that’s what I did.
  • Are you handy? Build a closet in a corner!
  • Only kind of handy? Get a stud-finder, drill, closet brackets, a shelf and closet rod. Install brackets, add shelf on top, slip rod into place (that’s what she said). Beware of how much your wardrobe weighs; you may need more than two of those brackets. Note: I once installed just the shelf, then had a towel rod underneath for scarves, and below was the boots bookshelf.
  • Get a freestanding rack. I have one in my pantry for coats. Whatever, it works.

Folded Clothes:

  • If you are using a dresser or other drawers, stack clothes vertically rather than horizontally. (See tip 3.) I do this for EVERYTHING including tights, socks, PJs, and even underwear! By the way, folding your underwear saves space but people may call you OCD – weigh your options wisely.
  • Fold all knit items to prevent hanger bumps. That includes sweaters, most T-shirts, and some blouses.
  • Got deep shelves? Fold clothes appropriately. If you still have space behind your folded clothes (i.e. really deep shelves) store your out-of-season sandals/sweaters back there.
  • For open shelving, be sure not to stack so high that it tumbles.
  • Feel free to use extra shelving in already existing shelves.

Hanging Clothes:

  • Install a second closet rod above your main one. This basically doubles your space. Buy a stool (my preference) or a reaching rod for access.
  • Matching hangers makes everything look so nice. I have these Joy Mangano ones and I love them so much. I bought a 200-pack or something like that when it was on special. Worth it.
  • Cascading hooks are bloody genius and work with almost any hanger. Use two at a time!
  • You can get a tiered hanger for skirts. Mine is over 30 years old and still going strong.
  • I have yet to find the perfect single skirt hanger commercially available, but it must have spring-clips and smooth rubber grips.

Accessories:

  • Corral smaller items into open boxes, jars, and cups purchased at thrift stores.
  • Items that you intend to use infrequently can be hidden away in boxes. Those are Ikea, and hold travel organization tools, special occasion undies, and hats.
  • Hang scarves on towel racks – you can get one for less than $4 at your local home improvement store. I have two on the inside of a closet door, but have also had this hanging over a boot bookcase (see above) on the wall before.
  • For belts, jewelry, sunglasses, and basically everything else ever, buy some screw in hooks in bulk at the home improvement store, and leave no wall or cabinet space uncovered. (Tips 1 & 5) These are also very handy in the kitchen. They work best if you drill a hole first.

Bags:

  • If you must hang, use an over the door coat rack or this handy thing (on the other side of the door from your shoes) to hang bags, and even hats. Potentially keep some of these hooks open (tip 4).
  • For less often used bags, create a drawer out of a long boot box. Line them up in the box, and slide it into a shelf – great for deep shelves (tip 5).
  • Stuff bags with tissue to keep their shape. When using a bag, leave tissue as holding space.
  • Sit them on a shelf rather than hanging them to prevent handles from stretching out.
  • Use bookends to keep them up. I built my own.
  • I love having a junk bowl/box/space for the things that I often but not always keep in my purse like hand sanitizer or a different sized wallet.

Shoes and Boots:

  • Small cheap bookshelves are great for boots. Check your local craislist for cheapies.
  • Some people love keeping their original shoe boxes, but this violates tip 3.
  • Use an over-the-door shoe organizer - I like these better than hang-in-the-closet versions because hanging space is so valuable. Ideally, look for ones where you can put both shoes in one slot. This is the one I have and I love it.