Sometimes moving into your dream home means you get everything you’ve been wishing for: the gorgeous yard, the extra bedroom, the light-filled kitchen… but sacrificing a lot of closet space. (Who designs homes with tiny closets anyway?)
Since you’re not about to downsize your wardrobe that much, we’ve gathered some tips on how to maximize closet space to make the most of what you have. It takes a little bit of focus and creativity, but you can do it.
Get seasonal (and honest) with your clothing
Let’s be real: you’re going to need to downsize your wardrobe at least a little to maximize small closet space. Trying to cram everything in there, including the clothes that you don’t really wear, is an effort in futility. Separate out the clothing that you only wear in the dead of winter, for example, and store that away in plastic bins for the summer. Similarly, put away your summer clothes during the snowy months and voila, you suddenly have a lot more space for bulky clothing.
Get really organized
It’s science: piles of things take up more space than items that are neatly folded or hung up. Invest in a bunch of quality hangers — both regular shirt hangers as well as clip hangers for pants or skirts — and dedicate some time to getting your clothing organized in a way that makes sense. Maximizing closet space might require a few small investments to help you get truly organized but in the end, it’ll be worth it. Oh and… get rid of all those dry cleaner hangers with the paper, and the plastic bags over your clothing. Really.
Don’t forget about the floor
This is where you can get creative and design a closet that best suits your needs. Have a lot of shoes? Purchase or build a space-efficient shoe rack that will fit all of your favorites, whether they’re heels or high-top sneakers. Big collection of t-shirts? Raise the hanging bar so you can tuck a small dresser into the bottom of your closet and keep them nicely rolled a la Marie Kondo. Think compact but still accessible.
The walls and the back of the doors are fair game too
Wondering how to maximize hanging space in a closet that just doesn’t seem big enough? Most closets have plenty of wall space going completely unutilized, and the back of the closet doors is also valuable real estate for things that hang flat. Belts and ties, scarves, jewelry boards, and hats can all be stored hanging flat against the wall or door.
Install lighting and use the upper shelves wisely
What you can’t see will eventually become messy. Those top shelves are often so high up and things get missed, especially when it’s dark. Install some simple LED lighting strips to illuminate the upper shelves, invest in some bins, and use that space more effectively. Or, use dividers to store your handbags or other items that need to stay upright. This is a good home improvement project to do before you move in since you’ll have a clean canvas to work with.
Stacking hangers, tiered hanging rods, and other tricks
If you’re still feeling stuck because it’s just tiny, there are a few more ways to maximize closet space to get everything to fit. Using tiered hangers that allow you to hang your clothing really, really compactly can be one option, especially if you don’t have a lot of items like suits or blazers that need more space. Installing a second hanging rod beneath the primary one can also be an option; utilize pants hangers to hang your pants folded so they don’t hang quite as low.