12 Space-Saving Organization Ideas for Small Closets

You don't need a walk-in to have a closet that works for you.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
March 04, 2019
Related To:

Photo By: michael j lee

Photo By: Dylan Chandler

Photo By: Elizabeth Joan Designs

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Photo By: Dot & Bo

Photo By: lauren rubin architecture

Photo By: Pottery Barn Teen

Photo By: Life Created

Photo By: Sarah Dorio

Photo By: Claire Esparros

Photo By: Regan Wood

Make the Most of What You've Got

I don’t have a bucket list but if I did, "get a walk-in-closet" would definitely be on there. As someone who has lived in 800 square feet or less for the last 20 years, I’ve still never had a closet to call mine. I see walk-in closets with accessory islands and seating areas, and that’s not what I’m dealing with in my small house. At all. For those of you who, like me, need to get organized with a reach-in closet (or don’t have a closet at all), here are some tips and tricks that will help you along the way.

Remove Your Closet Doors

One way to immediately get a bit of extra space is to remove the doors on your reach-in closet. Once the doors are off, you can choose to leave the closet open or install simple-yet-stylish curtains. Removing the doors will also allow you to store bulkier items or bring in storage furniture that might not typically fit inside closet doors, like a dresser or shoe rack.

Or Install Sliding Doors

If you're not ready to part ways with your closet doors, then consider changing the way that they open. Because sliding doors glide along the wall instead of swinging out, they'll give you more space as well. For example, in this bedroom by M | Monroe Design, the sliding doors can be pushed away to create an impromptu workspace.

Deck Out the Back of Your Doors

If you do decide to keep your closet doors, consider how you might use them to your advantage. For example, you could add hooks to keep your scarves, backpacks and jackets in place, or you could hang an over-the-door organizer for shoes or jewelry. Even if you have an unusual item to store, think about how you could use that extra vertical space to grab even more real estate.

Add a Dresser

Here's another easy upgrade for your closet: bring in a dresser. Because compact dressers from places like IKEA fit inside most closets, you can enjoy more storage without having to make any other physical changes to the space. This is a great option, too, if you have a dresser that you don’t love the look of but still want to use.

Customize Your Equipment

We all have different needs with our closets, and this clever storage idea is a great reminder that you shouldn’t be shy about trying to make your space work exactly how you need it to. If you have special storage needs based on your wardrobe, try to think through how you might set up your closet to handle them. For example, I love infinity scarves, but I don’t like hanging them on hangers. I cleared out one of the drawers in my dresser and have dedicated it to storing all my folded scarves.

Try Pre-Fab Solutions

Just as this project shows, there are a number of great pre-fab options available to help customize your closet. If you want to save space in the bathroom, too, you can even add a shelf for your washcloths and towels.

Hang Your Storage Containers

If you have a limited budget or live in a rental that doesn't allow you to make any structural changes, try using storage containers that can be hung from an existing clothing rod. There are many products available that will keep your jewelry, clothes, shoes and sporting equipment organized and off the floor.

Decorate With Dual-Purpose Pieces

Now that you’ve customized the inside of your closet, think through the rest of your space to ensure that you're using all available real estate. For example, if you have any items or collections that you don’t mind putting on display, use art and decor to move those things out of your closet and onto the walls. Faux-animal heads would make a fun addition to a kid's room and could be used to hold backpacks and raincoats.

Look to Hooks

On that note, you can always install hooks outside of your closet door. This simple yet effective approach will free up shelves and drawers while still keeping your clothes neatly confined to one corner. And if you want to make a statement? Hang items that belong to the same color palette.

Lean on Ladders

No one said that a blanket ladder has to hold blankets. If you'd rather not put holes in your walls, use a ladder (or even a leaning bookshelf) to organize your clothes. Shirts and sweaters can go up top, while shoes or boots can go down below.

Get a Garment Rack

Sometimes, even the most carefully-arranged closet just isn't enough. If you're still short on space, consider purchasing a garment rack. This one has wheels, which means that it could even be kept in a separate room, like an office or guest space, and moved back to your bedroom when people are visiting.

Create a Closet With a Wardrobe

Finally, if your room doesn’t have a closet at all but does have some wall space, consider using a wardrobe or trunk to store your items. You could also create a faux built-in closet of your own design. My favorite tool for achieving this is the IKEA Pax Line. By measuring your space and getting the right configuration, you can make a closet that looks custom but is actually the opposite. Or, if you want to take it a step further, you can make the Pax wardrobes look built-in with this drywall hack.

Shop This Look