Small Space Closet Organization Ideas for Style and Sanity

Small Closet Solutions: Maximize Storage in Tight Spaces

Do you ever feel like your closet is bursting at the seams? For those with small closets, finding enough room for all your stuff while keeping things neat and organized can seem downright impossible. But with some clever storage solutions, a little creativity, and a few organizational tips, you can transform even the tiniest closet into a space that looks pulled together and functions efficiently. Well, aside from the kitchen and bath, your closet also needs your attention.

Table of Contents

Assessing Your Current Closet Design Storage Situation

The first step to organizing your small closet is taking stock of what you’re working with. Consider the physical dimensions of the space itself to determine what type of storage will fit. Measure the closet walls, floor, doors, ceiling height, and existing shelves and racks. This will give you an idea of the vertical and floor space you have available to better utilize every inch.

You’ll also want to take note of problem areas that need improvement. Are there certain spots that turn into black holes where things get tossed? Are seasonal items crammed on overhead shelves that you can’t easily access? Make a list of small closet design problem zones so you can come up with targeted solutions.

Finally, edit and purge! Be ruthless and realistic about items you actually wear versus pieces that just take up precious real estate. Fewer pieces to store make organizing easier.

Clever Solutions for Maximizing Small Closets

One of the best things about small spaces is that they force you to get creative with storage. With limited floor space, the name of the game is maximizing vertical real estate to seek out every bit of capacity.

Small space closet with wall mounted shelving

Install Shelving Units to the Ceiling

Outfit an entire wall with shelving from floor to ceiling for folded items. Opt for open shelves to easily see contents rather than closed cabinetry which hides what’s inside. Shelves built to fit in corners make use of often unused space.

Hang a Second Hanging Rod

Installing double hanging rods is an effective way to double your closet’s hanging capacity, according to the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO).

Double your hanging capacity by installing a second rod. Place it closer to the ceiling to hang lighter-weight items or pieces not worn as often above the main rod holding everyday outfits.

Consider Tension Rods

Tension rods offer flexible storage options that can be positioned at different heights, removed, or added as needed. Use one for extra hanging space or as a makeshift shelf for folded sweaters, purses, and shoes.

Rethink Your Existing Storage Pieces

The storage furniture and accessories you already own can likely be tweaked or used in different ways to significantly expand space. You need to think about this if you’re going to add a closet to your small bathroom remodel. 

Adjust Shelving

Reposition shelves at different levels to accommodate items of various heights like shoes, purses, and sweaters. Or replace closed cabinetry with open shelves.

Utilize Wall Space Between Studs

Take advantage of the narrow spaces between wall studs to slide in hanging shelves, rails, or bins to stash odds and ends.

Store Shoes Everywhere

Get shoes off the floor by hanging them on the back of doors, over the door storage, wall-mounted racks, or even in shower caddies. Stash little-used pairs under the hanging rod in storage boxes.

Contain and Conceal Clutter

Clear plastic bins, fabric-covered boxes, and baskets are ideal for corralling everything from underwear and belts to beauty products. Conceal them by stashing them behind closet doors or up on shelves.

Shop Small-Space Specific Organizing Tools

In addition to creatively making the most of your existing setup, there are tons of space-saving closet storage and organization products made specifically with modest square footage in mind.

Drawers Create New Storage Layers

Installing drawers, including under clothing racks, instantly adds compact stashing space. For a custom look, have drawer stacks built from floor to ceiling.

Hang Closet Rod Shelves

These slim ledges that hang from the closet rod corral folded items to prevent toppling stacks. Hang multiple units at staggered heights.

Try a Vertical Organizer

Freestanding vertical storage units with shelves, drawers, and cubbies keep items visible and within arm’s reach. Rotating lean-to designs fit neatly in corners.

Consider a Storage Bed

Beds with built-in drawers are ideal when closet space is lacking. Use for out-of-season clothing items or overflow. Even low-platform beds with under-bed clearance offer out-of-sight storage.

Small Closet Organizing Ideas by Category

Once you’ve got the foundations of storage furniture and tools in place, it’s time to group items in a way that makes sense so you can actually find what you need. Employ these tips to organize clothes, accessories, linens, and seasonal items.

Organize Clothing by Color

Arranging clothes by color rather than type helps you locate items faster in a small space, based on recommendations from Apartment Therapy‘s guide to small closet storage ideas.

Arranging clothing by color instead of type helps you quickly scan to find something specific. Plus, it keeps the overall look pulled together.

Small space custom closet with clothes rack

Purses Get Top Shelf Priority

Clear hard-to-reach overhead shelves for bulky items you only use occasionally like luggage. Reserve easy-access areas for handbags you regularly rotate.

Give Scarves, Belts & Ties A Home

Hang scarves from skirt hangers, store belts rolled up or hanging, and keep ties neatly in clear boxes – just make sure they have a designated spot.

Designate Drawers by Use

Divide drawer space to keep similar items together, like assigning one for workout wear and another for pajamas. Use trays or dividers to neatly section off smaller items.

Corral Seasonal Storage Essentials

Have go-to travel bags holding seasonal essentials like swimsuits or cold-weather gear ready to swap when the time comes. Label contents and keep them neatly stored.

Maintaining Order in a Tiny Closet

Setting up an organizational system is half the battle – maintaining order is key to keeping your petite closet from falling back into chaos.

Purge Regularly

Do a mini clear-out before each season to avoid a gradual buildup of unused items that lead back to an overloaded mess.

Put Things Back Immediately

Develop the habit of hanging up clothes after wearing and returning accessories, shoes, and other items directly to their designated storage spots.

Consider “One In, One Out”

Counteract adding new pieces over time, which eats up space, by pairing each purchase with donating something you no longer wear.

Do a Yearly Deep Clean

Use annual deep cleaning as an opportunity to reassess your storage setup. Look for new problem areas or wasted space to improve.

Overhead Storage Ideas for Hard-to-Reach Places

High shelves and the ceiling space of small closets tend to become a wasteland for random, rarely-used items. But this prime real estate can be better utilized with some savvy storage solutions.

Use Hanging Organizers

Hanging shelf units or triangle-shaped organizers that attach to the closet rod create an overhead storage spot for items you access infrequently like luggage, gift wrap, or even small appliances like an iron.

Install Pull-Down Racks

Attach retractable pull-down racks just under the ceiling to conveniently stow odds and ends then tuck completely out of sight when not needed. Helpful for stashing overflow clothing or bulky outerwear in the off-season.

Custom closet with unused corners

Take Advantage of Unused Corners

Stash stackable bins or closet rod hanging shelves that mount diagonally into wasted corner space above. Great for shoes, purses, accessory storage, or seasonal items relocated based on the time of year.

Smart Ideas for Shoe Storage and Accessories

Between heels, sneakers, sandals, and boots, shoes easily eat up precious floor space. Getting this footwear up off the ground opens up room for outfit organization.

Small custom closet with tall shoe rack

Use Wall Space Creatively

Take shoe storage vertically with wall-mounted racks. Hang over-the-door canvas holders for everyday pairs or slide-out trays for dress heels. Even rail shelving for foldable shoe boxes can be anchored to walls above the floor.

Repurpose Household Items

An over-the-toilet storage rack instantly offers new shelf space perfect for shoes. Similarly, wall mounts a baking rack for DIY metallic shelving. Shower caddies placed on closet floors, walls, or hooks add neat column storage too.

Space-Saving Hanging Tips and Tricks

Maximizing every bit of available hanging rod and shelf space keeps clothing clutter in check. Implement these tips and tools for a petite closet that feels roomy.

Creative Solutions for Maximum Hanging Storage

When dealing with limited square footage, finding ways to maximize every inch of hanging space is imperative to keeping a petite closet feeling orderly. From grouping coordinate pieces to multi-layered rails, implement these innovative hanging storage ideas.

Streamline with Connected Outfits

Save space while also simplifying getting dressed by using double hangers to connect tops and bottoms into pre-styled mix-and-match outfits. Hang each hanger hook facing the same direction for easy scanning to pick a ready-to-wear look. This keeps items from multiple categories neat and together.

Section Off Styles

Carve out sections of the closet rod or shelves for particular styles using dividers. Have an area for workwear, one for dressy pieces, and another for casual weekend outfits. Sections make finding a certain type of clothing faster.

Cascading Rails Create Tiers

Make the most of vertical real estate by installing rails at staggered depths along the wall to allow hanging clothes from multiple levels. Shorter items in the front, longer pieces layered behind, achieving a tiered effect.

File Folder Approach for Folded Pieces

Rather than stacking folded garments in piles, stand them vertically in divided shelf cubes or narrow bins to access them more easily. Organizing folded items by category helps locate specific types faster too.


While small square footage presents some storage challenges, implementing creative solutions makes even the most cramped closet feel tidy. The key is maximizing every inch of vertical space through the installation of dual closet rods, wall-mounted shelving up to the ceiling, and unique space-saving accessories. Carefully edit and group wardrobe items and accessories into designated homes utilizing storage containers and dividers. Seasonal swap-outs and frequent purging prevent gradual overflow and clutter creep.

It does take some work to keep a petite closet organized, but the payoff is immeasurable. You’ll gain back precious time otherwise wasted searching for misplaced items. Outfit coordination becomes streamlined so you look pulled together even when dressing in a hurry. And perhaps most importantly, you’ll feel a sense of calm and control knowing everything has its place – no matter the size of your square footage. With some vision and these space-saving solutions, even the smallest closet can feel like a walk-in.

Picture of Engin Derecik
Engin Derecik

Business Owner at Onestop Kitchen and Bath. For more info, please visit LinkedIn.

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