12 Clever Storage Ideas For Small Closets (With Pictures)

In Living smallby Kate Holmes

Here are some clever storage tips to help you get the most out of your tiny closet.

Hang High & Low

If you have a smaller closet that can truly only fit a rack of clothing, try to avoid hanging on your clothes on one level.

Hanging clothes from the top rod will eliminate over half of your closet space.

Instead, use tension rods to add different levels to your closet.

The best way to achieve this is to sort your clothes out.  Clothes that are longer, like dresses or long pants, should be layered at the very end of the top rod.  For extra measure, you can always use two hangers for one long item in order to fold it up.

You can also full up the space underneath the hangers with drawers as Morten and Maria (founders of GoDownsize) have in their homemade closet system:

Fill in the rest of the top rod with blouses and suit jackets so that they are directly at eye level.  Once you have your top rack filled-in, you can now gauge how low your tension rod can be placed.

Ideally, you would want a couple of inches between the bottom of your top clothes to the top of the bottom rod.

The lower level is perfect for pants folded in half, shorts and t-shirts.

The most important thing to remember is that you want the clothes you wear more often at eye level.  This will help to keep you from making a mess out of your beautifully organized closet. 

The best part about this trick is that it is easy on the wallet.

Since tension rods only run for a couple of bucks, you can get a totally revamped closet on the cheap!

Shoe Organizers Make Wonders

Shoe organizers are a great tool to get the most out of your tight closet space.  Best of all, they are great for much more than just shoes.

In fact, you should avoid hanging your shoes over the door if possible.  If you need to store your shoes in your closet, try getting a shoe tower instead!

A shoe tower is a customizable shoe rack that sits on the floor.  You can add different levels and shoe spots depending on how much you need to store.  Best of all, this rack fits perfectly in the back corner of any closet which helps keep the clutter out of sight.

When it comes to the hanging shoe rack, you have options!

These racks hang perfectly over the back end of the closet door.

Each space is individually separated so that you can organize your shoes without touching the other.

Shoes on door storage organizer

This also allows you to neatly separate other things within this organization rack.

Here are some of the best ways to use the organization space of a hanging shoe rack:

  • Tie organization
  • Sock holder
  • Makeup and toiletries 
  • Jewelry
  • Keepsakes
  • Belts 
  • Hats and scarfs

When it comes to storing clutter in hanging shoe racks – your options are endless!  See what items in your closet need to be individually organized and go from there!

Shelving Reimagined

One major way to get creative with organizing your small closet is to use shelving.  Some people don’t like to add shelves to their closet in fear of taking up too much space.

But, with the right position planning and organization, shelving can make all the difference to a small closet.

It is also important to remember that shelves come in all different sizes and styles.  So, if you are worried about not having space to hang your clothes, consider corner shelves.  Corner shelves fit perfectly into the back corner of any closet.

This is a great place to store important things like purses and keepsakes that you don’t want touching the floor.

However, there is one genius way to use shelving that can transform your closet into a workable space.  This is the use of a hinged desk shelf.  You can easily install this type of shelf in the back of your closet or even on the door if it will support it.

With the right hardware and support, this shelf transforms into a foldaway desk.  This way you not only store items in your closet, but use it as an attached workspace.  This works great as a vanity or even a pop-up work desk depending on what you need.

Combining corner shelving with hinged desk shelving will help to make your tiny closet feel more like an extension of your room.  The trick is to reimagine the space as more than just a place to store things.

With a little bit of creativity and some killer shelves – your closet can be more.

Hook It Up!

One space in small closets that is often forgotten about is the wall space.  When we think of closets we tend to think of long hanging rods with a single shelf.

But, when you start to reimagine the possibilities, you can find that you can almost double your storage space.

One great way to utilize the wall space in your closet is to add hooks.  If you are renting and worry about damaging the walls – we got you covered!  There are tons of styles of hooks from installed hooks to ones that use adhesive.

Adhesive hooks work with special putty in order to preserve the walls. 

These hooks come off clean and leave no damage or residue.

Adding hooks to the walls of the closet gives you one more place to hang things.  This is a great place to hang scarfs, belts, bags and even jewelry you want to organize.  However, when adding hooks to your closet walls, there is one space that is often forgotten about.  This is the door!

The inside of the closet door is the perfect place for larger hooks to hang towels and robes. 

If you are worried about hanging bulky things on small hooks, there is another option.  Over the door towel racks are perfect for inside of closets.  This type of hardware has several different hooks and some even feature a small shelf.

The best part about over the door hangers is that they don’t need to be screwed into the wall.  As long as there is enough space at the top of the door, a hanging rack will snuggly fit without any damage.  Using hooks is one of the best ways to get the most out of tight closet spaces.

Stay Organized

The Hanger-tip!

The Hanger-tip!

No matter how you choose to get the most out of your closet, one thing is very important.  This is to stay organized.

All of your hard work will be for nothing if you can’t actually find what you are looking for.

Not only do cluttered closets make it impossible to find anything, but it will also eat up any useable space.

One great way to organize even the smallest of closets is to use clear tower-style drawers with labels.  These types of units can fit snuggly on any shelf and are a great way to keep little things together.

This is the perfect place for craft supplies, tools and even odds and ends that would be headed for the junk drawer.

Pairing tower units with labels can help you easily find what you need.  Most of the time, closets get cluttered because we are frantically searching for exactly what we need.  With labels and organization drawers, everything you need will be clearly within view.

For extra measure, try color coordinated these tower organizers.  Using scrapbook or craft paper, you can color code your items for even easier access.

Humans are visual beings.

We need to be able to clearly see things in order to get the most use out of them.  The best way to make your organization pop is which a splash of color!

space optimized hangers for clothes

Hanging Baskets

Tension rods are great for more than just adding an extra rack of clothes to your cramped closet.  One of the best ways to utilize tension rods as a way to hang organization baskets.

All you need is a couple of tension rods and some hooks.

Any of these items can easily be found at your local hardware or big box store.

First, you want to measure the width of your closet.

You want to make sure to get a rod that is slightly larger so that there is enough tension to keep it in place. This is an important step because you want the rod to be able to support the weight of the baskets without collapsing.

Next, you will want to figure out what is the best use of the hanging baskets.  If you don’t have enough space for a dresser, this may be the perfect place for socks and underwear.

The best part about using baskets is that they are so versatile and you really can put just about anything in them.

You can also hang scarfs etc. on the inside of the door to the closet:

My Closet

Let’s face it.

We don’t always use our closets for just clothing.  This is especially true if you live in an older home without any storage space.  This is why our bedroom closets tend to be the places that collect the most clutter.

So whether you need to store clothing or tools, using hanging baskets is a great place to start.

Wrapping It Up!

We have all seen those hilarious commercials of people comically getting lost in a cluttered closet.  In this case, life certainly imitates art!  When living space becomes so limited by stuff, the only means of escape is a perfectly organized closet.

Using these simple tricks is a great way to elevate your closet from just a place to store things to a place you can be proud of.  Best of all, all of these tricks are low-budget and easy to do on your own.

Who needs a fancy closet organizer when you have a little bit of imagination and determination.

Whether you are renting or buying, the options to expand a small closet are endless.  The most important thing to remember is that it needs to work for your specific needs.

Start by measuring your closet and making a list of what you really need to store.

From there, use a combination of hooks, shelves, and baskets.  At the end of the day, you will have a beautifully organized closet where all your things are easily within reach.  What’s better than that?  Good luck!