Getting Creative with Your Closet Space

Big or small, your closet collects clutter and can easily become the most daunting room to clean up and organize. Whether it be your yearly spring cleaning or the wall of clothes that you’ve been tossing into the void that is your closet finally topples over, it may be time to get establish a creative and functional system of organization and storage. Our friends at Utopia Management, apartment managers in San Jose, have seen their fair share of closet designs and shared these ideas with us.

The Great Purge

First things first, pull everything out. Oftentimes seeing the bulk of what you’ve been storing in your closet makes you comprehend just how much space it is taking up. Before you begin organizing and making space for items you no longer need or wear, declutter your wardrobe and clean your carpet. Having an empty closet allows you to visualize a neatly organized space and decide where things should live. Establish sell, recycle, and donate piles and thoughtfully sift through every item. This frees up space and allows for a fresh start.

Introduce a Dresser

If you have the space, a small or full-size dresser can make all of the difference on the path to a well-organized closet. Having drawers to nest smaller articles of clothing like tank tops or under shirts/ workout clothes and basketball shorts frees up rack and shelf space. You also gain surface space for jewelry stands or trays for sunglasses and accessories.

Replace Closet Doors

Freshen up the overall look and accessibility by replacing the doors to your closet. This can reintroduce the overall look of your bedroom too. If space is tight and you have a hinged door that swings outward, consider a sliding door or panel. Sliding barn doors are in, and add a rustic cozy appearance to the room. Or consider ditching the accordion panels and opt for a curtain with bold patterns to liven up the space.

Install wall shelves

Shelves are a universal solution to organization. Not everything can be hung up, and shelves can be used to store anything from shoes to jeans to sweaters that you don’t want getting stretched out from a hanger. These will also make for great storage space for baskets and storage bins which we’ll get into below. More shelf space means less clutter on the rack.

Make use of all vertical space

Assess any and all vertical space in your closet and consider hooks or bars for scarves, belts and other accessories. Small eye hooks are perfect for hanging and organizing jewelry, and check out this DIY for the perfect sunglass storage! When working with a small closet, make every square inch count!

Baskets and Fabric Drawers

Baskets are a cute and functional solution to anything that doesn’t need to be hung up. They can also be used for seasonal storage when it’s summer time and those wool sweaters get benched until the temperature drops.

Closet Organizers

If you’re strapped for space, closest organizers like this one here are affordable and can come in handy for nice and clean vertical storage. There are also options for cloth pockets that hang on the back of the door to house shoes, purses or hair accessories.

Storage Containers and Bins

Storage containers and bins are great for storage because they are easily stacked and organized. Items like purses and hats which easily become cluttered and take up space can live in storage bins where they are protected from dust and losing shape. Shallow enough bins can also be stowed beneath beds should you require a little extra space.

Organize Clothes with a Purpose

This is a great way to get the most use out of your wardrobe. If you choose to organize by season, all winter coats and scarves, etc. get tucked toward the back of the closet or stored in the nifty baskets mentioned above, and bring the spring and summer wear to the forefront. You can also organize by color and even frequency of wear, but just remember to put clothes back in that order to maintain your system and organization.

Specialty Hangers

If you have a ton of items to hang, there are a variety of hangers that save rack space and prevent your hangars from getting tangled. If you’re feeling innovative, you can use common household items like shower curtain rings and soda can tabs. Take the shower curtain rings and hook them onto the base of a hanger to loop scarves or ties through. Soda tabs can be used to pair like shirts together by looping one hanger’s hook through the top tab hole, and a second hanger through the button tab hole.

Get a Step Stool Specifically for the Closet

How many times have you just thrown jeans or a jacket up on the top shelf of your closet? When it comes time to get them back down, you pull at a leg or an arm and everything else that’s been tossed up there comes with it. Don’t feel ashamed, we’ve all done it. Do yourself a favor and get a step stool that lives in the closet specifically for that top shelf. When you can reach the space, you can properly organize and use it to its full potential.

Keep it Up!

Instead of waiting to the point of “I HAVE to clean out my closet,” try to tackle it every six months. Keeping up with your space and maintaining a level of organization will ensure that you never get to the point of desperation that requires you to gut your entire closet and start fresh. Setting up a time to reassess the clothing that you’ve worn or haven’t even touched through the duration of six months to a year will help you determine the articles that you really enjoy and would like to purchase more and the items that you can stand to part with and donate or sell.

Organizing in general can feel intimidating. But opening your closet doors to a well-organized and aesthetically pleasing sight will relieve you from stress and save you time in the long run.

Sana Ahmed

Sana Ahmed, an alumnus of the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in Interior Architecture, has been influential in design writing since 2014. Joining our editorial team as a freelancer in 2021, Sana combines technical knowledge and aesthetic sensibility. Sana's approach to writing combines practicality with a flair for contemporary trends. Her experience includes working with renowned design firms and participating in international design workshops. Sana advocates for sustainable living and enjoys creating upcycled art in her free time.

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