How to Maximize Your Closet Space

Ten easy ways to make more room for your wardrobe.

If you're discouraged by a small closet, take heart: There are plenty of ways to make your space more streamlined and organized—and make it seem bigger. With the right organizing products, a few decorating tricks, and a little patience; you might find that tiny closet is actually just right. Major bonus: These ideas don't cost a fortune. Here, three experts open the doors.

01 of 10

Throw out clothes that don't fit.

Donation box full of clothes
Designating a place where you can put items you want to donate will prompt you to eliminate clutter before it has a chance to pile up. Try keeping a bin easily accessible. You could keep it tucked away in a hall closet or consider stowing it in the trunk of your car—then you won’t have to do any heavy lifting when the bin is filled and it’s time to donate. Toss in old toys, ill-fitting clothing, and other unused items regularly; when the bin is full, give the items away and start over. Related: 5 Common Sources of "Micro Clutter" Lurking Around Your Home . Lisa Romerein/Getty Images

After tossing pieces you no longer wear or haven't used in a year—and the ones that long ago went out of style—zero-in on the clothes that are too tight. "People think hanging on to smaller sizes will inspire them to lose weight, but you can only wear the size that fits you right now—you never change a size overnight," says Julie Morgenstern, a professional organizer and author of Organizing from the Inside Out.

If you have diet plans, store your tighter clothes elsewhere and bring them back after you reach your goals. The act of swapping out larger sizes for smaller ones might even make you feel more accomplished.

To store those aspirational pieces you'll soon be wearing, pick up a few durable storage containers like the MISSLO Oxford three-piece set. Its durable design—with metal zipper and airtight closures—means no dust, dirt, or mold can enter while your goods are stored. And, the set's fabric design means you can collapse them when you're done using them.

To buy: $24 at

02 of 10

Remove the clutter.

This means more than clothes, shoes, and accessories. "Remove those plastic coverings that come with your dry cleaning," says Lisa Zaslow, an organization and productivity expert and owner of Gotham Organizers. "They actually don't protect your clothes because they trap dry cleaning chemicals. It's also shocking how much space they take up."

To maximize space, opt for thinner hangers and remove most of the empty ones, leaving just a handful in one spot so they're easy to find and use. You might be tempted to try stacking or cascading hangers, but they can be hard to maintain. Before you invest in this type of product, make sure you can easily grab clothes from them.

For the best bang for your buck, order a 50-pack of hangers from Amazon made from no-slip velvet material. They keep all your garments safely in place, and their ultra-thin design means you can hang more clothing in less space.

To buy: $25 at

03 of 10

Remember the floor space.

Coat closet with clothes short to long
Bob Hiemstra

"If you have lots of long-hanging clothes, the whole bottom of the closet can become a no-man's land," says Morgenstern. "Group your short-hanging pieces at one end of the closet and your longer-hanging clothes at the other—that will open up lots of floor space, where you can place a little dresser or a stacking shoe rack."

Once you can see your closet floor, treat yourself to a Honey-Can-Do Bamboo 3-Tier Shoe Shelf. It's environmentally friendly, can hold up to 12 pairs of shoes, and thanks to its compact design, can fit in just about any-sized closet.

To buy: $62 at

04 of 10

Add lighting.

If looking into your closet is like staring into the abyss, illuminate it. "Just having more light in the closet will make it seem bigger," says Zaslow. One option is to swap out your normal rod for an LED closet rod that is motion-activated and battery-operated.

For an easier and more economical fix, purchase a 4-pack of HOLKPOILOT Puck Lights, which simply stick onto walls and other surfaces. As an added bonus, the lights come with remote control, timer, and dimmer features so you'll never get lost in the dark.

To buy: $19 at

05 of 10

Make use of the upper shelf.

Closet top shelf with dividers
Jonny Valiant

Sure, you can stack storage bins on the upper shelf, but consider a shelf divider, which turns the space into little cubbies so clothes and accessories are easy to see and grab. "You can use them to separate stacks of folded clothing, so that they don't topple into each other and create a big mess," Morgenstern says. "Or, they can keep your handbags upright and accessible."

Once you've divided the top shelf, buy a three-pack of foldable storage bins to organize the small stuff.

To buy: $23 at

06 of 10

Hang a mirror or two.

"Mirrors are a great way to create the illusion of a bigger closet, whether they're attached to the door or inside," says Lisa Adams, owner of LA Closet Design. "They make the closet feel like it extends beyond the walls."

But, don't go for just any old mirror. Instead, up the ante with a Giantex wall-mounted jewelry armoire that has a full-length mirror to boot. This way, you can simply hang the mirror over your closet door, with the added bonus of a lockable jewelry storage unit to boot.

To buy: $204 at

07 of 10

Paint it a lighter color.

Organized closet painted white
Bob Hiemstra

A fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive way to add the illusion of space. "I'd get a durable paint, such as one with a satin or gloss finish, because the walls will get some wear and tear from clothes and shoes," says Zaslow. "A light color—like white, light yellow, or pale pink—can make everything seem cleaner and brighter." Brighter hues also make a tiny spot seem more open and airy.

If you're adverse to painting or afraid to commit to a color, try a peel-and-stick wallpaper like Roommates' polka dot design. This way, you can test out a new look without having to live with it forever, and can change it up as often as you'd like.

To buy: $35 at

08 of 10

Don't count out corners.

"Corners are, too often, awkward and wasted," says Adams. "By adding corner shelves or corner hanging rods, you can really maximize that space."

For an easy corner shelving solution, look no further than Rubbermaid's FreeSlide wire shelving. It's simple to install and keeps your stuff in place until you're ready to use it. You can hang clothing from its bottom hooks, too.

To buy: $33 at

09 of 10

Use the doors.

Closet over-the-door shoe rack
Bob Hiemstra

"Hang hooks to store handbags, loungewear, pajamas, scarves, or belts on the inside of your closet door," says Morgenstern. "Or, line the door with corkboard to hang your jewelry on." If you have sliding doors, it can be hard to find things because a door is always blocking a portion of the space. Try some DIY projects to make your closet more accessible: "If you own your place, you can replace them with two doors that pull out or bifold doors," says Zaslow.

And over-door storage doesn't have to be plain. To add storage and keep your closet looking stylish, pick up mDesign's fabric closet storage organizer. The textured print looks great while added storage keeps your favorite items within reach.

To buy: $17 at

10 of 10

Maintain the space.

"If you've maximized your space and are at capacity, you should probably let something go whenever you bring something new in," says Zaslow. "If you've left a little room to grow, do some seasonal reorganization and put away clothes that you're not going to be wearing during those months."

To keep stock of which items to keep and which items to toss, read Marie Kondo's masterpiece, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Inside, Kondo teaches readers when to let go, and just how their life will improve once they do. Trust us, letting go, and clearing out your literal and metaphorical closet, is well-worth it.

To buy: $9 at

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