20 Tips for Organizing Small Closets That Will Double Your Storage Space

Put every inch to work with these brilliant closet organizers.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Hangers in Cloet
Wayfair

When space is at a premium at home, utilizing every inch counts. This holds especially true in a snug closet, where proper organization can mean the difference between a calm morning routine and absolute clothing chaos. But fear not—the boutique-worthy display of your dreams is still within reach, with help from a few small closet organization ideas and some streamlined organizers.

Don't get us wrong—these closet organizing ideas are great for any space, so you'll find them useful no matter what your square footage. But if you call a bitsy studio, dorm room, or starter home your own, you're going to want to pay extra close attention.

Who knows—organizational bliss could be just one click away.

Use Dividers on Shelves

The Container Store Clear Shelf Divider

The Container Store clear shelf divider

The Container Store

If you've ever stored your sweatshirts or sweaters on the top shelf of your closet only for them to quickly resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you know how necessary an organizational method can be for that area. Enter: shelf dividers. They slide onto the shelf and act is a barrier between stacks. You can use as many as you need and they can be placed however far apart you want, which is great if you're dealing with pieces of different widths.

Use "Floating" Space

mDesign Soft Fabric Over Closet Shelving Hanging Storage Organizer

mDesign Soft Fabric Over Closet Shelving Hanging Storage Organizer

Amazon

You can add an extra layer of shelving with nary a screw or hammer in sight, thanks to sturdy fabric drawers that firmly velcro to the underside of an existing metal wire shelf. This extra drawer space is great for stashing socks or underwear in a small closet.

Double Up Your Hanging Space

SimpleHouseware Adjustable Closet Hanging Rod in Chrome

SimpleHouseware Adjustable Closet Hanging Rod, Chrome

Amazon

If you use your closet mostly for hanging shirts, jackets, and blouses, you've probably found yourself with a good amount of space available below your standard clothing rod that is just going to waste. Make the most of that extra room with an adjustable rod that adds another layer of hanging space in your closet, then divvy up your clothes between the two (or use it as an excuse to snag a few pieces you've had your eye on).

Utilize the Back of Your Door

West Elm Over-The-Door Hanging Organizer

4.9

When you're figuring out how to organize a small closet space, the backs of closet doors are classic untapped real estate. To get the most out of this space, invest in the right organizer. Look for a sturdy piece that can easily house your go-to accessories (think: hats, scarves, and shoes).

Streamline Your Hangers

Squared Away Velvet Slim Suit Hangers with Chrome Hook in White

Squared Away velvet slim hangers in closet

Bed Bath & Beyond

It may seem surprising, but mismatched hangers can actually add a good deal of unexpected bulk to a small closet—not to mention, they make everything feel a bit more haphazard. Splurge on a set of slim, streamlined hangers (like velvet-lined ones) for an insta-makeover that will have your whole wardrobe feeling fresh.

Stack Your Shoes

The Container Store Small Drop-Front Shoe Box Case Of 6

A set of 6 drop-front shoe boxes

The Container Store

Shoe racks are great in theory, but they can easily hide your favorite styles and still appear a bit messy. Instead, consider stacking a bunch of acrylic shoe boxes to house your beloved collection. Designs with drawers are even better, as they'll allow you to remove and replace the pair inside without unstacking an entire tower.

Add a Small Dresser

Cyber Monday Steal

Urban Outfitters Rylee 3-Drawer Dresser

Urban Outfitters Rylee 3-Drawer Dresser

Urban Outfitters

If your closet is deep but slightly narrow, tucking a dresser inside can actually be an unexpected and brilliant way to double (or even triple!) your storage. There are plenty of compact styles that are just over two feet wide, lending you the flexibility to stash your pants, undergarments, and more out of sight.

Add Clothing Categorizers

Creationbuffet Western Red Cedar Closet Organizers Hang-Ups

Creationbuffet Etsy hanging closet dividers

Etsy

A set of clothing categorizers that labels sections for shirts, pants, and dresses can help you assemble an outfit quickly. While they're typically seen in the closets of babies and toddlers, they're useful for basically anyone with a wardrobe (aka you!) and can be a great way to achieve at-a-glance organization.

Maximize Hanging Storage

Yamazaki Black Smart Storage Space Up Hanger

Yamazaki Black Smart Storage Space Up Hanger

The Container Store

To multiply the number of button-downs and blouses a small closet can hold, invest in clever closet hangers. When only one side of each hanger is clipped to the clothing rod, you can hang several shirts in each spot.

Vacuum Seal Out-of-Season Clothes

Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags

4.7
Vacuum Storage Bags

Amazon

Small-closet owners know all too well the pain of having to switch out their wardrobe seasonally. It's an annoying but necessary task, so having the right gear can help it go more smoothly (and protect your clothes in the long run). Look for vacuum seal bags that can hold two to three times their volume—waterproof or bug-proof styles are an added plus.

Install a Coat Rack

H&M Wooden Wall Hanger Rack

H&M Wooden Wall Hanger Rack

H&M

Traditionally seen in mudrooms and entryways, coat racks can actually be a useful addition to a small closet, too. Whether you hang one on an interior wall to corral scarves or on the back of the door to organize belts, there are endless ways they can be put to use. Bonus: Accordian styles can be flexed to be as long or short as your space dictates!

Try a Rolling Cart

Squared Away 3-Tier Narrow Utility Storage Cart

Is your closet also where you store makeup, hair care products, and the like? Then you need a slim rolling cart, which can be easily moved in and out of your closet (and around your room) as needed to help streamline your morning routine.

Use Shower Curtain Hooks

UNCONSIL Rust Resistant S Shaped Hooks

Gold Shower Curtain Hooks
Amazon

If your preferred method of storing your pants is hanging them up in your closet, allow us to introduce you to the glory that is the shower curtain hook. Also known as S-hooks, they're a great way to hang up your pants by the belt hook on your clothing rod—you may have even seen this method used in store displays before (Gap, we're looking at you!).

Fold Like a Pro

Geniusidea Shirt Foding Board

Blue clothing folder
Amazon

Raise your hand if you worked retail and still rely on those methods to fold your wardrobe. A proper folding technique is truly an invaluable skill and can easily mean the difference between fitting five sweaters and 15 sweaters in your closet. If you need to brush up on your skills, snag a folding board to make quick work of laundry day and keep things looking neat and tidy.

Corral in Baskets

World Market Mari Natural Seagrass Utility Basket

Mari Woven Utility Baskets
World Market

If maintaining a strict organizational scheme isn't quite your style, you can still lend the illusion of tidiness to your closet with a few strategically-placed baskets. Plop them on a shelf or use them to corral different types of shoes on the floor of your closet.

Hang Your Pants in Tiers

The Twillery Co. Mercado Plastic Non-Slip Multi-Layer Hanger for Scarf

The Twillery Co. Mercado Plastic Non-Slip Multi - Layer Hanger for Scarf

Wayfair

Hot take: Tiered hangers are one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century. With the width of just one hanger, they can hold several pairs of pants, ensuring your closet (and your pleats) stays prim and proper. Hint: look for a velvet-covered design for extra grip.

Keep a Donation Bin Nearby

Brightroom Wooden X-Frame Hamper Gray Diamond Print

Brightroom Wooden X-Frame Hamper Gray Diamond Print

Target

Part of the difficulty in achieving an organized closet stems from hanging onto clothes that no longer serve you. This elimination process is especially important in smaller spaces, where every piece has to serve a purpose and make you happy. To help wrangle the pieces that have paid their dues, put a small basket in your closet (or nearby) so you can set them aside the moment you're ready to move on. This collapsible hamper can be stowed away when you don't have any donations to collect.

Introduce Flexible Shelving

HDAIUCOV Expandable Shelf

HDAIUCOV Tension Shelf, Expandable Shelf, Adjustable Shelves for Closet

Amazon

If your closet doesn't already boast shelving, you could be missing out on a seriously helpful way to streamline your space. Luckily, adding a few of your own doesn't have to involve a weekend DIY. Look for designs that have the ability to expand to fit the width of your closet and watch your available storage space double instantly.

Buy a Valet Rod

Deltana 7" Solid Brass Valet Hook

Gold Valet Rod
Build.com

Are you the kind of person that likes to lay out their outfit the night before work or packs for vacation at least a week in advance? If so, you need to invest in a valet rod ASAP. Install one in the corner of your closet and choose a style that has the ability to fold up or down as needed. This small closet organizer keeps specific outfits together so getting ready is a breeze.

When in Doubt, Fake It

17 Stories Reavis Garment Rack

Reavis Garment Rack

Courtesy of Wayfair

Anyone who has ever called a snug studio apartment home knows that sometimes closets simply don't exist in a small space. If that's the hand you've been dealt, turn to a comprehensive clothing rack to act as your closet instead. The ideal piece will have a variety of ways to store your clothes (think: rods and shelves), plus a spot for accessories like shoes.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles