How to Create More Space in a Small Closet

Guide To Organizing A Small Closet

Create space in a small closet
How to Create more space in a small closet. Getty

If you have a small closet you're not alone: most homes, especially those built before the 1990s, were not built with a California Closets aesthetic in mind. That doesn't mean that you can't fit everything you need in your closet, but it may mean you need to be a little stricter with decluttering and a little more creative with storage. Think of this as a fun challenge, follow the steps below, and then use my guide to the best storage solutions.

1. Decluttering 

If you have a small closet, you need to declutter more regularly than the prescribed seasonal sweep. Real estate is truly at a premium so go through the steps of decluttering and be rigid about what you keep.

Between you and me, I think having a larger closet is actually not an advantage. More storage space allows people to keep more clutter around instead of donating, recycling or selling their no-longer-used duds. As we have discussed many times, clutter causes stress. Even if it's hanging in your closet or folded on a shelf, if you're not using something, if you're keeping it around for no good reason other than you're not sure what to do with it, or think you "might need it someday," it's clutter.

So small closet owners: you've got a leg up on the clutter front.

2. Go Vertical

Look upward for more storage space. The upper 25% of your closet is often under-used space.

Here's how to maximize it:

  • Install a double hang
  • Install adjustable shelving
  • Install an overhead storage rack

What should you store up top?

  • If you are storing off-season clothes in the closet, up top is a great storage space. This way you can still easily access the items you need, if for instance, you are traveling to another climate.
  • Fancy shoes you wear, but not that often. Tip: Try storing these in a labeled plastic shoebox.
  • Boxes of accessories like belts, hats, gloves, and scarves.

Don't forget to invest in a decent step stool. If you can't reach your higher-ups, there's really no point in using that space. Luckily there are a plethora of safe, sturdy and well-priced step stools on the market to give you the boost you need.

3. Use the Floor Wisely

I see the floor of my closet about 4 times a year when I do a seasonal sweep and re-organize it using the guide to Organize a Closet in 5 Steps. My closet floor is stacked 2 feet high with bins full of accessories like scarves, hats, clutches, handbags and tights.

You may use your closet floor for shoes and boots. If you're working with a small space, make sure you have a shoe rack that really fits so you are maximizing the space in this area.

Another good floor storage option is a cubby. I'm a huge fan of cubbies because they are such great multitaskers with the ability to hold a variety of different types of clothing, shoes and accessories.

4. Use the Closet Door

Like the floor, you want to make sure the door is maximized for storage space.

I recommend using a shoe storage rack that fits on or over the inside of your door to store lighter, frequently used items like jewelry, hair accessories, scarves, tights, ties and socks.

Another closet door option: hooks. Hooks can be used to hold items like jackets and bathrobes or to hang your next-day's-outfit up the night before.

Next, check out Small Closet Storage Solutions Guide to find my picks for the best hooks, shoe racks, double hangers, hangers and step stools for your closet.