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5 Smart Designs for Small Closets

Whether you’re used to shoving clothes and shoes into small closets, or you’re moving into your dream home with the exception of the barely-there wardrobes, you can still work with space you have to create fully functional—and organized—closets. The trick? Be intentional about how you want to use your space. 

Tired of having messy, cluttered closets or concerned your small spaces are going to overflow soon? Follow these five simple steps to creating the best designs for tiny closets. 

1: Use the space under your clothing wisely 

Many closets, no matter the size, have bars or racks for hanging your clothes, and the space underneath is usually used to toss shoes. Instead of just filling this open space with whatever will fit, create an organized system of storage so your closet can remain neat and tidy. 

For example, if you realign your clothes bar to be higher in the space, you’ll have more room below. With this extra space, you can add built-in shoes shelves that come from the wall, as well as add built-in cabinets, drawers, and shelving so you can keep additional clothing neatly packed, have a specific place for shoes, and extra storage for anything from your jewelry, hobbies (such as cameras or knitting supplies), and all your hats, scarves, and winter wear. 

Before you hire a contractor to come in and build out the closet you can’t wait to use, take an inventory of what’s currently in it and what you’d like to be stored. This will help you understand the types of shelving and storage cabinets you’ll need built. 

If you’re not ready to take the construction plunge, try buying containers and smaller drawer units from places like the Container Store or Ikea to see what works best for your space—and what doesn’t. Then when you’re ready, your contractor will be able to help you design the perfect closet. 

2: Consider replacing your closet door 

Small closets come in many shapes. From long and narrow to square and compact. No matter which type you have, the door that leads to your space may be inhibiting how it’s used. 

Let’s say you have a long, yet narrow closet with just one regular door to open it. Squeezing in and trying to find what’s on the other side is an annoyance that needn’t be. Instead of keeping a poorly functioning door, you can install sliding doors. This will allow you to easily grab what you need from any end of your closet without the irritation of having to climb through a small space just to get the pair of pants you want. 

3: Stock up on baskets and canvas storage boxes

So, now you have the coveted built-on shelves and they look spectacular and everything’s in its place—for about a week. Open shelving looks stunning, if you can keep it perfectly neat, which for most busy people, is difficult to do. To help maintain the open feeling you’ve created with your small closet space, add wicker, canvas, or even wood storage boxes to your shelves for added order. 

Instead of your socks or t-shirts or jeans being stacked on shelves where it’s only a matter of time before they become cluttered piles, you can neatly organize your items and maintain the sleek and clean look you intended by adding shelves in the first place. 

4: Add another level 

Most closets come equipped  with one hanging rod for your entire wardrobe. If you have a significant amount of clothes, this means you likely have a closet filled to the brim with clothing that you can barely push aside to find what you need. To make your small closet work better for you, add a second or even third layer or hanging rods. 

By moving the longest rod higher in your closet, then installing one of two short rods below, you can hang more, organize more, and maintain a better system to keep your closet clean. The important thing is to measure out your spacing accurately. If you choose to “wing” it, you’ll run into your clothes hanging all over one another and creating even more chaos than with which you started. It’s best to hire a professional who can measure and level out your additional hanging rods so your closet is pristine and perfectly measured. 

5: Add a dresser 

Dressers are usually found on the outside of closets somewhere else in a room. However, if you’re looking to use your small closet space for everything it’s worth, it may be advantageous to add a dresser. When you hang clothing rods high, you create additional space below. Adding either a half size or full size dresser in this space will give you more storage for additional clothing—or whatever you’d like to use it for—while also giving you a makeshift shelf. You can add storage baskets and additional bins on the dresser’s top, making the most use. 

If you don’t want to take up all the bottom space with a full dresser, get a smaller one, or build one into your wall, and use the rest of the space for a shoe rack, shelves, or a separate smaller dresser. When you work with contractors, you can design the types of dressers you need and have them seamlessly built into your space for optimal functionality. 

No matter how small your closet is, there is potential for you to use every inch of it well. Design is a large part of this process, so if you’re not comfortable with doing this on your own, give us a call. We’re happy to help you design and build organizational systems to make your small closet feel big. 

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