Lack of closet space is the bane of domestic existence for many people, especially urban dwellers. Many of our fellow Washington, DC residents would swear that they live in the capital of small closets, but they may receive pushback from residents of other metropolises. In any case, a closet organizer for a small closet can be a big help. At Closet America, we know what you’re going through—we hear about it all the time—and we have some advice that just might turn your closet nightmares into closet dreams-come-true.
How Closet Organizers Can Solve Small Closet Problems
You will be amazed by how much you can fit in your reach-in closet. But that doesn’t mean towering piles on creaking shelves, shoes in another pile and rumpled clothing—at least, it shouldn’t have to. With a little creativity and some skillful designing, you can create a custom organizer for a small closet and solve several storage challenges at once.
Your most basic task is squeezing things in. When you have small closets, you want to fill them to capacity—but not to the point of overflowing. Sometimes it helps to start all over again with a fresh look at your storage challenges. Think of it as a puzzle—instead of figuring out how the pieces fit together, you’re figuring out how to fit them all into one (regrettable) tiny box of a closet. Here are a few ideas to illustrate ways of utilizing your small closets’ full storage potential with well-designed organizers.
Creatively Recombine Two Closets
If you have more clothes than linens, you might want to divide up the real estate accordingly. You could, for example, keep your suits in the top of your small clothes closet, with the bottom section given over to drawers for socks, underwear, and accessories. On the other hand, if those things don’t require that much drawer space, you could put in a file drawer instead. It’s an unobtrusive but accessible spot for all of those papers that you have to have but only rarely need to access.
Then, instead of leaving a few towels and sheets rattling around in a whole closet of their own, hang your shirts at the top of the linen closet. Install adjustable shelves or mount pull-out chrome baskets below the shirts and sort your linens into them.
Shelve Those Shoes Over There
You’ve really won the storage space lottery when you find a good place to put the shoes. Closet designers and organizational specialists will tell you that the most effective way to store shoes is to keep them all in one place. If you have them spread out around the house, they are almost certainly taking up more room than necessary. You can save quite a bit of precious floor space if your shoes can instead climb the walls on shoe shelves. This clever feature lines them up compactly and keeps pairs neatly together.
This might be one of those rare instances when the most effective storage solution is to move things out of the closet and into the general living space. If you need an extra countertop, you can steal a trick from the mudroom and have it built with shoe shelves beneath.
Make an Almost-All-in-One Closet
Multi-purpose spaces are a mainstay of both good organization and pleasing design. Consider the coat closet, for example. A hamper here might come in handy for keeping coats in need of washing properly stowed away until laundry day. Installing a wardrobe lift could help keep heavier coats you only wear a few times a year up and out of the way until winter comes back around. There might even be space next to the hamper for shelves, which could be used to hold any number of miscellaneous items—items that you might need to grab along with a coat on your way out the door, like a dog leash or an umbrella. If that area gets too crowded, you could add an over-the-door organizer too. That’s a tremendous amount of utility from a small space.
Underutilized pantries are another great opportunity to put this principle into action. If you have an underused reach-in pantry, clear out space elsewhere. Take the table linens out of the linen closet and place them in custom-made drawers in the pantry. If you still have a free shelf, move your cookbooks in there and enjoy that much more empty space in your living area. Then, if you want a truly decked-out pantry, install some LED backlighting on the food shelves to help you see what that is back there behind that big can of tomatoes. But remember that you don’t want to put household cleaners in there—food and chemicals don’t mix.
Custom Closet Organizers for Small Closets
Unique designs like these are deceptively simple. They make perfect sense, but the realities of construction can be more challenging than you might expect. That’s why the best way to get the closet you want is to hire experts to make it for you. Start with a design consultation with a closet design expert who can translate your needs and wants into a 3D model that will give you a crystal-clear idea of how it will all turn out—and then use that model to help you finally make the most of your limited closet real estate.
No closet is too tiny to manage—skilled closet organizers can turn even the smallest of closets into workable, even enjoyable, storage spaces. Whether it’s a cramped coat closet, puny pantry, or even a utility closet tucked away under the stairs, an expert designer’s help can make all the difference in transforming a tiny space into the most convenient thing in your home since sliced bread.