There are practical ways to organize a small closet to maximize the space available and make it easy to find things and keep your closet neat. Unlike large closets that can get messy because of sheer size, a small closet tends to get over packed and jumbled. The trick to organizing a small closet lies in separating clothes by season and purpose, and relying on hanging options for everyday use and shelves for long term storage. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you sort out the clothes you hardly ever wear, to reduce the amount of stuff you need to organize in the first place. Here’s how you can organize your small closet in a couple of hours to make finding things easy and quick.
Winter or Summer
The most practical way to organize a small closet is to reduce the amount of stuff you have to organize. Since you won’t be wearing bulky sweaters and boots in winter, there’s no need for them to crowd your small summer closet. And, vice versa for summer shorts in winter. Most small closets have a high shelf on top, which is meant to make organizing the closet easier. Of course, no one can reach this shelf without a step ladder and typically the clothes dangle off it in a mess. But you can organize your small closet by tucking out-of-season clothes high above for long term storage. Put boots or sandals in a box and stick them on the shelf as well. With half your clothes and shoes gone, organizing a small closet will be much easier.
Just in Case
Before you start to organize your small closet take a look at what’s inside. If there’s a garment there that you can’t remember clearly, chances are you haven’t worn it in ages. The tendency to keep clothes just in case you’ll need them one day makes organizing a small closet unnecessarily difficult. If you haven’t worn it in over two months, it’s time to donate this garment to Good Will.
Shelves vs. Rods
Now that you have less clothes to deal with, it’s time to organize your small closet in such a way that will stay organized for more than a week. If you only have shelves in your closet, consider taking a shelf out and adding a closet rod for hanging clothes (here’s my article on how to install closet rods). With shelves, you have to look through stacked, folded clothes. Chances are you’ll mess the pile and pretty soon your small closet will need to be organized again. But if you hang the clothes you wear most often, you’ll reduce the need to make a mess.
Hang pants as well as shirts, and use hangers with slits to prevent clothes from slipping off and ending on the floor. Organize your small closet for easy access by hanging the clothes in groups reflective of how you wear them; the right shirt beside the right pants. You can also choose to organize your small closet by color code, and then you can find matching garments by their shade.
Organize the shelves in your small closet by creating stacks of similar items, folded neatly by color. Such items should be suitable for folding, like bulky sweaters (that fare poorly when hung), or T-shirts and jeans. Keep similar items together, so you’ll never have to wonder which pile is the short T-shirts and which the long.
If you don’t have an underwear drawer, organize your small closet with small shoe boxes. Keep sox separate from underwear. Bras separate from stockings.
Organize the floor of your small closet as well as its shelves. Build a simple shoe rack to pile all your shoes together in order (here’s my article on how to build a wooden shoe rack). Don’t hang long items just above your shoe rack, or you’ll never be able to see the shoes. Vacuum the floor of your closet when you clean the room, just in case things ever do fall on the floor despite all your closet organizing efforts.
Belts and Ties
You can buy a tie or belt hanger that you can keep on your closet rod, but it’s easier to organize your small closet by hammering nails on the side wall and hanging your ties and belts out of the way.
If you don’t have a light in your small closet, you’ll likely end up making a mess again no matter how much your try to keep things organized. Look for battery operated lights that you can hang from the wall or ceiling. Motion detector lights are best because they will come on as you open the closet door. But even a cheap flashlight will do, if you hang it low so you can switch it on as needed.