Organizing small closets

Dear Kathi,

I have a really hard time storing my clothes. My closet is very small and I can’t get everything to fit inside. How can I optimize my incredible shrinking closet?

Cathy O, Cardiff


Use as much vertical space as possible within your closet.
Maximize your overhead closet space by installing a long shelf just above the clothes bar. If you already have a long shelf, see if there is enough space to add another above it. Use shelf dividers to keep your piles neat. Baskets also keep items separated and tidy. This is a smart spot for jeans, sweaters and bulky wardrobe items.
Stack 2-4 shoe shelves next to your closet to free up the interior shelf space. If you have a large vertical area just outside of your closet, consider adding a tall bookshelf.
Increase the use of your new exterior shelves by adding pre-made drawers or shallow boxes that fit on each shelf. These lightweight drawers are handy for delicate items. If you are on a budget, you can use shoe or gift boxes. Simply apply a coat of bright paint that coordinates with your room colors and you have a well put together look. If you wish to camouflage your shelved items, hang a piece of fabric or a roll-up blind to fit the front of your shelf.
Install a few hooks strategically on the inside walls of your closet to stow your pajamas and other daily wear items.
Use the back of your door to add space to your closet.
Install a thin drapery or towel rod on the inside of your closet door to hang folded scarves & belts. Gloves & other small items can also be kept here with shower curtain clips attached to the rod.
Remember, most importantly, purge your wardrobe as you are optimizing your closet. Keep in mind that you probably only wear 20% of the clothes that you are storing. Releasing clothing items will make your usable space much more rewarding.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

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