Help Me Obi Wan. My closet needs your help.

Is there any hope of managing a closet of this size? Have any of you with small closets found any good ways of storing all of your treasures?

This is all I have available to me for clothes storage in my very tiny house. We don't have room for a dresser or wardrobe.

This is what it looks like AFTER the great purge of 2011. I like 99% of what's in there right now.

We're renting, so no major construction is allowed.

Looking at this makes me feel bad, like I'm a wastefully materialistic person. I'm also embarrassed at how messy it is.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • velvetychocolate replied 8 years ago

    Just wanted to reassure you that your closet looks a lot like mine, and I am also renting temporarily as well. Sold off the house last year, big career move for my husband (moved out of state).

    The only thing I can suggest is some of those rolling racks that you can buy just about anywhere. I have one in the laundry room and one in the guest room. Do you have any extra bedrooms, or some space in a laundry room at all? The rolling garment racks *do* come in handy and can be found for around $20 or so.

    It's not's the closet!

  • Amy replied 8 years ago

    Thanks for the suggestion, VC. No extra bedrooms, unfortunately and our laundry machine is in the garage...perhaps I could kick one of my kids out, lol :)

  • lyn* replied 8 years ago

    Hey Amy! My closet is about 3/4 of your closet's size. I found a shelf meant for boots to divide the upper part into two layers; and then I used magazine dividers to separate out my goodies :)

    This is where I stole the idea:

    PS: I don't like Star Wars (Trekkie here!), but I like you, so I thought I'd help ;)

  • Angie replied 8 years ago

    Padawan, I would seriously consider getting California Closets to help out. They did the best job for one of my friends and one of my clients - whose closets are smaller than yours.

  • velvetychocolate replied 8 years ago

    Ack! Then I vote for a rolling rack placed in a corner of your bedroom and hanging your favourite clothes on it. I've seen this type of thing done, where someone has very limited space and ends up "decorating" their small space with their own clothes and accessories. The other alternative is placing a clothing rack and/or a bookshelf (with folded clothes on it) in a corner of your bedroom and then placing a decorative folding screen in front of it all.

    Just for the record - although I have a "laundry room" in the basement, I am living in an old Victorian-style house and there is no garage! The closets here are absurdly small. I might have to take over the front porch, which is huge. :)

    In the meantime, once again - it's not you - it's the lack of closet space, extra rooms. That said, I did buy a couple of these gizmos from Bed, Bath and Beyond recently and they are helping:

    Sweater organizer (pic #1):

    Shoe and boot organizer (pic #2):

    Maybe these might help a bit?

    Hang in there, I know what this is like ...nothing worse than trying to get "at" stuff in a closet that's just way too small.

  • Scarlet replied 8 years ago

    I would be totally flummoxed by such a small closet, if that makes you feel any better. It's not materialistic--it's a hobby. Maybe you could try rotating items in and out. Pack some things away and then reassess every 6 weeks or something?

  • Angie replied 8 years ago

    Oh glory. I just read that you are renting :(

    Ikea or the Container store?

  • Amy replied 8 years ago

    Thanks ladies. I appreciate all the help.

    Lyn, I'm a Trekkie too. You know what would be truly awesome? A closet which stores items using transporter technology...or something along the lines of the Enterprise's food service. Instead of "Earl Grey, hot," I'd say "Doc Martens, purple" and voila! My beloved boots would appear out of thin air.

  • lyn* replied 8 years ago

    Amy, you are completely awesome. Seriously.

  • Amy replied 8 years ago

    Sorry, Angie, I got side-tracked there by my fantasy world.

    What you said about California Closets was reassuring. That means something can be done. I'll investigate IKEA's options and/or the Container store.

    Scarlet, rotating some items out is a good idea. I'm not sure how much of an impact that will make since my dominant season lasts ten or so months out of the year ;)

    Lyn, that's a good idea with the shelf.

    VC, I'll take a look at things with a fresh eye tomorrow. Perhaps there is someplace where I could squeeze in a garment rack.

  • AJ replied 8 years ago

    I luv these tree branch ideas, but it would drive my hubby batty to see my clothes out like that. : (

    1) source:

    2) The shoe arrangement makes me smile.


  • krishnidoux replied 8 years ago

    Do you have room for a second wardrobe?
    For example:

    If you aren't too pinched get a wardrobe with a full length mirror door. Totally worth it.

  • Mander replied 8 years ago

    Baskets on the top shelf would help a lot, I think, if that is how your closet typically looks. It is much easier to reach up and grab, say, a basket full of socks and then find the ones you want than it is to try and neatly stack your sweaters on shelves like that. Or some kind of platform to create an extra shelf on top -- maybe something built from scrap wood, or even plastic crates turned on their sides?

    Is there enough clearance for one of those over-the-door organizers for the back side of the closet door? I use one that is meant to be a towel rack to store all my scarves and belts.

  • modgrl replied 8 years ago

    I am planning to install a Rubbermaid closet organizer in my tiny closet. It is ~$60 and if you are handy you can do it yourself. It will allow you to have two levels of hanging rods with a small amt of room for long hanging. I am also planning to purchase identical slim hangers to maximize space. They are an investment that you can take with you when you move. I know what it's like to live with a small closet in a 4 season climate and it isn't easy.

  • Jjsloane replied 8 years ago

    Sorry I tried to come up with a witty Yoda reply, but it's too early for my brain.
    I put Elfa (Container Store) in all my closets and LOVE it!) Ideally you could install so that you have long and short (double) hanging space and shelves.
    Without any construction (since you are renting) I can see already you have tons of space on top of the shelf and simply replacing hangers with the much thinner velvet type ("huggable hangers" - Bed Bath and Beyond has the Real Simple brand that are quite nice, Target has a brand but I've had a lot of those break)
    You can stack them (I put top and bottom together when planning outfits) Put that bin on the shelf. Get container store (or Costco has same ones) clear shoe boxes for your shoes, accessories (I have one for swimsuits, small purses, tights, scarves) and put up on shelf. Get a shoe rack or shelf for bottom (leaving room for laundry basket) Those hanging organizers can be good too if you end up with space for them. If there is any wall space for hooks hang belt hangers, scarves, jewelry etc..

  • Amy replied 8 years ago

    There really isn't much space above the shelf because the roof slants down toward the back. I couldn't put boxes or baskets up there.

    I like the idea of the rubbermaid closet organizer and those slim hangers!

    Mander, I'll look into those over the door organizers. It probably wouldn't work on my closet door, but I could put it on another door.

    Great ideas! Thanks!

  • Mo replied 8 years ago

    I actually happen to have baskets (a friend left behind) that do slant and might fit in your space - something to be on the lookout for! See in our coat closet, on the messy top shelf, lol? The right one is turned on its side so the opening is in front and the slant is near the back of the shelf.

  • Meredith1953 replied 8 years ago

    It's so hard when you rent!! A rolling clothing rack would work. Not aesthetically that attractive but hidden behind a folding screen?

  • Amy replied 8 years ago

    Ooh, Mo, I had no idea something like that existed. I'm off on the hunt. Thanks much!

  • Queen Mum replied 8 years ago

    what's in those plastic bins?
    I believe you when you say that you don't have extra closets, but I'm thinking the ONLY things that should be in your closet are clothing and shoes for the current season. Flat boxes that slide under your bed might be a good option for off season stuff.

  • Amy replied 8 years ago

    My bulky sweaters are in the plastic bins. I've got a shopping list for organizational items, including the flat boxes. Thanks QM

  • Jonesy replied 8 years ago

    Maybe I'm being daft but it looks like you have several feet of underused space on that shelf above the hanging stuff? I use space like that in my closet to stack my sweaters/knits.

  • O replied 8 years ago

    I know my comment is in no way constructive here... but, US Ladies, however small they look to you, you have no idea how BIG your closets actually are compared to UK or average European ones ;-)

  • Scarlet replied 8 years ago

    Maybe just a small Pax from Ikea--rental friendly, can be custom fitted with innards and only 20 inches wide, pictured here, but I originally saw it in Lonnymag, I just don't know which issue any more.

  • Amy replied 8 years ago

    Jonesy, I can't really use the shelf space because the roof slants down sharply over that. It looks bigger in this photo than it is. I can't fit an average sized shoe box there, for instance.

    Ornella, I hear you. This is a much bigger closet than was in my previous house, lol. I'm spoiled.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 8 years ago

    I hear ya Amy - this is my closet which is shared by hubby. I ended up installing a box closet system which I picked up at Walmart for very little. The centre tower works fabulously and holds sweaters and shoes and then you attach your hanging rod to the tower and the opposite wall. I installed one hanging rod for my side which accommodates dresses, blouses and jackets and use pants hangers (holds 6 pairs of trousers) and skirt hangers (holds 6 skirts) to maximize the hanging space. On hubby's side there two hanging rods - one higher up (he's 6'3" so can reach it) for his shirts/jackets and then one underneath for his pants. Our total closet is only 5 feet wide and 18 inches deep so it's all about making the most of tiny space. I then added a shelf above my side for purses, which I understand is probably not possible for your closet due to the sloping ceiling. The total unit cost me about $40 and I was able to install it all by myself in about 3 hours.

    P.S. Disregard the clothing in this closet - I took this picture about a month before I joined YLF so there are items in here that are no longer and new ones in their place.

  • Jonesy replied 8 years ago

    D'oh--now I see that you've explained the slanting roof about 5 times :)! Sorry to be a bonehead.

  • Isabel replied 8 years ago

    We own, and my "closet" is a an entertainment center where I pulled out the shelves ! It is probably 4 feet across. My husband has the walk-in to himself. He works and has A LOT of different functions and travels so he needs the space.

    I also suggest the flat, huggable hangers that nest. I store out of season clothes in canvas zip bags under the bed. To be fair though, I also keep some out of season stuff in the basement.

  • Amy replied 8 years ago

    Thanks, everyone. You were a big help. I'm going to follow up on what I did today in a new thread.

  • Janet replied 8 years ago

    In our last home (700 square feet) the closets were teeny tiny. We got an armoire for my husband's clothes, and I got a rolling rack for my stuff and an inexpensive Japanese shoji style folding screen to hide the rack.

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