Small closets can be challenging to keep organized. Because you are extremely short on space, the inclination is to try to stuff as much as possible into the available space. But the trust is that with a tinier closet, you need to load it even less than you would with an enormous closet. The “unstuffed” feeling makes the closet seem more extensive, which is nice, but the real reward is that if the small cabinet is unstuffed, you can get to what you need and see what you have to work with. Here’s how you can get there.
- Take everything out of your closet: Small cabinets mean any space inside them is luxury real estate. So if you do not have to have a unique item in that closet, shift it elsewhere. For instance, let’s say your bedroom cupboard is tiny, but you also have a small hall cupboard. That means all coats get moved to the hall. Coats are perfect for keeping out of tiny places because they take up lots of space.
- Have a semi-seasonal wardrobe: Fall and spring can be tricky, but if your wardrobe is tiny, being able to put summer and winter items in storage (even below your bed storage) can open up a lot of room in your breadbox of a safe. This is a modification on the “get everything possible out of the closet,” but it’s something several people forget about.
- Be ruthless about separating clothes you don’t dress: Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It is also known as the Pareto principle, and it outlines the inequality of results. As in, 20% of the things you do end up creating 80% of your results. Surprisingly, this applies to attire, too: about 20% of your clothing is worn 80% of the time. That’s the template — actually, about 10% of our apparel is worn 90% of the time for most of us. That’s the philosophy of schooling. The truth is if you aren’t wearing something for a long time, it’s got to go. The precept for normal people is if you have not worn it in six months, get rid of it. For individuals with small closets, cut that back to three months. I have quite a few clothing pieces that I wear for no other reason than to live by this rule. I just can’t bear to give up this great suede quilted jacket, but it makes me awkward to wear it because of its low cut. But I wear it every few months just so I follow this rule. Some day I’ll either get over the cut or the jacket.
- Make use of all surfaces: All sides of your closet door can hold things. There are over-the-door shoe holders that you can also use for scarves, socks, gloves (those gloves should be in that hall closet, by the way), hats, workout wear, small purses, lingerie, swimsuits, and — oh yeah — footwear.
Also, check if you can go up at all. Adding a couple of new shelves, even if it is just 15 inches or less below the ceiling, makes a tremendous difference. I store my baggage on the high shelf, and I keep a pre-packed set of holiday clothes in the bag. It helps me save space, and it makes it effortless to take off for last-minute getaways.