25 Stylish and Efficient Small Closet Ideas

Kaitlyn Pacheco
Written by Kaitlyn Pacheco
Updated July 22, 2022
A woman putting away clothes in a small closet
Photo: kostikovanata / Adobe Stock

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If you’re working with a reach-in closet or even a small walk-in closet, chances are you need a little organization in your life. Even with a limited wardrobe, managing a shared closet space or storing seasonal clothes can feel like a hurdle.

Before starting your closet reorganization, a quick closet purge is a good first step to better optimize your outcome. Small closet organization doesn’t have to mean a total makeover or hiring a professional organizer. There are plenty of simple DIY small closet ideas to take you from messy to dressy with minimal effort.

Small Closet Organization Ideas 

These quick space saving tips will give you extra inches where you need them most. An organized closet means you’ll have your essentials on hand for easy wardrobe improvisation. 

1. Use Velvet Hangers

Colorful clothes hanging on velvet hangers
Photo: Cynthia / Adobe Stock

If you’re looking for a quick, space-saving trick, you can replace all your hangers with thin velvet hangers to create extra space. Mismatched hangers eat up inches and tangle during wardrobe planning. Slim velvet hangers have a great grip, let clothes lay flat, hang straighter, and even wrinkle less. 

2. Color-Code Your Closet

Hanging clothes organized by color
Photo: worldwide_stock / Adobe Stock

Never misplace your favorite shirt or dress again by color-coding your closet. Try a traditional rainbow, light to dark, or categorize by clothing type. You can keep it loose or get as granular as you want—with the right system in place, you’ll always know where to look when you want to mix and match. 

3. Add Extra Closet Rods

A small closet with two closet rods at different levels
Photo: worldwide_stock / Adobe Stock

Take full advantage of the vertical space by hanging an extra closet rod. Perfect for shorter items like shirts or children’s clothes, a second closet rod can hang anywhere in your closet. Try installing shelves above low closet rods for extra storage. If you have a deep closet, try hanging an extra closet rod behind it and rotate your clothes seasonally. 

4. Opt for Hanging Racks and Hooks

An organized closet with wicker bins and a hanging rack
Photo: navintar / Adobe Stock

If you’ve got unused wall space, a hanging rack can be a great place to organize accessories. Add hooks to hang sweatshirts or robes, and don’t be afraid to maximize every inch of vertical space. 

5. Hang Scarves

Colorful scarves on a hanging bar
Photo: rocklights / Adobe Stock

If scarves keep getting lost in bins or boxes, consider hanging them to create space and keep your collection in sight. Install a towel bar or even tie them to a hanger in a pinch. 

6. Try Overhead Storage

A small closet with tiered hanging racks and shelf storage
Photo: 290712 / Adobe Stock

Many reach-in closets have less accessible overhead space that goes to waste. Don’t leave your top shelf empty or overloaded. Use storage baskets or bins to store bedding or other lightweight items overhead. Storing lighter items on high shelves keeps them out of sight, but in arm’s reach.

7. Swap Out Seasonal Pieces

A person storing sweaters for spring
Photo: shintartanya / Adobe Stock

Store bulky sweaters or other out-of-season clothes elsewhere to maximize your usable space. Use a less accessible top shelf, or move them out of your closet to make way for your wardrobe. 

8. Learn Vertical Folding

A person storing vertically folded clothing in soft storage cubes
Photo: Sappheiros / Adobe Stock

Folding and storing clothing vertically is a perfect technique for storage in a small space. If you’re considering adding cubes, bins, or drawers to your small closet, a vertical fold saves space without obscuring your options.

Small Closet Storage Ideas

Storage options for making the most of your small space are plentiful. You can install a complete closet system or mix and match from the world of available options. 

9. Give Storage Boxes a Try

A small walk-in closet with yellow storage boxes
Photo: navintar / Adobe Stock

Fashionable, affordable, and functional storage boxes never go out of style. Perfect for protecting hats or other delicate items, storage boxes are a classic storage solution. With so many sizes available, it’s easy to measure and choose boxes that fit your closet.

10. Add Stackable Drawers

Two clear plastic drawers containing bedding
Photo: Jose / Adobe Stock

Stackable drawers are a perfect solution for a tiny closet with a less than ideal layouts. Store them under tiered closet rods or on deep shelves. Choose drawers with clear fronts or create labels for extra organization.   

11. Incorporate a Dresser or Cabinet

An organized closet with a small white dresser
Photo: 290712 / Adobe Stock

Adding furniture to a small closet might seem counterintuitive—but it’s a great option for taking advantage of small, deep closets. No more rummaging in dark corners looking for accessories or easily lost items. A small cabinet can also make a great staging ground for makeup or accessories in a small walk-in closet. 

12. Install a Closet System

A small walk-in closet with shelving system and dresser
Photo: Pixel-Shot / Adobe Stock

For many homeowners, installing a custom closet system is well worth the investment. You can always have a professional organizer redesign your closet if you need a second set of eyes. Alternatively, if you want to DIY it, most home-improvement stores sell customizable closet systems—just make sure to measure carefully before buying. 

13. Sort With Storage Cubes

Four beige and white storage cubes stored neatly on closet shelves
Photo: navintar / Adobe Stock

For a stylish and accessible option, try storage cubes that come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. They’re perfect for items that don’t need to hang, like t-shirts or pajamas. Pick a pattern that matches your personal style, sort them by item, and label them for easy access. 

14. Commit to Clear Storage

A stack of clear storage containers
Photo: olga pink / Adobe Stock

Clear storage is ideal for keeping track of every item in a small space. There’s no need for labels when you can see your daily options while they’re neatly tucked away. Clear storage bins are great for finding what you want for seasonal storage. Try smaller clear storage for in-season items.  

15. Mix and Match Bins and Baskets

A pink closet with clothes folded in assorted bins and baskets
Photo: kostikovanata / Adobe Stock

Bins and baskets are a perfect solution for small spaces. Fold or roll your clothes by category, or use them to store accessories. Most home improvement stores will offer bins in an assortment of shapes and sizes for any space. Buy bins that nest and stack to maximize your vertical space. 

16. Organize With Internal Dividers

A neatly organized dresser drawer with internal dividers
Photo: Africa Studio / Adobe Stock

Use internal dividers to separate sections in any storage system. Drawer dividers aren’t just good for dressers—you can also use them in bins, baskets, cubes, and more. Use dividers to make existing storage options more accessible and attractive. 

17. Perfect Your Purse Storage

A row of colorful purses on a closet shelf
Photo: Mariakray / Adobe Stock

A bag or purse collection can easily take over a small closet, and even spill into the bedroom area. If your shelf space is limited, try nesting purses inside each other to save space. For smaller clutches or bags, use acrylic file dividers to organize and showcase your collection.

Shoe Storage Ideas

Are your shoes taking up valuable closet real estate? Keep your stylish sandals out from underfoot with these shoe storage solutions. 

18. Try a Tiered Shoe Rack

A deep shoe rack in a custom closet
Photo: Петр Смагин / Adobe Stock

A tiered shoe rack helps maximize your vertical space while keeping your options in sight. Insert a custom rack with shelves, or keep it simple with an adjustable tiered rack from a home improvement store. Placement is key, so consider a back wall—or, for a truly tiny closet place, the rack just outside the closet.

19. Relocate Your Shoe Storage

An entryway with an end table, mirror, and a bench with shoe storage
Photo: New Africa / Adobe Stock

If you’re still regularly searching for the right shoes, consider relocating a few pairs to your entryway. A bench with lower shelf storage or some shoe cubbies can keep your entryway neat with easy out-the-door access. Swap out your favorite pairs with the season so you always have what you need where you need it. 

20. Hang a Shoe Rack

Over the door hanging shoe rack with boots and sneakers
Photo: annebel146 / Adobe stock

Keeping shoes at eye level can help you wardrobe plan and save space. Closet door organizers aren’t just for shoes; you can also use them to store accessories or other items where daily access is ideal. If your closet doesn’t have a traditional door but you have surplus hanging space, hang racks or shelves from a closet rod for compact convenience. 

21. Hide Shoes Away

A person storing shoes in a cabinet
Photo: eddows / Adobe Stock

Storing shoes in a hinged shoe cabinet can keep your closet space or entryway looking clean. You don’t need custom furniture to keep shoes out of sight—closet drawers or even end tables can keep your walkways clean and tidy. 

22. Find Creative Shoe Shelves

A dressing area with low cabinets, shoes, a dresser, and a hanging rack
Photo: New Africa / Adobe Stock

Experiment with non-traditional shoe shelves for maximum space usage. Try storing shoes on top of low cabinets, below higher hanging items like shirts, or on an unused top shelf (if it’s out-of-season footwear).

Think Outside the Closet

In some spaces, tiny closets will mean you need alternative storage options. Here are just a few that can complement a reach-in closet for rotating seasonal or overflow items. 

23. Display Clothing

A clothing rack with vibrant colors and a ladder shelf for shoes
Photo: New Africa / Adobe Stock

We all have clothes we can’t get enough of, whether it’s a costume or the perfect outfit for a night on the town. Take advantage of your own aesthetic and use your clothing as a focal point. Try a clothing rack, or install a wall hook—you could even make use of your closet door. 

24. Use the Corner of the Room

 A room corner with a dressing rack, bookshelf, and a comfortable chair
Photo: Africa Studio / Adobe Stock

If you have a small closet but your living space is larger, you can turn a spare corner into a dressing room. Add a hanging rack, shelves, a chair, or a vanity. You can use the extra space for staging or overflow and feel like a movie star during your everyday prep. 

25. Utilize Under-Bed Storage

Storage clothes in a row under a crib
Photo: Kristin / Adobe Stock

For less used items like seasonal storage or extra bedding, consider using under-bed storage solutions. Make the most of otherwise empty space. Use cubes to store toys or soft supplies in kids’ rooms and keep them out from underfoot. 


How do I maximize a small closet? 

Smart space-saving tips for small closets include maximizing vertical space, adding interior hooks, using matching velvet hangers, and relocating shoes or other bulky items outside the closet.     

How do I redesign a small closet?

A redesign for a small closet can be as simple as adding an extra closet rod to tier clothing storage. Installing a closet organizer system or shelves is a good option for small closets where space isn’t optimized.

How do I deal with a shallow closet?

Shallow closets are another area where customization is key. If you can’t find an easy storage solution, try installing customized drawers or dressers that fit the depth of your closet and maximize the vertical space. Drawers will allow you to store and stack clothing even with minimal space.

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