My side of the small closet in our tiny home on wheels measures 40 inches wide. I hang most of my clothing, including light jackets, in that 40 inches.
In this post, I’m going to share the closet organizing tips and tools that work in my small closet – and that I recommend for maximizing space in any size closet. Click to enlarge any of the smaller photos for a better view.
Best small closet organizing tips & tools from a pro
When we moved into our motor home, I bought about 50 slim-line swiveling hangers. They take up less space than traditional hangers and their grippy shoulders help to keep clothing in place. Plus, having all the same type of hangers keeps your closet looking tidier.
The reason why I like hangers with swiveling hooks is because no matter how you place an item on the hanger, you can swivel the hook so that the fronts of all items are facing in the same direction when you hang them. Make sense?
And here’s another tip for a neat and organized closet: if you zip and button items that you hang, they are less likely to slip off the hangers and get wrinkled. This has become such a habit for me that I do it after trying on clothes in a store – fitting room attendants love me, I’m sure. Then again, if everyone did that, they might be out of a job!
Notice that there are some empty hangers in the middle of my clothes rod. When I remove an item from a hanger, I move the hanger to my “hanger space” so that I can quickly find a hanger when I need one.
Speaking of hangers, have you heard about the hanger trick? No one is sure who came up with this idea, but it’s a good one!
At the beginning of each season, hang everything with the open end of the hanger facing out. When you wear an item and return it to your closet, hang it the usual way with the open end facing the back of the closet. At the end of the season, you can easily tell what you wore and what you didn’t. You know what to do with the ones you didn’t wear!
I recommend keeping a donation bag in your closet. How many times have you tried on something, took it off because you didn’t like how it looked on you, and then hung it back up? Here’s the thing: There’s a reason why you didn’t wear it – it’s not right for you. Toss it in your donation bag. When the bag gets full, take it to your favorite charity. Or take it to a consignment store and cash in on your clothing clutter!
Since my closet space is limited, I also invested in a set of cascading skirt/short hangers and tiered pants hangers with swing arms. I can (and do) hang two pairs of shorts on each hanger. I have two sets of pants hangers and can hang two pair of pants on each rod if I need to.
These space-saving hangers work very well and I highly recommend them for small closets. Many people fold jeans and store them on a shelf or in a drawer. I do have three small drawers for lingerie, sleepwear, and swimwear; three deeper drawers for t-shirts, sweaters, and fleece pullovers; and one larger drawer for my exercise clothing. I prefer to hang everything else.
I hang my favorite scarves on a scarf hanger. I could put them in a bin, but then I would forget that I have them!
As for the two canvas bins you see in the photo below, one holds hats and gloves and the other holds three belts and two small, dressy purses. I was using these bins in our last home.
Notice that my bins have a slot on the front for labeling. I didn’t label mine because I can look down and see what’s in them. But I do recommend labeling bins when you put them up on a shelf.
(In case you’re wondering what’s behind the canvas bins, I have two boxes with two beautiful pottery vases that have been along for the ride for the last four and a half years! I keep them because they are beautiful pieces that I will display again someday when we decide to move back into a home without wheels.)
Here’s what I use for storing jewelry – a hanging jewelry organizer with clear pockets on each side. I store necklaces on one side and earrings and bracelets on the other.
A really good way to maximize closet space is to add a second hanging rod to double the short hanging space in your closet. My closet is too short to do that. I do have a section that is open all the way to the floor so I hang my dresses on that side. I also use that space to store my keyboard stand, folding piano stool, canvas bag with piano accessories and music, a vacuum cleaner, large foam roller, and large umbrella.
You may also want to add a few hooks on the wall inside or outside your closet or on the back of your closet door so you have a place to hang things like your robe that you will wear again. (The type of hook I recommend can be put up in minutes without nails or screws and can be easily removed at any time without marring the surface.)
Or use the space on the back of a door to hang an over-the-door shoe organizer for storing shoes, scarves and belts, or even socks and underwear if drawer space is limited. And if you have a lot of purses, consider a purse organizer.
Do you have a small closet?
One good thing about having a small closet is that it keeps me from overspending on clothing! I also have to be diligent about regularly purging what I no longer love or wear. If I buy something new and don’t have an available hanger, I must choose something that has to go. Almost always, it’s something I haven’t worn in a while, but have been reluctant to let go of.
You know what’s funny? I consider myself a minimalist. But dang. After writing this post and taking these photos today, I realize that I have a lot of clothes. I guess it just goes to show that I’m good at maximizing my small space. And you can be too!
What’s the biggest organizing challenge you have with your closet? Too much stuff? Too little space? What have you found that works really well? Let’s get the conversation rolling below!
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