Best Closet Storage Ideas for a Small Step-in Closet (on a budget)

While many will originally freak the first time they see their small closet, a smart sum will use it as encouragement to get creative and maximize their space. After living in New York for almost 5 years and in 4 different apartments with a tremendous amount of clothes, shoes, accessories, etc., it is in fact possible to fit everything you own. And trust me when I say this, because I was once that negative nelly that would pass up an apartment if it did not have enough closet space (or what I thought was enough.) As I’ve frequently preached in multiple posts, organization is key to maximizing your space. So, yes, it is through organization that you will be able to fit every last thing and here’s how:

Some General Questions to Ask Yourself Before you Start Putting things in your Closet

1. What is your goal with your closet? Do you want it to be the place where you store absolutely everything or do you also have a dresser where you can store things? Or an extra coat closet?

2. Do you have drawers in the closet? Have you prioritized what you want to put there? (underwear, socks, extra bed sheets)

3. Do you want to put your handbags in your closet or can you put them somewhere else?

4. How many pairs of shoes do you own? Is it too many to fit in your closet? Are you going to need a stackable shoe rack? (more details on this below.)

5. Where are you putting your jewelry and sunglasses? In your bathroom or in your closet?

6. Do you want your closet to be color coordinated?

7. What color hangers did you buy and are you buying the right hangers for what you’re hanging? (I recommend sticking to the same color)

8. How much clothes do you even really own? How many pants? How many sweaters? How much work out clothes? How many coats? How many shirts? Skirts? What can be folded? What can be stacked? What has to be hung?

9. What do you need easiest access to?

And now, let’s get to it….

1. Add Shelves (if possible)

I personally had way too many things to be able to accommodate shelves but if you can, you should! Shelves will create space for your folded items. For example, your sweaters, your pants, your pajamas, your knits, and more. Shelves will also give your closet a more luxurious and aesthetically pleasing vibe.

2. Double Rod (Double Hanging Space)

Photo taken from The Container Store's Website

This one’s a game changer! If you have to pick between adding shelves and a double rod, it’s got to be the double rod. The double rod is the most efficient because it accommodates double the clothing without taking up any extra space. This does however mean that you have to hang the items you planned on folding.

3. Use the Right Hangers

Pro tip: stay away from thick hangers. Thick hangers take up half the space, to only hang one item. An ideal hanger is one that is thin and can hold pants and sweaters in 1. An ideal hanger is also non-slip! Super important. You want to be able to scramble through your closet without things falling everywhere. I have attached some below.

4. Shoe Racks

Photo taken from Home Depot's Website

Shoe racks are efficient for many reasons. First, they keep your shoes in good condition. Second, no matter how many pairs you have, each one is as easily accessible as the other. This not only saves you time when looking for a specific pair, but also gives you a clear view of all your other options.

5. Small Articles of Clothing and Accessories

Photo taken from Wayfair's Website

Instead of stacking all your tank tops on top of each other and having absolutely no clue what you have, why not hang them onto a single hanger? Because they are small articles of clothing, and are light weight, they’ll easily fit onto one hanger. This not only makes it easier to see what you have, but also saves you some space. This goes for accessories too! Your belts, scarves, etc., can all be hung onto one hanger as well. There are hangers that come with built in hooks, I have attached some below.

6. Clothing Dividers / Labels

Photo taken from Amazon's Website

To find exactly what you’re looking for, you can insert clothing dividers or labels that say the section name on them. For example, a section for your sweaters or long sleeve shirts.

7. Use the Walls in your Closet

Photo taken from Ikea's Website

The walls are not useless! You can install hooks and hang any accessories you’d like. Some examples are hats, jewelry, purses, etc. Depending on the weight of what you’re hanging, you can use adhesive stick hooks which take 2 seconds to apply and don’t require installation. If you’re hanging heavier things, I’ve also attached some wall mounted hooks below. 

8. Use the Doors in your Closet

The doors in your closet are also not useless! Again, just like I mentioned above, you can install hooks on the doors and hang bags, accessories, etc. But remember that the goal here is to maximize your space. As long as you’re fitting the things you need in an organized, easily accessible manner, it is completely up to you to decide what you want to hang on your doors. The hooks I linked above will also work for your doors. 

9. Add Drawers

Photo taken from The Container Store's Website

If you have room to add drawers, I highly recommend doing so. My advice? Get a thin but tall drawer set that can fit your underwear, socks, bed sheets, sunglasses, and more. I’ve attached the one I have in my room currently and I’m so happy I got it!

10. Color coordinate

Photo taken from Pinterest

A color coordinated closet is not just aesthetically pleasing, but will also make your life easier. Instead of scrambling through your closet looking for that one red shirt, you’ll find it immediately because it can only be in one place. It’s also easier to coordinate outfits this way, and gives you a better idea of what’s in your closet.  

11. Storage Boxes for the Space Up Top

Photo taken from Woolworth USA's Website

I recommend putting storage boxes with handles on the top of your closet. The handles will make it easier for you to pull out the boxes. You can put anything you’d like in the boxes, whether it’s a bunch of tchotchke’s, or clothes that are currently out of season. It’s completely up to you. These boxes will also make your space look and feel more organized.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: