How to Organize a Small Closet with Lots of Clothes: Tips and Tricks for Closet Organization

Having a small closet can be a nightmare, especially when you have a lot of clothes. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re trying to figure out what to wear and you can’t see your entire wardrobe. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make the most of a tiny closet. In this post, we’re going to go over some tips and tricks on how to organize a small closet with lots of clothes so you can find what you need when you need it.

How to Organize a Small Closet with Lots of Clothes

Wondering how to organize a small closet with lots of clothes? You might be looking at your small closet space and scratching your head at how to fit your big wardrobe. Or maybe you’ve tried squeezing everything in your closet and it’s bursting at the seams now.

But you don’t need a walk-in closet for an organized closet! Even a small closet with lots of clothes can be organized!

I’ll tell you how in a second, but first, let’s cover some closet organization basics.

How to Know What to Hang and What to Fold

Deciding what to hang and what to fold is an important part of closet organization. As a general rule, hanging items that are prone to wrinkles or that are structured, such as blazers, dress shirts, trousers, and dresses, helps maintain their shape and keeps them wrinkle-free.

On the other hand, casual items like t-shirts, jeans, and knitwear are better suited for folding. Folding these items reduces the chance of them stretching out, and it also allows you to utilize drawer space efficiently. Remember, the goal is to maximize your closet space while keeping your clothes in the best possible condition.

Here’s a quick list that can help!

Clothing Items You Can Hang

  • Blazers and suit jackets
  • Dress shirts and blouses
  • Trousers and slacks
  • Dresses and skirts
  • Coats and jackets
  • Dressy tops and blouses
  • Lightweight sweaters and cardigans
  • Scarves and wraps
  • Wrinkle-prone fabrics like silk, satin, or linen items.

Clothing Items You Should Fold

  • T-shirts
  • Jeans and denim items (though there are some ways to hang these items without ruining them!)
  • Heavy sweaters and hoodies
  • Bulky Sweaters
  • Knitwear and wool items
  • Undergarments and socks
  • Some swimwear

My Favorite Closet Organization Ideas

Now let’s jump into exactly how to organize a small closet with lots of clothes! These closet organization ideas should make it a breeze! (Or at least help you get inspired.)

Only Store the Clothes You Wear

This might seem obvious, but I think we are all guilty of holding on to old articles of clothing that don’t fit anymore or we no longer wear.

I know it can be hard to let go of items, particularly ones with sentimental value or the ones you hope to fit into again someday. However, decluttering is a crucial step towards effectively organizing a small closet.

Start by sorting your clothes into different categories and keep in mind which clothes you’ve worn in the last year. If it’s been a year or more since you’ve last worn it, you probably don’t need it anymore.

Remember, the goal is not to fill up every inch of your closet but to create an organized, accessible space for your wardrobe. Decluttering can make your closet feel significantly more spacious and manageable.

However, if you have a small closet space, you’ll probably still have too many clothes for such a small space. That’s where the rest of these tips come in!

Seasonal Rotation

Another great way to save space in your small closet is to rotate the clothes in your closet. There’s no point in keeping out-of-season clothes in your precious closet if you don’t need to!

The concept is simple: only keep the clothes you’ll wear for the current season in your closet. Everything else can be stored elsewhere until the seasons change. Here’s how you can implement a seasonal rotation system:

Sort by Season

Begin by categorizing your clothes based on the season they are most appropriate for. For example, heavy sweaters, coats, and boots can be classified as winter wear, while shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops can be considered summer wear.

Choose a Storage Solution

Once sorted, find a suitable storage solution for the out-of-season clothes. This can range from under-the-bed storage boxes to vacuum-sealed bags. Make sure the storage is clean, dry, and well-ventilated to prevent any damage to the clothes.

Rotate Accordingly

At the start of a new season, swap out the clothes in your closet with those from your storage. This will help keep your closet clutter-free and optimized for your current clothing needs.

Remember, the key to successful seasonal rotation is consistency. Make a habit of this and you’ll find managing your wardrobe becomes significantly easier, regardless of the size of your closet.

Finding additional storage for seasonal clothes can be a challenge, but there are many creative solutions that can help you maximize your space. Here are some ideas:

Under the Bed

Under-the-bed storage boxes are a great option if you’re short on closet space. These boxes are designed to easily slide under your bed, keeping your clothes out of sight but easily accessible when needed.


These are ideal for bulky items like winter coats or comforters. Vacuum-sealed bags compress items to a fraction of their original size, making them easier to store.

Unused Suitcases

If you have unused suitcases, they can serve as excellent storage spaces for your out-of-season clothes. Not only are they spacious, but they also provide protection against dust and moisture.

Attic or Basement

If you have an attic or basement, consider using it for out-of-season storage. However, ensure that the area is clean, dry, and pest-free before storing clothes there.

Clothes Racks

Purchasing an inexpensive clothes rack can also offer additional storage. These can be covered with a cloth or garment bag to protect against dust.

Top Shelf of Closet

If you have the space, using a higher shelf in your closet can be great for seasonal clothes. Use these fabric boxes to keep folded sweaters protected during the summer. If you have a lot of extra space on your top shelf, you can even get stacking bins.

Remember, no matter where you choose to store your clothes, ensure they are clean before storage to maintain their quality and longevity.

Opt for Multi-Function Hangers

Consider space-saving hangers. If you want to maximize hanging space even further, consider investing in space-saving hangers. Some styles fold, stack, or cascade downwards, so you can hang more clothes in the same spot. These hangers can be especially helpful if you have a small closet and a lot of shorter items like pants, skirts, or ties.

Multi-function hangers like that can hold multiple garments at once, which helps a ton when you don’t have enough storage space. They are particularly useful for hanging blouses and scarves or storing ties.

These hangers are designed to hold several garments on a single hanger, maximizing the space in your closet. For instance, a multi-layered hanger can hold several pairs of pants or skirts in the space of a single normal hanger. Here’s a great example of one! For kids’ closets, you could use these for jackets, shirts, and more.

Look For Space-Saving Hangers When Shopping!

There’s a wide variety of multi-function hangers or space-saving hangers available on the market today. Some have hooks or clips attached to them, perfect for hanging skirts or pants. Others have multiple bars arranged vertically, allowing you to hang up to five shirts or blouses in one go.

There are also specialty multi-function hangers designed specifically for accessories like scarves, ties, or belts. These hangers often feature multiple loops or holes where you can thread through your accessories, keeping them organized and wrinkle-free.

Using multi-function hangers not only helps you utilize your closet space effectively but also keeps your clothes organized and easy to find. Just make sure to keep the weight evenly distributed to prevent the hanger from bending or breaking.

Utilize Door Space

The back of your closet door is a potential storage space. Hang hooks or over-the-door organizers to store shoes, bags, or other small items.

Making the most of your door space can significantly enhance the storage capacity of your small closet. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Over-the-Door Organizers

These are convenient, easy-to-install solutions for maximizing door space. The organizers typically come with multiple pockets or compartments, perfect for storing everything from shoes and bags to scarves and accessories. They are also great for smaller items for kids like onesies, shoes, and more. Here’s a cute example of door storage.

They are particularly useful for smaller items that can easily get lost in the depths of your closet. Here’s one that I like!

Hooks and Racks

For a more flexible solution, consider installing hooks or racks on the back of your closet door. You can use them to hang anything from clothing items to bags or belts. The beauty of hooks and racks is their versatility — they can hold virtually anything that can be hung, offering a quick and easy storage solution.

Door-Mounted Mirror

A door-mounted mirror serves a dual purpose. Not only does it provide a full-length view for outfit checks, but the back of the mirror can also serve as a hidden storage space for jewelry or accessories.

Door-Mounted Baskets

Small baskets or bins attached to the door can hold bulkier items that can’t be hung, such as hats or scarves. They’re a fantastic way to utilize door space without creating clutter.

Remember, while door space offers additional storage, ensure that the door can still close properly after you’ve added your items. Overloading the door can cause damage or prevent it from closing, defeating the purpose of an organized, functional closet.

Use Boxes or Bins

Utilizing boxes or bins in your closet is a brilliant strategy for keeping your clothes – and your kids’ clothes – organized and easy to access. These storage solutions are perfect for grouping similar items together, whether it’s by season, color, or clothing type. For example, you can use one box for all your summer clothes, another for winter wear, and so on.

This technique also works wonders for kids’ clothes, helping them, and you, to find what they need quickly.

Just imagine, no more frantic morning searches for your toddler’s favorite t-shirt or your teenager’s sports uniform. Everything can have a designated bin or box, making the process of getting dressed much smoother. What’s more, this approach can significantly reduce the time you spend on laundry, as you can just put freshly laundered clothes straight into their corresponding bin or box.

Boxes and bins can also make an open closet look much neater and more aesthetically pleasing. I mean, look at how pretty this is!

Instead of a hodgepodge of different garments and colors, you’ll have neatly stacked containers that give the space a tidy, unified appearance. For an added touch of style, consider using fabric or woven bins in coordinating colors. You could also label each box or bin to make finding what you need even easier.

Remember, cleanliness and organization go hand in hand. By keeping your clothes neatly stored in boxes or bins, you’re not just organizing your closet, you’re also helping to keep your clothes clean, fresh, and in great condition. If you have a lot of shelf space, cute storage containers can be a great way to store clothes.

Add Shelf Dividers

If you have a lot of shelf space and don’t want to get bins, you can also use shelf dividers!

Shelf dividers are a simple yet highly effective tool for boosting the organization and functionality of your closet. They work by creating clearly defined spaces on your shelves, allowing you to categorize and arrange your items more efficiently. This is especially useful for stacks of clothing, as dividers prevent piles from toppling over, maintaining a neat and tidy appearance.

Shelf dividers come in a variety of styles and sizes to suit different closet configurations. For instance, some dividers are designed to clip onto the shelf, while others stand independently. They are typically made from durable materials like metal or plastic to provide sturdy support for your items.

By using shelf dividers, you can create a dedicated space for every type of clothing or accessory, from sweaters and jeans to scarves and hats. It can also be a perfect solution for storing purses! Here’s a great example.

When each item has its own designated spot, it’s easier to put things away after laundering or use, further aiding in maintaining an organized closet.

Buy Slim Hangers

Slim hangers are your friend. One of the important things to consider when organizing a small closet is the hangers you use. Regular, bulky hangers can take up more space than your clothes do, but slim hangers are a great solution. They’ll allow you to fit more clothes on the same amount of hanging space, so you can make the most of every inch.

These hangers are also typically designed with a velvety surface that provides a better grip on your clothes, preventing them from slipping off and maintaining the neatness of your closet. This feature is particularly advantageous for slippery fabrics like silk or satin that generally have a tougher time staying on hangers.

And don’t worry, slim hangers are sturdy and can hold up to the weight of heavier items such as coats or suits without losing their shape or bending. They offer a durable, space-saving solution that enhances the functionality and organization of small closets.

I love this set of matching hangers!

Don’t Forget to Use Vertical Space!

Maximizing vertical space is a clever solution for how to organize a small closet with lots of clothes. Installing additional shelves or hanging organizers at different heights can significantly increase your storage space.

Utilize vertical space. Don’t forget about the wall space in your closet. By installing shelves, cubbies, or hanging organizers, you’ll add more storage without compromising on floor space. Vertical storage is perfect for items you need to access often, like shoes, bags, and jewelry.

If you have the space, I love this vertical cubbie shelving unit that is perfect for shoes! It’s so pretty that it doesn’t even need to go in your closet. It can use up the wall space in your bedroom – you just have to organize your shoes so they look tidy! And this way it doesn’t use up all the space underneath your clothes on the closet floor!

Make Use of Hooks and Pegs

Hooks and pegs are a fantastic, non-invasive way to incorporate more vertical space utilization into your closet. You can affix them on the inside of your closet doors, or any empty wall space, creating the perfect spot to hang items like hats, scarves, belts, or even jewelry.

If you feel like you have too much space on walls where you can’t really hang clothes, make use of it! You don’t want to have any wasted space in your closet, so add a peg board or hooks in that dead space to organize your closet efficiently.

They can also serve as a designated spot for your daily wear, making it easier to plan your outfit for the next day.

If your kids love accessories, you can also use a pegboard in their closet like this!

Consider a Pull-out Pants Rack

A pull-out pants rack is a smart investment for those struggling with cramped closet space. It allows you to hang your trousers vertically, freeing up substantial space on your closet rod. Plus, since each pair is displayed individually on the rack, it’s much easier to find the pair you want to wear.

Pull-out pants racks have a sleek, functional design that optimizes your closet space. They are usually made of durable materials and each hanger is designed to hold a single pair of pants securely, allowing you to easily view and access your entire pants collection.

Simply pull the rack out when you need to select a pair and push it back in when you’re done. Hanging your pants in this manner can prevent them from getting creased or wrinkled. Some pull-out pants racks also come with adjustable width options to fit various closet sizes, making them versatile.

Utilize Tension Rods and Wire Baskets

Another innovative way to turn any unused space into valuable space is by installing tension rods and wire baskets along the sides or back of your closet. They can hold everything from socks and underwear to accessories and shoes and are easily adjustable to fit your changing storage needs.

This setup not only optimizes the use of extra storage space but also helps keep your items organized and visible. Remember to measure your space carefully before purchasing to ensure a snug fit!

Add a Second Hanging Rod

Adding an additional closet rod to your existing closet setup can double your hanging capacity. Place it below the existing rod for longer items like coats and dresses, or above for shorter items like shirts and skirts. Most closet rods are adjustable and easy to install, making them a practical solution for expanding your storage area vertically.

A second hanging rail can also be a great way to stay organized if multiple people are sharing the same space. It not only gives you more hanging space but also allows you to have one clothing rack rod for one child and the other for the other child.

Add a Built-in Dresser

Adding built-in shelving or dressers might seem like a bad idea in small closets, but it can actually really help with closet organization!

Built-in dressers are an excellent addition to your small closet organization strategy. They offer an ideal solution for storing items that you don’t want to hang, such as sweaters, pants, underwear, socks, and accessories.

Instead of using valuable hanging space for these items, a built-in dresser allows you to neatly fold and store them in drawers. Not only does this free up more room for hanging clothes, but it also gives you a clear view of all your items, making it easier to find what you need.

Additionally, the top surface of the dresser can serve as an extra shelf for items like hats, purses, or folded sweaters, further maximizing your space use. And because they’re built-in, these dressers integrate seamlessly with your closet, maintaining a cohesive and organized look.

This can also be a great way to save space in your bedroom, since your dresser is incorporated in the actual closet system and doesn’t overflow into your bedroom storage.

Using Drawer Dividers

If you’re using a dresser in your closet, I suggest using drawer dividers for your folded clothing.

Drawer dividers are highly beneficial in achieving optimal closet organization. They create distinct spaces within your drawers for different types of clothing, preventing them from becoming jumbled together. This way, you can easily locate and retrieve your items without upsetting the order of the rest of the drawer.

Dividers help maintain the integrity of your folded clothes, ensuring they stay neat and wrinkle-free. They are also adjustable and versatile, allowing you to customize your drawer space according to your needs.

For example, you could use larger compartments for bulky items like sweatshirts, and smaller ones for socks and underwear.

Drawer dividers definitely help make an efficient, well-organized closet.

Create Storage Solutions to Take Advantage of Empty Space

Get creative with storage. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to storage options. You don’t have to solely rely on clothes hangers! You can use over-the-door organizers, stackable cubes, or baskets for items like scarves, hats, or purses. You can even the back of your door to hang things like belts or ties. The more creative you get, the more organized your closet will be.

If you’ve done everything you can to save space and still have more clothes and no extra room, consider storing them outside of the closet.

Explore the Use of Under-Bed Storage

Under your bed lies an often underutilized storage space: ideal for storing out-of-season clothing, bulky sweaters, or extra bedding. Opt for low containers designed to slide easily under the bed. To keep items dust-free, look for containers with airtight lids.

If you have a guest room, make sure you’re utilizing the under-bed space in your spare room too. Your guests won’t mind!

Implement a Ladder Storage System

A ladder storage system can add a rustic touch to your room while offering vertical storage. Hang clothes, scarves, or even shoes from the rungs. A ladder can be leaned against a wall or hung vertically, making the most of the available space.

Invest in an Ottoman with Storage

Another clever storage solution is investing in furniture that doubles as storage. An ottoman, for instance, can have a hidden compartment for storing extra linens or clothes. Choose a stylish ottoman that matches your room decor and enjoy the added bonus of extra storage space.

Install Wall-Mounted Hooks and Racks

Wall-mounted hooks and racks can be a game-changer when it comes to storage. Install them on any vacant wall space to hang jackets, bags, or hats. This can work throughout the room and still look nice even though they aren’t actually inside your closet!

Remember, with a little creativity and the right storage solutions, you can maximize your space and keep your closet organized and efficient.

Final Tips for How to Organize a Small Closet

You might not think you have enough space for all of your clothes, but there are lots of ways to create efficient storage systems in your closet. No matter how much space you have (or how little), make sure you make the most of whatever size space you do have!

To keep your closet looking tidy, it’s essential to maintain an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Here are a few additional tips to help you achieve that:

  • Use the Same Hangers: Uniformity in hangers not only keeps your closet looking neat and organized, but it can also maximize your space depending on which hangers you choose. Choose slim, non-slip hangers to ensure your clothes stay put and don’t take up much space. Hangers of the same color and material bring a harmonious look to your closet. I like velvet hangers, but wooden hangers also look nice!
  • Organize by Color: Color coordination is a simple yet highly effective way to enhance the visual appeal of your closet. Arrange your clothing from light to dark or by color groups to create a pleasing color gradient. This not only looks great but also makes it easier to find and coordinate your outfits.
  • Maintain Neatness: Regularly tidy up your closet to prevent clutter from building up. Make it a habit to put clothes back in their designated spots immediately after use.

Remember, a visually appealing closet is one that’s easy to maintain and enjoyable to use.

How to Maintain Your Closet Organization

Maintaining your closet organization is just as important as the initial setup. Here are a few maintenance tips to keep your closet in good shape:

  • Regular Decluttering: Over time, it’s easy to accumulate items that we don’t use or need. Make it a habit to declutter your closet regularly, removing items that are no longer in use. This will ensure that your closet does not become overcrowded and disorganized.
  • Stick to Your System: Once you have a system in place, stick to it. Make sure each item has its specific place, and always return it there. This will help maintain the order and efficiency of your closet.
  • Seasonal Swap-Out: Store off-season clothing separately to make room for items that you will use in the current season.
  • Daily Tidying: A little bit of tidying each day goes a long way. Spend a few minutes each day making sure items are in their assigned places. This regular upkeep prevents messes from piling up and becoming overwhelming.

Remember, maintaining your closet’s organization is a continuous process, but with these tips, it can be manageable and rewarding.

Enjoy your organized closet space with your own closet system!

And that’s how to organize a small closet with lots of clothes!

Organizing a small closet can feel like an impossible feat, but it’s definitely doable. With the right hangers, a bit of creativity, and a willingness to get organized, you can create a functional closet that works for your needs no matter the square footage.

Whether you’re trying to make the most of your studio apartment or you’re dealing with your kids’ overflowing dressers, the closet organization ideas in this post can help you take control. Closet systems should work for you, so make sure the closet system you decide on is helping you maintain your organized closet in a simple and efficient way!

Remember, the more effort you put in, the more space you’ll have to store your favorite clothes and accessories.

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