5 Small Closet Organizing Ideas


After making over my home office, it dawned on me how much time I actually spend in my bedroom/office these days, about 16-20 hours per weekday! Is anyone else in this situation? I have been reluctant to make certain updates to our apartment in the past because a) I do my best to use what we already have to save $ and b) I know this isn’t our forever home. With that being said, I know that making the investment in my space will contribute to my quality of life and improve my mood #worthit!

Clothing storage in our small city apartment has been a problem area, so this month I’m tackling the closet and sharing 5 small closet organizing ideas to help maximize space and create function. When the world opens back up, it’s going to be a treat to go in my closet and get dressed in something other than athleisure!


Before photo of small apartment closet. 5 organizing ideas to make the space feel bigger and more functional.

1. Always start with a purge.

This is the first and most important step, especially before you buy new organizing products. Go through your wardrobe and decide if you want to keep, donate, or throw away. When living in small spaces it also helps to store off-season clothes in a separate area than your main closet space. I currently under-bed storage for my off-season clothes.

Some of the questions I usually ask myself and my clients aren’t fair to ask during the pandemic, for example, “when is the last time I wore this?” If it’s over a year I would usually consider letting it go, but I haven’t been anywhere in a year! A more fair question to ask is, “will I want to wear this when things open back up?” And if the answer is no, it’s time to let go. Would you like to see another post on where to donate items? Let me know in the comments!

2. Get rid of plastic hangers.

These plastic hangers have served me well over the past decade, but they are bulky, take up too much space in this tiny closet, and squish my clothes together. One of the reasons I loved them is because they swivel, a must-have characteristic for me! I decided on these velvet hangers from Amazon that are super narrow AND they swivel which will allow my clothes more room to breathe.

Update on hangers

I love these velvet hangers and they saved me so much room in my closet! There are only two reasons I’m missing my plastic ones:

  1. They are much easier to use with clingy clothes like sweaters and
  2. I like to hang my clothes while they dry but I can’t do that with these hangers.

Are you team velvet or plastic? Let me know in the comments!

3. Make the most of your vertical space.

I know I sound like a broken record on this one, but floor-to-ceiling storage is the goal. Most closets I see have hard-to-reach upper shelves, which often go unused or get really messy. It’s a great place to store things you wear on occasion, for instance, shoes, off-season clothes, hats, and bags.

The eave in my closet makes for a challenging upper shelf that I haven’t been using to its full potential. For me it makes the most sense for to store off-season/special occasion shoes up top. I am going to try out these shoe boxes from Amazon to keep everything tidy.

If you have under-utilized floor space in your closet, consider adding drawer space with a free-standing unit like this Elfa system from The Container Store. I ordered a relatively tall and narrow Elfa system for inside my closet.

4. Use light and bright colors.

When working in small spaces, it helps to use light and bright colors to make the space feel bigger. As you can see the color scheme for this project is mostly white and neutral with some gray and metallic tones. I do love the look of black velvet hangers, but I chose ivory hangers to maintain the color palette. My awesome landlords also gave me the go-ahead to paint some of the woodwork white to brighten it up!

5. Add a WOW factor.

My aunt is an Interior Designer; she has taught me a lot about interior design and I’ve learned a few tips from her over the years. One of her hot tips – wallpapering a small space makes it feel like a jewelry box. When you open the door, it will be a WOW moment every time! I rent my apartment, so I’m trying Tempaper, a temporary adhesive wallpaper. I’ve been wanting to try it ever since I saw Nesting With Grace use it in her projects! Here is the one I ordered from Home Depot. Another idea would be to create a feature wall, add a light fixture or hang artwork.

The Ginger Home did a dreamy DIY closet transformation below. I love the light fixture, wallpaper, and the mirror hanging on the feature wall! This is giving me major inspiration.

Closet from The Ginger Home
Credit – The Ginger Home


I really appreciate all of your kind words of encouragement throughout this project…so many of you have reached out and you seem just as excited as I am about it!

The wallpaper took six hours to install. It was a complicated pattern AND a complicated space with slanted ceilings/shelving/trim. It definitely would have been easier with a simpler pattern and plain walls.

Here are my honest feelings about the Next Wall wallpaper so far.

  1. The wallpaper pattern I picked out is stunning in real life. The metallic elements reflect so much light so it feels brighter in the closet. I don’t feel the need to turn the light on.
  2. It is really forgiving. My walls are uneven and have some bumps too. They aren’t very noticeable with this pattern. I messed up a few times when placing the paper, and it was easy to adjust.
  3. The only negative I’ve encountered so far is the smell. The vinyl is a bit strong but I think it will lessen over time. I’ve had the windows open all day and it is better already.

Overall, I am so happy I did this project. I think it made a huge impact on a tiny space that I used to want to hide from view. Now I want to leave the door open all the time, I absolutely love how it turned out!

After closet small city apartment
After closet small city apartment

Do you have a small or tricky space to organize? Did you enjoy these 5 small closet organizing ideas? Please let me know in the comments below!

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