apple Our Fifth House: Thinking Outside the Closet (Clothing Storage Ideas for Small Closet Owners)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thinking Outside the Closet (Clothing Storage Ideas for Small Closet Owners)

small closet organization ideas


You know my  master closet is on the small side.

                            closet storage ideas

In addition, I'm married to a man that loves clothes and shoes as much and maybe even more than I do. He's a very well dressed man.  Plus, living in the Southeast we enjoy all 4 seasons and the clothing changes that come with them.  We are constantly editing, pulling out those articles of clothing that we aren't really wearing any longer.  We're also really choosy about the new items we bring home.  In some ways having a small closet has caused us to be better shoppers.  I can honestly say that every piece of clothing I currently own not only fits but is something I really love.  But no matter how smart I shop or how well I edit my wardrobe there is just no way on God's green Earth that all of my clothing will fit into this small-ish, shared closet space.   

So, here's how we make it work.  We maximize our storage options outside the closet. 

clothing storage ideas

Okay, so I don't use any of those under the bed storage containers, but I do keep my vacuum under the right side of the bed.  ;)

One of the smartest furniture purchases we've ever made was to buy a double chest of drawers rather than a dresser for our master bedroom.  It doesn't make a larger footprint, but it has more vertical storage than a dresser does.  This is where we keep socks, pajamas, work out wear, and casual knit shirts.

The vintage trunk at the end of the bed holds a TON!  It stores all of our heavy winter sweaters and then when it's time to make a seasonal switch we'll use it for shorts, sundresses, linen pants - etc.

clothing storage ideas
it's not super organized in there - but it works
You've seen this little nook before, but did you know that thrifted picnic basket turned side table is where I keep seasonal pajamas?
clothing storage ideas

clothing storage ideas

This frees up drawer space.  When the cooler temps are here to stay I'll replace these fleece jammies with my summer knits.

And the armoire beside it holds all of the hubs jeans, sweats, pajamas,  - it's basically his for the taking. Again the beauty of a large vertical piece is that it doesn't use up a lot of floor space but totally maximizes the vertical space.  And an armoire is especially great for manly (i.e. bulky) sweaters and sweatshirts - no more stuffing them into a drawer.

And directly on top of that armoire, is a pair of vintage suitcases..........

clothing storage ideas

that I filled with winter hats, scarves, and gloves and very soon I'll be switching them out for bathing suits, cover-ups, and flip flops.

These are just a few of the ways we've learned to maximize our clothing storage.  Do you have any tips for finding storage outside of the closet?  I mean we'd all love to have a great big, organized, beautiful walk-in closet, but sometimes reality falls short of the dream just a little huh?  No matter - where there's a will there's always a way - right?!

Want to know how I keep our closet organized?  Check here!

shared closet spaces

Interested in stylish shoe storage?  Check here!  Here's a peak: 
shoe shelves

Looking for an inexpensive, easy diy shoe storage idea?  Check here!
diy shoe rack

Need some help figuring out how to keep your wardrobe well edited?  Check out this series on wardrobe essentials!

wardrobe essentials


Take a tour of our master bedroom here!

For more organization ideas and projects - check here.


76 comments:

  1. You're smart. I never considered any of those options for storage. I usually just keep heavy pj's thrown at the top of the closet and everything is mixed together. One thing I try not to do is buy a bunch of long sleeves for myself because I get hot easily. I always add a jacket or coat. Thanks for some of these tips, I think I may just have to use a few, especially the picnic basket;)

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  2. Very clever girl! I do a lot of the same because our master closet is on the small side too. I just switched out my PJs yesterday and brought out all the winter gloves, hats and scarfs. The cold weather really snuck up on us this year. I'm hoping for another winter like last year!

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  3. Great tips! Our closet is even tinier, so my clothes are all in our guest room! (Anyone else have this problem? Our house is a small colonial style from the 40s and they certainly did not value closet space!) So I love the ideas of hiding clothes is beautiful decorative objects, such as the trunk and those suitcases. Love that. Now I just need to find some great items to hide my stuff!

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    1. We are in the exact same situation. We live in a 1943 cottage and my three year old son has the largest closet in the house. I am the queen of hiding (and losing) out of season items. It is spread all over. My closet is half height under the eaves in our bedroom. I would LOVE Carmel's closet (and a bathroom that actually has windows!). I actually have an unused trunk and two vintage suitcases in the attic that will now be used for decorative storage. Thanks!

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    2. Keeping things close to my closet - in my bedroom - keeps me from forgetting and misplacing. Suitcases would be great for under the bed storage too - especially if you don't have a bedskirt to hide things!

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  4. Ours is small as well and I have learned to really pair down. All great tips. Love the Pajama basket idea!

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  5. I just went to see if my vaccuum would fit under the bed...dang! I keep it in the basement, so that would have made me a happy girl! Great storage ideas!

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    Replies
    1. Our bed is a little higher off the ground than most ;) and it's a canister style

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  6. These are great tips! Our home is older & we have smaller closets too. Gonna try to think of ways I can incorporate some of these ideas in our home! Thanks Carmel!

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  7. great tips! i found an upholstered bed frame with drawers on the bottom that i plan on getting to save space when i move in with my boyfriend. he has just as many clothes as i do! & maybe more shoes! what color are your walls? i am in love!

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    Replies
    1. Drawers on the bottom are awesome! I sort of built my son a storage bed - he keeps his books there - and it helps so much with storage issues.

      The wall color is MS Wrought Iron - LOVE it!

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  8. Great ideas! I'm also a creative storage girl.. I have no choice as some of my closets won't even hold hangers! I would die to have your closet:)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jane - I've totally been there - so I know what a luxury it is to have the space we do have. You know how it is though- give me an inch - I want a yard ;)

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  9. That's so smart! I really need to get more creative with our storage options for clothing - those are some great tips!

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  10. Your closet may not be large, but yout master bedroom sure is! Looks lovely!

    Have you had a chance to check out www.TheBlogSisters.com? It's a new home bloggers directory and events calendar. Please join!

    Take care,
    Bar ara

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  11. Awesome post - love seeing where people store their belongings.

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  12. I'm soaking all this in because I have a "walk-by" closet. Your room looks amazing!

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  13. Those are such great storage options! We have a closet that is entirely too large for us, but it definitely needs better storage. Most of it is junked up everywhere, getting some cute storage bins is definitely on my to-do list!

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  14. Where did you get your double chest of drawers? I have been looking for a piece that size but have never seen one that looked nice.
    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. We bought at a local furniture store called Colonial Furniture when we loved in Richmond, Va about 7 years ago. I think sometimes the smaller local furniture sellers have a little better selection - try checking some of those in your area.

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  15. Just a little tip. If you store your wool items together, and live in an older home that could be prone to moths, put some lavender sachets in with them.

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    Replies
    1. Awesome - I've been doing this for the fragrance for years but had no idea it actually helped with moths! Thanks for sharing!

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  16. I love the idea of switching out the hats, gloves, etc. for bathing suits! It's another "opposite" that I would not have thought of. :)

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  17. Great ideas, if only our vacuum would fit under the bed!! I'm curious about the numbers over the bedside tables?? Care to share about those?

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    Replies
    1. The number art is a diy project you can find the deets here - http://www.ourfifthhouse.com/2012/06/3-step-diy-art-project.html

      They're special dates- 10/21 is our anniversary and 12/22 is the date we got engaged.

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    2. I hoped somebody would ask this question! Love the story behind the numbers. So sweet, may have to steal someday! Thanks for sharing the answer, Carmel. :)

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  18. Impressive post! I had fun time reading your post. This is interesting.
    FixturesExpress.com

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  19. I stumbled upon your blog this morning and have thoroughly enjoyed reading everything you've posted. I found so many inspirational ideas. (I have a friend bringing me some horseshoes this evening!)
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful home with the world. I helps us other homemakers find answers to questions we've had for a long time!

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  20. Way to make great use of the space you have and I love the multi-purpose pieces like the picnic basket. I do have to say that your closet is among one of the biggest I have ever seen though! lol All the homes in this area are old, so either have very small closets or none at all.

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  21. No offense, but your closet is not that small. I would love to hear/see suggestions for a closet that is 5' x 3' x 8' like the mostly useless one I have in my front hall.

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    1. In comparison....t0yours seems big to me! Our home was built in 1900 and the house is quite large but none of the bedrooms were built to contain closets..the previous owner had some built inside the rooms (they are small...they used the home for a bed and breakfast...so didn't need space except for a weekend stay).... 2 bedrooms still don't have closets! And mine is very sad. You can take a step in and there is a bar for hanging clothes (maybe 3 ft) and a shelf wall (but the hanging clothes bar goes right into it and covers most of the shelf with the clothing). I am definitely looking for 'extra' special storage ideas! And my bedroom is very large however there are 6 doors (entrances and closets) and a fireplace and two really large windows.... so where do you put furniture to hold the clothes?! It will be wonderful when I figure it out...when I figure it out!! :) I do have an attic and that may be my solution.... a family closet!!

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  22. In 5 houses and one very small apartment I have definitely had closets in all different sizes. Our current closet isn't the smallest we've had that's for sure, and I am very thankful to have the space we do have.

    If you have a hanging bar in that closet I would use those very thin velvety hangers (they let you pack a lot in a small space) to hang items that you wear the most. Bulky items I would try to store somewhere else - like maybe stacking old suitcases as a nightstand.

    I have found that what works for me is to focus less on the storage space I don't have and start thinking outside the closet about maximizing other storage options. Hope this helps!

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  23. What's the difference between a chest of drawers and a dresser?

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    1. A chest of drawers is taller sometimes giving you two extra rows of drawers and in other cases just one extra row. They aren't typically any deeper so you just get a taller piece not one that takes up more floor space.

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    2. Thanks, Carmel! I learned something new today. :)

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  24. This has given me so many great ideas! I have such a TINY closet and no way does all of my stuff fit in there! Thanks to you, I'm going to be smarter about how I organize my swimsuits, scarves, & jammies! xo

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  29. I just wanted remind everyone to be thankful for the closets you do have. We live in an 1880's farmhouse and we have no closets to speak of, which has forced us to get creative. We do have a walk up attic that my husband plans to finish and turn into a closet one day, but as of right now we have converted an extra bedroom into a closet. We also maximize our dresser space and use a trunk at the end of our bed. Clever idea about keeping clothes in a suitcase under the bed, I'm going to give that a try.

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  30. I love the fact that you LOVE and wear everything that you have in your closet!! That is my problem, keeping stuff I haven't worn in ages becuase you "just never know" when you might want to wear it or worse when I will lose weight to fit in it again. If I got rid of half my clothes which fall into these categories I would have a lot more space! Love your other great storage ideas too!

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  31. fantastic makeover!! love the dark colored walls and all the beautifully curated vignettes! Great lesson on storage solution "outside" of the closet!

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  33. when you turn storage into a creative challenge then it becomes fun , we have created a lot of storage space in our house it can be challenging at times but it has made our house more spacious and more comfortable

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  34. Ummm.... small closet? I'm confused!?

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  35. Love all of these ideas!! They are Amazing!!
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  36. This is a small closet??? Seriously, you need a reality check

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  39. LOL!!! That closet is NOT small, it's huge, mine is not walk in and is only 3 feet wide, for both of us to share.

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    1. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who thought calling that a small closet was crazy.

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  49. Love this! Where did you buy that Black Shoe shelf!?! I have been looking for one forever!

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    1. It's actually a dark espresso color and I bought it at Target a couple years ago.

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  52. These storage ideas are great but that is NOT a small closet, haha. I have one a little smaller and I think it's absolutely HUGE. Then again, I live in a studio apartment in New York City that altogether is probably the size of some people's closet.

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  53. Awesome ideas Carmel!! I need to do some serious editing in our closet and what you said about having every piece be on that fits AND that you love made me realize just how badly I need to sort through things. LOL! Thanks for the inspiration! :-)
    Vanessa

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  54. I'm sorry but a) you have a walk-in closet and b) it's HUGE! I'm from the UK and most of us don't even have closets... we have wardrobes if we're lucky. My house is a chalet bungalow which means that the upstairs has sloping ceilings and the rooms are too small even to fit a wardrobe. I'd love to see some tips for people who REALLY don't have much space!!

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