Small closet ideas: Organization solutions that work in the master bedroom

It's been two years since we moved into our 52 year old house and finally I have been able to get my painfully small closet organized and efficient.   This house has pretty much all we could ask for -- a finished basement, totally renovated, an outdoor firepit and outdoor fireplace, a large front and backyard, hardwood throughout,  large bedrooms, walk-in closets (in 3 of the 4 bedrooms) and 3,000 square feet.  About 3 of those feet are claimed by the God-awful small closets in the master bedroom.

I have come to the conclusion the reach-and-grab closets in the master must be the world's smallest closets for a master bedroom. Sure, they have about 10 foot ceilings -- that's great for someone who's not even barely 5', but they don't have much of anything else.  Seriously, don't you think this should be illegal??

It has been an ongoing project of mine over the last two years to get my closet organized with all the stuff I need to fit in there.  My husband has been blessed cursed with an equally small closet, but doesn't seem to care that his isn't nearly as efficient or organized as mine -- perhaps because he isn't storing the same number of shoes, bags and dresses shoved into a two by 5 foot space. It's painful -- especially after coming from a 10 year old house that had a huge walk-in that was more than big enough for both of us to share. 

Due to the extreme lack of space I've had to come up with some ideas to organize my small closet --basically because even a closet organization system would be too big for our closet.  I started out with two 5 foot long shelves directly over the rod and one low shelf that would maybe fit six pairs of shoes -- but which I now use for jeans.

Awhile back I added a three- shelf shoe rack which could hold about 12-15 pairs of shoes.  I also put all shoes that are rarely worn (dress shoes for weddings, flip flips in the winter, etc) up on the highest shelf (or in the guest room) to get them out of the way.  For those that I still had the boxes for I used them so I could stack them.  These things helped, but hardly stopped me from busing out of the space.

In order to make the best use of the rod I organized all my shirts by color.  This was basically done
because there's no room to really "browse" because everything is just stuffed right next to each other. I then decided that big things like sweaters I would fold and neatly pile on the top shelf.  I admit, I often need a small step stool to reach them, but the space could not be wasted.  Fortunately (or unfortunately), I am not a real big bag person (let's face it I usually carry a diaper bag) so I was able to use the rest of the shelf to neatly line up my purses. I put some small ones inside othes to save even more space. 

Recently, I decided the space was still not efficient enough. I started to think about more ways I could get this small closet organized.   I basically followed the motto "Reduce, ReUse, Recycle."   First, I got rid of any clothes, shoes, dresses, and maternity wear that I no longer wear and that was just taking up space.  Freeing up space is always where I start.   While I was thinking about how to get more of my shoes to neatly fit I remembered a pin I had recently come across about using old bookshelves as makeshift closets.

I had an old bookshelf that my dad made me as a little girl that was sitting in the back of our basement just collecting dust.  I measured and it was literally the exact size to fit in the spot.  (I did have to remove the middle shelf, but I reused it elsewhere in the closet -- more on that in a minute.) I removed the shelves and placed my existing shoe rack in the bookcase.  (Sorry the picture is so poor, it's hard to get pictures in this small space). By doing this it almost doubled the number of shoes I could store, due to two more shelves above the shoe rack and some room underneath that was perfect for flipflops.  In the space that I previously could store 12-15 pairs of shoes I now had nearly double that. 

Next to that, I neatly lined up all my boots along the perimeter of the closet.  I rolled up old magazines and stuffed one in each boot shaft so they'd stand up straight, thus taking up even less floor space. 

I actually moved my socks into my closet by placing them in a canvas bin on top of the shoe bookcase.  By emptying my sock drawer it actually allowed me to free up one of the dresser drawers, which I now use for tank tops which were once hanging in the closet and taking up precious hanger space. 

Right above my hats (aka bad hair day savers), there was not originally a shelf.  This is where I put the wooden shelf that I had removed from the bookshelf when I put the shoe rack in it.  I literally just placed the wooden shelf on top of the original shelf that goes across the back of the closet and extended it to form an "L" so there is now shelving on the side of the closet as well.  This gave me even more shelf space and allowed me to put sweatshirts and a bin of bathing suits that I also moved out of my dresser.

So here's how it looks now.  Unfortunately, I don't have a "before" picture, but I'm pretty pleased with the way it is right now.  By organizing the closet and actually putting more stuff in there ( the bookshelf, the added shelving, and the sock bin) I actually created more space for other clothes and shoes to keep them off the floor.

Do you have an insanely small closet?  I'd love to hear your tips on how you organize it to make it a useful space.

1 comment:

Abigail said...

I just happened to find your post when I was googling ideas for small closets and it's so inspiring! I'm going to try to copy everything you did. I just moved into a house that's almost 100 years old and the closet is SO small--it's been driving me crazy. Now I'm excited to go bully the chaos into something that resembles your closet!

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