15 Tips for Reclaiming Closet Space

Updated: Sep. 20, 2023

Is your closet overflowing? Never fear—follow our 15 top tips for reclaiming closet space and you'll have all the space you need.

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De-Clutter Your Stuff

Getting started on decluttering is the first step. Begin by taking everything (yes everything!) out of your closet and sorting it. Have a box for the thrift shop and another for anything that might sell online. Be ruthless—if you haven’t worn it or used it in the last year, you’re not likely to, so ditch it in favor of something you will wear. Make sure that the items you keep are things you really like and will use. Then you can think about where to store everything.

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Pack Seasonal Clothing

One simple way to make extra closet space is to store seasonal clothing and accessories somewhere else, leaving you more space for the items you need now. Put clothes, accessories, shoes and purses in a vacuum storage bag—you’ll be surprised how compact it all becomes once the air is removed. Insert a list of what’s in each bag where you can read it, so you can locate something if you find you need it unexpectedly.

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Give Your Closet Space a Makeover

Making your closet into the perfect storage space may mean just a little tweaking or it could mean a total overhaul. It’s worth considering which is best for you before you start reorganizing because there’s no point in going to a lot of effort to find more space if you’re struggling with an inefficient system. Think about which items you use most and how to store them. This closet organizer is a great way to gain plenty of closet storage space.

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Arrange Hanging Rods Efficiently

Next, consider your closet space. How can you make the most of the space available? Small hacks like arranging your hanging rods carefully can make a world of difference. If your closet is tall, then try installing them high up (as long as you can reach them easily!), leaving room for other storage below. Or add double-decker rods to increase your capacity even further. This low-cost closet system shows you how it’s done.

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coat closet organization shelves
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Add Extra Shelves

As well as hanging space, you’ll also need shelves for storing sweaters, T-shirts, jeans or even shoes. If you’re mostly happy with your hanging space, why not add some high shelving to increase your overall closet space? It’s perfect for keeping items you don’t use much (like fancy hats), and also ideal for storing boxes or baskets.

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Use Boxes or Baskets for Smaller Items

Everyone has a few smaller items they need to store, such as accessories, jewelry items or knit hats. Left on a shelf, they can look untidy, so buy some matching boxes or baskets to house all these bits and bobs neatly. Most come in multiple sizes, so you can make a feature of them in your closet. You can even nest smaller boxes inside larger ones to save space.

Photo: Sucham Wetthayasafa/Shutterstock

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Use Wire Shelving

Wire shelving is lightweight and versatile. The open construction makes it easy to see what’s what so you can find items quickly and easily. Wire shelving can be wall-mounted to leave shelves or the floor free for other storage. The space behind the doors is ideal for this. See our complete wire shelving installation guide.

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Glove and Mitt Storage
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Don’t Forget the Doors

Door storage is often a wasted opportunity in the closet, so think about how you can use yours. Hanging rods are great for accessories like scarves, or keep it simple with string and pegs for small items like gloves and hats. See how to make this simple rack, plus some other clever door storage hacks.

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Keep Everything Visible

There’s nothing more frustrating when you’re in a rush than rooting through a pile of T-shirts or sweaters to find the one you want (which is always at the bottom!). If you’re storing them on shelves, stack them like a shop display or roll and pack into a cubbyhole so you can see each shirt instantly. Fold and stack them vertically in a drawer for instant recognition. And why not install closet lighting so you can see even more clearly?

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Keep Everything Visible

Maximize closet space by limiting your hangers to 40. You can see all your items clearly and they won’t get crumpled by being squashed together on the clothes rod. If you buy something new, get rid of an item you already have, or put it into longer-term storage to keep your closet space clear. And choose your hangers carefully. If you wear lots of skirts, buy special hangers for them. Pants stay neat and well pressed when they’re stored on designated pants hangers. Include some padded hangers for delicate items.

Photo: Watcharapol Amprasert/Shutterstock

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Closet storage
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Store Multiple Items on One Hanger

You can cheat significantly on the 40-hanger rule if you get hangers designed to store multiple items. Some versions let you hang as many as five items on one hook, which saves on rod space. There are many commercial multiple-hangers available, with different design features to suit your taste. But if you’re on a budget, use soda can ring-pulls over the hook and use another standard hanger. But be careful not to cram too much in, or your clothes will get rumpled and creased.

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Use Dividers for Small Items

If you have drawers in your closet, you know that pesky items like socks and underwear seem to muddle themselves deliberately! So bring order to the chaos with some DIY drawer dividers. Commercially available dividers can be made from plastic or fabric, and usually come in several sizes so they can be inserted into drawers of all shapes and sizes.

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Shoe organizer
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Organize Shoes and Boots

Shoes and boots take up a lot of space and are often awkward to store, but leaving them in a jumble on your closet floor is a nightmare when you’re looking for a matching pair. If you have enough shelf space, using stacking shoe boxes. Transparent ones let you see what’s inside at a glance. Hanging pockets are another option, either on the clothes rod, or attached to the wall or door. A shoe rack is also simple to make and can be wall-mounted to save floor space.

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Storing Scarves

There are dozens of ways to store scarves. You want to be able to find them quickly, but your choice of closet storage depends on whether you want them hidden away or to make a feature of them. Rolling them keeps them compact, and they can then be stored in a cubbyhole, or placed in dividers in a drawer. Use shower curtain rings on a sturdy hanger, or make your own scarf hanger (part of a collection of great storage tips, so scroll down to it!) to hold several at a time. These can be stored on hanging rods or hooks attached to your closet wall.

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Organizing Jewelry

A jewelry box (or two!) can be kept on a shelf in your closet for easy access. Using matching storage boxes in a range of sizes is another option. Smaller boxes can be nested inside larger ones to maximize closet space. But if you want your jewelry displayed, a very simple solution is to mount a cork board onto your closet door. Leave it plain or tack some fabric onto it to match your bedroom décor. Then insert rows of glass-headed pins or thumb tacks for hanging your jewelry.

Photo: Gordana Sermak/Shutterstock