Closet Alternatives

Discussions of wardrobe organization always center on closets. How big is your closet? What kind of shelves and racks are inside? What gadgets do you use to keep it in ship shape?

But many of us have dinky, cramped, turn-of-the-century closets (see me waving my hand in the air?), and are forced to find other, creative ways to store and organize our goodies. Here are some of the most common non-closet clothing-storage solutions:

Armoires

These monsters are, essentially, freestanding closets and are sometimes referred to as “wardrobes.” What better place to stash your clothes? The one shown above is among the most common layouts, with a cupboard-like section up top that typically features a hang bar and a drawer or two below. I’ve got one with sliding doors on both sides and shelving above the hang bar, so there are definitely variations on the theme.

ADVANTAGES: Armoires are generally big, so they hold a lot. They’re also pretty grown-up looking – even the cheap, Ikea versions – so they may enhance your bedroom’s decor. Certain versions are configured to accommodate short hanging pieces only, but it’s still nice to have a non-closet option that can store must-be-hung items.

DISADVANTAGES: Armoires are generally big, so they take up a bunch of space. If you’re living in a microscopic studio apartment, a hulking armoire may look comically out of place. Big can also mean expensive, although you can certainly go the thrifted/Target route to minimize cost.

Chests of drawers

Yeah, I know: Duh. It’s that base-covering urge that I just can’t seem to squelch.

Very few furnished houses and apartments are without a chest of drawers or two. (Chest or two of drawers? Hmmm.) This storage staple comes in all shapes, sizes, materials, and configurations and can be nabbed at virtually every price point if you’re willing to buy used.

ADVANTAGES: Again, generally qualify as grown-up furniture. Chests of drawers often serve as dressers since they have open space up top for jewelry boxes, accessories, and miscellany.

DISADVANTAGES: Obviously, everything stored in a chest of drawers must be folded. Or wadded. Anyway, nothing delicate, easily wrinkled, or required-to-be-hung is gonna thrive in there. Although these guys can be procured for cheap (or even free), some show wear-and-tear pretty easily. Simple to spruce up, but buyer beware.

Beneath-the-bed solutions

Although some beds are actually equipped with drawers built into their frames, there are plenty of less permanent options: Bags, bins, and boxes designed to slide under a bed and out of sight.

ADVANTAGES: For most people, this is a wasted space anyway. Why not fill it with clothes or shoes? Since many closet-less spaces also lack basements and deep storage, under-the-bed storage is a great alternative for less-used or off-season items.

DISADVANTAGES: Out of sight, out of mind! I always make sure to utilize under-the-bed storage for items that get infrequent use yet are extremely memorable because otherwise, they’re as good as gone. This solution is obviously best for foldables or durable goods like shoes and bags, since anything fussy will get wrinkled and mussed. And unless you’ve got a mondo bed on stilts, the storage area itself is pretty limited.

Roll racks

Although they were designed for use in retail environments, roll racks have made their way into the bedrooms of many fashionistas. Some use them as 3D inspiration boards, but others employ them for extra storage.

ADVANTAGES: If you’re the type of person who draws inspiration from what’s right in front of her, this is a great way to let those sparks fly! Roll racks are obviously mobile, so they can be temporarily stashed in another room as needed.

DISADVANTAGES: Even a roll rack hung with gorgeous duds is still a roll rack, and probably won’t look terribly sophisticated. This solution is more fun and less grown-up, in most cases. Roll racks are limited, too, since everything on them must be hung.

Wall displays

Pinterest is absolutely lousy with wall display ideas: Towel racks for your scarves, corkboards for your jewelry, crown moulding for your shoes, and on and on. I’ve even seen photos of clothing on hangers tacked directly to walls. There are infinite ways to transform your wardrobe items into displayed works.

ADVANTAGES: Nearly all wall displays are DIY-able, and therefore, cheap. If you’re a fashion-y, arty person showing off bits of your wardrobe in creative ways can feel rewarding and fun.

DISADVANTAGES: This is another option that may seem a little casual or young to certain eyes. Items on display in full light are likely to fade eventually.

I’ve lived in apartments with cubby-sized closets and ones with zero concealed storage, so I’ve tried out all of these methods myself. And although I dream of a bona-fide dressing room to house my wardrobe, it’s reassuring to know that even closet-less spaces can be retooled to accommodate a burgeoning collection of clothes, shoes and accessories!

Image via Linens N Things.

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  • I have a wardrobe and a dresser (built-in closets are not common in Berlin apartment buildings built around 1910), and I tend to forget about the clothes that are in the dresser. After reading a few posts on Unclutterer.com about how different people process information differently, it all made sense — now I have only “utalitarian” things like underwear, socks, tights, gym clothes and bedding in my dresser, and the “outer layer” is in the wardrobe and much easier to look at.

    http://unclutterer.com/2008/05/14/understanding-how-you-process-information-to-help-you-get-organized-part-i/
    http://unclutterer.com/2008/05/16/understanding-how-you-process-information-to-help-you-get-organized-part-2/

    • Sonja

      Thank you so much for the links! As a German teacher, I knew about the different ways of processing information that are mentioned in the article, but I never thought about how they influenced the way we organize our daily tasks.

  • I can’t offer much wisdom here, as I now have my own closet room *squee*, but I can really say that roll racks are sooo practical. When I still had a closet, I had nowhere to put my “worn but still ok” clothes somewhere. Too dirty to put back into the closet, too clean for laundry, they sat on top of a dresser just getting wrinkly. Now I can just hang my stuff there, it gives them a good airing and I can wear them again just like that. I also drilled brackets onto the walls for storage. Hmm, I think there is a closet room tour in order 😉

  • Emma Hill

    Wow, I learn something everyday. I’ve often come across the word ‘armoire’ in US books and blogs (I’m from the UK, and live elsewhere in Europe) and wondered what it meant. For some reason it was nearly always ‘vintage armoire’ which lead me to believe that it was some really old-fashioned and obscure piece of furniture. I always resolved to look it up but always forgot by the end of the page/piece.

    So an armoire is a wardrobe. Does that mean that ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ is ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Armoire’ over on your side of the pond?

    BTW way in the UK we call closets ‘built-in wardrobes’. Which tells you that that the free-standing version is more common over here, and the fact that armoire/wardrobe is seen as an alternative to a closet tells me that the built-in version is more common in the US. Which I find fascinating.

    • Sal

      Hee. No, it’s still “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” around here.

      And yes, we Americans expect closets/built-in wardrobes in our homes, for the most part!

    • Molly

      When I attended college in the U.S. Northeast, some of the dorm rooms came with freestanding closets rather than built-in, and everyone called them “wardrobes,” not “armoires.” I know they’re the same thing, but I too often think of an armoire as something old and ornate, and a wardrobe as simpler, like what you’d get at Ikea. I don’t know why we use both words, or who’s more likely to use one rather than the other–and it doesn’t come up often, since most of us have built-in closets!

      • I’ve been looking for furniture on Craigslist in Wisconsin, and I’ve seen a ton of “armoires” (or “armors” or “amwars” or “amores”… craigslist is not known for its spelling) but no “wardrobes.” Fascinating!

  • We live in a 1925 cottage – from the time when people had *no closets*! So we do armoires, chests of drawers, and practice small wardrobery : > It’s a challenge, and when I see pics of walk-in closets, I get a little light-headed : >

  • I have three very small closets (2.5, 3, and 4 linear feet respectively) and one of those is the front hall coat closet. I also have an armoire with two dresser drawers. Things are a bit stuffed. I’m thinking about downsizing my armoire to a dresser, though. The things in there are folded anyway, and the armoire looms in my bedroom being big and dark, with a fair amount of dead space.

    I have a second armoire in my utility room that my ex-bf bought to “have his own space”. I now use that one as a combination liquor cabinet/pantry since my kitchen is also old-house tiny.

  • T.

    If you have small closets with just one hang bar and one shelf, I really recommend redoing that configuration. You can do it yourself, or splurge on a professional design and installation. (I had two closets professionally done a few years ago, and it was about $300 per closet.) Both closets now have a “short hang” for shirts and a “high hang” for dresses, plus tons of shelves. The storage capacity is amazing. It definitely tripled the amount of what could be stored, and all of it is visible when you stand in front of the closet trying to find something!

  • Miss T

    Fun fact: closets are also scarce in mansions and plantations in the southern US (Louisiana, in particular) because 150 years ago they were taxed as “rooms”.

    I have a curio cabinet: glass panels on the side and front. It’s tall and thin and has 5 shelves Instead of curios (which it once held) I store “basics” in there: leggings, and bras, all sorted by color. I store the bras at eye-level, and it actually looks very dainty and pretty through the beveled glass.

    I have a very large closet but it’s just on the verge of useless because, although it runs the expanse of the wall, it is only about 2 feet wide. Therefore, other than hanging, storage is rather restrictive: only hanging things can go in there. And being so long (the length of the wall) it almost falls into the category of out of sight out of mind because you can only visually process what’s in front of you. I remedy this by frequent closet clean-outs and rotations.

    I do have a chest of drawers that I use — for shoes! I store my nicest shoes in there so I never have to worry about them. Also, drawers are perfect for storing boots because you can just lay them down. The chest I have is actually part of a “youth furniture” collection. All this means is that it’s just a tad smaller overall than typical “grown up” furniture. The styling is classic, though. I use the matching bed stands (which are actually 3-drawer chests) for lingerie that doesn’t get worn as often (i.e., pantihose, slips, etc.).

    Finally, I do have a dress form that I use as my “design board”, especially for accessorizing. I will also frequently put a piece on the dress form that I’m not sure about, just to sort of “live with it” for a while until inspiration strikes.

    • Anneesha

      This is cool info! Like the idea of using formal china cabinet as clothing storage, and boots/shoes in dressers.

      • Eliza

        I use a china cabinet too! You can also add sheer curtains to the back of the glass to hide sweats/t shirts/etc. My cabinet has one drawer for undergarments as well.

        Other than the cabinet, I have one closet about 2 feet wide, and very deep, which has three hanging rods placed one behind the next.I share this closet with my brother (who loves clothing but has no closet in his room). We use the front rod for our daily wear, and the back two for out of season or formal things.

        I also use a few cardboard hatboxes (stored under the bed) for tights, and I like a wall-hanging pocket shoe holder for winter accessories/sunglasses/and some toiletries.

  • Katharine

    I finally hit my limit on my tiny, turn-of-the-century-house closet last year, and bought two Pax wardrobes from Ikea (Ikea wardrobes are cheap? Not THAT cheap!). I got the new style that has four drawers in the bottom and double doors on top (as space in my bedroom is limited anyway) so it’s like the best of chests of drawers and wardrobes combined. Ironically, having all my clothes accessible and nicely stored has really inspired me to purge a LOT of items.

    At the same time, I also bought one of their bed frames with drawers underneath… sadly, that has not turned out to be a good purchase at all. Oh, the drawers are fine, but the bed is super creaky and annoying, even though we’re pretty sure we put it together right, and then even reinforced it with angle brackets after the first couple weeks of creaking.

    • Sal

      True, but far cheaper than solid wood versions. Believe me!

      • Katharine

        Oh, I know. I am tragically aware of what the best of everything costs. Sadly, I’m not in a position to breeze down to Hamilton’s legendary furniture store and buy a cherry wardrobe for several grand.

        Maybe I can hope that one day I’ll get the gorgeous high-modern teak ones that were custom-built for my grandparents, and which my parents had shipped over from the UK at great expense (but far less than the wardrobes are worth!) after they died. In the meantime, I must try to conform my solid hand-crafted wood tastes to my Ikea budget.

        • Katharine

          (That sounded callous, and wasn’t meant to… I actually tease my mom about giving me the one that sits in the hall full of unused very old clothing, and maybe one day if she’s in a very good mood she might.)

  • I live in a 3-bedroom, 100 year old house that has ONE closet, not-so conveniently located in the bathroom. (There’s also a tiny closet tucked under the stairs, where we have to store all our coats, seasonal things like Christmas decorations, and random stuff like the vacuum cleaner and exercise equipment.) I also have four children, so until the oldest two went away to school, there were six of us sharing one closet. We did have an armoir built around an antique door we found in our basement, and gave it to our daughters. It’s gorgeous, but also stupendously heavy, and getting it up the stairs was quite a job. I use under-the bed bins for my sons because not only do they not have a closet, their bedroom is so tiny there isn’t room for a dresser either. Bins are not a great solution because unless you keep lids on them, everything gets dusty, and it’s a pain to have to remove lids from bins every single day when you’re getting dressed. My drawers are so crammed with clothes that everything is wrinkled. We do have a large old sea chest that we use to hold hats, mittens, snowpants, and bulky, durable items like heavy sweatshirts. I have a couple of large wicker baskets on the shelf in our one closet–one basket holds ALL our sheets–the other is for random sweaters and little-worn items.

    Mainly we try to just not have too many clothes. Here is my theory about huge walk-in closets: they are a waste of space. All that space that could potentially be used for living, is instead devoted to holding stuff. Far better to have less stuff and more space. I wouldn’t trade my closet-deprived house for a modern one with walk-in closets for anything.

    One final thought: when we bought our house, a friend surveyed our one shared closet and said, “What a sense of togetherness your children will have growing up in a house like this.”

    • Miss T

      This is so true. I grew up in a house that was built in 1902 and also had just one closet. We kids learned from little on to keep the clutter down — probably one of my best lifestyle habits now, as adult. We had wonderful shared experiences surrounding the sharing of closets and devising solutions: my dad make a wardrobe for us kids and helped him shop for lumber, picked out the hardware, etc.

  • Anneesha

    This is a great post and just what I’ve been needing. I need to rig up a closet roolm of sorts in my basement, but it will have to withstand summertime dampness – does anyone have thoughts? Does cedar help? The plastic-hanging bags? It’s either the basement or my cute little garage which is more of a glorified storage/potting shed (not used for car storage).

    My dream house would feature a dedicated Dressing Room, unattached to the bedroom, with lots of shelves, racks, mirrors. It would be so wonderful to not have clothes in my sleeping area at all!

    • Katharine

      Cedar is a natural solution for moths; it won’t help much with damp. Running a dehumidifier down there would probably be a better idea.

    • Megan

      My grandma has a cedar closet in her basement. She lives in Illinois so it does get a bit hot and humid down there. The closet is up about 6 inches off of the floor so that if the basement floods a bit her clothes don’t get wet. I agree with Katharine that a dehumidifier would probably help.

  • Aziraphale

    I have a fairly small closet. Not teeny-tiny, but smallish. My solution is to not fill it beyond its capacity! At this point, if I buy something new, something old has to go. That’s the rule. Not a solution that holds appeal for everybody, but I’m not a thrifter and I’m not even a huge fan of shopping, although I enjoy it from time to time. So I tend not to accumulate loads of clothes. I just keep trying to improve on what I’ve got, or occasionally to replace worn-out items.

    Also, the person who owned the house before us did a good job of organizing the closet into the perfect combination of shelving space and hanging space. This is helpful!

  • Aziraphale

    I thought of something else. I live in the Pacific Northwest, where it never gets too terribly cold, so only tiny portion of my wardrobe consists of bulky items like wool sweaters! But I have lots of light knit tops and button-front shirts. You can fit many thin tops in the space that one cableknit fisherman sweater would occupy. This helps too.

    Also, none of my coats go into my closet. There is a coat rack downstairs, by the door, where my good coats hang on hangers, which hang on the hooks. The not-so-good coats just get hung up any old way on the hooks.

  • Anamarie

    Like Lili, I also have a closet room, which was a small room in our basement. I bought a closet rack system at Sam’s club (and then a second one online) which has three big shelves on one side, an upper storage rack (which I use for luggage), two clothing racks in the middle, and then three more shelves and another upper storage rack on the other side. I use the shelves for bins for workout gear, scarves, socks, large bags etc. (since I don’t have dressers) and then divide my clothes by type and color on the racks (dresses/skirts/blouses/pants). My shoes are in plastic boxes or shoe boxes on the built-in shelves (they were bookcases), and I have a wall of cork tiles where I hang my necklaces. I also used a small spice rack to display and store my nailpolishes. I have a small vanity table from Target and a little bench where I store my makeup and get ready. I love that room! Other than the racks, I did not spend much money for storage/organization. I think the racks cost about $100 each and I have two. Our house (Mpls.) was built in 1922. My husband took over the actual closets in the house.

    • Anamarie

      I have the Seville Classics Expandable Closet Organizer in chrome, which is currently available on amazon.com for about $90.00.

  • Susan, the one in Berkeley

    In my many rental apartments, most had huge walk-in closets and often built-in drawers and shelving too. I suspect they were originally made to hold Murphy beds because my houses had the same lack of closets all your comments describe. The storage is needed since there is little room anywhere else – the clothes shared space with bathroom supplies and Christmas ornaments. I always found the value of my clothes hinges on how much space it takes up in my closet.

    I always managed to fit in a blanket chest to hold sweaters, linens, blankets and sachets. Great for seasonal storage and a flat surface when not in active use.

  • Danielle Marie

    I have way too many pairs of shoes to fit neatly in a small closet so I store them all under my bed. I have a three tiered shoe rack for my uh, 15, pairs of stilettos, and then for the remainder of under my bed I have rows of boots arranged by color and height. Not only is it super easy to pick out a fabulous pair to go with whatever outfit I’m wearing, but the stilettos are very aesthetically pleasing, more than a normal under-the-bed bin. Highly recommend.

  • Cora

    What about dust with the rack and under-the-bed options? I have a hard time keeping my less worn clothes dust free and looking good in a wardrobe.

  • Jen

    Living in a ~600 sq. foot condo makes you appreciate every inch of space you can commandeer. I’ve been working really hard at creating a capsule wardrobe to ensure that I don’t end up with closet orphans. I also have to be incredibly realistic – do I need another jacket? No, unless I’m willing to get rid of one. The setup forces (or enables) me to be un-sentimental, I mailed my wedding dress off to a charity the week we got back from our honeymoon because I knew I wasn’t going to wear it again!

    My husband and I split the closet right down the middle. The floor is taken up by two three-tier shoe racks (one for each) and two laundry baskets. If your shoes won’t fit on the rack, get rid of a pair. This works pretty well for me, as I HAVE to focus on functionality and I’m not swayed by planning for life’s what-ifs (yes sparkly pink heels would be perfect for a girl’s weekend in Vegas, no I don’t have one planned right now so I’m not buying these shoes). I use this to hang my scarves (http://www.containerstore.com/shop/closet/accessoryStorage/tiesScarves?productId=10000136&N=159).

    I use one of these to organize my workout clothes (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10154558/). This is probably my best closet organizer, as I work out almost every day of the week. One running shoe per shelf, one shelf for capri bottoms, one for short bottoms, long sleeve tops, tanktops, sports bras, and one shelf for miscellaneous gym stuff (goggles, swim cap, extra towels).

  • Becky

    Cubby cubes!

    They come in many sizes and materials, from wire mesh to nicer ready-to-assemble pieces. You often see them now with cube canvas bins. Mine is from a series of “luxury” closet furniture by Closet Maid about a decade ago. It’s like putting folded items on shelves, but with built-in vertical dividers. I have a cube for jeans, one for cardis, one for base layers (tees, turtles, camis), one that holds a wire mesh basket fill of tights, one a basket of empty hangers headed for the laundry room. I can see what sweaters are clean at a glance, and take out the tights bin to get a better look at what’s lurking in that tangle of black nylon.

  • Carbon Girl

    One thing that was not addressed, that I get concerned about with roll racks and displaying your clothes and accessories the “Pinterest” way is dust. I am always worried that if my clothes are not covered that they may get dirty, or harmed (?) somehow by dust. Maybe my house is dustier than others due to my two pets (Cat, I am looking at you!)

    I wonder, do others find “open” storage choices a problem?

    • Anneesha

      I have a pretty dusty house (and a dog), and the minimal dustiness I’ve experienced (especially when it’s not stored for longer periods) is easily shook off or brushed away.

  • Sal

    Carbon Girl and Cora have both brought up dust, and it’s a very fair question! My house is ridiculously dusty, and everything that gets displayed in the open gets dusty. For me, it’s just accessories, so not a huge concern. Anyone using roll racks or similar have a dustproofing solution?

    • Susan

      I share your concern on dust – I have a ‘dressing room’, but it also contains one of the cat boxes. What can I say? They come first. The entire house is arranged for their convenience.

      My primary storage is two 5′ roll racks. One is for in-season clothing, and the other is for out of season. I priced covers, which are ridiculously expensive, and decided to cover the out of season rack with a sheet. It covers down to the bottom of sleeves on both sides, which is enough.

      I find that the in-season clothing turns over often enough that dust is not an issue. I don’t have that much clothing – maybe two weeks without repeats. For items not in that rotation, I cover the shoulders with the paper things from the dry cleaners.

      Writing this, I realize that sounds like a lot of pole space, but it stores everything – nightgowns, bathrobes, coats. I have no coat closet. It’s enough that I don’t get wrinkles from clothing being crammed together.

  • IKEA armoire: check. Under-bed storage: check. Chests of drawers: Check. 🙂

    Our house was built in 1948 so the closets are not huge. Even though I have the master bedroom closet all to myself, I’ve still had to get creative. (Here’s my blog post about it with photos if you want to peek in my closet 🙂 http://www.closet-coach.com/2011/07/12/how-to-fit-a-big-wardrobe-into-a-small-closet/)

    The other piece of the puzzle is maintaining your wardrobe size through constant editing. Even huge walk-in closets are finite in size!

    As for dust, I keep things under the bed inside low-profile plastic boxes, so that helps.

  • Diana

    I have two tiny pre-war closets (which include portions that are not wide enough for a normal adult hanger, no less) so I supplement with a freestanding wardrobe and a freestanding armoire type thing with shelves instead of drawers.

  • Our last apartment had no built-in closets, and since we didn’t want to pay much and didn’t intend to stay forever, we bought two of these (I linked my name above to them), one for each of us. We set them up as mirror images and put a similarly designed long, low shelf unit in between them, where I stored folded items. It wasn’t the prettiest, and it was different to see all our clothes and such all the time, but it had an industrial-chic sort of charm; it probably would’ve looked good in a loft full of exposed brick and concrete.

    As to the dust: We never had a problem, but we’ve had issues lately with some dusty cat litter, so I can imagine situations in which we’d want those clothes covered. Interesting topic, Sal.

  • I have a three-pronged attack for this (as my 1940s-era closet is positively microscopic!)…first, I have 3 drawers in our of a chest of drawers (shared with hubby, as is half of said microscopic closet) for all stuff that does not need to be hung + I use a 2-drawer nightstand for delicates/undies. Second, I have stuffed my closet with extra shelving (you know the wire kitchen racks with adjustable shelves? Those are set up UNDER my hung-up stuff in the bottom 2-3 feet of the closet for more folded storage and shoes, as well as atop the particle board shelf above the hanger bar for even more folded storage). And third, I have a strict “all clothing must fit into my closet/drawers” rule. Which grates at times, but does force me to go thru my stash periodically to make room for new duds.

  • Becky

    Haha I love the comments about things looking ‘young’, because I am 23 and I do all these things! Having youe stuff out on display is also great for making a temporary (student) flat seem more full, and more your own.

  • rb

    My understanding, from a furniture dealing friend, is that you can pick up beautiful antique and vintage armoires for a song since the advent of the flat screen means people no longer want them for TV storage.

  • Loz

    These monsters are, essentially, freestanding closets and are sometimes referred to as “wardrobes.”

    Finally I understand what an armoire is! I always wondered.

  • JI

    I share a 600 ft bungalow with my son. TINY HOUSE. So, my clothing storage units are
    1. under the bed plastic bins
    2. Goodwill silver 9 drawer chest, painted metallic silver with korean radicals on it ($35, perfect shape, holds a ton)
    3. rolling rack
    4. baker’s rack for folded items
    5, cubes from World Market, some leather, some wooden, for storage and seating.

  • Kenzie

    I love my walk in closet more than most material things. It keeps me so much more organized (read: it contains my mess) than I otherwise would be. Unfortunately if I want a single dorm next year I’m going to have to sacrifice the walk-in for a tiny armoire…and I’m trying to figure out better ways to increase my storage space. The rolling racks might be a good idea, I never thought of that before!

  • Anne

    Until my husband and I moved back to California and into our “Spanking new 1970’s house,” we lived in a 1940’s cottage. The closets weren’t big but we had all kinds of interesting built in shelves and cubbies. I used to store my off season clothes in the basement hanging off a pipe. I covered them with cotton sheets I hung ceder chips and I put a pan of kitty litter underneath to absorb moisture (There’s not much humidity in Utah)

    Since moving back to Ca. and a new home, the closets are really not much bigger. Huge closets are kind of a 1990’s and beyond thing. My husband is an engineer and he painstakingly customized all our closets to maximize the storage. Ours is really great and I am fortunate to call over half of it my space. The boys’ closets are another story because the hubs did their closet makeovers when they were 2 and 4. They are now 10 and 12 and not a whole lots fits in them anymore.

    To make more room, we store some off season clothes under the bed in big storage bins. I also bought some frames, out fitted them with pegboard, and store scarves, belts and costume jewelry on them.

    We are in the process of a bathroom remodel right now and we are not just losing space in our master bedroom, but losing any wall long enough to put our dresser on. Right now the hubs and I are collaborating on designing a new platform bed with storage drawers and a built in headboard/storage unit.

  • Jen

    I live in a live/work loft, and my clothes are hung upstairs on the water pipes. This was cute and bohemian at first, but now I’m really craving some actual closet space. And rooms with doors.

  • Sonja

    Okay, some thoughts about this:
    First of all, both psychologists and feng shui-experts recommend to keep your bedroom as clutter-free as possible and not to store anything underneath your bed, as it can disturb your sleep.
    That said, like many other people I myself can’t afford not to use this space and store three suitcases with my shoes under the bed.
    Also I try to organise my wardrobe the best I can and some time ago bought a couple of nice gadgets:
    Clothes hangers like this, that help to save space:
    http://img.inkfrog.com/pix/domesticdiva/hanger_001.jpg
    A divider for my socks’ drawer:
    http://www.talkingdollarsandcents.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/sock-drawer-after-1.jpg
    And baskets that can be put underneath the shelves to benefit from a space that’s normally not used:
    http://images.containerstore.com/catalogimages/107320/UndershelfBasket_l.jpg
    I use one of these hooks on the outside of my wardrobe to hang up my purse when I’m at home:
    http://www.organizeit.com/images/adjotdhook.jpg
    I’ve also sewn myself something like this for my scarves:
    http://blog.craftzine.com/burda_tory.jpg
    Nice for storing shoes and saving space:
    Shoe cabinets like this
    http://www.furnitureinfashion.net/images/2401940-oak-shoe-cabinet.jpg
    But I’m still struggling with all of this, I think of reducing the amount of clothes I have or of getting a storing space out of the house. We’ll see.

  • As a former museum person, I wouldn’t store anything of value where the sun shines. Sun damage isn’t just about your skin, and even sun coming in through the windows will damage your clothing. It causes fading and the breakdown of fibers.

  • Jackie

    Sal, you taught me a new word! In my vocabulary, “lousy” always means “terrible” – but I realized through this post that it can also mean “replete”! Seriously, I am a grammar nerd who loves expanding her vocabulary, and I am ridiculously excited about this 🙂

    • Sal

      Hahaha. Even better, Jackie, my understanding is that this use of “lousy” comes from the idea of someone being infested with lice! Since lice don’t generally come in twos and threes. Gross, but interesting. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=lousy

      • Hayley

        I specifically pressed ‘find’ and typed ‘lousy’ to see if anyone else commented on it.. I read it twice and confused! I too only thought it meant ‘bad’! Now I know 🙂

  • Marie-Christine

    There are other drawbacks to open storage besides looking too.. college :-). One is fading from sunlight. Most dress fabrics are only supposed to resist normal daylight, not direct sunlight, for a whooping 8h. That’s h as in hours, not months, weeks or even days. Then there’s dust, if you don’t wear something for long enough you may have to wash it before you wear it. And finally for the unlucky there’s moths – in my area they frequently fly in from the outside, and then good luck if all your stuff is arrayed temptingly waiting for them to come by for a nibble.
    My take on all this? Armoire :-).