Hey Red! How do I deal with my tiny closet?

Hey Red! How do I deal with my tiny closet? - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous

Hey Red! 

When we moved, we inherited a closet that is 2 times smaller than our last.  How can we put all the stuff we had in our old closet in the smaller one and still be organized?  For instance, I've got about 10-12 pair of shoes (winter and summer) and my clothes hang so low to the floor, that I don't have anywhere for them.  They are sitting on the floor out in the open waiting for a home.  I put off-season clothes in another closet which helps, but the job is overwhelming and it takes a couple weekends to go through it all.  YES I get rid of stuff every season, but there's got to be a better way.

Sincerely, 
Tension in My Tiny Closet

Dear Tension, 
I think at one point in time or another we've all been stuck with a tiny closet. 

Frustration. Station. Fo. Sho. 

To start, a disclaimer: without specifics or seeing what we're working with, I can't speak to what the exact best options for you. So I'll give you some general options to look at. Take what works and leave the rest. 

Now a couple of notes to think about, and then we'll get to options for solution. 

  • With your current closet being two times smaller than the last closet then most likely you will not be able to get everything you had from the old closet into the new closet without it feeling overstuffed. It's like taking a size 12 or 14 tush and stuffing it into size 8 jeans. It can happen, but it's not fabulous. This means you'll need to think about options outside your closet. 
  • As far as it taking a couple of weekends to go through everything, that's on par for the average. Depending upon size, starting state, and how quickly my clients make decisions, the average closet takes about 8 to 16 hours. I've worked on some closets that took even longer than that. So don't beat yourself up or stress out over the time it's taking. All too often we think things should be done in a day or less and that's not realistic. It takes longer than a day to get to the current state. It will take longer to get out. 
  • When we feel overwhelmed, we're usually thinking too broadly. I know this is especially true in organizing. The way to get through and past the overwhelm is to shrink the task down to something so small that you can't help but do it. So instead of thinking of the overall task of organizing the whole closet, think of it in smaller portions like organizing your shoes or pants. Is the job tedious? Yes. Do what you can to make it fun. Play some great music. Make yourself something nice to drink whether be it a nice cup of tea, fancy coffee, or mimosa. And even tell yourself that it's fun. Silly? Maybe. However when we think of it as drudgery it will become drudgery. Think of it as fun. 

Speaking of fun...now to the fun stuff! What do we do to fix this?

Let go of expectations. Does everything *have* to fit in the closet? When we let go of the expectations of how things "should" go in a house, we open ourselves up to more possibilities. 

Inside the closet you need to maximize space. Sort like with like so you see how much physical space each category of item will take up. Then think of different ways to optimize that space. For example, I've had some abysmally small closets and tiered hangers were my life-saver. Pants, skirts, scarves, the tiered hangers allowed me to get the most amount of items into the least amount of space.  

Thinking "outside the closet:"
* Do you have another room you can turn into a dressing room?
* Do you have a blank wall that you can turn into a closet? This can be done with cabinetry or open shelving. If you don't have an entire wall then use half, or a quarter of one. I've even seen it done in a hallway. 

Pro-tip: if you don't want the hassle of installing cabinetry but don't want to see the clothing, hang a curtain from the ceiling to hide everything. 

Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't offer the standard suggestions of armoires, dressers, trunks, and under the bed storage, but I'm sure you already thought of that.

Moving into a new home with a drastically smaller closet can be extremely frustrating - especially when you've already whittled your clothing down to only the things you need, wear, love, and feel fabulous in. In these moments, we have to think outside the closet - literally. But with some creativity, you may discover solutions you would have never considered without being forced...ahem...encouraged to look for different solutions. 

Need to deal with your own closet? I'd love to help! Let's get started today!