Not everyone has large beautiful, organized closets that can hold all their lovely clothes. And if they have the right size closet, they may not have enough room for all their sweaters, shirts, shoes, dresses, and accessories. Each house, especially if you have a home over 30 years old, usually doesn't have enough closet space for the myriad of items we have these days. And above all else, every closet is not created equal. So, to help you with your smaller closet spaces, here are some tips on purging your connection and advice on how and where to store treasured clothing in tiny areas.
- But first, we need to go through the purge process!
- Place all the items in a pile on the floor.
- Go through and decide on each item.
- Bag up the damaged items and get them out of the room.
- With the clothes that are left, divide them into categories.
- Now, we need to find unique small spaces for the clothing categories.
- I did this process in my smaller home, and these are the 17 areas I found to store clothing:
But first, we need to go through the purge process!
You knew I wouldn't give you a list of where to store clothing without reminding you that purging is necessary first, right? 😉
"Unused clothes are like uneaten canned food. They decay even if you don't use them."
~ Sabrina Quairoli
This will be painless. I promise. Since most people don't use everything in their closet, before finding homes for those random clothing, Let's first clean out stuff you don't want or use. The items to keep are:
I have read The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, an organizer who created "The KonMari Method" in Japan. Her book was an N.Y. Times bestseller. It's an easy read if you are looking for some purging inspiration.
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Place all the items in a pile on the floor.
Marie and I recommend taking all the clothing from the entire house and bringing it to one place. Place all the items in a pile on the floor. Sounds scary, right? It helps you see how much you have and enables you to answer the question, "Do I need all of it?" Because when you honestly examine all the clothes and shoes, you will realize you don't wear them all. It happens every time I work with a client.
Go through and decide on each item.
After doing this, go through them individually (only touch the item once) and decide whether you should keep, Donate, or Trash them. This process should be quick. Just hold the item for 2 seconds and make a decision and then place it in Keep, Donate, or Trash pile. No mulling over each piece of clothing, saying things like, "Well, I wore it (blank) years ago." "It's expensive." "Does it still fit?".
If you have an issue with "does it still fit," make a pile called "try on" items. Do this later after the first run decision process. When you do try them on, look at yourself in the mirror. Does your back look as good as you thought when you first got the item? We very rarely watch our backs in outfits, so this is an excellent indicator of whether it looks good or not.
Bag up the damaged items and get them out of the room.
Now that you have gone through the items let's get rid of the things. Bag up the pile of clothes and bring them to your nearby charity. Here is my charitable donation page, which includes many websites for charities and links to find a great location near you.
With the clothes that are left, divide them into categories.
Here are the types to use: Socks, undergarments (bras/underwear), bags (large and small), accessories (belts, hats, scarves), season clothing (swimsuits, shorts), work uniform (scrubs), workout (yoga pants, t-shirts), shoes(boots, flats, high heels, sandals), outerwear (jackets, coats, gloves, hats), tops (blouses, sweaters, shirts), and bottoms (pants, slacks, sweatpants).
Now, we need to find unique small spaces for the clothing categories.
To do this, you need to use a little creativity.
- First, grab a notepad. Write at the top of each page what room it is. Then walk through your home and look around the space. Are there cluttered areas that are visible and that could use a decorative bin or container? These areas could be found under the bed, over cabinets, above shelves, and inside furniture.
- Then, measure those areas (height, length, and width) and draw the area on the notepad. Write down the measurements on your paper.
- Continue this for every room in your home.
When you finish, you should have found great places to store some of the categories you created earlier.
I did this process in my smaller home, and these are the 17 areas I found to store clothing:
- Hanging behind doors
- In Ottoman
- In an old locker
- In wood file drawers
- At the end of bed storage
- In old luggage
- Under benches in Bins
- In night stands
- In attic space
- On a wall full of hooks
- In a guest room closet
- In a guest room under the bed
- On shelves
- Under the desk in a bin
- Under steps in plastic bins
- Store it in a tall Ikea cabinet
- The top of an armoire
Visit our other small home organizing posts!
Now compare the measurements on your notepad to the size of your category piles. Will they fit? If yes, find a bin or container to hold the items. With everything else, start putting your similar articles away. All 'like' items should be in one place. So you can see them all at once. It saves time in the morning and money when you know where everything is and can find it. Continue going through the same categories and finding homes for them until all your group items are placed in their new home.
That's it! I hope this inspires you to take a good look at your small space and see what hidden area you may have. Please share if you tried this process and let me know how much you purged. Would you be willing to do this? What is the most challenging part of storing your clothes? Please leave a comment below. I would love to continue the conversation.
Visit these other closet-organizing posts below.
WHAT TO KEEP IN YOUR ORGANIZED CLOSET TIPS AND TRICKS
10 ESSENTIAL CONTAINER TYPES FOR YOUR NEXT ORGANIZING PROJECTS
19 Closet Organization Ideas You'll Want to Steal Immediately
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I love your tips on 17 areas to store clothing! Great article!
I store bathing suits and cover ups in my nightstand. They don't take up much space, so they fit well in the smaller drawers. It takes some of the pressure off of my closet!
I have small spaces in my home as well so need to be creative about clothing. Having less and good quality means easier choices. All of the clothes I own are in my bedroom. I no longer put stuff somewhere else out of season. Keep it simple I say. I am sure I wear the same 80% of clothes most of the time lol. Anyway, as I purchase new that I love clothing I do try to let go of some of the old that no longer serves me well. I have gained a bit of weight and I am still stuck on a few items of clothing that I cannot part with ugh!! But I did donate a cute little jean skirt that I wore a lot but really cannot see myself wearing it anymore. Its so hard.
This is a really good post for me.
I just moved into a studio apartment, and utilizing the available space is important, I will be using your tips your describe.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
Those are some great tips on storing your clothing. Unfortunately, I live in a small one bedroom apartment so I don't have that much space. I find myself donating clothes once a year.
Donating often is crucial with small spaces. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Jason. =)
I consider myself very lucky that my husband doesn't collect a lot of anything, but in particular clothes. I'm a big purger from having moved way too many times. As soon as I drop off a bag of clothes to donate to the church (people come and take what they need--for free!), I start another one! This keeps me always purging. That makes the storing a whole lot easier to deal with! Love your idea of piling them all in the middle of the floor. What a point of view!
My home was built in the 1940s so the closets are super small. I imagine that people dressed more "practically" in the 1940s so that they had a few "sensible" pieces that they mixed and matched to make a full wardrobe.
I will follow your tips and see if I can create some better organization in my home! I've already started the purge process so I'm moving in the right direction.
Great topic Sabrina and you reminded me it's been awhile since I last purged. I'm not a collector so normally this isn't a major project, but even when you live in a relatively small house it still needs to be done occasionally. I use many of the areas on your list, including my suitcase which is fairly large since I used to travel for a minimum of 3 weeks at a time. Thanks for the reminder, just added it to my task list. 🙂
Boy you'd be great at living in a small apartment or one of those micro houses that have gained popularity in recent years. You've figured out how to hide clothes everywhere! 🙂
A couple of years ago I got my sister to help me go through my wardrobe and I couldn't believe how much stuff I got rid off, even though I generally go through everything once or twice a year. It makes such a difference when there's someone who can tell you that certain things just don't look good on you!
Clearing out clothes I don't use or like anymore I have done for years. Give them to charity so that they can give them to poor people. Great suggestions of where to store clothes. Personally am very fond of going to IKEA and buying a cabinet or drawers. And I have done so wherever in the world I have lived.
Thank you for purging inspiration, Sabrina. I'm in the process of going through clothes, books and other items. Your suggestion to adhere to 2 seconds is exactly what I needed to hear. Dithering can be my downfall. Once decided, getting the items out of my house and delivered elsewhere is super important, otherwise temptation sets in to "take another look," and dither!
This post has my oldest sister's name all over it 😉 I stayed at her house for the first time over Christmas break and she has all of the closets filled with tons of clothes and shoes. The house is over a hundred years old, and closets were definitely different that long ago. I have a decent walk-in closet that's not even half full. Even with the clothes I do have, I probably wear half of everything on a regular basis. As for my teaching wardrobe, I've still kept it, but it literally gathers dust 😉
My house is 100+ years old so there are no such things as large, beautiful closets. There's lot of small closets but they certainly lack organization so your ideas are quite appropriate for my household.
So glad I found you on Google+ Your headline caught my eye. It's Spring and I'm in the middle of putting away my winter clothes and bringing the spring ones out. Because I gained a little weight, I started to "save" some clothes just in case.
After reading this my "just in case" pile will be going to goodwill! Thank you so much. BTW...I do have a crawl space in my bedroom. I usually pack away some clothes there in plastic boxes. But I cannot use it because some flying squirrels decided to nest there. I don't want to kill them nor their babies. So I needed this article to get some ideas of storage.
Glad this was helpful, Donna. Thanks for commenting. Sorry about the flying squirrels. Good luck with that.
Great post, Sabrina. I learned a lot from the TV show "What Not to Wear" about going thru my closet and getting rid of still that is just gathering dust. You post really hits home, as too often we hold onto things we know we don't need or won't use. Happy Spring cleaning!
Great show, Doreen. I totally agree. Thanks for commenting.
I cannot bear clutter so look through my wardrobe every few months and get rid of items I no longer wear.
I store out of season clothes in the loft which I am thankful for
I would not say I even have a mass of clothes yet have to use the loft as an overflow.
I dream of a walk in wardrobe with a section for clothes, bags shoes, belts, coats. One day!
It's nice having a walk-in but even a smaller walk-in can be effective and enjoyable. Thanks for commenting, Phoenicia.
I have a reasonable amount of space for storing clothes, but still find value in purging. A cluttered storage area can feel oppressive. I try to buy and keep only those clothes I feel I will wear a lot, ones I think I'd be happy to have with me if I had only one suitcase to live out of for months. Still I seem to collect things I no longer need or wear, purchases that didn't work out well or clothes which no longer suit changed circumstances. When we prepared to downsize, we bought a new bed frame with drawers under the mattress slats. I use the pockets of a hanging plastic shoe tree hung over the back of my closet door to store scarves.
Great tips, Donna. Purging is so important in any size house. Thanks for commenting.