As featured in Huffington Post
Ahhhh, the tiny closet. I feel like it must be some kind of inside joke between home builders and architects . ‘Hey man, I finished the hallway. Crap, I forgot to build a closet! I’ll just carve out this miniscule one foot space in the corner. . . they won’t notice that the door doesn't fully open or that they can’t fit more than a travel sized shampoo bottle in here until after they move in. . . right?’
Seriously though, whyyyyyyy such tiny closets? Sometimes they are classified as the ‘linen closet’, sometimes they can be found in a bathroom, or even, *gasp* a bedroom! Wherever they are they require a bit of outside the box thinking in order to accommodate your stuff.
I recently received some pictures from a reader asking for some help with her tiny bathroom closet. It is mainly used for spare toiletries, hair tools and products, medicine and first aid supplies and it needs some serious TLC. So here are my favorite ways to transform your closet of terror into a tidy and organized space.
Even if you think that you only have what you absolutely need in the space, do it again. Try to minimize the excess; the hair product you bought a year ago but never touched, the towels left over from your college days that you don’t use anymore and the expired meds that are still hanging around. When you have a small space it is especially important to save room for only what you really need, really love and really use.
Sort Like With Like
Once you have gotten rid of the excess, the broken, the unused and the expired it's time to put ‘like items’ together. Think carefully about what this means for you. Your instinct may be to create a group like soaps, hair, shaving, etc. But here is where it's crucial that you think about your routine and tendencies. If there are certain products you use every morning try putting them in one group. Same goes for your linens. Instead of sorting sheets by size, try putting them together based on whose bed they go on.
There is a good reason that bins and baskets are so popular in the organizing world. They work. They create a defined space for your items and can be labeled so that your stuff is easily identifiable. Plus in a small space you can use open baskets on shelves as drawers. It will be much easier to access your things that are all the way in the back of the incredibly narrow yet crazy deep closet if you can pull it all out and have a look. Measure the space to make sure you get bins or baskets that fit comfortably in your space. I also advise clients to not run out and buy bins and baskets until after they have decluttered. How do you know what you need to store before you know what you have?
Another great way to contain your stuff and increase your small space is a clip on basket. IKEA makes a great one (OBSERVATOR), and for less than five bucks a pop it's a no-brainer. You can almost double your storage space with minimal effort.
Pro-tip: if you are using baskets for towels roll them and store them vertically to save space and see what you really have. Much easier than digging through the bin for your favorite towel that somehow ended up on the bottom of the pile!
I totally get that you may not want your closet to look like an office space with labels all over the place, but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for proper organizational maintenance to have defined spaces for your belongings. The easiest way to accomplish this is to label it. I create custom labels for my clients all the time that are in-line with their tastes and decor. Pretty labels are possible!!!
You really need to think outside of the box when tackling a small space. Try using the inside of door. You can install a towel bar for extra storage, either for frequently used towels or to hang some baskets with S hooks for easy access to your items. Alternatively, you can also use spice shelves on the inside of the door. Again I love IKEA for this, the BEKVAM can easily be installed and painted and is a great size for frequently used toiletries.
Try to store infrequently used items up on the highest or most inaccessible shelf. Save the prime closet real estate for the stuff you use every day and for goodness sake, get your stuff off of the floor. It gets so dirty and dusty down there. Try using a basket or a rolling cart with drawers. That way you can easily access your items and vacuum under there.
I hope this helped if you have been cursed with a tiny closet. If you have an organizing dilemma get in touch with me and it may be featured in an upcoming post.