In My House

My Five Tips for Living with a Small Closet

One thing to either love or hate about older houses is they often have much smaller closets than newer builds. Our house was built in the 1940s and the closets are all the originals. Guess what? I kind of love that. It keeps me in check.


I can only imagine that the couple who built the house had an extremely happy marriage. Why? Although the closets are small, they put two separate ones in our room. I’m convinced that separate closets, no matter how small, greatly increase marital bliss.


My husband and I each have a small closet and each have six dresser drawers. That’s it. No tote of old items in the hall closet or box of winter sweaters stowed in the basement. We do keep coats in a closet in the hall for easier accessibility.

I have a few tips for how I have come to enjoy having a small closet. This has happened over time because, mind you, I was once a single gal living in a three-bedroom house with all three of those bedrooms’ closets stuffed with clothes, shoes, and purses. I have come a long way!

Something in, something out. I rarely buy something new without requiring myself to donate something old. Not only does this prevent “stuff” overload, but it makes me pause and contemplate if the item is worth giving up another item or precious space.

Fewer, better things. I spent most of my teens and twenties loading up on clearance rack items I only kind of liked. Granted, I still love to find a great bargain, but now I gravitate toward classic, quality items that will last longer and serve more purposes. I no longer buy items I don’t really love just because they are on sale.

Shoe strategy. Isn’t storing shoes the worst? When I first observed Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City storing her shoes in shoeboxes, I thought it was a genius idea. Granted, her shoe collection was on a much different level than mine, but I have been storing shoes in shoeboxes ever since. Whether you use boxes, shelves, or racks, getting your shoe situation under control will enhance your closet bliss.

Stuff it. Like everyone, I have a pile of old concert tees and college shirts I just can’t bear to throw out. Since I rarely wear them, I use them (and some scarves I want to keep around) to stuff hand bags so they keep their shape. My purses look better and last longer and I don’t have to bid my old college newspaper tee that says “we put out on Wednesdays” adieu.

The box. I always have a box or basket on the closet floor. I toss items in it that I’m no longer loving, but haven’t quite given up on yet. This also works great for the clothes my daughters outgrow at record pace. When the box starts to get full, it’s time to make some cut-throat decisions and either donate/sell the items or return them to your rotation.

Those are my tips! I hope if you are living with a tiny closet you will embrace it and come to love the freedom of having fewer things.




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