When you live in a small space, you become an expert in logistics: whether it’s figuring out how to maximise kitchen bench space or converting a bed into a sofa, every inch matters. Finding storage for your clothing is one thing that can present a challenge, even if you don’t have that many clothes.
Fortunately, there are some clothing storage hacks you can use to make the most of limited space, even if you don’t have a closet. But before we look at these hacks, let’s take a step back to look at some clothing storage principles.
When approaching clothing storage, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, aim to use any available space. This is especially true for ‘dead zones’ like recesses in the wall or space under the bed. Our storage hacks will give you some specific ideas about how to do this.
Second, focus on easy access. It’s no good putting a floating shelf on the wall if it’s too high to reach! The key to smart storage is simplicity: not stacking items so they’re out of sight or storing them in an inaccessible location.
Finally, purge your clothes regularly. This doesn’t mean you have to give everything away, but be realistic about what you actually wear. Take stock of your wardrobe every three months; if you’re not using it (but it’s still in good condition), take it to a charity shop.
You can even try the hanger trick—hang all of your clothes up with the hangers facing the wrong way. As you wear an item, hang it up facing the right way. In three or six months’ time, any clothing on hangers that are facing the wrong way get donated.
Of course, this may not apply to certain items, like special occasion wear, but it can be a good guide to what you’re wearing and what you’re not.
Ready for the clothing storage hacks that can change your life? Let’s do it.
1. Use collapsible storage cubes for out of season clothes.
Rather than storing your winter clothes in plastic bins during the summer, pack them into soft-sided packing cubes. If you’ve ever used these for packing a suitcase, you already know how amazing they are—these things can fit in an incredible amount of clothing.
Once you’ve packed up the clothes you know you won’t need for a season or two, stow them away. While these clothes can go in the bedroom (for example, in under bed storage, which we’ll talk about next), they don’t have to. Use available storage in other rooms like the laundry or linen closet.
2. Get a smart bed
Confession: we made up the term ‘smart bed,’ but you’ll quickly see what we mean. A smart bed is one with hidden storage compartments that allow you to use lots of dead space. This could be a bed frame with drawers underneath (a great place to put those packing cubes) or even a headboard with storage.
For example, check out IKEA’s BRIMNES bed frame, which provides an incredible amount of hidden storage both underneath the bed and behind the headboard.
3. Use tension rods for dead zones
Tension rods aren’t just for shower curtains; they can turn a strange, useless space into an impromptu closet. This is great for nooks behind doors, corner spaces, or even high ceilings in small rooms, where you can hang clothes while keeping them out of the way.
Take care to avoid overloading the tension rod; check the packaging to see how much weight it can bear. Think about the weight of a shower curtain and try to keep it at the same level.
4. Create an open closet
This is for those of us who don’t have a built-in and lack the space for a wardrobe. Create an open closet by hanging a clothes rod from the ceiling and stacking open storage crates nearby. If possible, install shelving in the area as well.
Open closets have an added benefit for many people: because they’re visible, you may be more inclined to keep it tidy! If you don’t like the idea of having your clothes on display, you can conceal it with a curtain and create a closet in the corner of the room.
5. Hack a hanging shoe cubby
Hanging shoe cubbies aren’t just for shoes. These cloth organisers commonly hang on the back of doors, which is a great use of space. But they’re also good for heavier items like jumpers and jeans, which you may not want to put on hangers.
Either fold or roll your jeans and jumpers, then place one or two into each square. You’ll open up heaps of hanging or drawer space, plus use vertical space that is otherwise useless.
6. Fix sturdy hooks to the back of doors
Buy individual hooks that can be stuck on the back of the door—or even on a wall—and used to hang things like handbags, belts, and scarves. Look for hooks that are easy to remove, especially if you’re renting. Otherwise you may end up pulling off a piece of paint along with the hook.
These are another handy way to use vertical space, plus they tie into the principle of keeping items easy to access.
7. Double your hanging space with can tabs
Before you recycle your coke cans or beer tins, snap the pop top off. These little bits of rubbish are actually a way to double your hanging space. Just slide the top of a hanger through one ring of the tab, then hook a second hanger to the other ring.
Voila! You’ve now got space for two hangers where previously you had one. Again, be conscious of the weight-bearing load on whatever rod you’re using.
8. Fold clothes like a professional
If you’ve always folded your clothes, then stacked them in drawers, we’re about to blow your mind. This simple folding hack can open up more storage than you can imagine: what you need to do is fold your clothes and store them in horizontal rows.
Not only will you be able to see everything in a drawer, you’ll have more space than you know what to do with. Here’s a quick tutorial for folding a t-shirt:
- Fold it in half along the shirt’s length
- Fold in the sleeves
- Fold it in half along the shirt’s width, tucking in the sleeves
- Fold it in half along the width once more
- Store folded t-shirts in rows in your drawer
This concept can be applied to all of your clothing, and once you get the hang of it you’ll never go back.
These eight clothing storage hacks can make your life easier, and might even inspire you to come up with some of your own!