Moving into a home with few, small, or no closets may seem like a nightmare. With a little creativity and elbow grease, there are ways to work around this storage obstacle.

Evaluate Your Stuff

Older apartments and houses tend to have less closet space because people in bygone days had less stuff.  Find yourself moving into that kind of a home? Maybe you should take some time to evaluate your relationship with stuff. How much of it do you actually need?

Sort through clothing, sports equipment, and other items living in the back of your current closets. Decide whether you need them on a daily basis, a seasonal basis, or not at all.  The latter category can go straight to the trash, donation, or yard sale pile. Seasonal items such as winter clothing should be grouped together so that off-season things can be stored away in a garage, attic, or off-site storage unit. Regular use items are the only things you need to worry about.


If you don’t have that much clothing that requires hanging, you can skip to the next section for more ideas. This section addresses where to hang things if you don’t have a closet — or a less than ideal closet.

The old-school option is to purchase an armoire or standing closet.  These are large pieces of furniture which provide space for hanging clothing and other items. If you want to be creative, check out thrift stores and estate sales to find a vintage pantry or cabinet that you can turn into an armoire. Just add a bar and/or hooks and paint or refinish the outside to match your decor. If you’re feeling really creative, consider adapting something like a refrigerator or tracking down an old athletic or school locker and using that as a closet.

If you are okay with exposing your clothes and accessories, consider purchasing a garment rack. They come with and without wheels and some are covered with vinyl or cloth to provide dust protection.  An old-fashioned standing coat rack is another option.  Or you can get an over-the-door rack with bars or hooks. You may prefer to create your own clothing storage by installing hooks and bars directly to the walls of any room.

Other Ideas

For shoes, accessories, and other closet-dwelling items, spend a little bit of time browsing a container or home store or just surfing your favorite online retailer for ideas.

Shoe racks are available that fit over-the-door, under the bed, or attach to the wall.  There are countless tubs, bins, and shelves available that can be used for home organization.  There are even risers that will put your bed higher off the ground, creating more storage space.

Consider multipurpose furnishings, such as an old truck that can store blankets and linens while serving as a table or a coffee table that has storage.  You can build window seats that open in the front or top and can hold anything from toys and games to office supplies or extra bedding.

Ultimately it is up to you to create storage that suits your needs while staying within the style you want for your home.  The options are only limited by your own imagination.

photo by Saeru by Creative Commons License.

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