Decorating & Design

December 5, 2008

Organize An Apartment Closet

How to organize closets in a small space, from House & Home editors.

Q. I live in a one-bedroom apartment and need to have the closet space designed for better storage. I’m currently using part of the bedroom for storage space. Any suggestions?

— Elizabeth Wallace

A. Creating more storage in a small space can be challenging, but is possible. Depending on your budget, closet construction can run the gamut from high-end custom floor-to-ceiling built-ins to simply rearranging your existing closets with simple, inexpensive closet organizers.

Start with your actual closets, and decide how you want to outfit them. Do you have a hall closet and bathroom closet as well as bedroom? If so, dedicate space in each for storing items other than what you always assume will occupy those spaces. A hall closet might do double duty as home for your bicycle and vacuum cleaner as well as coats and boots.

Install pegboard wherever possible in existing closet walls. This will inexpensively open up wall space to hang brooms, buckets or even extra coats. If your ceilings are high, make use of the vertical space inside your closets and store boxes and bins on the upper shelves. Make sure to label the bins, so looking for something doesn’t end up being a time-wasting task.

In your bedroom, if budget and floor space allow, have your builder create a wall-length closet, taking up 2’ of depth for the entire span. This will allow the room to flow, and not be chopped up by a small box-closet in one corner. Certain companies will come to your apartment to customize closet space for you, or you can go to DIY stores and design your own closet system. These systems can be configured with drawers, armoire doors, and hanging and shelf space. Make sure to create a list of the items you need to store, so you can find adequate space in your new storage areas. Use the valuable space under your bed for storage as well. Rolling plastic carts are available to house everything from linens to clothes or books.