I’ve written about closet storage a number of times of the years. Like here, here and here. However, with each place we live in there’s a new challenge to maximize space. We currently live in a 500 square foot apartment in the city and every single thing we own is in this apartment with us.
Which means two things. 1. We don’t have a lot of stuff and 2. We’re creative with where we put it all. Surprisingly, we have four closets in this tiny place. Which is more closets than any rental we’ve ever had (even the last place which was two floors – it only had two, 12″ deep closets!). The closets need to house two adult wardrobes and shoes, as well as the following: camping supplies, sports equipment, linens, toolboxes, vacuum, suitcases, jackets, holiday things, childhood things, humidifier & fan (when not in use), sewing machine, steamer, extra supplies (light bulbs, tissues, medicines, etc.) and more.
So, how do we do it? Well we’ve accepted the fact that the tent is with clothing and the toolbox sits with the linens. The one closet in our bedroom houses my clothing and shoes. We each have one of these wire bin racks from Ikea. Bought one new and found one on Craigslist for half the price. On the upper shelf we have our picnic basket, tent and a bin of camping supplies. Which is great use of that shelf because I can’t reach it anyway so it would be useless to me. In the very back of the closet, behind the clothes, I hung a small rack with pegs to hang my purses from.
There are three closets right when you walk into the apartment.
Al’s closet houses his clothing and shoes as well as sporting equipment, including more camping things, on the top shelf.
There’s also an over the door hanging organizer that holds winter gear, hats, cosmetic bags, shoe bags, etc. And there’s lots of open space in it too!
One of the other closets is a linen closet. The very top shelf fits our two suitcases perfectly. Stored in the suitcases are other pieces of smaller luggage, duffel bags, airplane neck pillows, hiking backpacks, etc.
Below that we have our actual linens – towels, and one set of extra bed sheets as well as two bins with medicines and extra bathroom supplies. I also have some extra light bulbs and tissues on that shelf. Those types of things I just shove in where ever they fit.
Below that we have more extra tissues (what? Colorado is the snot capital of the world), a basket with my hair dryer, straightener and brushes, laundry supplies and a tackle box in the very back. The next two shelves have three different tool boxes, my sewing machine, clothing steamers and a bin with more extra things like batteries, smaller light bulbs, etc. The very bottom of that closet has a large basket with all of our sandals in it (winter shoes live in our closets). Lastly, we installed a small storage unit from The Container Store on the door of this closet to put our bathroom cleaning supplies (closet is across from the bathroom), our power outage kit and other miscellaneous things.
Our last closet is a coat closet. And while it houses coats it also hangs on to our extra fan, golf clubs, vacuum, small ironing board, cooler, humidifier and two plastic bins of holiday decor and two plastic bins of childhood memories.
PHEW! That’s a lot of chatter about closets. But so many people ask me how we live in such a small space and where do we put all the stuff. The truth is we don’t have a whole lot of extra “stuff”. Everything we own are pretty much practical items that get used regularly. We only have space for a small amount of clothing so we don’t have huge wardrobes. And there’s only room for one bed so we don’t have five sets of bed sheets. It’s simple, we don’t have stuff.
While the closets might not look pretty they’re entirely functional and efficient. There’s a madness to the way I’ve organized them which makes living in a small space a lot easier. We use every inch of space we have in the best way possible. There’s a camping stove under the bed and snowshoes and camping chairs behind the couch. We make it work and keep it organized, and the thing is, when all the doors are closed you’d have no idea :)