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How To Get Your Small Closet Organized Once and For All

by - Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Do you ever find that you organize a space, and before you know it, it becomes disorganized again? I think that happens for one of two reasons: either (1) your organization system/containers/baskets are not suited to the items you want to store or (2) your system is not actually suited to the way you live.

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I tackled our small entryway closet two years ago as shown in this post, but there are a few tweaks I've had to make recently to get this small front closet working even harder for our family. Every system needs revisiting, evaluating, and improvement.

Small Closet Organization Ideas


Read on for small entryway closet organization ideas to consider if you're starting from scratch, or need to get your organization back on track. These tips will help to get your small closet organized once and for all.

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Here's where we're starting. The organization in our entryway closet isn't bad but it is annoying and messy. There's definitely room for improvement! We also have this situation to deal with:


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There's not enough space in the closet to store shoes so the extras sit in a messy pile at the front door. UGH.

I can't tell you how much I dislike coming down the stairs and seeing this mess first thing each morning. There's a valid reason for some of shoes and boots to hang out there, like winter boots that are all snowy and sit there temporarily while they dry, but we need a better permanent solution.

Time to get things back in order! Here's 5 quick closet organization tips:


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1. Store only what you need for the season

I live in Toronto where we get four seasons. That translates into a lot of shoes and jackets, depending on what you need for the weather.

Keep your closet organized by storing only what you need for the current season. For our household, that currently means snow boots, everyday boots, and casual shoes for quick trips out when there's no snow on the ground. The summer flip flops and sandals should be stored somewhere else for now.

I also took this opportunity to edit our belongings and donate or get rid of anything that doesn't fit anymore or is worn out. The end of the season is a good time to assess your belongings and keep only what you need. 


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2. Maximize and optimize vertical storage


Closets tend to be tall but narrow. To maximize use of your small space, incorporate shelving and rods that extend the full height of your space. 

When I first organized this closet, I put two shelves at the top and one at the bottom. After a year of use, I've discovered that we needed less basket space and more shoe space. Optimize your storage by looking first at what you need to store: do you need hooks for bags or hats? Do you need tall shelves for boots? Would baskets on lower shelves be better and easier to use for kids in the house?

In our home, this closet would stay more organized with one shelf at the top and two shoe shelves at the bottom. I made that small change and now we have space to move those shoes piled by the front door.

This closet has a bifold door but if it had a typical passage door, I would also consider using the space on the door itself. You can add hooks and baskets to the backs of doors for purses, leashes, and school bags. Keep things off the floor and give everything a home.


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3. Size your storage to your contents

Along with maximizing your vertical storage, you'll want to ensure that your storage is neither too big nor too small. Here you can see that the shelves are just tall enough for the shoes or boots they hold. The coat rod height was measured specifically using our longest coat. This ensures there is no wasted space.



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4. Use Uniform Containers and Accessories

One easy way to get items more organized is to use matching containers. You can see how using one type of wooden hanger and a set of matching baskets helps to make this closet appear visually pleasing. While different types and sizes of containers can make your storage more efficient, it can also make your closet look cluttered. Keep things calm, orderly, and uniform.


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5. Have a designated spot for each person

While it would be nice to have a grand mudroom with hooks and lockers for each person in the household, many of us don't have that convenience. You can keep every person in the house happy though by having designated spots, no matter how small your closet is.

In our closet, each person generally has room for one pair of runners, one pair of everyday boots, and one pair of snow boots. We have room for about three jackets each and a basket for our extra scarves and hats. 

Anything beyond that needs to go somewhere else and we each understand that unspoken rule. We're starting to form good habits where each person knows which shelf spot and hanger are theirs.


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While it doesn't look too different from what we had before, this closet functions so much better. The pile of shoes at the front door has disappeared and I'm positive it won't come back. I can't tell you how joyful it feels now to grab your shoes and jacket and go, with everything neat and tidy behind the closet door.

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