Organizing a Small Closet on a Budget

Do you have a small closet that’s a huge mess? Follow these tips on organizing a small closet and get your closet back in shape fast!

How to Organize a Small Closet on a Budget Pin

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Is your tiny closet a huge mess?

Do you have stuff stored in your closet that you haven’t seen in months?

Our small bedroom only has one closet and it belongs to my husband. (My closet is an old TV cabinet that I found at a thrift sale for really cheap. I took out the shelves and added a hanging rod and turned it into a closet.)

Needless to say, my husband isn’t very organized. Although, I do have to admit that everything on the top shelf of the closet is mine. And what takes up the most space is a huge bag full of smaller bags.

You know us girls and their bags!

I decided it was time to get the closet organized. It was really getting on my nerves. After cleaning my bedroom and organizing under my bed, organizing the closet was next on the list.

The only thing I bought for the closet was a shoe rack (similar here) and 3 small plastic storage bins (similar here). I purchased these items from Walmart and it cost me less than $20 to organize the entire closet.

Be sure to check out the DIY hanging sachet I made so you can make one for your own closet! It smells amazing!!

Hanging Sachet - No Sew

Organizing a Small Closet

Here’s a before picture of the closet. It may look somewhat organized, but it’s packed with a bunch of unnecessary stuff. Whenever I try to get anything off the top shelf, more stuff falls. Super annoying!

Messy closet before picture

Step 1 – Remove everything

Step 1 - remove everything

The first step in organizing a small closet is to remove everything in the closet. Everything!

As you are removing things start placing them into three piles – to keep, to donate/sell and throw away.

It’s also a good idea to keep a basket or box nearby to toss things in that don’t belong in the closet. You can put these away in their proper place later.

While everything is out of the closet, dust off the shelves, wipe down the walls and baseboards and sweep or vacuum the floor.

See also: how to have a clutter-free bedroom quickly!

Step 3 – Organize

Since my husband doesn’t have drawers for his t-shirts, underwear, and socks, I rolled them up and neatly put them into the plastic bins. I also rolled up his ties and belts and placed them neatly in a bin.

If you don’t have plastic bins, use anything around your house. Think baskets, or boxes. You can always dress up a box with fabric, rope, or paper.

Roll up ties and accessories

Then I placed the bins on the top shelf of the closet.

Step 2 - Start putting things back

Next, I put together the shoe rack and placed it in the closet. Then I put my husband’s shoes on the shelves, which saved a lot of space because I could take the shoe organizer off the door.

shoe rack

After putting in the bins and shoe rack, I started putting the clothes back in the closet. I kept like items together with the system that works for us: t-shirts together, long sleeve shirts together and pants together.

Organizing a small closet

After the closet was all clean and organized, I hung the hanging sachet I made in it so it would smell nice!

Tips for making more usable closet space

  • If you have a typical closet with a hanging rod and shelf on top, consider adding more shelves all the way to the ceiling. Then you can keep items separated and allow you to get to things easier. And your boxes won’t be stacked on top of each other.
  • For items that need to be folded, consider hanging cubbies. These are nice if you don’t have room for another set of dresser drawers.
  • Install cedar panels on each side of the closet and attach hooks for hanging items such as belts or necklaces. Not only will your items be organized, but your closet will be free of insects and smell great.

Common small closet organizing mistakes

  • Not decluttering: With small closets, you have less space to work with, therefore you can’t keep every piece of clothing you’ve ever bought. Go through the clothes and get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the past year.
  • Cramming all your clothes in the closet: There’s no reason to keep all your clothes in the closet year-round. Try switching them out with the seasons. Place them under the bed or store them in storage bags or bins in the top of your closet. If you have space, store them in the attic or basement.
  • Using the wrong hangers: The hangers do not have to match (although it does look better), but they should at least be the same size and shape. Large shirts hung over small hangers will wrinkle easily. Hangers with different heights will make it harder to get your clothes. out.
  • Not having a system: Clothes can get easily lost even in a small closet. As mentioned above, the system that works best for us is to hang like items together. For example, hang clothes together by type then by color within the type. Use whatever works best for you.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful and are now motivated to organize! It’s not difficult to organize a small closet on a budget. It just takes time and patience.

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83 thoughts on “Organizing a Small Closet on a Budget”

  1. Very useful tips for better organization. I’d also like to suggest one thing to maximize the top shelf in the closet. I would put a lid on each plastic container, label each if not a clear container, and stack them within reach. You’d be freeing up more shelf space. It’s okay to leave some empty space on a shelf or elsewhere in a closet for future use. I live in a small apartment and learned to use containers to organize. I also donated or discarded things I hadn’t used or worn in a year. It’s so freeing and rewarding to clean your closets and drawers!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing that organization tip. That’s a great way to use the space. I agree that it’s freeing and rewarding to clean your closets and have so much space!

  2. I am a Chinese junior high student blogger and YouTuber. I need to have a clean space in order to study effectively.
    This frugal tip helps me a lot on putting clothes and other things in the small closet properly, which can help me to organize my bedroom without extra costs. Also, the cautions about some mistakes are awesome, which is clearly shown.
    Thanks for sharing and I hope your closet can be very tidy and safe, and stay safe at home!

  3. Your closet looks so organized! Love the idea of rolling up ties, etc and putting them neatly in clear boxes! Great tips, Michelle! I need to get my closets this way hopefully over the weekend!

    1. Thank you so much! I hope it stays that way for a while. But since it’s my husband’s closet I’m sure it’ll be back to messy in no time. 😂 Good luck organizing your closets this weekend!

    1. I’ve seen a few episodes of that show. It’s pretty interesting! Thank you! It would be fun to help them figure out how to organize a tiny space. Most of them look like they do a great job.

  4. Great tips Michelle. Another tip: do not keep anything in the closet that does not fit properly or needs mending. Gone are the days of three different sizes of clothing due to my weight fluctuations. Several years ago it became annoying to me to not be able to just grab, dress and go. These days my closet is a thing of beauty. My husband’s closet? Yikes! That is one of the battles that I have learned to let go. LOL

  5. I do have a closet that’s a huge mess. It’s the upstairs linen closet. Not sure how but every single time the kids come home from college, they seem to make a mess of it. They obviously take after their dad. 😂. Great tips!

    1. I’m glad this helps! Having a small closet can be a pain, but if you learn how to work with it then it will be okay. I’ve often thought about turning the 3rd bedroom into my closet. HAHA!!

  6. Confession: my closet is one of my favorite places. I actually have a bean bag chair in there because during my normal morning routine (prior to COVID-19 which has me working from home) I sat there to read my Bible before going to work. So it is important for me to have a clean closet. So thank you for this post. I will make use of the tips! 😊

  7. Okay now it’s time for you to come on over here! Lol!
    Actually I’ve been doing the same… and it feels great to have it all organized!
    Great job!

  8. Great post! Everyone is organising while here I am sitting all day doing school work smh. I will keep these tips in mind if I ever organise my closet lol.
    Btw I too blog @ The Confessions Of A Music And Book Addict and would appreciate some support!
    Stay safe
    -Prutha xoxo

  9. I have the same problem that you had – if I try to get anything from the top shelf of my closet, everything falls down! 😂 I could do with implementing some of your tips!

    1. At least I’m not the only one! 😂 It seems like such a great space to stack a pile of stuff, but it doesn’t work that great. Thank you for reading! 🙂

  10. This is such a useful post, thanks for sharing your tips Michelle! Adding storage boxes and baskets makes such a big difference – everything looks so neat and organised 🙂 I need to have a wardrobe declutter soon so thank you for the inspiration! <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. Thank you so much!
      And thank you for your feedback on the theme. I’ve had the hardest time settling on a theme! But I think I finally found the one that suits me best. 🙂

  11. I like the idea of installing cedar panels on the side walls so that you could add hooks to hold more things. I am going to keep this in mind when I start decluttering my closet.

    1. I’m glad you were inspired to add the cedar panels with hooks. It’s a great way to keep things off to the side and out of the way, but still in site. Plus the cedar smells so good!

  12. I love those hangers of yours Michelle, those with the trousers on. And I checked the hanging cubbies you mentioned….sounds like a great idea. Never thought of this. Hm….someone’s off to Amazon shortly 🙂 You did a great job with reorganizing that closet. Totally agree with you. It looked organized but the reality of using it was not pleasant for you, that’s sign it needed attention. Plus now, it looks so much more inviting because way less clutter in it and things breathe.

  13. Love these ideas, I love learning how to better organize, my son has a closet that is narrow, but wide enough and long enough that he was able to get his excercise bike in there so now it’s his excercise room LOL thank you

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