5 Common Organizing Mistakes to Stop Making for Small Closets

It’s time to stop letting your small closet cramp your style. Many people fall victim to common organizing mistakes when dealing with small closets, but these issues can be avoided with a bit of extra mindfulness and planning.

Here, we’ve spoken with two professional organizers who chime in regarding six mistakes they witness often and provide insight on what to do instead. Before you know it, you’ll be loving your small closet for what it is and feeling much more neat and orderly all around.

Not Using the Back of the Closet Door or the Walls

When it comes to a small closet, every inch of space counts—including the back of the door, as long as it’s on hinges (as opposed to a sliding door), Amy Berryhill, a professional organizer and the owner of Spiffy Chicks, says.

“Consider using the back side to mount a rack to hold accessories or shoes,” she says.

Once you’ve addressed the door, be sure to make use of your closet walls. Berryhill likes to use them to hang jewelry.

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As long as your closet door is on hinges, it can also be used for storage. Grab an over-the-door shoe rack or mount a storage system to the back to make the most of this space that is otherwise going to waste.

Opting for Thick Hangers

Berryhill notes that in small closets, slim hangers are the best choice. She recently parted ways with her regular wood clothing hangers in favor of some thinner ones and says that doing so helped her double her closet space.

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Not Making Use of Vertical Space

Don’t let your closet’s height go to waste; it’s offering valuable vertical storage space.

“Put items you rarely wear but need to keep in boxes at the top of your closet,” Berryhill says, citing shoes for special events as an example.

If you’re worried about being able to access these high-up items, keep a stepladder handy and pull it out as needed.

Skipping the Decluttering Process

Maybe your closet isn’t the problem, it’s the fact that you haven’t sorted through all of your clothing, Kayleen Kelly, professional organizer and the founder of Clear the Clutter; Clear Your Mind, says.

“We can only fit so much into our spaces before they are no longer functional and we can’t ‘organize’ our way out of having too much stuff,'” she says.

Berryhill agrees. “Trying to organize your closet without first purging what you no longer wear, love, or need means you will likely have a crammed closet where it’s difficult to access items and put them away,” she says.

Plus, she adds, it’s important to prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to clothing items.

Berryhill emphasizes the importance of having fewer items in your closet that look as good as it feels rather than a cramped space. It’s better to have 10 tops you absolutely love wearing than mediocre items that don’t excite you, she says.


Once you tackle a bit of decluttering, you may feel a bit better about your closet size—sometimes, items really do need to go before true closet organizing can begin.

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Not Thinking Outside the Box

Not all types of items need to live in your closet, even if that may seem like the most obvious place for them to go right off the bat.

“Your winter boots are taking up lots of space but they could fit nicely under your bed in a long tote that you can switch out seasonally,” Kelly says.

Other things, such as that collection of high school T-shirts, can be stored elsewhere for safekeeping. You don’t have to part ways with these items entirely, but be mindful about where you’re keeping them.

Let your closet solely house the clothing you do wear on a weekly basis and need to keep accessible.

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