When you’re finding an apartment in New York, you have to sacrifice something. Maybe you choose to live 45 minutes from work but have more space; maybe you opt for laundry in the unit, but your apartment is tiny. Personally, I went for convenience, and gave up square footage. Yes, my walk to work is approximately four minutes from door to door, but the apartment I share with my husband is a cramped 570 square feet and absolutely packed to the brim. And while we’re lucky enough to have a space with four closets, they definitely would never be classified as big — meaning great small closet solutions are absolutely crucial to our sanity.
Thankfully, now that we’ve lived there for two years, I’ve come up with some foolproof ways to keep my ever-expanding wardrobe in check. Though it may sound counterintuitive to stuff an already-crowded closet with even more things, I’ve found that it’s absolutely necessary to keep things organized and under control.
Since it’s the new year, there’s no better time to organize your life — starting with your closet. Ahead, the only seven small closet solutions and hacks I rely on to help you get started.
1. A Large Shoe Organizer
If you’re a shoe lover and you think a small, two-shelf shoe organizer is going to cut it, sorry — it won’t. I’d consider myself obsessed with footwear, and I turned to this solution last year and never looked back. It’s pretty customizable too, so I can take out shelves or add them to make room for boots and other large pieces.
2. Matching Hangers
Getting matching hangers is probably the most adult thing I’ve done in my life so far, and it was so worth it. I love these velvety ones because my clothes don’t slip off of them, and the suit hangers make it possible to hang pants multiple pants on one. Plus, even if all hope is lost for your closet, cohesive hangers in a neutral color will give the illusion that you have some things under control.
3. A Cube Organizer
I was so excited the day my beautiful dresser arrived at my apartment… only to realize I would only get two drawers and I could fit about three sweaters in each one (which didn’t leave any room for my jeans — or anything else). So, I ordered this cube organizer and it ended up being one of the best purchases I’ve made. It’s obviously a simple concept, but it fits a surprising amount and make it easy to see what you’re looking for (as long as everything’s folded neatly).
4. Command Hooks
If you don’t already own Command hooks, go buy some now. I have these all over every closet in my apartment, and it’s pretty much saved me from having bags sit on any surfaces, which can take up a ton of space. Place the hooks at different levels anywhere you have an open wall, and hang anything you can — it’s the cheapest, easiest no-brainer you’ll ever purchase.
5. Cabinet Shelves
Looking for a great, cheap hack to keeping things organized? These kitchen cabinet shelves can easily be turned into a place for your clothes and accessories. If you have tall ceilings, they utilize that extra space to provide more storage, which anyone with a lot of clothes can get behind. I use them to store big boots that I don’t wear very often and purses that are too big to hang on Command hooks.
6. Shelf Divider
Storage solutions on open shelves are really important to making the most of the space you have, and these are a great way to do that. Since I own a lot of oversized knits, I also have to stack them on top of my shelves, which means a lot of sweater avalanches if you don’t do anything to keep your stacks under control. These shelf dividers are a genius way to keep them from becoming one big, messy pile, and from falling over constantly.
7. A Belt Hanger
I used to think these were kind of pointless — until I finally caved out of desperation and bought one. Command hooks are great, but having a bunch of belts on one hook makes it pretty much impossible to get to any piece but the one on the top without a full-on belt disaster happening on your floor. This hanger makes it easy to grab anything you’re after, and it’s also the perfect way to store random accessories you collect, like small scarves and baseball caps.