Home Buying

Six tips to make your wardrobe fit in a tiny apartment

(Spoiler alert: Minimalism isn’t one of them!)

apartment storage: Decluttering second hand spring cleaning fast fashion and organization of life. Stunned Afro American woman with curly hair looks through big heap of colorful clothes puts things in order at closet
Boston may be building bigger apartments, but storage space remains at a premium. Adobe Stock

Are you running out of space in your 14-square-foot closet? Maybe your dresser is chock-full of T-shirts you’re too sentimental to get rid of, or your clothing rack is weighed down with jackets and knits. Maybe your tiny apartment doesn’t have a closet at all.

Luckily, being short on closet space doesn’t mean you have to adopt minimalism — though it probably wouldn’t hurt. Sarah Redmore, director of undergraduate interior architecture at Boston Architectural College, said wardrobe storage may be a universal struggle, but it isn’t without solutions.

“Organizing your own space and creating an environment that supports you and your habits and your lifestyle … is really a personal reflection a lot of people can take,” Redmore said.


She shared six strategies for making the most of the storage space in your rental:

Find inspiration, but stick to your budget.

While Pinterest and Amazon make it easy to imagine the perfect home, those dreams may not fit your budget. But that’s OK: Redmore said luxury organizers and online websites are great places to find inspiration that can be adapted to fit a range of budgets.

Give everything a home.

Redmore lives by the idea of “knowing what ‘everything’ is, and giving ‘everything’ a place.” This step is twofold: First, identify what items you have and — if you can bear it — the ones you feel OK tossing or donating. Second, find a spot for each item you’re keeping.

To ensure every piece finds its rightful home, Redmore suggested grouping like things: Store sweaters with sweaters, have a designated denim bin, or stack baseball caps in the same place. This strategy keeps your space organized and helps streamline the process of choosing what to wear.

stylish woman in white sweater and skirt in the modern house in sunny winter day holding huge pile of sweaters.
Store sweaters with sweaters. – Adobe Stock

Prioritize visual access.

One part of a well-managed space is being able to access items physically, but another part is accessing them visually, Redmore said. To keep your limited wardrobe space visually accessible, opt for clear bins, hang items in a well-lighted area, and organize your clothes according to color.

A woman of color in a light-colored outfit folds a pink sweater as she sits on her bed sorting clothing. There is a clear bin in the foreground.
It is better to use clear bins to make your selections easier. – Adobe Stock

Look for storage in unexpected places.

While the open space under the bed is great for extra bins and boxes, Redmore said, apartment dwellers with tight closet space should consider furniture with built-in storage, such as coffee tables, ottomans, and bedframes. She also recommended vertical storage, whether it’s installing floating shelves above a desk or bed or capitalizing on the extra space atop dressers and cabinets.

Folding sofa bed couch with storage space, isolated on white background, saved path selection.
Try to find furniture that comes with storage, like this sofa bed. – Adobe Stock

Organize seasonally.

Putting away clothes that won’t be worn for six months makes the outfit-choosing process easier by getting them out of sight and out of mind, Redmore said.


An added bonus: Store your winter clothes on that hard-to-reach top shelf, and you’ll free up easy-to-reach storage spots for clothes you wear now. And, when you unbox your winter clothes come October — or whenever Boston decides to get cold — you may find items you forgot you had.

Evolve and experiment.

A Woman selecting clothes from her wardrobe for donating to a Charity shop. Decluttering Clothes, Sorting, And Cleaning Up. Reuse, second-hand concept. Conscious consumer, sustainable lifestyle
Organization is a fluid process. – Adobe Stock

Redmore stressed that the organization process is subject to change. Through research and reflection, she said, homeowners can cater to their individual needs and adapt as those needs change. She urged those looking for small-space solutions to look inward before beginning the organizing process itself.

“When you focus on your home environment and your own respite,” Redmore said, “it’s part of a wellness journey.”


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