Organizing a Small Closet on a Budget

I am back with an exciting update on my small closet situation.  If you recall, I moved recently into a home with very small closets.  There is a tiny walk-in closet in the master bedroom, which presented functional limitations for my usage, but comfortably held my husband’s clothes.  There are two other small bedrooms in the house, one is the hubbie’s office and the other is my multi-purpose room—closet/dressing room/office.

Planning Phase:

  • Assess closet space in my room.
  • Decide what I want to store in the closet.
  • Choose a system for organizing what I store in the closet.

Assessing Closet Space:

My closet is 43″W and 21 1/2″D.  It had a bifold door that I removed from the hinges.    There is no storage at the top of the closet (and shelves can’t be added) because the ceiling is at an angle.

Tiny closet I’m working with
43″W x 21 1/2″ D

What Should be Stored in the Closet:

I prefer to hang all of my clothes, but that is not an option.  Since I wear dresses 95% of the time, they had to be hung for easy accessibility.  I also reach for cardigans and jackets often, so I also wanted them hung.  Everything else (shirts, tanks, blouses, skirts, and pants) would be tucked away.

Choosing an Organizing System:

My initial plan was to use a combination of Sterilite closet drawers and the Michael Graves for Target 6-shelf organizer.  I tossed the idea of the shelf organizer because it had a bad smell that would not dissipate.  I actually tried a couple other styles and had a similar experience with the smell.

Initial plan for organizing closet

Attempting to remove stench from
closet shelves.  Also tried Febreze.
Nothing worked.

Actual Plan:  Four stackable Sterilite deep closet drawers (17″D x 143/4″W x 101/4″ H) will hold my clothes that are not hanging (on sale at Target, $9.49 each).  My shoes will be kept in boxes on a grey plastic storage shelf system that I spotted in Home Depot (was $24.92, but the display was the only one available, so I negotiated the price down to $15).  My belts will hang on belt racks on the inside corners of the closet ($1 each at Dollar Tree).  My scarves will hang on a few over-the-door hooks ($1 each at Dollar Tree).

Top:  Belts on two belt racks ($1 each)
Bottom L:  Scarves on over the door hooks ($1 each)
Bottom R: Shoe boxes on shelving from HD ($15)

Styling Out:

This room will also be my office, so I want it to look chic.


Shopping options in Target, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls.
I like to take photos when I spot potential items especially in stores
that don’t have online stores.

Hubster installing faux wood blinds ($10.99 at Target)

I painted the walls plum swirl ($26/1gallon at Home Depot)
NB:  I had never painted walls before, but I do my
own nails, so how much harder could this be?

The Big Reveal:

The newly improved and organized closet.
L to R:  Cardigans, dresses (casual, dressy, work), blazers.
Target Home window panel ($24.99) on a rod ($9.99) add
a chic alternative to closet doors.

Shoe rack on right.

Closet with window panel drawn.
The chair ($129.99 at TJ Maxx) will actually be at my desk.
I am looking for a a padded bench in the same color family.

My smaller handbags are in this recycled basket via

TJ maxx ($19.99).  My larger totes are stored flat

(in their storage bags) on the stackable closet

 drawers in the closet.

Wide view of the closet/dressing room side of my multi-purpose room

That’s it!

More on home decor:

1.  Discount art framing at Michaels
2.  Home decor, off-price stores


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  1. July 19, 2011 / 7:43 pm

    Very nice. If you ever wanted to conceal the shoe shelf, you could hang another panel just like the closet and make it appear to be one large closet unit.

  2. July 19, 2011 / 8:04 pm

    Love the paint color!

  3. July 19, 2011 / 9:05 pm

    In regards to the shoe shelf, I love the idea of hanging the extra panel. You might try posting a photo of the shoes on the outside of the box, so you know exactly what's inside. Cute room!

  4. July 19, 2011 / 9:38 pm

    woooow…very very very nice!!!

  5. July 20, 2011 / 1:59 am

    I lovelovelove closet organizing! You did a great job…the chair is gorgeous, too!

  6. July 20, 2011 / 2:47 am

    Your room looks great!! Want to come organize my closet? It's a wreck! ha 🙂

  7. Anonymous
    July 20, 2011 / 3:18 am

    I want a dressing room!!! But I don't think I could convince the kids to share a room for that to happen.

    Love your ideas!!!

  8. July 23, 2011 / 11:46 pm

    I love the transformation you made on your closet. it looks cute ad organized! that gave me some ideas on how to organize mine, thank you!
    Please come by my blog sometimes, its brand new, so theres no interesting posts yet, bt it would make me happy if you became a reader, cause I am definately come back on yours! =)
    xoxo, Carol

  9. July 29, 2011 / 2:45 pm

    this is very creative. loving the new direction of the blog. it's giving me tons of ideas!

  10. Anonymous
    July 29, 2011 / 5:05 pm

    Great job! Sorry the Michael Graves hanging shelves didn't work for you. I purchased them recently and I absolutely love them. I read about the chemical smell others encountered with this product. Fortunately, I didn't have this experience.

  11. August 15, 2011 / 6:22 pm

    I really like this need to get my Organize Straight n my room

  12. Closets and Beyond
    March 13, 2012 / 10:16 am

    This post goes to show that organizing items is indeed possible with proper planning. Being a closets Bergen service provider, some individuals should be aware that sorting then keeping only the significant things needed will make room for other essentials.