Even if your rental has plenty of living space, storage space is another issue entirely.
Whether your dwelling has one moderately sized closet or a few closets so small they can barely contain one complete outfit, your options aren’t as limited as you may think. These six simple additions can exponentially expand your storage space without breaking the lease agreement or aggravating your landlord.
1. Add a bookcase or three
Bookcases aren’t just for books; they’re an excellent addition to a closet outfitted with nothing more than a closet rod and a high shelf or two.
Visit thrift stores or resale shops for bookcases narrow and short enough to fit the closet, or opt for a put-it-together-yourself version. Choose a bookcase with deep shelves. Deeper shelves mean more storage space for bins, folded clothing, and shoes. Buy fabric storage bins from a craft store or discount store to stash socks, out-of-season clothing, and athletic wear.
If you’re in the DIY mood, maximize closet storage by building your own bookcases or a bookcase-style storage system that fits the back (inside-facing portion) of the closet door and rolls on wheels. Just don’t add hardware to the back of the door without the landlord’s approval.
2. Put a dresser in the closet
A small dresser adds tons of storage space to a bedroom closet. Dressers designed for kids’ rooms and nurseries are often small enough to fit into a single-door closet. If space allows, align one dresser to the side of the door in the closet and another in the back. Use the top of the dresser for additional storage by adding wire baskets or fabric storage bins.
3. Use door space
Ask your landlord if you can add a towel bar or coat hooks to the back of the closet door for extra storage space. A towel bar comes in handy for storing necklaces, scarves, and belts. If nail or screw holes aren’t an option, add an over-the-door shoe organizer instead. They add plenty of storage space without damaging the door. Use the space to store shoes, socks, undies, rolled T-shirts, or anything else small enough to fit and that doesn’t require a hanger.
Over-the-door storage isn’t limited to shoe organizers. Big-box and online retailers also offer adjustable wire rack organizers. You can get a closet rod for hanging shirts, or even one with a towel bar and a series of coat or robe hooks. Add these over-the-door solutions to hallway and bathroom closets as well. Now you’re winning at the storage game.
4. Add space-saving hanger systems
Regular hangers take up lots of closet space, especially padded or wooden hangers. Maximize the hanging space in a bedroom or hallway closet with space-saving hanger systems, such as the as-seen-on-TV style that claims to triple hanging space.
These special hangers hold up to five additional hangers, each hanging slightly lower than the first, so multiple items occupy the same hanger space on the closet rod. Purchase one or two, then add more as you get used to them. This setup is great for items you don’t need to access regularly, such as out-of-season or special-occasion apparel.
5. Use that high shelf space
If your bedroom, hallway, or bathroom closet has a shelf that’s almost too high to reach, use it anyway. Keep items you rarely use, such as lightweight sports gear, boots, beach towels, or gloves in storage bins atop the shelf.
Label the bins so you won’t have to guess where your wearables are the next time you need them. A step stool that folds nearly flat comes in handy for accessing high shelves. Note: don’t use a high shelf to store bowling balls, cast iron cookware, or other weighty, unwieldy items for obvious safety reasons.
6. Go beyond the closet
Create your own extra storage space in areas beyond the closet, too. Multi-purpose furnishings provide additional storage for just about any room. Look for storage ottomans, bed frames with built-in drawers, or even a rolling storage cart that doubles as a kitchen island or table when you need it.
Install tension rods vertically in kitchen cabinets and cupboards to optimize storage space. These come in handy for separating cookie sheets, pot lids, and other items that don’t always stack well and that otherwise eat up storage space. You can use a tension rod placed high between the back and front of a cupboard under the sink to hang spray bottles or hanging wire baskets to store sponges and scrub pads.
Under-the-bed space is also ideal for storing items you don’t need all the time, such as off-season clothing. Plastic bins designed to fit under the bed are ideal for keeping your clothes pristine and free from dust bunnies.