5 Small Space Tips: Clothing Storage & Organization

small space storage tips under bed drawers

After recently sharing how I store seasonal clothes & shoes in our small home, I received several questions about our general approach to small space storage. Having lived in our ~850 sq ft condo for several years longer than we initially anticipated, I’ve been using a few favorite tips and gadgets over the years, and hope you guys will find them helpful too! This post was getting long, so there will have to be a Part 2 involving shoes and some other tips.

1. Store behind the door

Literally every single one of our closet doors has something either hanging or mounted on the back! I LOVE these over-the-door hooks, which can hang quite a few items on just one hook. It has grooves for 6 hangers so they’re not all just clumped together, and is also perfect for longer items like jumpsuits and maxi dresses which are otherwise too long to hang on my closet bars.

clothing organization tips

These hooks can also help create a small dedicated space for hanging “in between” items that have been worn but don’t need to go into the laundry hamper just yet. Or, a space to plan out a day or two’s outfits in advance. Just be sure to measure your door thickness to make sure the hooks will fit properly (if your door is thinner, you could pad it with something to fit snugly), also depending on your closet it can make the door a little hard to close all the way.

how to maximize closet space

2. Under the Bed = Storage Gold

A good chunk of my wardrobe is stored underneath our bed! I always recommending storing sweaters folded and NOT on hangers which can stretch them out over time, so I keep mine in these drawers with little cedar packets to hopefully ward off pests. My denim collection is also kept under the bed, rolled up in a similar manner with the tags facing up for easy identification. In the summer, I rotate in shorts and other warm-weather pieces and store away heavier clothing.

There’s a few different options for maximizing or creating an under-the-bed space:

Bed frame with built in storage

If you’re furnishing a new space or in the market for a new bed, consider options that include drawers underneath. Mine is the Ikea Malm – we did not use the tall headboard that comes with the bed, instead put in a shorter board against the wall and then stacked this tufted headboard on top (the tufted headboard by itself wouldn’t be this high). Here are a few alternative options all with built-in drawers:

built in under bed storage ideas

Pottery Barn duvet in “taupe,” Ikea malm bed with 4 drawers

Bed Risers

Some of you may instinctively picture hideous plastic cones from college days, but bed risers have come a long way! If you already own a post-style bed frame, these will add several inches of height and allow more space for storage bins to fit underneath. I would probably get a comforter and duvet in a bigger size so it’s long enough to drape over the extra height added and conceal the bed risers.

how to store winter clothes

Underbed storage bins and bags from this blog post

Storage bins that slide under your raised bed

In this blog post on seasonal storage, I shared these durable and stackable clear Iris storage bins (also at Wayfair and Walmart). I use these bins above my closet shelves, but they have slider pads on the bottom and would work perfectly under a raised bed. This same brand has several other size bins available at Target, Wayfair, and Home Depot.

3. Divide & conquer inside drawers

Dividers are a great way to keep the inside of your drawers from becoming one messy heap, and make it much easier to quickly locate an item. I’ve tried a couple different styles (i.e. spring loaded versus “slide and lock” mechanisms) and brands, and don’t have a strong preference for any particular one.

Though, I will note that if you have a less heavy duty drawer (ie. if it’s particle board from IKEA instead of solid wood), non-tension dividers may be the safer option to avoid damaging or warping the back of the drawer. The most important thing is to make sure you get the right height and length for your drawer size!

  • Spring loaded divders: 4.5″ high spring loaded dividers in a 2 pack, 13-18″ long. I have these but in a longer sold out size.
  • Shorter slide & lock dividers: 4″ high slide and lock dividers in a 6 pack, 11-17″ long. I use these inside my smaller, more shallow drawers. A tip to get a snug fit with slide and lock dividers is to use both hands and pull the divider as wide as possible in place within the drawer, then pushing the lock button down using one finger (while still stretching the divider out using both hands).
  • Longer slide & lock dividers avail. in different heights: 2.5″ to 5″ high slide and lock dividers in a 3 or 4 pack. Expands from 13 – 22″ long – looks like the best currently available longer option that I could find.

large drawer dividers under bed storage tips

2 styles of dividers shown above: spring-loaded dividers + similar slide and lock dividers

4. Maximize the # of items per hanger

To save space, I always clip on several skirts per hanger, and use multi-pant hangers for pants (mine are old but here’s some similar, affordable multi-pant hanger options):

clothing organization tips

closet organization tips

Skirt clip hangers (I can fit 2 to 3 skirts per hanger)

5. Find “slim” versions of larger household items

We use this very lightweight slim clothing hamper – I liked it enough to get one for light clothes, one for dark clothes, and one for Nick. Even though we have several of these, each one is compact enough for me to tuck away in small spaces like the inside corners of my closet, or wedged into a corner by a dresser. It also has little wheels with a handle, and a clear panel so that you can kinda see what’s inside – helpful when you’re looking for a particular item and can’t remember if it’s clean or dirty!

small space closet organization ideas

Please share some of your favorite clothing organizational tips and gadgets!
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  1. TJ wrote:

    Love the bed recommendation! Wondering if you use the two drawers closer to the headboard regularly and if so, what do you store in them? Are they hard to access with the nightstands beside the bed?

    Posted 8.7.20 Reply
  2. priya wrote:

    What do you recommend for jewerly organization? Love this!!!!

    Posted 6.16.20 Reply
  3. Ashley wrote:

    Hi Jean!
    How do you store your purses- on the shelves? Or do you keep your Celine, Gucci etc. bags somewhere else?

    Posted 5.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Ashley! We have an Ikea Billy bookcase with glass doors that I use for my purses to keep the dust out.

      Posted 5.28.20 Reply
  4. Annabel wrote:

    I’m loving all your posts lately especially on home organization. I live in a small condo apt so storage is really an issue. Love all your hacks. Also, how do you keep your bedsheets so white? What’s the trick.

    Posted 5.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying them! I’m afraid I don’t really have a secret, I just use a little bleach or bleach alternative.

      Posted 5.28.20 Reply
  5. Love this! I live in a studio so this gave me a lot of inspiration. Thank you for sharing (:

    Gina Checchia

    Posted 5.24.20 Reply
  6. Lana wrote:

    I love how your bed doesn’t have heaps of pillows or shams on it but still looks luxurious! So much more practical than having to take them on and off the bed every night.

    Posted 5.23.20 Reply
  7. Paige wrote:

    Great tips! My home is quite cozy as well and I love all your practical tips. Truth be told, I was floored to hear you live in a ~850 sq condo! I’ve been following you for awhile and your home not only is gorgeous, it seems really large! I would love to see more of your home and how you maximize space use!

    Posted 5.22.20 Reply
  8. I love those hangers that allow you to hang several pairs of pants or shorts on separate levels. Also, we have the Ikea Hemnes bed and I LOVE the underbed storage. It is revolutionary.

    Posted 5.21.20 Reply
  9. Mireia wrote:

    These tips are so useful!

    Mireia from TGL

    Posted 5.21.20 Reply
  10. Lauren wrote:

    Great tips! I may have to look into some risers for my bed. We have the cute as a button bed from World Market and it sits fairly low to the ground. I find it helpful for clothes storage to fold clothes per Marie Kondo’s method and store them on their sides in the drawers rather than stacked. It saves so much space and makes it easier for my little ones to pick o their clothes without making a huge mess because they can see every item.

    Posted 5.21.20 Reply
  11. LeShawna wrote:


    Would you link the closet organizer in Part 2? Thanks.

    Posted 5.21.20 Reply
  12. Jill wrote:

    So helpful and timely! I’m in the first week of a two week online class called simply enough, “Closet class” and I’ll be using some of these tips. Also, the photo of your closet is so helpful! We’re planning a bedroom/dressing room/bathroom re-do later this year and need ideas. Thanks!

    Posted 5.21.20 Reply
  13. Sara wrote:

    Hi Jean! Thanks for all these tips. I’m moving into a studio apartment this fall and these tips are so helpful, especially the behind-the-door storage idea. I’m a college student, so budget isn’t that high, but this past year in my apartment, I made my own bedskirt panel, using a fitted sheet, to hide my big plastic Rubbermaid under-bed storage drawers!

    Do you also have a dresser in your bedroom, or just a closet and your under-bed storage? I’m trying to figure out what to buy for my studio this fall!

    Posted 5.20.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Sara, I’m so glad you’ve found these helpful! I do have a tall dresser for undergarments, tees, and blouses. Though, if I had a bigger closet I’d prefer to hang my blouses in order to see them all at one glance.

      Posted 5.21.20 Reply
  14. Briana wrote:

    Behind the door is my go-to!


    Posted 5.20.20 Reply
  15. Marilyn wrote:

    Hi! Love the hack of using the Malm and your own headboard. Can you show us how you shortened the original headboard and how it looks now without the pillows? Thank you!

    Posted 5.20.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Marilyn! I corrected the post as we didn’t actually shorten the headboard, but I’ll try to post on IG stories today or tomorrow to show how we did it.

      Posted 5.21.20 Reply
      • Leah wrote:

        Hi, Jean! I also have the Malm Storage Bed and would love to know how you attached the different headboard. I love all of the storage but hate my plain white headboard.

        I tried looking on Instagram but couldn’t find anything about it. Would you be able to maybe add it to a future blog post? Also, thank you for doing all of the home decor posts! I really enjoy those!

        Posted 7.22.20 Reply
        • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

          Hi Leah, thank you! So glad you’re enjoying the home decor posts. The other headboard is actually not attached to our Malm bed – it’s just leaning against the wall, wedged snugly against the wall using the Ikea bed frame. I use those three large pillows to cover up the visible looking junction. I hope this helps!

          Posted 8.3.20 Reply

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