Survival Guide: What to Do When You Don’t Have a Closet

If you’ve ever lived in an apartment that was lacking in storage space, you’ll never again take closets for granted. Trying to fit all of your possessions into small closets (or no closets at all) is difficult and frustrating, especially for those who like their living spaces neat, clean and well-organized.

Survival Guide What to Do When You Don't Have a Closet

Not having a bedroom closet is perhaps the most challenging storage situation. I once lived with two others in a two-bedroom apartment that also had a large office, which was my bedroom. Lucky for me, the office had its own bathroom attached. Not so lucky for me: the closet was nonexistent.

If you’re living in a bedroom that doesn’t have a closet, it can seem inconvenient at best, but you do have options. Take a look at this survival guide for creating clothes storage when you don’t have a closet:

An Armoire or Dresser

One of the most obvious solutions is to buy a large armoire or dresser to store clothes in. What’s great about armoires over dressers is that they offer a place to hang any clothing that you’d rather not fold.

Survival Guide What to Do When You Don't Have a Closet - Get an Armoire or Dresser

Dresses, blouses and easily wrinkled items won’t have to be shoved into a dresser drawer, which could potentially save you from having to pull out the iron every day before work.

Dressers, on the other hand, are great for people with a lot of foldable clothes. Either piece of furniture comes in various sizes, so those who live in a small space will be able to easily find something that fits their room.

A Clothing Rack

Stores like Target and Ikea sell clothing racks of all different shapes and sizes. You’ll easily be able to find smaller standing clothing racks that have a single bar on which to hang your clothes.

Survival Guide What to Do When You Don't Have a Closet - Get a Clothing Rack

There are also full closet organizers that you can mount to a wall with multiple shelves and rods great for holding an entire wardrobe. Though not as affordable, these are a one-and-done solution to not having a closet, and they’re pretty easy to install on the wall.


The variety of bookshelves available in stores and online is truly amazing, so they’re a great organization option for bedrooms with nonexistent closets. The bookshelves with cube-shaped cubbies are particularly useful for organizing different types of clothing and accessories.

Survival Guide What to Do When You Don't Have a Closet - Use Bookcases

If you’re planning on using bookshelves in place of a closet, be sure to buy plenty of baskets and bins that will help you keep the shelves neat and uncluttered.

Floating Shelves

Floating shelves are another useful storage option, and they’re especially great because they can fit onto walls of any size. Hang floating shelves across the width of an entire wall, or stack them from floor to ceiling. You can even install dividers on your shelves to keep all of your clothing items separated.

Under the Bed

Installing drawers under the bed is both practical and unobtrusive, so it’s a perfect solution for people who live in a small space. You can also inexpensively lift your bed to create even more storage space under it, using store-bought bed risers.

Survival Guide What to Do When You Don't Have a Closet -Store Under the Bed

Consider storing shoes, handbags and other less-often-used items under the bed so you don’t have to get down on the floor every time you change clothes.

A Trunk

For a storage solution that’s part decorative and part amazingly effective, find an antique or vintage trunk to keep at the foot of your bed.

Survival Guide What to Do When You Don't Have a Closet - Get a Trunk

Trunks are very spacious, so you’ll be able to store a lot of your wardrobe in just the one area. Use it for bulky items like sweaters, sweatshirts and sweatpants that don’t stack as easily on shelves.

Create Pretty Decor

Some of the prettiest and most colorful items in a person’s apartment can be found in their closet, like shoes, handbags, scarves and jewelry. Instead of tucking those items away into storage, find creative ways to display them around the room and apartment.

Survival Guide- What to Do When You Don't Have a Closet - Create Pretty Decor

Buy a small coat rack just for your scarves and hang them by the front door. Line pretty high heels and handbags along the bookshelves in your living room or entryway. Hang your statement necklaces from pretty hooks on the wall above your toilet, rather than using that space for a piece of art.

Use a Curtain

Many of the storage solutions in this survival guide will leave your clothing out in the open or on display, but simply hanging a curtain can help you tuck your wardrobe out of sight. Attach a curtain to your bookshelves or simply hang one from the ceiling in front of your shelves to hide your clothing.

Survival Guide What to Do When You Don't Have a Closet - Use Curtains to Hide

Mix and Match

If you have one wall in particular that would work well for a “closet,” mix and match the ideas to create exactly what you need for storing your own personal belongings. Hang floating shelves across the entire wall, then attach a closet rod to the wall beneath them. Or, find two small armoires and put them on either side of a short bookshelf.

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Survival Guide: What to Do When You Don't Have a Closet

Photo Credit: Rubbermaid ProductsDidriksTim RileyDan BudiacWonderlane,  reclaimedhomeLorenzoclick

Think Outside the Shoebox with These Organization Ideas

So you’ve found the perfect apartment, but you aren’t sure how to make the space work for you. For many renters, the relief that comes after finding a budget-friendly apartment is swiftly followed by the feeling that there is a lack of storage space.

Think Outside the Shoebox with These Organization IdeasIf you feel a little cramped in your small apartment, don’t despair. Check out these effective organization ideas that can help you settle into your apartment more comfortably. All you need are some shoeboxes!

Organize Those Deep, Dark Drawers

Drawers are one of the saving graces of a small apartment—especially when they are extra-long! The problem is, if you have a set of dark, long drawers under the bed or in the closet, it’s tough to find what you’re looking for inside.

The solution? Transparent shoe boxes! Organize the contents of your drawers into different types of items; then put those into clear shoeboxes to make finding everything much simpler.

Think Outside the Shoe Box - Drawer Organization

Pens, papers and crayons might take up one box, electronic devices another. It all depends what you need to store! Just make sure that each shoebox is filled with similar items so that you don’t need to search through more than one when the time comes.

Clean up the Closet

If your socks are falling out of the shelves or dresser drawers, you aren’t alone. Underwear not staying where it should? Again, this is a common problem.

Think Outside the Shoe Box - Closet Organization

To keep everything in your closet neatly in place, try designating 2 or 3 shoe boxes into your dresser drawers or closet space. Once paired, throw your clean socks into 1 one the boxes; underwear into another; bras into the third. Are you a swimsuit hoarder? Toss those suits into their very own shoebox and keep them from mixing into the rest of the clothing.

This way, you won’t have to search through an entire drawer full of undergarments to find what you’re looking for. Keeping small clothing items in shoeboxes will also stop them from migrating into other parts of your wardrobe. This kind of organizational system gives you an ideal place to toss popped buttons, zippers and other clothing items for later repair.

De-Clutter the Kitchen Cabinets

There are so many tiny items floating around in most people’s kitchen cabinets, some only get found before moving house. Between loose tea bags, packets of juice crystals and gravy, stock cubes and the odd Hershey’s Kiss, the kitchen cabinets can become littered with stray items.

For those non-perishable cupboard dwelling packets, introduce a couple of clear or color-coded shoeboxes. Keep it simple, but not too strict: 1 box for savory; 1 box for sweets. Another for all those tricky little bits and pieces that get used only a couple of times a year, say for cake decorating.

Your spice collection can also benefit from the use of a spare plastic shoebox, preferably one that has a solid color. Dried herbs and spices do get stale over time, so it’s best to keep them stored carefully in a dark, cool place.

Think Outside the Shoe Box - Spices

Depending on the climate where you live, the ideal place for a shoebox full of herbs and spices may be the corner of your pantry, a top shelf in the cabinet or even inside the refrigerator. Make sure that the lids of each bottle are tightly closed to ensure the longevity of their contents.

Get Creative with Shoeboxes

Nearly anything is possible in a rental apartment, no matter what the size—especially when shoeboxes are plentiful! If you’re worried that plain shoeboxes aren’t going to fit into your decor scheme, why not fancy them up a bit?

All it takes is a bit of measuring, glue, and some wallpaper or gift paper that you like. Wrap the boxes up neatly in the paper, and you’ve got an attractive theme piece that can be added to every room in the apartment!

Think Outside the Shoe Box - Get Creative

Once you’ve prettied-up your shoebox collection, you can use some boxes to hold useful daily items that have no real home elsewhere. Batteries, spare remote controllers, unmatched socks or gaming controllers can all sit comfortably in their own shoebox, completely anonymous until you need them. It’s a great way to conceal unattractive items within a cute, decorative box!

How do you make the most out of your apartment space? Are shoeboxes a regular part of your routine? Share your ideas with us on Twitter!

Photo Credit: Scorpions and Centaurs, Bill Abbott, Real Simple, Rachel, Angela Mabray

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Think Outside the Shoebox with These Organization Tips

5 Freewheeling Solutions for Bike Storage in a Small Apartment

Click on the image to view the full infographic.

Click on the image to view the full infographic.

For many people, a bicycle is a treasured possession. After a two-wheeled adventure around town, whether it’s to work and back, for some daily exercise or for a social outing, many cyclists bring their trusty steeds inside and tuck them in for safekeeping before it’s time to go ride again.

If this sounds like you – maybe you live in one of the Top 10 Bikeable Cities? – and your residence is a small apartment, you know the challenges of bike storage. When you’re short on space, even something as small as a bike can create an obstacle in a room.

Cycling is on the rise — the number of people who commute to work via bike has gone up by about 60 percent over the past decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you’re lucky cyclist, your apartment community has anticipated this growth and built a bike storage room for residents, like this:

Image: Venn on Market, San Francisco, CA

Image: Venn on Market, San Francisco, CA

But if you’re not so fortunate, what to do? Get creative. Here are five out-of-the-way spots to store your bike at home.

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Storage Made Simple: DIY Wooden Crate Bookshelf

If you’re in serious need of a storage solution in your apartment, you only need a few wooden crates, some paint and hardware to build your own bookshelf!

What’s great about this project is that you can customize it, making it as small or as large as you like. Since I have no bookcases in my place, I decided to fill my entire wall. Four stacked crates would also work just as well.

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9 Bathroom Storage Ideas You Haven’t Thought Of

If your apartment bathroom doesn't have a vanity cabinet, you're going to have to get creative with your storage solutions.

If your apartment bathroom doesn’t have a vanity cabinet, you’re going to have to get creative with your storage solutions.

Toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, hand soap – everything you keep in an apartment bathroom is small, but all those small things add up to one big storage challenge. Finding a place to keep all that stuff can force small-space dwellers to adopt creative solutions, particularly women who have to think about makeup and hair styling tools on top of everything else.

If your apartment bathroom is small enough to make you claustrophobic, no one blames you. Surveys show that ample storage space is one of the top features people look for in an apartment. But don’t tear your hair out just yet — there are many ways to store all the things you need in your little loo; you just have to get creative.

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The Lowdown on Shoe Storage: 6 Ways to Stomp Out Closet Messes

Storage racks help even the biggest shoe aficionados keep their footwear organized.

Storage racks help even the biggest shoe aficionados keep their footwear organized.

Shoes: We’ve all got them, some of us always want more of them, and we all need a system to store them.

Organizing your shoe collection can be a challenge, especially if you live in a small apartment – but even if you hoard footwear of all shapes, sizes and colors a la Carrie Bradshaw, there’s a storage solution out there for you.

And we’re not just looking at you, ladies – men love their shoes, too. So how can you make your shoe collection walk the line instead of two-step out of control? Read on:

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7 Obvious Signs That You Are a Hoarder

signs of hoarding

There’s a thin line between hoarding and just being messy. Do you know which category you fall into?

Let’s face it: we’re all guilty of holding onto things that we no longer use or need. From junk mail and old magazines to old clothes and broken gadgets, these are the things that make up our lives.

But how much of it we hold onto is what makes all the difference. There’s an oh so thin line between hoarding and just needing to organize your stuff.

Hoarders do exhibit a few key characteristics. Those interventions you may have witnessed on the now defunct hit reality TV show Hoarders were no exaggeration. Do any of these sound eerily familiar to you?

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Closet Organization Tips for Fall (Infographic)

Click the image to view the full infographic. Spring cleaning may get good press, but we’ve discovered that fall is another popular time to air out your apartment storage spaces.

According to a recent Apartment Guide survey, 80% of people reorganize or clean out their apartment between summer and fall.

The survey also revealed that 39% of people conduct major apartment cleaning once a month, while 31% perform a big apartment clean seasonally. Organizing and putting away clothes topped the list of challenging tasks for about half the respondents.

To help you with your closet freshening efforts this season, Apartment Guide is teaming up with organization expert Lisa Zaslow.

As you switch out summer clothes for your colder-weather wardrobe, Lisa advises that you may be sitting on a stash of cash in the form of old outfits you no longer wear. Why not make some money as you declutter by selling items which are only taking up precious storage space in your apartment? (Hint: you can even sell clothing online!)

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Top 5 Ways to Decorate a Small Living Room

Brownstones Apartments in Novi, MI

Brownstones Apartments in Novi, MI


Making the most of limited space is the name of the game in apartment living.

Live comfortably and enjoy your apartment space by employing proven decorating strategies when arranging your living room.

You can make a smaller living room feel much larger when you find space-saving furnishings that serve multiple purposes, create clever storage solutions, and add unique decorative accessories.

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Apartment Guide Reveals the Best Cities for Closet Space

Apartment Guide Reveals the Best Cities for Closet Space

If spacious closet real estate is high on your apartment priority list, Apartment Guide has information you need.

In cities across the country, closet storage varies greatly. Apartment Guide analyzed its own nationwide rental listings, looking specifically at storage square footage.

In May, the Huffington Post and Triangle Business Journal reported on Apartment Guide’s research revealing the cities with the largest average closet space.

Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Kansas City-Lawrence, Missouri areas topped the list for generous, out-of-the-way storage.

After the jump, check out the full list of cities offering more spacious storage.

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