overthinking shelves
October 23, 2012 9:04 PM   Subscribe

I have too many shelves and no hanging space in a small room. How do I maximize the space I have and keep work clothes and dresses organized and wrinkle-free?

(After years of lurking, I finally post an ask! Huzzah!)

I just moved into a new place (whoo hoo!) and as I settle in, I am not sure how to store my clothes. I'm lucky to have two closets in my room, but they're full of shelves. There is no space to hang anything, and I am not sure what to do with my work clothes and dresses that I normally hang. My biggest concern is keeping my work clothes and dresses wrinkle-free.

The shelves are a normal width but a bit shallow. There is a good bit of space in between the shelves, so stacking my clothes would make it difficult to pull out the items on the bottom. I was thinking about getting baskets or bins to create cubby-like spaces.

I would also appreciate general advice for keeping folded clothes organized, as my folded clothes tend to devolve into one big mess. (re: a lot of great ideas but ideas for shelving only?)

At my last apartment, I had two hanging closets and enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately space is very tight, so I cannot use a separate hanging system. I also cannot renovate the closets.

I've read unclutterer, Apartment Therapy, Martha Stewart, lifehacker, etc., but was hoping to see if I missed anything or if y'all have some brilliant ideas to share. Am I overthinking it and should leave it at that? Thanks!
posted by sums to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
One option is a set of drawers that goes under your bed. With those, you'll have the space to lay everything flat.
posted by cairdeas at 9:21 PM on October 23, 2012

Can't help much with the clothes that need to hang with no space to hang but...

In my closet - non-hanging clothes (that don't wrinkle) get rolled and stacked on shelves and (especially) drawers. This makes it easy to identify what each article is which. It's also easy to pull out an article without having to disrupt the whole pile.
posted by shew at 9:21 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is there a hall or coat closet where you could keep them? Not ideal, I realize, but might be your best option. You could also get an Ikea wardrobe.

In terms of keeping your shelves organized, I would definitely recommend getting shelf dividers. Also definitely get some storage bins/baskets/boxes and keep items in them - either folded or rolled. These can get a little pricey but are generally worth it. Try discount stores like Marshall's and also dollar stores first.

Oh and Pinterest has a lot of organizing ideas, and I like the Organizing Junkie blog
posted by radioamy at 9:43 PM on October 23, 2012

Could you post a picture? I'm having trouble picturing this. Like you open the closet door and the shelves come up to the door frame? or are there just shelves coming out from the back wall and then some space between the end of the shelf and the door frame? If it's the latter could you put up done sort of bar (heavy duty shower bar maybe?) and then hang your clothes there? Something like this might also help. What about some sort of rack you could put hangers on for over the closetdoor?
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 10:34 PM on October 23, 2012

I know you said you don't have room for a separate hanging system, so this may well be useless to you - but there's no room, and there's a tiny bit of room - so have you got room for one of these? I keep mine in the laundry (where it obscures the door which is fine because that door is damn near impossible to shut again) and hang clothes on it immediately out of the washer so they can drip dry without requiring ironing (I hope).
posted by b33j at 11:07 PM on October 23, 2012

Could you use one of these types of over-the-door fold-down hangers (one, two, there's a variety of styles) on your closet and/or bedroom doors? They hook over the top of the door so you're not making any alterations (screws or nails) and they fold fairly flat so they're not taking up space.
posted by flex at 12:14 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding the rolling rack idea: they're useful, you can buy them from store supply stores if you're in a large city with a garment district, and they collapse. Very handy.
posted by jrochest at 1:30 AM on October 24, 2012

Is it at all possible to remove some of the uppermost shelves? I know you said you couldn't renovate, but often shelves just sit on brackets, or are simply screwed in and thus can be unscrewed pretty easily. If so, a heavy duty tension rod will be your friend.
As far as folding/stacking goes, definitely get some bins/drawers for things like socks/underwear/accessories. I feel your pain about not wanting to knock over a whole stack of shirts to get at the one on the bottom...luckily the shirts I wear the most migrate quickly to the top of the stack. Folding them retail-style into squares seems to help keep most of the wrinkles out. Good luck!
posted by csox at 7:41 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

You don't say what kind of doors are on the closets, but is it possible to put up some over-the door hooks and hang some clothes on there?
posted by radioamy at 9:17 AM on October 24, 2012

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