Life Style

Ideas for Storing Clothes Without a Closet

Create a “closet”

Invest in a bedroom wardrobe

An armoire, a clothes storage idea from the past, is a classic closet alternative. This piece of furniture is essentially an external closet; some come with a bar for hanging with enough room to hang longer clothes including pants and dresses, while others have a bar with only enough space to hang shirts and a lower half filled with drawer space. Still other versions are all shelves. Pick the version that works best for you and your current wardrobe. You can find armoires in a range of sizes and finishes to match your space and style.

Commit to a freestanding closet organizer

Basically, a wall-less portable closet, a freestanding closet system offers all the storage of a clothes closet—just without the walls. Look for one with built-in drawers that’s wide enough to hold storage bins and boxes for added organization. And brush up on your folding skills—since your clothes will be on display, they’ll need to be extra tidy.

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Create zones with a bedroom cabinet

If you’re in a studio and/or want to section off your bedroom, a large freestanding organizer/wardrobe doubles as a way to store your clothes and divide the space. Bedroom cabinets typically offer a mix of hanging space, drawers, and shelves; they can be open or closed, and are large enough to function as a makeshift partial wall.

Try a telescoping rack

A tension pole garment rack is one of the easiest non-closet closet units to put up. If you tend to hang most of your garments, then this clothes storage idea is for you. Two vertical, tension poles get locked in place from floor to ceiling; then two tension poles fit side to side, adjustable from approximately 24 to 47 inches. You can make this adjustable rack work in almost any space, plus there are no screws or other hardware required, making it a smart choice for renters. Need some shelving? Hang a short hanging shelving unit from one of the bars.

Reclaim that dark corner

Replace the chair in the corner of the room where you haphazardly toss all your clothes at the end with a functional corner closet. This one from Wayfair packs a lot of storage into not a lot of space (it’s just 33 inches front to back and side to side). With two shelves and two closet rods, this corner piece makes use of the often-forgotten room corner space. Choose between neutral white and the on-trend designer-inspired bark gray color

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Get creative

Hang floating clothes shelves

Hung on the wall, floating shelves are a perfect place to set folded clothes. Another clothes storage idea: Attach hooks to the front or sides of the shelves to hold hats and scarves. Bonus: Being able to see everything you own means you know exactly where everything is.

Find hanging storage space everywhere

Upgrade the basic floating shelf with an under-shelf hanging rod. A valuable addition to your makeshift closet set-up, this multitasker is a shelf with hanging space all in one. You can purchase DIY add-on kits—just screw the brackets to the underside of a solid shelf; then add the hanging rod. 

Turn a clothesline into a decorative accent

Sure, you could hang a basic clothesline from hooks secured to wall studs. Or you could up-style your clothesline by stringing it with wooden beads for a simple DIY clothes storage idea. Keep it rustic-looking by leaving natural wood beads unpainted. Or for a pop of color, paint them a bold, contrasting shade or the same as your wall color to blend with your décor. The beads are not only decorative but also functional, as they prevent clothes hangers from sliding to the center of the line.

Repurpose a bookcase

One of the best no-closet solutions—a bookcase (or two), which can do the work of any closet. Consider mixing bookcase heights to get useable wall space above the lower bookcase. Organize your folded clothes by category before placing the stacks on the shelves. Distinguish your long-sleeve shirts from your short-sleeve shirts by keeping them in separate piles. Use a modular cubby system to create compartments for grab-and-go items such as workout tops. Attach hooks to the sides of the bookcase for hanging a few clothes on hangers or storing larger accessories such as statement necklaces.

Seating and storage

Storage benches and ottomans have a surprising amount of space to hold things—and you gain an extra seat. To avoid messing up folded clothes, use clear stacking boxes, that way you can lift out a box to reach the one underneath.

Stack your storage

Stacking cubes let you design an organizer to your specifications—it can be as tall or as short as you want. Because the cubes are easily changeable, you are not locked into one design. You can move the cubes or add more to the system as your needs change; stack two or three on top of each other, slide out the shelf and you’ve got hanging space.

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Use the corner

Transform the corner of any room into an impromptu closet with a  corner hanging bar to maximize unused corner space with 19 inches of hanger real estate. Double your hanging space by installing two bars, one higher and one lower. The durable bar holds up to 45 pounds.

Make your bed do double duty

Trade in your basic headboard

Instead of a decorative headboard for your frame, buy one with a hutch or place a large freestanding closet system behind the bed to add storage space where there was none. Some come with racks for hanging, along with shelving. Store your smaller items in fabric-covered bins to keep things neat.

Raise the bed for DIY under bed storage

Optimize often-overlooked space under the bed by adding  bed risers; these lifts raise your bed frame three to eight inches higher, creating more space for storage below. With more clearance, low-to-the-ground bins, cubbies, and containers easily slide under the bed. Place a fabric bin or basket on its side (with the open-top facing out) to contain items, so they won’t get lost under the bed and are easy to reach.

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General tips

When you’re short on space, it’s important to store your clothes strategically.

  • Hang your garments by type: pants, skirts, dresses, button-down tops, and so on. Then within each category, line the clothes up by color: darks, naturals, lights, and brights, etc. The streamlined look is more pleasing to the eye than a jumble of pieces, and it makes finding what you need a whole lot easier, too.
  • If you don’t have drawer space, store socks, undies, swimsuits, and other smaller items in bins.
  • Give your everyday clothes prime real estate, whether that’s hanging space or more readily accessible shelves or drawers.

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