How I Keep My Small Closet Organized

Closet organization tips, Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color, Cult Gaia Ark Bag - Small closet organization tips by popular DC style blogger Alicia Tenise

When I lived in D.C., I thought I had a small closet. I could physically walk into it, but because I had no coat closet in the hallway and no linen closet in that apartment, I had to store all of my coats, jackets, shoes, clothes, and linens all in one spot. Woof, that was rough.

Fast forward to last year. When I was apartment hunting in Philly…well, I was in shock. The trendy little neighborhood I lived in had a ton of newly renovated apartments available, but I couldn’t find anything in my ideal neighborhood with a decent sized closet. The apartment I eventually settled on actually had the water heater *in* the closet, and my new closet was about 1/3 of the size of the closet I had in D.C. Sigh.

Since I’m a style blogger, I have to be candid: I feel the pressure to have new clothes at all times. Not to mention, sometimes brands will send me complimentary clothing, which can fill up a girl’s closet real quick. However, my teeny tiny closet space can’t handle large influxes of clothing. Here are the small closet organization tips that I use to keep my closet organized at all times:
Blogger Closet, The Touraine No. 108 - Small closet organization tips by popular DC style blogger Alicia Tenise

4 Small Closet Organization Tips

Start Renting Clothes

I’m going to be real: I am very aware that I have a bad habit of wearing a piece of clothing once or twice, and then never rocking it again. That’s why I love using Rent The Runway’s Unlimited program. I could rent four pieces at a time, and keep them for as long as I wanted. After a couple of wears, I would send the item back and get something brand new.

Pro tip: browse RTR’s “New Arrivals” section. Their new arrivals drop once a week, every weekend. Often, they carry pieces that are available in-store right now. I rent on average 12-15 different brand new pieces a month, and often times, I get brand new clothing items with the tags still on them (meaning, I was the very first person to ever rent the piece!)

I have fallen in love with some of the pieces that I’ve rented and ended up buying them (ex. this purse and this dress). RTR does give you the option to purchase an item you’ve rented with Unlimited at a discount if you really can’t part with it! 

The Konmari Method

You can’t have an organized close without purging things regularly. Before when I was cleaning out my closet, I would think to myself: have I worn this piece in the last six months or not? That method really wasn’t feasible: six months ago, it was a completely different season, so obviously you’re going to wear different pieces in April then you did in October. Also, it’s okay to have special occasion pieces in your closet that you don’t wear often. While I like renting pieces for weddings and galas, I do have a few backup cocktail dresses and gowns if I get invited to something fancy at the last minute.

 I was introduced to the Konmari Method when I worked with a professional organizer (I haven’t read the book just yet!), but it helped me clear out so many pieces. I particularly loved asking myself “Does This Spark Joy” — sometimes I would only keep pieces because I thought they were practical, however, that didn’t mean that I loved them (for example, I kept a horrid pair of khaki pants for a long time since I thought I might need them for a temp job in the future. Ick!)

Not only is there a book that describes this method, but there’s now an app as well which I would highly recommend!

Tory Burch - Fiona Striped Twill Wrap Midi Skirt - Yellow - Small closet organization tips by popular DC style blogger Alicia Tenise

Consider a Professional Organizer

To be honest, I did not grow up a super organized person. I always had a messy room, and I let a bunch of things accumulate in my mom’s house when I was a teen. When I left for college and had a roommate for the very first time, I knew I needed to switch up my habits — really quick. I would have friends in and out of my dorm room, and I felt the pressure to keep things neat and tidy.

Even though I was constantly cleaning my space, it didn’t mean I was organized by any means. Inside my desk drawers looked a mess, and my closet was filled to the brim. When I lived in D.C., I hired a professional organizer, and it changed my life. She wasn’t judgemental and didn’t try to steer any decisions. We went through every single thing in my closet, and I had to have a come to Jesus moment and ask if A. I needed that piece and B. did it bring me any joy.

My professional organizer also taught me how to utilize some of the empty space in my closet. I installed hooks for my jewelry and scarves, we shopped for new shoe racks, and I threw out any big, bulky plastic hangers I had that took up unnecessary space. It was a life-changing experience, and I feel that I learned so much from her!

The Container Store Is Your Friend

Okay, so you don’t *have* to shop at the Container Store specifically: Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, and also fit the bill. However, it does help to have new shelves/racks/hangers/hooks/etc. to get your closet in tip-top shape. I keep my out of season clothing in big clear storage bins underneath my bed (I chose pieces that rolled easily!) I measured the height space underneath of my bed before shopping in-store and chose bins that were a perfect fit so I could maximize on space. I currently have three storage containers underneath of my bed.

My shoe rack is also from Container Store (but here’s another great option). I chose one that was expandable and stackable, and it’s worked well in every space that I’ve lived in. Measure the space you have in your closet and browse through the store’s closet organization department: honestly, you’ll likely stumble upon some amazing products that will be a game changer for your closet!

Photos by Tom McGovern

*This closet pictured is not my closet (you can view my D.C. closet here), but thank you to The Touraine for letting us shoot at their No. 108 property!

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