Some people have interesting old homes with lots of character but hardly any closet space. Others live in places that were merely designed poorly by someone without a care in the world about where we’d put our stuff.

Whatever the reason, know that you are not the only person without enough closet space. If you are struggling with few or tiny closets, here are some ideas.

1. Streamline First

Probably the best way to start working on a closet crisis is by taking a step back and having a good, honest look at all your clothes. Do they still look good and fit, are they comfortable, and do you wear them all? Be honest with yourself. Maybe it’s time to streamline. Donate what you don’t wear, and every time you open your closet, you’ll get both a tax deduction and a vast sense of relief.

2. Measure Your Space

Then find a tape measure and determine how much room you actually need. How many inches of short and long hanging clothes do you have? Fold the other items you will store in your closet and measure how many 10-inch stacks you have. It will help you plan and organize your new and improved closet.

3. Divide and Conquer

Adding shelf dividers to your closet mean you can neatly stack those jeans, sweaters, and purses so they won’t topple over. It’s a great way to make better use of limited shelf space.

4. Use an Extender

Extender rods hang from the clothes rod and provide a place for an additional row of hangers, letting you take advantage of otherwise wasted space.

5. Go For Baskets

Under-shelf baskets hook onto the bottom of a shelf and give you extra storage places for small items like bags, scarves, and umbrellas.

6. Hang Hats

For hats you don’t often wear, hang them on the inside wall above the closet door.

7. Get Hooked Up

Put hooks anywhere there is unused space to hang your purses, belts, robes, and jewelry.

8. Put a Pin In It

Or install a bulletin board for jewelry, or a peg board for purses, scarves, and other small items.

9. Use the Door

The inside of your closet door is prime real estate for the space-challenged. Install an over-the-door organizer for shoes, small purses, and scarves, or add hooks for accessories, belts, umbrellas, and the like.

10. Plan a Remodel

If you are handy with tools or know someone who is, consider rethinking your closet’s layout altogether. Which types of clothing don’t fit into your current set-up, and what would fix it? Recognizing just what you are trying to store in there will help you figure out the best solution and make your closet the envy of all. Do you need shelves? Drawers? Staggered clothes hanger rods?

11. Step Right Up

If your ceilings are high, maybe there is room to add another shelf for rarely-retrieved, out-of-season items. Invest in a folding stepladder that doesn’t take up much space.

12. Upgrade Your Hangers

Consider your hangers. Using the correct type—for pants, shirts, or skirts—will hold your clothing better, and buying flat, thinner hangers means your clothes will fit on the rod better.

13. Don’t Forget Your Shoes

Adding, or even building-in, a shoe rack can solve a lot of closet clutter problems.

14. Think Outside the Closet

You don’t need to keep all your clothes there. Watch antique and secondhand shops for an armoire, which can be both a lovely new piece of furniture for your bedroom and also storage space for clothes.

15. Seasonal Storage

Consider keeping out-of-season clothes in storage containers that slide under the bed.

16. Rack it Up

Add a rolling clothes rack to a corner of your bedroom and solve some of your closet problems.

17. Make Use of Your Guest Room

Storing your out-of-season coats on a portable clothes rack in the guest room comes with a bonus: your guests will have a place to hang their clothes, too.

Leslie Lang