Inexpensive Clothing Storage Solutions

I could use suggestions on creative and inexpensive storage ideas for living in a very small apartment. By storage I mean places or ways to store the basics of clothing, kitchen items, and bathrooms items so they are organized and easy to get to. 
Hi Alice! Storage space was a pertinent need for my past clients, and I'm also suffering from too few closets and pantry space. I'm going to break my response up into 3 posts, since I have a lot of information to offer. This post is in response to clothing storage.

1) Off-site storage and editing your wardrobe
My partner and I downsized from a 2 bed/2 bath to a tiny 12' x 15' studio, and it was cheaper to rent a storage unit for $40/month than to upgrade our square footage. This is a good option if you seriously lack the space to accommodate your items, you have some extra cash, and you have your own vehicle or access to one. You could store your off-season clothing which would free up a lot of space. If you've also been hanging onto clothes you don't wear often, but you can't bear parting with them, store them for a couple of months. After that period, go through the clothes and separate the ones you will definitely wear into a "keep" pile and take those home. Then put the ones you're still not sure of keeping into a "maybe" pile, re-box and store them, and donate the rest. Repeat this process until you can confidently divide clothes into "keep" and "donate" piles. You might find that you won't need a storage unit anymore, too!

I used to keep around lots of "if I just lose 5 lbs" clothing, but I found that I never lost the weight, and they were a glum reminder of that. They also took up too much space, so I didn't have room for the clothes I actually felt and looked good in. After donating these items, I haven't really thought of them since. Purging them was great for my mental health.

As far as in-house storage options go for clothing, you have a lot. There are more ideas after the jump.

2) Armoires!
You can find great inexpensive wardrobes/armoires at IKEA, antique shops, used furniture stores, or Craigslist. I think you live in Quebec, so here are some I found on Kijiji.

Armoires made of real wood are going to last longer, and they can be refinished if you're feeling handy. Drawers with dovetail joints are much sturdier than butt joints, but if you're not looking for a "forever" piece, buy what you can comfortably afford. Here's a link to common wood joinery.

Here's a trade secret: if you're shopping at an antique store, ask the owner what's the lowest price they'd be willing to sell an item for. When I worked at an antique store, we'd generally price items 10 - 20% above the lowest asking price.

IKEA As-Is: I'm not sure if you have this at an IKEA nearest you, but these sections are frequently near the check-out area. IKEA quality is already pretty suspect, but if you find a genuine wood wardrobe in decent condition in the As-Is section, it could be a fantastic bargain.

And finally, one more note: try to get the armoire home in one-piece. If you have to take it apart to take it home, it will not be as sturdy as it was before. You might have to rent a truck or a U-Haul van for a couple of hours, but that's cheaper than having to purchase another armoire.

3) Maximize Your Closets
The rest of this section is going to seem like an ad for The Container Store. They have thousands of stylish options for storage, but you can find similar items for less at IKEA or on Amazon.

The typical closet has just one rod and one shelf above it, but you can add an additional rod to increase the amount of hanging space. These are called "double hanging closet rods."

If you're lacking drawer space, and many of your clothes do not require hanging, another great solution is a set of suspended shoe & garment organizers. If you do need the double rod mentioned above, you can use shorter organizers than the ones pictured.

Instead of using a hanging shoe shelf, you can free that space up for clothing by using an over-the-door shoe organizer, by placing your shoes in clear drawers on the shelf above the rod, or by having shoe shelves at the bottom of your closet. Shoe drawers are more expensive than boxes, but they're easier to use: no unstacking. Before investing in them, make sure you have enough head room, and keep a collapsible step stool in your closet. If you decide to purchase a shoe shelf, be sure to measure the width of your closet first.

If you don't have many long garments, you can outfit your closets with inexpensive plastic drawers. Just make sure they aren't so wide that you can't pull them out all the way.


4) No closet space? DIY suspended clothes rack

This is very whimsical.

This could be a practical and handsome way of displaying your clothes. I don't recommend hanging them over a radiator, though. That seems like a fire hazard! Read the tutorial over at Apartment Therapy.

This industrial-style tutorial is from Canadian House and Home.

The EXPEDIT can get a little pricey once you start adding drawers to it, but it can function as both an attractive clothing storage unit and as a room divider.

IKEA sells bins and baskets that fit into the unit, and so does Target! Here's one of their cute itso boxes.

Apartment Therapy has an article from 2010 with additional links to alternative EXPEDIT bins.

IKEA Hackers also has a nifty EXPEDIT wardrobe modification. This hacker installed a rod for hangers and LED light strips.


That's all I can think of so far for inexpensive clothing storage solutions. I hope this was helpful!


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