Design & DIY

Design tips for organizing cramped cottage closets

Custom shelves

One of the best things about going to the cottage is that everything is smaller and cuter. But also, one of the drawbacks of going to the cottage is that everything is smaller and cuter. While coziness is great, some spaces—like closets—don’t necessarily benefit from being small. Fortunately, there are lots of creative solutions out there that can help you get the most out of your tiny cottage closets. Here are some of the best ways to stretch your space.

Create shelf space

Take inspiration from your refrigerator and create some shallow shelves on the inside of your closet door. You can buy pre-made shelves, or if you’re feeling handy, you can build your own, customizing them to the size and shape of your closet. Super-handywoman Ana White has a detailed tutorial on her website.

Store your shoes in PVC pipes

Shoes, with their irregular shapes and sizes, are a thorn in the side of anyone dedicated to creating an immaculately organized closet. Instead of letting your shoes lay in a heap on the floor, tuck each pair into its own cubby made of PVC pipe. After cutting the pipe, you can attach the tubes to the wall like shelving, or else put them on the floor, standing the shoes inside.

Double up your hanging space

Turn one closet rod into two with an extender rod. You can buy these online, or make your own by hanging a second rod from the top one with a rope at either end. This will let you make use of all that unused space down around knee height. It will also help ensure that your cottage family portraits don’t all feature wrinkled shirts!

Replace your closet rod with a ladder 

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This storage hack is truly brilliant. Need to create more hanging space in your closet? Get rid of the closet rod and replace it with a more multi-dimensional object that gives you space in every direction: a ladder. A ladder-hanger allows you to hang items from front-to-back or side-to-side, and as a bonus, you can use the top side like a shelf for boxes or other large items.

Use flat hangers

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In small spaces, every square inch counts. To squeeze more clothes into your closet, get rid of the thick, contoured hangers meant for suits and jackets and replace them with flat hangers designed to minimize space. Lightweight hangers will be particularly useful if you’re doubling up on your hanging, especially since the weight on your closet rod can add up.

Store your out-of-season clothes 

A great way to keep your out-of-season clothes out of the way is to make them as small as possible. With Ziploc space bags or other vacuum-seal bags, you can shrink down the size of unused clothing, as well as bedding and other linens. Pack the clothes into the bag, then use your vacuum to suck out all the air. It’s extremely satisfying to watch your clothes shrink into a tiny, manageable package, which you can toss in a drawer for the off-season.

Pin your jewelry to a cork-board

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Cork-boards are extremely useful for organizing jewelry or other small items. You can hang a board on the front of your closet door or on one of the inner walls, and use tacks to affix necklaces, earrings, lightweight scarves, hair clips, and any other small item you can think of. If you’re a big wine-drinker, you can even use your old corks to make the board yourself.