Closets – How to Make a Closet Organizer for a Small Closet


In my world, closet organizers are a necessity.  Nowadays, there’s such a great selection with what you can choose from in the stores.  Two of our bedrooms had fabulously large closets, and, after considering a variety of styles, I opted to install a Closet Maid package that had options I could add.  I wanted to have drawers instead of the shelves that came with the package and added them separately – which resulted in me having leftover shelves.

When I went into the “lavender” room (AKA the room I set aside for my eldest to come home from grad school), I measured out this particularly small closet that originally only had shelves going up the entire height.  As I removed the shelves, I realized they weren’t even secure.  She would have no place to hang her clothes (some consisting of long gowns), and it just wasn’t going to work out for her needs.  I needed to make the most out of a small space.

I went to the local hardware store to see what I might find for her closet.  Surprisingly, nothing existed for the width of this closet.  It was “too small” for the closet organizers on the market.

I knew I could buy some wire shelving and create something for the closet (for those of you with an extreme budget, this is a good option and requires wire cutters), but since two other bedroom closets had been done with the same closet organizer, I wanted the house to be consistent with appearances.


I decided to use one of the shelves I removed to install drawers from another closet.  I also purchased two more long shelves that could be cut, two rods that were matches to the other closets, and came up with a plan so my daughter would have space to hang a few long gowns and room to hang other items in the closet.

For the top portion of the closet, I cut one of the purchased shelves to fit the entire length across and used metal brackets to secure it into studs in both the back and the sides of the closet.

I installed the rod underneath the shelving.  I put the shelf at the same height as other closets I had completed in the house.

For the bottom part of the closet, I purchased braces separately to secure the shelving to the studs on the side and back.


I utilized a large shelf that was a discard from one of the other closets.  I felt it would create a space for miscellaneous items.  Books could be placed here.  A basket for storage can also be placed here.  Most of all, it would create a second area to hang more items.

Using metal brackets underneath, I secured the large shelf to hold it in place and also secured it to a shelf that I cut to a height I wanted to be used as support vertically.  Since the expandable rod was a little too big for this section, I cut it with a blade for metal to get it to fit, and put it under the shelf.


If you have a small closet, this type of design can be repeated easily using less expensive items such as plywood or melamine laminated board.  If you don’t feel confident with cutting things to fit, try wire shelving.  It’s easy to cut with wire cutters and you can cap off the edges with purchased caps sold right near the wire shelving.

I know this seems like a “no brainer” when it comes to closet design, but when you want to keep closets looking similar in your home, sometimes, it requires a little thought process.  Think of your needs.  If you don’t need a place to hang anything, shelving in a small closet would work just fine.  If you have a small room with a small closet, find a way to create more storage space to get the most out of it.  I knew my daughter could put a few dresses to the right on this top rod and hang shorter items to the left.  Also, the extra rod below created more hanging space for her.  Her room isn’t large, but she now has increased storage capacity.

Draw out a plan.  See what’s available to you.  Think of how you can get the most out of your little closet.  Just make sure that you have your rods and shelving secured to studs or have good anchors.  When you put weight on these items, the last thing you want to do is hear or see it come crashing down.  Also, ALWAYS use a level to make sure your shelves are…level.  I’d love to see your small closet designs!


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2 thoughts on “Closets – How to Make a Closet Organizer for a Small Closet

  1. Good advice. In the mid-80-‘s I invested my time and energy in developing a “closet installation company” located in Huntington Beach, CA. One thing I learned working in the field was helping folks learn to measure their clothes before planning and installing. I am particularly tall so I need more ‘hang’ space for my shirts, suit jackets and pants (folded on a hanger) than does and average person. Some of our customers were shorter and we could help them gain additional space because they needed less ‘hang” room. The standard DIY kits assume everyone is the same height – but you can work around their standard sizes to truly customize your closet.

    1. Donna

      Good points! After all, if you’re going to customize a closet, go all the way! I drew out a plan for this. It looks easy, but when the closet was so small, and I had to consider what to do, it actually took awhile to formulate a plan. Planning is absolutely key. I don’t mind the boxed versions, but this isn’t the first time I had to work around an odd closet….or shelving system for that matter. I’m always looking around for ways to add storage.

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