Readers Kept Asking About This Designer’s Super Organized Closet—Here’s Exactly How to Get the Look

published Nov 5, 2020
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Way back in September (that’s how COVID time works, right?), we published this House Tour from Oyin Antwi, a Brooklyn-based designer with a gorgeous 550-square-foot apartment. There’s a lot to love about the “mini penthouse” unit, but one thing generated a whole lot of buzz in the comments section and on social media: the closet. Somehow, someway, Antwi worked her DIY magic and created not just a prep area, but enough space to store the clothes and shoes of both her and her husband. I reached out to Antwi and asked her what products she used to accomplish this impressive feat—and not only did she have a full list of her resources, but she also shared her seven tips for getting the most out of your tiny closet.

1. Declutter

Yes, it takes a lot of work, but the only way make a small closet work for you is to start by decluttering. “First things first, I always ask myself: Do you really need or wear all of these clothes and shoes?” says Antwi. “Both my husband and I assess our clothing and shoe collections every season and categorize them in ‘keep,’ ‘maybe,’ and ‘give away’ piles. The ‘keeps’ stay in the closet (no more than 35-40 pieces each). The ‘maybes’ go into the storage drawers under our bed. The ‘give aways’ get donated to charity.” Not sure how to start? Check out “Project 333“, which Antwi says “changed my life forever.”

2. Organize

“I like to organize clothes by category and by color, so instead of scrambling in the mornings or for events, I think color wise,” says Antwi. “I organized our closet jointly, meaning both of our wardrobes are woven together. Also, our clothing is organized categorically: pants, tops, and blazers by color on the hangers, and tees and casual bottoms on our shelves. We save a ton of time getting ready in the morning!”

3. Coordinate

Now it’s time to set the overall vibe of your closet. “Coordinating your hangers, boxes, dividers, and shelving is something I learned makes everything look more luxurious. Putting all clothing on black velvet hangers to contrast the white shelving and shoe rack, using shoe boxes and coordinating them by color—all of that helps to give a boutique/showroom vibe that just makes you feel fancy when getting ready!”

4. Make It Easily Accessible

All your most-loved items should be placed in easy-to-reach spots. “Shoes I wear most often are on the shoe rack, while the rest are in boxes (my husband uses the same method under the bed). Bags I use most often are at arm’s length while the rest are staged higher up. Makeup items I use most often are in the wall cubbies by the closet and next to the full mirror and lighting. Accessories like sunglasses and jewelry are hung separately on the wall shelves.”

5. Can’t Go Wide? Go High

While you might have a narrow closet, chances are that there’s vertical space you can utilize. Take advantage of it by “stacking thick items like denim, knits, and sweatpants, as well as stacking boxes with lesser used items higher up.” Make it easier for yourself by keeping a small step ladder close by—Atwin keeps one in the corner of the closet.

6. Store Away

Don’t forget about the space under your bed! “We use storage boxes with drawers under both sides of the bed to access items used frequently-ish. The rest is put in storage boxes with lids (i.e. clothing not in season, bedding, etc.).” Buying underbed storage with drawers is key so you don’t have to pull out the entire box every time you need something—or you could invest in a storage bed.

7. Don’t Forget the “Smell Goods”

Sure, it’s not part of the organization process, but it sure makes your tiny closet feel much nicer. “To give clothes an extra clean and fresh feel, I store The Laundress’ Lavender Pouch in the corners of our closet both for scent and pest repellent.” That specific product is currently sold out on The Laundress’s site, but you can find a similar set at Food52.