11 Ways to Make Sharing a Bedroom Closet Less Awful, According to Real Estate Experts

published Apr 3, 2021
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Credit: Anna Spaller

As a triplet, I’ve shared a bedroom closet with my sisters for what seems like my entire life. Despite all the efforts we’ve made to divide up the space evenly, sharing coveted purse and sweater space has never been easy.

The same goes for living with your partner. While it’s exciting at first, there are bound to be some hiccups along the way — especially if you settle on a one-bedroom apartment. When space is at a premium, you and your S.O. will have to share a lot, including a bedroom closet. To make the process a bit more seamless — and to nip any petty arguments in the bud — real estate and home experts offered 11 tips on how to maximize closet space in a shared environment.

1. Start by decluttering.

Professional organizer Beth Levin of Closet Queen says in order to maximize shared space, decluttering and getting rid of unnecessary items is the first step you should take. You can’t begin to address small-space problems until you’ve done this.

2. Use wall space.

If you have any open walls in your closet, take advantage of them. “You have to get creative when you have a small space,” Levin says. “Use command hooks [there] to hang purses, hats, or jewelry.”

3. Invest in a tall dresser.

While adding a dresser inside a small closet might make it feel too cramped, Levin says adding a dresser with lots of drawers in the bedroom is the way to go. “If you don’t have drawers [in the closet], you’ll need a dresser to put your socks, underwear, and gym clothes.”

Credit: Minette Hand

5. Get storage ottomans or benches.

Jess and Amanda Salles of Salles Interiors Staging recommend using storage ottomans or storage benches at the foot of the bed to keep linens and miscellaneous items. “You can even throw shoes in there,” Amanda says. “And then you have a clean floor in your closet, which psychologically is so nice.”

5. Hang up vertical shoe racks.

In order to reduce any clutter on the floor, you should think vertically when it comes to shoe storage. Jess Salles recommends using a hanging shoe unit. “That takes the shoes off the floor, takes up very little space, and uses all the height,” she says.

6. Store seasonal clothes outside the closet.

Especially if you have a queen or king-size bed, it’s ideal to utilize under-bed storage to stash away your out-of-season clothing, Levin says. Using bins or closed boxes can keep them organized and easy to take out. 

7. Organize with bins.

In order to divvy up your space, Levin recommends using labeled bins in the closet, too. “You can just do categories of your clothes and fold them like file folders, and they won’t wrinkle,” she says.

8. Find unused pockets inside other closets in your apartment.

If you’re absolutely desperate for space, Levin says it’s okay to use other closets around the apartment if they have extra room “as long as the shelves aren’t mixed with towels and sweaters and sheets and underwear.” To approach it in a structured way, she suggests only using one shelf, for example, in the linen closet, and keeping the clothes in bins. 

9. Purchase a shelving unit.

Building a separate shelving unit — while ideal — could be expensive and downright impossible in a rental. That’s why Jess Salles recommends inserting wire shelves from IKEA or the Container Store. These closet grids provide extra drawers and double hanging power, increasing your storage space capacity.

10. Stash socks and underwear in a nightstand.

If your bedroom is too small to fit a large dresser, Jess Salles says a 30-inch nightstand can serve as a pseudo dresser. “You can get a nightstand with three drawers,” she says. “That’s a lot of storage, and each person gets their own.” 

11. Get a second-rod hanger.

Levin swears by this Amazon product that is essentially a bonus closet rod that hangs below your pre-installed one. This is a perfect replacement for tension rods, which Amanda Salles explains aren’t great at holding a ton of weight, let alone supporting a whole extra wardrobe.