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How To Organize a Long, Narrow Closet (Complete Guide)

Homeowners never seem to have enough closet space. For those who have a non-standard-sized closet, attempting to organize clothes and accessories can be tough to handle. How do you keep a long and narrow closet in order? 

Here are some essential tips for you on how to organize a long, narrow closet: 

  1. Use storage bins.
  2. Categorize and label items.
  3. Make use of the closet door.
  4. Organize the space vertically. 
  5. Throw out things you no longer use.
  6. Arrange items based on usage. 
  7. Install shelf dividers. 

Having a smaller closet does not mean you have to compromise on storage capacity — this article will give you some ideas on maximizing limited closet room. Also, you will get to know how to get creative with organizing and keeping a long, narrow closet space clutter-free.  

1. Use Storage Bins

Storage bins are super helpful because they help corral your stuff systematically. Storing your things into containers also prevents loose items from disappearing into the crevices of your closet. Another plus is that you won’t be piling things up in a corner, which helps with tidiness. 

There are several types of storage bins that you can choose from to suit your organizing space: 

  • Baskets
  • Plastic storage drawers
  • Plastic stacking bins
  • Storage tubs
  • Fabric cubes

Apart from being functional, storage bins can also be decorative. Buy containers made of the same material or in matching colors for a pleasing aesthetic — your closet will look excellent and tidy simultaneously (source).

2. Categorize and Label Items

With a narrow closet, you won’t have much space to maneuver when searching for things. Categorizing things helps keep items of the same type in one place, instantly making your closet a lot tidier and helping you remember where things are.

Apart from hanging the same garments together, you can also consider color-coding your clothes or the hangers. Having matching colors arranged together saves you time when picking out your outfit since you can see where your clothes are at a glance (source).

After grouping items together, label your drawers or baskets according to what’s in them. Not only will you know where things are, but it also helps you maintain order when you need to return an item to the closet.

3. Make Use of the Closet Door

Don’t forget about the door! The space behind the door has an extra surface for you to work with. You can hang an over-the-door rack or install a small shelf to hold specific items such as your shoes, belts, scarves, ties, socks, bags, or other smaller items. 

A behind-the-door shoe rack is a popular choice among homeowners. Shoes can be clunky, and they take up space on the floor. 

A hanging rack like this AmazonBasics 24-Pocket Over-the-Door Hanging Shoe Organizer (link to Amazon) will help store footwear so they don’t pile up at the bottom of your closet. Plus, these racks aren’t limited to shoes, so you can store almost anything in them!

Bulkier things such as linens can also go behind the door. Alternatively, you can install some hooks to hang up items like coats, towels, or umbrellas. 

4. Organize the Space Vertically 

With limited floor space, you can plan ways to use your closet’s walls. Thinking vertically will help you utilize the unused space along the walls of your closet, such as above the clothing rack or on top of shelves. Use these high-up places to store away items you don’t frequently use, such as suitcases. 

Also, use clothing rods to hang your clothes up as it takes up less space than if you were to fold them into piles on the shelves. Apart from clothes, you can also use shower rings or hooks to hold your belts, scarves, or bags. 

You can take it a step further by getting stacking hangers that allow you to hang your clothes in a straight line, such as these HOUSE DAY Black Magic Hangers (link to Amazon).

You can use the space at the bottom of the closet to put away footwear. An adjustable foot rack like this Tajsoon 2-Tier Stackable Shoe Rack Organizer (link to Amazon) lets you customize the rack to fit into your closet to house your shoe collection. 

5. Throw Out Things You No Longer Use

With limited storage space, you want to make every inch count. Periodically decluttering helps you maintain the essentials and removes unused or old items. Holding onto things you no longer use takes up precious space in your closet and home. 

Over time, items in our homes pile up because we buy new things to replace the old. Check the back of your closets for unwanted things such as: 

  • Expired beauty products
  • Broken items
  • Old clothes, bags, shoes  

If you need some inspiration to throw stuff out, check out the KonMari method. This cleaning philosophy by organizing expert Marie Kondo emphasizes meaningful decluttering — keep only the belongings that bring you joy and dispose of the meaningless things (source).

6. Arrange Items Based on Usage

If you have a long closet, you probably wouldn’t want to reach into the back to find your favorite pair of sunglasses. Arrange your wardrobe according to how often you use each item, with everyday items at the front and the least used at the back. 

You can plan for your seasonal wardrobe this way. Place seasonal items like snow boots and beach umbrellas at the back of the closet. The trick is to rearrange your closet whenever the seasons change, so whatever that isn’t in use gets placed out of reach for the time being. 

Make use of the 80:20 rule when deciding the significance of your clothing. This concept theorizes that people generally wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time, so the other 80% of clothing is seldom used. Sorting through your clothes with this rule will help you decide which items are more valuable than the others (source).

7. Install Shelf Dividers

Shelf dividers help you create more compartments on a shelf. You can use them in place of storage bins to sectionalize your stuff, with the bonus of being less bulky than bins. 

With dividers, you can stack sweaters neatly along the shelf without fear of them falling or mixing. Storing purses and handbags upright in the divided sections works well, too. 

Check out these Hmdivor Clear Acrylic Shelf Dividers (link to Amazon) that you can install onto shelves easily without using any tools. 


A long, narrow closet shouldn’t keep you from organizing the stuff in your home. With the help of some storage containers and attachments, you can efficiently make the most out of a non-standard closet. 

Here are a few key things to remember: 

  • Categorize your belongings using labels and storage compartments.
  • Maximize empty spaces, such as the walls, door, and floor.
  • Declutter often to make space.
  • Put the things you regularly use at the front of the closet for convenience.

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