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Dealing With Your Dorm Closet

I don’t know what fantasy I had constructed in my mind about my apartment wardrobe, but it definitely did not involve me discovering my closet for the year was a glorified box.


The fact of the matter is, apartment/dorm closets are tiny. The problem is, what do you do about it?

Minimize Your Wardrobe

Minimizing your wardrobe is easier said than done. If you have a carefully curated wardrobe, it can be heartbreaking to part with anything. But this is also a great time to ask yourself -- do you really have a carefully curated wardrobe?

Most of us have huge closets, but only wear a small percentage of our wardrobe. Think about it -- don’t you hate it when that one tank top or your favorite flannel is in the wash? We are not designed to own 30 pairs of shoes or 25 pairs of jeans. When I lived at home, I had seven or eight pairs of jeans. In my apartment at the U, I have four pairs of jeans. Left behind in my closet at home are gems such as a boot-cut pair that only match one top in my entire wardrobe and my ex-favorite pair of jeans that feature a monstrous rip in the thigh…clearly not things I have ever missed in my college closet.


If you find that you are cramming into your tiny closet, it’s time to clear out the clutter.

Start by thinking about your lifestyle. If you have six cute tops for going out, but you only find yourself at a party once a month, maybe you can eliminate some clutter in that department. Another easy problem area for closet clutter is the t-shirt collection. I don’t know about you, but I have an impressive collection of like 30 t-shirts at home. How many are in my apartment closet? Maybe four. Even though I wear comfy tees all the time, I gravitate towards three or four favorites, so it doesn’t make sense to own any more than those.

Once you have cleaned out your closet, there are a few storage tips and tricks to help you organize what you can’t bear to part with:


Over-The-Door Shoe Organizer

This can be a lifesaver. The worst feature I immediately noticed about my apartment on campus is that the closet has very, very limited floor space. If you have to store anything else in the floor of your closet--luggage, a gym bag, etc.--you can wind up having room for maybe four pairs of shoes, max. A shoe organizer allows you to store shoes for every occasion—class, work, date night, you name it, you can fit in in your shoe organizer. Shoe organizers can be purchased online and at most mass retailers.

Storage Cubes

Another option for floor storage is storage cubes. Just one of these babies can give you the option of storing four or five pairs of shoes in a location where only two of three pairs would have fit on the closet floor. Alternatively, these can be used to store accessories like handbags or belts without having to take up valuable hanger space. Stores like Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s have tons of options available--you can even get storage cubes to match the rest of your decor.


          Kohl's, $19.99

Smart Hangers

Sometimes, you clean your closet and still find yourself with a wardrobe full of things you can’t afford to part with. When you still find yourself cramming things into every last nook and cranny of your closet, it’s time to change your hanger strategy. Stacking your hangers (seen below) will help you layer several items in the same space that would originally be taken up by a single hanger. This is great for when you have several items that absolutely have to be on hangers (looking at you, internship wardrobe).

Cascade Hangers, Amazon, $15

Working with a micro closet certainly isn’t the best part of being in college, but it’s a necessary evil. Hopefully these tips help you make the best of your small closet situation!



With a double major in Political Science and Economics, Allyson hopes to become either a lawyer or a professor of political science after she finishes her degree at the U. Her hobbies include shopping for clothing she cannot afford and working out without breaking a sweat. She is an avid lover of podcasts, and always appreciates recommendations. 
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