When I told my girlfriend that we’d be moving into an apartment with literally no closets, I can’t say that she was anything less than appalled by the prospect. However, through the act of purging our lives of excess clothing, books, belts, scarves, shoes, and junk, we got halfway there on the very first day in our new abode.
Adjusting to life without a means to simply open a door and throw something in was quite the challenge. After a few weeks of awkwardly bumping into our things and cursing the day we signed the lease, we figured out a way to seamlessly integrate our closet-less apartment into our life. Now, we hardly(-ish) even notice the lack of storage and live like regular people as opposed to gnomes or elves. They don’t have closets and they’re fine.
1. Invest in a small vacuum.
If you’re thinking of lugging around a giant Shop-Vac from one house to another, don’t; put that thing in storage and go for a Dyson cordless vacuum. Each piece separates, allowing you to store the handle and attachments in separate places. We keep some parts on top of the refrigerator and the other half between the trash can and the wall. They charge very quickly and can handle everything from a wooden floor to a carpet.
2. Store your shoes outside.
Of course, this can only be practiced if you have trustworthy neighbors. But instead of keeping your shoes or winter boots in your bedroom where there are plenty of chances to trip over them or muck up your floors, simply leave your shoes outside the door. You can even get a handy little shoe rack to make sure your neighbors don’t trip over the laces and tumble down the stairs. Really, it’s a way to save their lives and they should be forever grateful.
3. Use every piece of surface area.
You won’t believe how easy it is to MacGyver a space and give it a new purpose. For instance, we put a small bookshelf in our room and now use it as a multi-purpose spot to store everything: stationery, boxes, notebooks, sweatshirts, and, well, books, obviously. It’s all about playing Jenga with your stuff and figuring out what can fit where. It’s actually kind of fun after a while.
4. Buy storage bins now.
You probably didn’t appreciate storage bins when you were a kid. Good news, you’ve just found a whole new use for them. Pick up as many bins as you can from IKEA, Target, or even a dollar store and use them to your heart’s content. Not only are they surprisingly roomy, but they can be stacked on top of each other and placed out of the way to keep your stuff organized and unobtrusive.
5. Go under the bed.
Remember how fun it was to hide under the bed when you were a kid? Well that adolescent recklessness is back, but in a very different way. Storing things under a bed is an easy way to hide your clutter while remaining organized. The space is ample, and you’ll be able to fit way more than you think. Always make sure to keep it clean, because you know how dusty it can get underneath there.
6. Get hooked.
Hooks are the new coat racks — do people even use coat rack anymore? In any event, installing a small hook on your wall is an incredibly cheap and easy way to find a spot for your heavy coats without sacrificing the floor space. You can find them anywhere, but we recommend going to a thrift shop and finding some neat ornate ones. You’ll feel exactly like you’re in Downton Abbey, except without all the formality.
7. Get a storage ottoman.
Under the theme of finding furniture that doubles as something else, finding an ottoman that always opens up for storage is a huge way to reduce your clutter by putting your excess towels, blankets, tablecloths, and duvet covers in a practical spot that doesn’t need to be hidden away.
8. Build a closet.
Maybe this seems too much like a no-brainer, but — if you really want a closet — you can very easily build one. IKEA has plenty of cheap DIY closets that are as easy to put together as they are convenient. Plus, is there anything that can bring a couple closer together than the art of assembling Swedish furniture with miniature tools clearly made for ants?
9. Ditch the TV.
Hold up, we’re not talking about ditching watching TV. That would be insane. Instead, try investing in a high-end (or lower-end) projector. They save tons of space and open up wall space for you to do anything with. Plus, it’ll make you feel like you’re at the movies 24/7.
10. Store your seasonal clothes.
You don’t need 40+ wool sweaters when it’s summer out. If you run out of space under your bed, consider stashing your summer clothes elsewhere (like in MakeSpace). Unless you live in a spot in the world where the earth’s tilt on the axis changes daily, we highly doubt you’re going to need that stylish hoodie during the summer months. This will, overall, reduce the amount of clothing that needs to be accounted for and greatly reduce your stress as well.
This article was written by Charles Adams, a Connecticut-born writer who currently resides in Brooklyn and has written for a multitude of men’s interests sites under a number of pseudonyms.