How to store clothes and accessories creatively in a smaller space

by Sylvia

How to store clothes and accessories creatively in a smaller space |

In my previous article on decluttering I told you how I got rid of a lot of ‘stuff’. My new house was going to be smaller and I hate clutter so that was a necessary first step to get organised.

The second step was to actually organise all my remaining things in the house and I’m happy to report that I succeeded.

First of all let me state here that I’m definitely NOT a minimalist when it comes to my wardrobe. My collection of clothes, shoes and accessories has steadily increased since arriving in Singapore 10 years ago. I used to have one small wardrobe, now I need several.

My current job is partly to blame of course as well as my love of clothes and accessories.

Still, I will not accumulate to the point that my house becomes cluttered.

Of course it’s easy to just go and buy cupboards and storage and put those everywhere. But I don’t believe in that method. I like a clean house with lots of empty space. I also feel it’s important that I can see all my clothes, shoes and accessories easily. The only way we wear what we have is to see it regularly. Since there is only one season in Singapore, I need to see all my clothes year-round. If you have several seasons, it’s a good idea to store the other season’s clothes neatly away.

I had actually thought that I would need to buy an extra cupboard in this house, for as much as I got rid off, I still held on to quite a lot of my clothes and accessories.

Instead, I was able to fit it all in by using a few creative methods and claiming most of the wardrobes in the house. This means my things are not all in one place but I still feel it’s very manageable as I structured it right.

This is what I did.

Main bedroom

The main bedroom in my new house is a lot smaller and does not have the wonderful walk-through wardrobe I had in my previous house. Instead it’s a small closet. This is my main wardrobe for dressing. I’m still tidying it up as I want all my hangers to be the same color (white).

Things I store here are:

  • Dresses
  • Nice tops and shirts
  • Skirts
  • Jackets
  • Underwear


What is noticeably missing are my pants. I keep those in a separate wardrobe as there was not enough hanging space in this closet. Had I had the configuration I wanted, these would have been accommodated for too, but this is rented house and an inbuilt cupboard so I just have to make do.

There are only 2 pairs of shoes here stored at the bottom, which are my booties.

This wardrobe still gives me a very good overview of all my current clothes as all my favorite clothes are stored here. I usually start an outfit with a top or a dress and if I want to wear pants they are only a short walk away.

I also found a better solution for my makeup! I found this fabulous simple dressing table at Ikea.


Then there is my jewelry collection that I store in my jewelry cabinets and a wooden stand. This is one area I would still like to see some improvement.


I saw this great solution in Carol Markel’s apartment (interview to follow). This is a cupboard she had custom-made.


She uses it to store her fabulous collection of hats.


But look a this ingenious idea! Vertical rails are perfect to store those bulky necklaces. This solutions tucks all the jewelry neatly away while still giving me a clear overview of all my necklaces. A cupboard like this is definitely on my wishlist.


An alternative is to buy little doors for this cupboard from Ikea (you can buy them in several colors) and add some of the those vertical rails. This cupboard is in our upstairs hallway and stores the only books we still have left as well as my hats.


After adding the doors:


I claimed the largest bedroom of the new house as my office since I spend a lot of time working from home.


In this house my office has also become a major storage space. I kept my office cabinet in a separate room in my previous house, but I now have the space to have it back in my room. Even though the house is smaller, my office is definitely bigger!

Since I got rid of a lot of files, folders, old electronic equipment etc, I now have a lot of extra space in that cabinet. Whilst unpacking it occurred to me that I could actually use this cabinet for a lot of my shoes! I have never publicly displayed shoes before, but since my business is fashion and style, it actually suited my ‘office’ really well!

In my office cabinet you will find:

  • Heeled shoes
  • Bags
  • Belts
  • Scarves

I also applied this tactic to my bags. I publicly display my favorite ones that I use a lot while I’m hiding the rest. They are still really easily accessible though behind the sliding door.


I love the nice overview I now have of my heeled shoes (my flat shoes are somewhere completely different).



Shoes in drawers.




Since my office was designed as a bedroom, it also has a wardrobe. Quite unpractical and small which is why I use it as my secondary closet.


Here you will find:

  • My pants (these are in my secondary closet in Singapore as I wear my dresses and skirts much more frequently here)
  • My more casual dresses
  • My t-shirts, sport and lounge clothes. Admittedly, I have quite the collection as I use these for sports and workouts and wear these indoors. As you know I believe in looking good while doing sports too!
  • My sport bras
  • Toiletries (as there is not much space in the bathroom)
  • Swimwear
  • Cardigans and jumpers


Even though I call this my secondary closet, I actually use it a lot too since I frequently do sports and I wear lounge clothes most of the time when I work. (It’s just too hot for proper clothes in Singapore inside).

My son’s room

My son does not have a lot of clothes. He wears his school clothes most of the time and does not have a lot of interest in clothes. Therefore I can use part of this closet for my clothes.

Here you will find:

  • Pants, skirts, dresses, tops that are no longer my favorite.

I always store these in a different closet so that my current closet only has the items I love to wear. Items that have been in this closet for a while and were not missed will get donated.  I find this is a very effective system in editing your closet. When you do your edits, and if you have the space, just store the items that you are not sure off away in this far-away closet. Using this method, I can still easily see my clothes and glance at them every now and then, but they don’t get in the way of easy day-to-day dressing.

Small extra room

This is where my husband stores all his clothes. We find it really effective to keep his clothes in a different room so he has his own space and can dress in an uninterrupted way.

Hallway (which is part of the living room)

This Chinese closet has been with us in 5 different houses and has had different uses.



In this house it’s part of our living space and it’s a nice fancy storage space. This is where I store most of my flat shoes. It’s the custom in Asia to take off your shoes in the house and it is a habit I have become accustomed to. It’s just much nicer and cooler to walk on bear feet. So I take off my shoes and put them in here whenever I walk in.

Opposite the Chinese closet is this small cabinet. I store some of my black / gray flats here.


At the door entrance my sport shoes and some of my husband’s and son’s shoes are stored.


So there you have it. My storage plan for the house, which sofar is working pretty well. I’m sure it will get even better as I live here longer. There is not a lot of extra space left for extra clothes and accessories which is just as well as I will aim for a smaller and more effective wardrobe.

I noticed a few gaps in my closet while doing this process before the holiday, but they have since been filled with the numerous shopping I did on my trip!

I’m sure I could have done all this a lot more elegantly if I bought all the perfect storage cabinets etc. The great thing though is that I bought nothing (apart from a wardrobe for my husband for the small room which had no inbuilt wardrobe) and just went with the tools and storage space that I already had and what was available in the new house.

How happy are you with the storage solutions in your house? Do you feel organised? Do you have a good overview of all your clothes, shoes and accessories?


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paula

You are one organized woman! I too dislike clutter & get a little anxious when things begin to get out of control. By the way, I love your Chinese closet/cupboard. It becomes a piece of art while maintaining usefulness. Have a great day.


2 Sylvia

Yes, it definitely was a good buy!


3 Silvia DiPierdomenico

This topic puts me in mind of a post I wrote in the spring in praise of one of my closets: There’s No Place Like Home

Years ago, when my husband and I first bought our condominium in Los Angeles, I claimed one of the hall closets as my own. As a New Yorker, I couldn’t believe how many closets there were; my heart swelled at the idea of having one to myself. It was a practical decision more than a selfish one: the closet in question has shelves of various sizes perfectly suited for storing the odds and ends of a woman’s wardrobe. The knowledge that my shoe cupboard, as I came to call it, contains more than shoes may surprise some readers. In fact, it is really a scrapbook of sorts – an invigorating mix of past, present, and future – all rigorously assembled. It is a shoe shop, a glove shop, a fabric and ribbon shop, a millinery, a vintage boutique, a handbag shop, and a medical files storage unit, all confined into one cheerful space. My shoe cupboard enshrines the many things that I hold dear. In it you will find secured in boxes or fabric bags vintage fashion jewelry, silk scarves, Rodo clutches, vintage leather handbags, gloves, and feather scarves. Like a star atop a Christmas tree, my college diploma perches on an uppermost shelf.

Last night, in making arrangements for an upcoming trip, it occurred to me that most people collect postcards when they go traveling. This group breaks down into two categories: those who mail the postcards to friends and family from the place they are in and those who bring them home, storing them in a drawer for safekeeping. I fall into neither of these categories, preferring instead to return home with colorful shopping bags from small local shops or department stores. In my shoe cupboard you can find Barney’s and Saks Fifth Avenue’s special holiday shopping bags and Bergdorf Goodman’s classic lavender bag. A glance into my shoe cupboard and you can visit Christian Louboutin in Paris, Missoni in Rome, KaDeWe, the large German department store in Berlin, and Schostal, the Roman 19th century hosiery shop where the Italian writer Pirandello purchased his socks, as well as the Swiss shop, Friedlin in Basel.

When I’m feeling gloomy and need a reminder of the beauty of life, my shoe cupboard is the place I look. It floods my vision with memories of past adventures, while fueling the desire for prospective travels. Most of all, it reminds me of home.


4 Sylvia

Great story Silvia. Thanks for sharing.


5 Greetje

My storage space??? Whahaha… 4 meters of clothes, hanging very closely together. You did trigger me though. With that other post about decluttering. I have done one cupboard already and stuff in the kitchen. A cupboard per weekend is not that much and will get me there too.
And…… for a change I have been putting together new outfits from the things in my closet. Yeah. Worked really well. Now I just need somebody to clear all those tried things back in the closet.


6 Sylvia

Fantastic Greetje!


7 denton

“My son does not have a lot of clothes. He wears his school clothes most of the time and does not have a lot of interest in clothes. Therefore I can use part of this closet for my clothes.”

You can substitute ‘husband’ for son in this sentence, and the logic is impeccable. This happens in all my closets.


8 Sylvia

I’m not touching my husband’s closet though….


9 Greetje

You don’t mind that at all Denton haha


10 Rebecca

Your storage ideas are so creative. What beautiful clothes and shoes you have. I have a very small wardrobe in comparison as I no longer work in a corporate field. For my part time job in sales (women’s clothing), I wear the brand’s clothes so I only buy things for my recreational life. You have made a lovely showcase for your wardrobe.


11 anne the spygirl

I enjoyed reading your very detailed account of how you store everything.
I’m on a decluttering mission and might use some of your solutions.


12 Kitty

I have 2 of the black ikea benches ( your last photo). They are quite narrowand fit anywhere! One at the foot of my king size bed, and one in the front entrance. They went together easily too. Also, you can line them up for a longer hall. The top is for sitting while putting on shoes, or a landing spot for things.


13 Anja

I hope to visit your house soon so i can see all this with my own eyes;-).

I’m a very good, resourcefull and efficient organizer myself, which comes in handy, being a more is more person. I have lots of stuff, but will never have a cluttered, messy house.


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