It’s an age-old battle that you don’t have to perpetuate. When you move in with your significant other, empty space disappears — especially in the closet. Instead of battling over a shared closet, however, follow these tips for his and her closet organization. You’ll thank yourself for taking a logical, systematic approach instead of strapping on the boxing gloves.
Rent a Storage Unit
Before you start divvying up space in the closet, go through everything you own. Pull out items you haven’t worn or used in several months; then pack up those items in boxes. Rent a storage unit to store these items for at least three months. If you don’t miss them at the end of that period, you’ll know you can donate them or throw them away.
This process removes the anxiety of a quick decision. Your treasured sweater doesn’t have to go directly to the Goodwill store just because you haven’t worn it lately. Instead, you’ll give it some time to see if you miss seeing it in your closet. Learning how to organize a closet for two sometimes demands compromise, but you can still give yourself some emotional breathing room.
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You’ll find that a small closet becomes more accommodating when you organize its contents. Start with the person who already lives in the home. Organize his or her items by type, color, season, and other categories so you can easily find them. Use boxes, baskets, and hanging storage solutions to create further space.
Next, bring in your significant other’s belongings. You can achieve shared closet organization by following the same organizational strategies for both partners. Organize his or her items the same way but on the opposite side of the closet. You’ll be able to find what you need faster, and you won’t have to fight over shared space if you both have equal room.
Use Other Closets or Wardrobes
Sometimes, one closet doesn’t offer enough space for two people. If you’re hitting that wall, it’s time to think outside the closet.
If you have another closet in a spare bedroom, consider moving seasonal clothing or a specific type of item into it. Choose items that you don’t use every day. You can also use a hall or foyer closet, especially for bulky coats and other winter clothing.
Alternatively, consider investing in a wardrobe or armoire. These handsome pieces of furniture don’t just provide extra storage space; they also make your room more beautiful. Select a piece that reflects both your styles and brings the bedroom together stylistically.
Get a Step Stool
A small step stool can fit comfortably in most walk-in closets. It allows you to use vertical storage space near the top of the closet if you’re too short to reach. Upper shelves can host spare blankets and bedding, shoes, seasonal clothing, spare toiletries, and more. You won’t have to get on the step stool every morning, but it’s there when you need it.
Some closets also feature too-high or too-deep shelves. Take a page from the DIY handbook and customize your shelving to suit your needs. By folding or rolling clothing, for instance, you can make better use of two rows of shelves than you could using just one deep shelf.
Adding hooks and other storage solutions might also help. Think of ways to maximize space without cramping your style. If a closet looks too cluttered, you’ll resent visiting it every morning as you get ready for the day.
Use the One-in, One-out Rule
Once you’ve organized your closet, you don’t want to endure an ongoing battle over precious storage space. Consider adopting the one-in, one-out rule for new items. Each time one of you buys a new shirt or pair of pants, you’ll donate an older item so you don’t take up more space.
In most couples, one person shops more than the other. This rule stops the other partner from experiencing resentment. Plus, you’ll help less fortunate families clothe themselves, and your closet won’t become an image from an episode of “Hoarders.”
Invest in a Label Maker
When you use old shoe boxes or plastic bins for storage, you can’t always remember each carton’s contents. Use a label maker — or strips of masking tape and a magic marker — to label each bin. List its contents or category so you don’t have to go on a treasure hunt every time you need to find your favorite pair of shoes.
Additionally, don’t leave old labels that no longer apply. At least once every six months, go through your cartons and discard items you no longer want. Update the contents list so you’re never confused.
It’s sometimes difficult to organize a closet for two, but you can master the process with the above tips. Work together to create a shared closet organization system that works, and don’t forget to respect your partner’s wants and needs.