Asked on Sep 27, 2017

Help for a tiny-too-shallow-coat-closet?

by Kari
I have a coat closet which is 19 1/2" D x 30" W x 90"H. The pictures show my largest frustration which is the hangers must sit sideways due to the depth of the closet. these are only a handful of the coats I need to store in here along with my husband's who is a much larger figure than I! I viewed helen915 (great job btw!) but my closet is even tinier than hers in terms of depth. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
  27 answers
  • D roach D roach on Sep 28, 2017

    could you either replace with wall hooks or use children's hangers which are smaller. ?

    • Kari Kari on Sep 29, 2017

      Tried the small hangers with not much success. I'm definitely thinking wall hooks!

  • Bobbi Lively Bobbi Lively on Sep 28, 2017

    what about finding a stud and then a pipe with flange to the back wall and hang the coats from the back wall out rather than across? Or do a search for a wall mounted clothes rack. You might even have space then for shelves on the side for extra storage for miscellaneous items.

    • Kari Kari on Sep 29, 2017

      It is truly too small for that but great idea!

  • Dar Dar on Sep 28, 2017

    Add two one high but that you can still reach and the other underneath it. Doubles your space.

    • See 1 previous
    • Kari Kari on Sep 29, 2017

      Yep...I'm thinking a rod as high as space will allow. Just need to remove that shelf!

      Thanks for the ideas!

  • Ros Ros on Sep 28, 2017

    Ikea sells a rod from back of cupboard where it is attached ( back wall) to front.

    So you choose whatever space you need for shoulder width.

    My only fear is hitting myself in head or eye while finding a coat.


    • Kari Kari on Sep 29, 2017

      Too funny! That would hurt!

      my space is just too little for this idea.

  • Jen30220750 Jen30220750 on Sep 28, 2017

    in my grandson's tiny closure my so installed a rail they went from back to front, but pulled out to outside the closet to allow selection of clothing and ease of putting away.

  • Jae Ashley Stewart Jae Ashley Stewart on Sep 28, 2017

    The dimensions of your closet are not conducive to solving your problem. Either relocate the less often worn coats, knock out a wall, buy a house with a larger closet or marry a smaller man. It's a scientific fact that a 2-gallon bucket will not hold 3 gallons of water. Hope this helps....

    • See 1 previous
    • Kari Kari on Sep 29, 2017

      I couldn't agree more! I think that constantly! "Why would one make a closet (with a rod) not deep enough for a hangar😫😫😫?"

  • Kle25146905 Kle25146905 on Sep 28, 2017

    They used to sell metal kitchen towel bars that you could screw to the back of your kitchen cupboard door. Could you find something similar and screw two of them lengthwise under the shelf above - coats would hang side ways. but would be neater..

  • Stephanie Bruno Stephanie Bruno on Sep 28, 2017

    Attaching regular coat hooks on the back wall of the closet, then purchase coat hangers that cascade down- I have seen them advertised that will hold approximately 6 items on their hangers that are staggered so you can see and remove what item you desired. This will increase your closest space and provide more room for hanging items.

    • Kari Kari on Sep 29, 2017

      That's a great idea! Using these I could then do the back to front rods or the hooks. Thanks!

  • Lesley Shurlock Lesley Shurlock on Sep 28, 2017

    A large project might be to extend the cupboard by building straight out from it and putting the door in the new side at right angles to its current position. Then you can erect a very long rail from the old to the new. If you found an old wardrobe made of nice wood you could use it for the "wardrobe extension" by growing it onto the existing wardrobe and disguising the original wardrobe, so it would appear as if you had only the wooden wardrobe (and a secret space inside!) Maybe this is a bit too much of a task though.

    Otherwise I can only join others and suggest trying to put the rails from front to back. To do this you could put a flat bit of wood approx. 2 ins wide along the top under the shelf in the front of the cupboard, to which you would attach the front -to-back rails. At the back they could be held to the wall by a similar piece of wood. So this could be constructed as one piece before fitting it inside the wardrobe. You might even get three rails in, the middle one being for smaller items. Front to back rails in wardrobes are called "gentleman's rails" because they afford more shoulder room!

    There are hooks which hang over doors, and I have seen one which sticks straight out from a door so it can hold several coat hangers, so the back of your door might be able to take some items. A narrow, or shallow, free-standing wardrobe is a problem I have and I have not yet come up with anything else!

    • Kari Kari on Sep 29, 2017

      the closet is sandwiched between a bathroom and the living room so no remodel! Still toying with the back to front rod idea. It is far too shallow for anything to hang from the (inside of) door. I always switch out seasonal in the closets but man! We are talking a tiny space!!!

  • Sun4818512 Sun4818512 on Sep 28, 2017

    We had narrow closets in our last home and we removed the wooden doors and used a curtain on a rod to cover the opening. While it didn't make the closet larger, it did seem to make the closet 'feel' bigger and the clothes weren't squished by the wooden door.

    • See 2 previous
    • Kari Kari on Sep 29, 2017

      That's a great idea and can see how it would feel larger. Unfortunately you can see the closet area when approaching my glass front doors. If it were in a hall I would do that though, great idea!

  • Lynnemm25 Lynnemm25 on Sep 28, 2017

    I took out the railI put regular coat hooks on the inside of the top. However, it's such a faff to get stuff out. The padded coathangers are not as big - this might help.

  • Todaysgirlfriday Todaysgirlfriday on Sep 28, 2017

    I would cut the dowel bar you hang the coats on to fit depthwise so there is 2 dowels instead of one. Or buy a new one cut into 2 equal lengths to the depth of closet. Get wood for support at studs and put the 3/4 circle (usually plastic or wooden) dowel holders into those wooden reinforcements. Then you have his coats on one side (maybe higher) and yours on the other (maybe lower) and nothing is squished.

    also shower curtain bars that are metal and expandable are great for this or as curtain holders as well.

    • Kari Kari on Sep 29, 2017

      grand idea! It's so tiny in there it'll always feel squished to me!

  • Danielle Danielle on Sep 28, 2017

    Unfortunately, this is not a coat closet. It's a coats, and jackets and the vacuum cleaner and some other miscellaneous stuff closet. You have issues enough with fitting just coats in here, not to mention the extraneous stuff.

    So, first step, PURGE. Find a different home for the appliances, pull everything out of there, demo the rod, leave the shelf (for now) and start with a bare box.

    Second, unless you have a family of 10 and all of them are adults there is no way all these jackets are worn constantly. Anything that isn't in season and being worn regularly doesn't need to be hung up. Get a couple of nice baskets, put the out of season stuff in there and stow it on the top shelf.

    Third, install a board at hanging height around all 3 sides of the closet and screw large coat hooks to the board. the coats will hang flat against the wall so you can shut the door. If you want to be really efficient you could actually install another board about 15" lower, hang the coats there and hang baskets from the upper hooks to store gloves, scarves, hats, and such. From your photo it looks like there would just barely be enough vertical clearance for that.

    In tiny closets like that using every inch of vertical space is the only way to get decent functionality. I know, I've been there, staring at a closet so poorly designed that I could not imagine what the contractor was ever thinking in sticking the thing there to begin with.

    • Kari Kari on Sep 29, 2017

      Your last sentiments....EXACTLY😫😫😫

      Yep, going to need to take every advantage of the verticle!

  • Bkh29096839 Bkh29096839 on Sep 28, 2017

    This is what I did because I had the same problem.

    • Kari Kari on Sep 29, 2017

      well I don't need the cubbies as I store hats, gloves etc. in another area. But am coming to lIke the hook idea more and more.

  • Som28543467 Som28543467 on Sep 29, 2017

    My daughter bought a house with same problem. off hand, can't think of the name, but I found th

  • Ginny Ginny on Sep 29, 2017

    I had California Closets do almost all the closets in my house, and it was worth the money. They can think of things we cannot.

  • Dianacirce70 Dianacirce70 on Sep 29, 2017

    I would stagger wall hooks so you could accommodate the coats/jackets and still use your floor space. In my home we have a linen closet that is literally 10" deep. I can put my wash clothes in there, but towels I'd have to roll, so we put up shelves using pipe. Sometimes storage spaces in homes make no sense!

  • Sandy Sandy on Oct 03, 2017

    i had this issue and got a closet pole that hangs on a higher pole. Doubles storage and is adjustable so you still have room for longer coats. Also you could get rid of the shelf and use an organizer that hangs on back of door for scarves, etc.

  • Dennis Haas Dennis Haas on Jun 30, 2021

    I have a 17"-deep entryway coat closet with a conventional horizontal wood hanging dowel. I'm 6' 5"tall and my coats are generally 20" wide. My solution: use hangers that swivel at the top (...I see some in your photo...) such that the coats can hang diagonally (...not strictly perpendicular to the dowel...). This configuration can be emphasized/emboldened by cutting properly-spaced diagonal notches on the top of the dowel using swiveling coat hangers or not.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 24, 2022

    Remove shelf and fit rail. Short Coats on top, long at bottom. Baskets on floor. If too hight to reach use a hook on a pole or fit rack that drops down.

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 04, 2022

    As small as this is just keep the coats you are currently wearing in here. The others can be stored in the owner's bedroom closet.

  • Amanda Prichard Amanda Prichard on Dec 05, 2023

    First, hang the hanger on the rod with nothing in there, does your hanger hot the back wall?

    I find that mine do not. Move the rod back...

    If it does hit, then get the hangers that are the metal ones that swivel and get the wire shelves and hang them like Mt picture shows... it's supposed to be hung on the front wire not in the middle...

  • Betsy Betsy on Jan 04, 2024

    Hi Kari: What you can do is hang things on the vertical. Get a metal chain with large links about 2 feet or so long. You can buy them at Home Depot, they cut them to length. Then, put the top link over the hook of one hanger and let the chain hang down. Then, put another hanger in the link about 4 or 5 below that one and hang your whatever on that hanger and keep going down, as far as you like. You will find you have more room to hang things that way. As for the top, make 1 shelf instead of a bin. The bin takes up space and makes things hard to put away.

    Hope this helps

  • Since you only have to store a handful of coats, I would add hooks.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 08, 2024

    If tall enough, make double height Clothes rack or form a shelf above the current rail and fix back to front (eitherside) poles to take your clothes, so they will hang straight.