So there are likely any number of things in your closet spilling out of bins, refusing to hang on hangers, and falling off of shelves. Some things simply don’t lend themselves to typical storage methods, and when we try to stick with “closet organizers” we end up with a mess. Or, we have to give up precious hanging or shelf space for a bulky solution which simultaneously decreases our existing storage for things that could go on a shelf or hanging rod.

These are situations when I like to explore storage options intended for other spaces. Maybe it’s time to break out of your box.

I use an office drawer organizer to hold small items on a closet shelf – change and small items I’ve collected through the day go in one spot as I undress at night, with a standing commitment to deal with the items the next morning when I am not tired and ready for bed. I have a bottle of lotion in there, small jewelry that doesn’t hang on the hooks on the wall, a list of combinations for outfits, in case I can’t decide what to wear…., a spot to keep the medical tape I need for my knee when I run. Since we have wire shelves, little things would fall right through, if I didn’t have something there, and the low edges keep small items from rolling off the edge.

I have a multi-use hanger from Ikea (KOMPLEMENT $7.99) which contains my growing scarf collection and belts.

I use office bins with labels to hold my clean pjs, slips & hose, “unmentionables,” socks, and running clothes.

We upcycled a popcorn bin as a trashcan in the closet (you wouldn’t believe how handy it is to have a trash can in the closet!).

I use a paint liner tray to keep sweaters from getting snagged on the wire shelves.

The point is, you don’t have to limit yourself to closet organization products to organize your closet.

Go to the hardware store and look at tool organizers if you need something for small accessories.

Head to the office supply store to see what options might work for containing stacked shirts or piles of athletic shorts (they can be slippery sometimes and refuse to stay in a neat pile!).

Go to a kitchen store to check out utensil bins, silverware trays, even tea storage chests, all of which make great potential storage for closet items.

Craft stores have a great selection of decorative knobs which work well as hooks that don’t leave a little dimple in items hung over them without a loop.

You never know what you’ll find!

Canvas lined fruit baskets make great containers for delicates.

Old pillow cases are great dust covers for out of season shoes and boots. You can even store clothes in them, on upper shelves, if you keep your out-of-season clothes in the closet.

Robe hooks mounted under a shelf are great for holding purses.

A file box on wheels could slide under a low shelf to contain winter scarves and gloves.

Really, the options are endless, just break out of the closet-organization aisle and get creative! (Likewise, closet organization products can work wonders in a pantry – think shoe bag + pasta bags OR hanging shelves + paper products. Don’t worry, we’ll get into the kitchen and pantry soon!)