How to Share a Closet and Avoid the Battle for Closet Space

shared closet

When you share a closet, patience, making some compromises, and being selfless towards your partner or spouse are the keys to organizational harmony.

That’s all easier said than done, of course. Even two people who have previously always been able to keep their closets tidy can find sharing a closet very challenging.

The different dynamics of how the storage space is used takes some getting used to. Some people never quite figure out how to successfully share a closet, even after years of being with their significant other.

Here’s how hard it can be to share a closet

How much can someone’s organizational habits (or lack thereof) get under the skin of their partner? Clutter was the cause of 48% of the arguments between couples who lived together, according to a survey by SpareFoot, a self-storage company.

You can guarantee that a healthy percentage of those clutter-related disagreements were sparked by the untidy state of some shared closets.

The stress of managing a single closet space being used by two people is very real. There are plenty of things you can do to end the battle for closet space in your bedroom, however.

Here are some practical solutions to help any couple share a closet peacefully.

woman sorting clothes in reach-in closet

If you share a closet, prioritize storage

When you’re attempting to overhaul a dysfunctional shared closet, space considerations will be your biggest concern before you even begin to figure out how much room each partner will get.

The logical place to start with a closet revamp is to have each person reduce the number of items they want to keep in the closet. Prioritize using your respective storage spaces for important things only, not things that can sometimes go a year or more without being worn.

We’ve previously written about what items shouldn’t be taking up space in your closets. A few of them include:

  • sale items you’ve never worn
  • unfashionable clothing
  • damaged and old clothing
  • clothing that doesn’t fit

Agree on how you’ll share a closet space

Author Heidi Catherine Culbertson wrote, “Your abundance is not measured by what you have, it is created by what you share.”

That’s a selfless, ideal mindset for both parties to have as they hash out a plan for how to improve their shared closet situation.

Once you both have a better idea of what will be going in the closet, come up with an equitable and agreeable split of the closet space, whether it’s 50/50, 60/40, or 75/25, etc. If it’s the latter in your favour, congratulations – your generous partner is a definite keeper!

That whole “compromise” thing factors heavily into this step. Hopefully, the individual with fewer clothes sees the practicality and fairness of making some space concessions to the partner who requires more room for their wardrobe.

man holding shirt in front of closet

Hire a pro to custom-design a shared closet

Two heads are better than one, right? Then why not follow that logic and add another head to the mix when envisioning your shared closet’s design? Not just any head, though. We’re talking about someone with lots of closet design expertise who can help you and your partner create the perfect shared closet space.

A professional closet designer brings more to the table than what you’ll get with DIY closet organizer systems you can buy in stores or online.

Mass-produced, one-size-fits-all closet organizers like these can’t compare to the level of design flexibility offered by a custom closet organizing solution.

Custom closet systems are built just for you

An experienced designer will tailor the closet’s design for each person. Factors like the heights of each person are taken into consideration so the heights of hanging rods, shelving, and other storage areas are more easily accessible.

Your individual functional needs are met with smart design choices like adding a hanging rod below the traditional upper closet rod to double-up on your hanging space.

Remember that hanging rods don’t have to go across the entire width of a closet. We can add shorter rods on one side or both sides of a closet in one of those narrower spaces that might otherwise be underutilized. Those other “dead space” closet areas that can get wasted, such as in corners or up high, can also be put to work for you.

Design for style and function

A pro won’t just help you come up with a smart shared closet layout that satisfies everyone’s functional needs. They know that the closet space you’ll be using every day needs to look appealing, too.

Here are some of the stylish decorative touches that can be included in a reach-in or walk-in closet design:

  • crown moulding
  • cabinetry finishes that complement your bedroom décor
  • under-mount LED lighting
  • elegant decorative hardware

Share zones in your shared closet

A shared closet should be just that and not necessarily a space where each person’s things are exclusively in separate zones and never the two shall meet.

If your items can co-exist in the same area of the closet (or more accurately, if you and your partner can share the same zone of a closet and maintain the peace), by all means, team up.

Sharing zones in the closet is an effective way to maximize your storage space, especially if the closet is smaller.

Use a pullout pant rack and split the hanging space with each other. The same applies for the upper rod in the closet, which each of you can use for hanging your longer clothing items. A shoe rack and belt rack can also be shared.

shared closet shoe rack

Sharing storage zones with your partner helps maximize your closet storage space.

Add a closet storage tower

For clothing items that are better off being folded instead of hung (like sweaters), having some drawer space and open shelf space in the closet will come in very handy.

Adding a storage tower to the closet with a few drawers on the lower half and open shelving and cubby dividers on the top half keeps all of your wardrobe items in the same area. That allows you to free up space in the bedroom by getting rid of a wardrobe closet or dresser.

Give yourself a drawer or two and your partner gets the rest. Organized Interiors can incorporate drawer dividers or jewellery drawer inserts into the storage tower’s design to keep both of you more organized.

A custom closet storage tower can be designed to be freestanding (sitting on the floor) or wall-mounted, which leaves space underneath the tower.

Make use of helpful closet accessories

We’ve already mentioned a few great closet accessories like pullout belt, tie, and pant racks. They may be small details in a closet’s design, but these convenient helpers have a big impact on the space’s overall functionality.

Here are a few more closet accessories you might want to consider including in your closet’s design:

  • retractable valet rods
  • necklace hooks
  • versatile four-position hangers
  • pullout laundry hampers to keep dirty clothes sorted and tidy

All of our closet accessories are designed to save space, make your daily dressing routine more efficient, and add a sophisticated decorative touch to any closet with their sleek metal finishes.

Venture beyond the closet border

Even with the best closet organization and storage systems in use, it’s just a reality that sometimes you can’t fit 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5-pound sack (to paraphrase an expression that uses slightly more colourful language).   OKAY TO USE?

Downsizing and decluttering may only get you so far. If the number of clothes you and your partner own simply won’t all fit in one closet, it could actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

If your bedroom has some open floor space, setting up a separate wardrobe space for one of you may be the best and easiest solution. This is especially true if one of you is, shall we say, a closet slob.

There are a variety of ways to create more space for storing clothes outside of the closet. Here are some bedroom storage ideas that go beyond the borders of a traditional closet:

Any of these bedroom storage solutions are better than hanging extra clothes on a garment rack in a room corner, which can look unsightly.

White wardrobe with open doors

If you and your partner have too many things to fit into a shared closet space, look for other bedroom storage solutions to help out like a wardrobe closet.

Respect each other’s space

Those three noble virtues we listed in the very first sentence (patience, selflessness, and being willing to compromise) will serve you well as you share a closet with your better half. We’ll add “respect” to that list, too.

Even with a seemingly sound closet-sharing strategy in place, things from one partner’s side may slowly start to encroach into the other person’s territory.

Try to respect each other’s space. After all, both parties agreed to the allotment of closet space each of you would get.

Make an effort to keep your portion of the closet tidy. Even if everything is contained in someone’s designated area of the closet, if it all looks like a disaster zone, it can fester negative feelings and lead to an argument.

And be flexible and willing to make improvements to your shared closet space if things aren’t working as efficiently after some time has passed. There are always ways to tweak and modify a closet’s functionality based on your changing storage needs.

Make it easier to share a closet with your partner

If your efforts to share a closet with your significant other just aren’t working out, Organized Interiors can solve your closet-sharing problems. Read about how we helped a Toronto couple with a custom shared closet design.

We know that having a closet space with a smart design makes maintaining a shared closet significantly easier.

Organized Interiors has been designing shared closets for over 40 years so couples can enjoy their main clothes storage space, not argue over it.

Organized Interiors customer review

A review left on Facebook from a satisfied Organized Interiors client.

Schedule a free design consultation with us to get your shared closet space design plan in motion.

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