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How to Organize a Rental Closet - When the Landlord Says No Holes

By Edited Jul 12, 2016 1 0

Whether this is your first apartment or a string of many, there is always the issue of just how far you can go when it comes to making it feel like your home. 

Some landlords are easier going than others, but from my experience, they don’t want you putting holes into their walls for anything bigger than a picture on the wall.  Some will let you paint but most want you to keep the neutral colour that was painted freshly for you.  He doesn’t want to have to fill holes and paint again between tenants.

These days many tenants are on the move a lot, so this could be at the end of each yearly lease.  You don’t want to be in the midst of moving expecting your damage deposit back only to find out he won’t give it to you because of the big holes you have left in the closet walls from shelves and organizers you have permanently added and then had to take down.

If you have a landlord like that, and if the closet looks bare bones, there are ways to utilize the space without putting one hole is the wall.  These are things that you can take with you when you do move out and yet give you the sense of feeling organized. 

I personally had to move twice for my hubby’s job in one year and one of the places was an apartment.  Not only did we have to downsize most of our stuff (it was time anyways as the kids had flown the coop) but we had to get creative with closet space.  In our situation, there simply was not a closet to be found in the bedroom, just a big room.  So we purchase a temporary closet as you can see below.  These work well and can house many things.

organizing a rental closet

Portable Closet on Wheels

You can get these in different sizes, but I love that you can simply cover your things and your closet is not on display.  If your rental apartment doesn’t have a very large closet for the bedroom, then this could be some extra storage, or maybe it doesn’t have a closet at all, in which case this works very well and can roll out the door with you when you move.  This particular model also has shelves for sweaters and accessories, so it can be used for more than just hanging clothes on hangers.

how to organize a rental closet
Whitmor 6779-4322 Closet Rod Closet System, Silver
Amazon Price: $29.65 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 12, 2016)

Closet Rod System

This product doesn’t do any damage, and simply attaches to the present rod in your closet.  It creates instant shelves and makes use of the vertical space you may have.  It is quick to install and quick to take down.  Can make a small space easier to navigate and is an affordable option.  The rubber feet will not harm the floor and looks good.

organize a rental closet
Whitmor Closet Organizer with 2 Shelves
Amazon Price: $39.49 $16.89 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 12, 2016)

Portable Drawers and Shelf Unit

This unit would fit nicely in the closet under your hanging clothes and would be perfect for sweaters, tops or accessories.  Most rental closets consist of a high shelf and rod for hanging your clothes and not much else.  If you don’t want to overload the higher shelf or maybe you don’t even have one, then setting this portable unit in the closet can house many of your things and is very accessible and good looking and stops the clutter that tends to form on the floor.  Once again it can go with you when you leave.

organizing ideas for renters
Organize It All Closet Doubler (1346W)
Amazon Price: $7.83 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 12, 2016)

Closet Doublers

If your space is tiny, or just the one rod for hanging your clothes, then using this system will make use of the height but doubling the area you can use for hanging.  You can keep longer things at one end, and then use this extra rod for hanging shirts and folding pants and more.  It literally doubles the space you have in your rental closet without one hole in the wall and keeps your clothes from being wrinkled when the rod get overloaded. 

how to organize a rental closet
 
Chrome-Plated Steel Closet Shelf Dividers, set of 4
Amazon Price: $12.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 12, 2016)

Shelf Dividers

This simply slides onto the available shelf above the rod, so that you can create higher piles of sweaters and accessories, without them all falling into one another which happens when you are in a hurry.  In effect this allows you to get the most out of the shelf and the vertical space above it to keep things neat and tidy.  Once again it doesn’t damage anything in there and can be taken with you.

organizing a rental closet

Over The Door Shoe Organizers for your Rental Closet

If your closet has a door, then you can utilize the space without causing damage to the door, this simply fits over the door with lots of storage for shoes.  Shoes can take up a lot of space on the floor of any closet, and this would be a great way to keep them off the floor so that you can use the floor for other storage systems such as the above ideas.  

Dollar Store

You can also head to the dollar store if you budget is small and get creative with many of the storage containers they offer for a buck!  You can get stackable containers to house things you don’t use all the time but want to store in the closet, or open bins for laundry or accessories.  There are all kinds of ideas in there.  Just take a mental picture of your rental closet and what you need to keep in there, and then head to the dollar tree or store and go up and down the aisles; something will jump out at you for sure.  I get many plastic stackable containers from there, they are very handy.  I find the clear ones the best as you can see what is in there without having to open them all out.

Organizing Ideas for Renters

Whether you rent short term or long term, there are many products on the market now that can make organizing your life much easier for all the rooms in your place.  If you do want something more permanent, then check with your landlord, and be prepared to have to leave it behind when you move. 

It may be better to consider a few investments in pieces such as above that make your life easier when it comes to storing and using your things.  Online can be the easiest place to check out ideas for your space.  You don’t have to buy a closet organizer that screws into the wall, there are many ways around creating damage yet creating a nice space that has your personality and keeps your landlord happy, you may find that he may want to buy some of your storage systems off of you to offer to the next tenant rather than deal with holes in the walls.  Most of these portable pieces fold down for easy moving as well.   Having these systems for organizing a rental closet makes it easier to unpack at the next place as all your things had a place to live.

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