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6 Ways to Share a Closet Without Damaging Your Relationship

Couple sharing a small closet
RossHelen/Shutterstock

Closets are a place where we stash personal things and sharing a closet with someone can lead to a whole lot of interpersonal conflict pretty quickly.

For many of us, what goes in the closet is “out of sight, out of mind.” Unfortunately, if you’re sharing a closet with a partner or roommate, what’s out of your sight is in theirs. It’s not an exaggeration to say if you don’t set firm boundaries and expectations, sharing a closet with someone can cause a lot of relationship stress.

Let’s dig into our six “best practice” tips

Store Out Of Season Stuff Elsewhere

The key to happily sharing a closet with someone else is to make sure space is used efficiently. That means reducing clutter whenever possible. The less stuff you and your co-inhabitant have, the neater the closet will stay.

Start by removing any out of season clothing. If it’s summer, moving your winter coats and boots somewhere else, like under the bed, can clear up a lot of space. The more space you have, the more quickly you’ll be able to see what’s in the closet without feeling like you’re staring into a giant abyss of clothing items.

Use The Same Kinds of Hangers

Using the same kind of hangers as your co-inhabitant helps maximize space, too. If you’re using the slim space-saving hangers and your roommate is using the bulkier wood hangers, you’ll end up feeling like one of you gets more closet real estate than the other. Plus, you’ll be able to fit a lot more stuff if it’s hung in an orderly fashion.

Ultra slim space-saving hangers are easy to come by—you can snag this 100-pack of hangers for less than the cost of most articles of clothing you’ll hang on them.

Take Advantage of Vertical Space

When sharing a closet, every inch counts. Make sure you’re making use of all the vertical space in your closet, too.

Grab a chair or a step ladder and store items you don’t need very often on top of your hung items. Keeping things above your clothes, rather than on the floor, will help your closet feel more orderly. If you do store stuff on the floor, use matching containers that stack and align with each other to cut down on visual clutter and make it easier to bring things in and out of the closet.

Purge Often

Take stock of what you’re storing at least once per quarter and purge what you don’t need. Getting rid of the shirts you’ve outgrown or the shoes that are last season will help free up space and make your closet easier to organize.

Remember, when it comes to sharing a closet, the less there is to cram in (and disagree about) the better. If you’re looking for a novel approach to the less-is-more wardrobe, check out our guide to building a capsule wardrobe.

Use Convenient Storage Solutions

Hangers aren’t the only nifty tool for maximizing space. There are thousands of convenient storage solutions you can employ to make your sharing more efficient and effective.

Storage boxes, over-the-door shoe racks, and jewelry organizers can all help you add order to the chaos. If you’re feeling wild, use a label maker to add labels to each box, so you know precisely whose stuff is whose just by looking.

Set Rules and Stick to Them

Our final tip is, quite possibly, the most important. The best way to make sure no closet-related fights break out is to set rules for closet usage ahead of time and then stick to them. If each of you gets exactly 50% of the closet space, don’t start creeping over to your counterpart’s side. If you’ve decided that you won’t store your muddy boots in the closet, don’t put them in there.

The more upfront boundaries you have, the better you’ll be able to fulfill each other’s expectations. If you’re just guessing about the other person’s idea of what good sharing looks like, you’ll almost certainly get it wrong.


Sharing a closet can be difficult, but if you set expectations and stick to them, it’s totally possible to keep your relationship healthy, and your space organized. These six tips will help you learn to manage your shared closet with ease.

Hayley Milliman Hayley Milliman
Hayley is a former Teach for America teacher turned curriculum developer and writer. Over the past five years, she's written hundreds of articles on everything from education to personal finance to history. She's co-author of the book Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females. Read Full Bio »

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