Look, we’d all love to organize our closets; nothing would bring us more joy than having a dozen bins for all of our belts, scarves, and miscellaneous odds and ends. But here’s the thing: Domino editors are New Yorkers, largely in possession of tiny apartments with equally small bedrooms, inside which are minuscule wardrobes—no shelves, no drawers, just a handful of inches of empty space. Given that our proclivity for collecting everything from vintage vessels to books to blazers is not likely to dissipate anytime soon, we figured it was time to call for professional backup. Enter: Melanie Fowler.
Fowler owns holistic organizational design firm Clos-ette, which specializes in fixing everything from closets to kitchens. She’s a Vogue magazine alum with an impressive roster of clients, to boot—she counts Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Cameron Diaz, and Sting among them. If there were anyone who could teach us what to do with the clothes and accessories that don’t fit into our closets, it’s her—so we asked.
If you have a bit of available wall space (and don’t have a moth problem), consider buying a hanging cubby to stack them in—Fowler recommends checking out CB2 or Room and Board for chic wood options. Go the extra mile with a folding board from the Container Store to keep your knits neat and wrinkle-free.
There’s no two ways about it: You need a decorative rolling rack. Fowler has previously had luck at Design Within Reach, but she also loves 1stdibs and Chairish for vintage or antique versions. Your camel-colored wool coat may look chic on its own, but pop it on a gilded contraption and it’s all the more impressive. As for the material, don’t sweat it. “Choose metal if it’s on the floor, but wood is fine if the rack is attached to the wall,” says Fowler.
Use a floating ledge or the top of a bookshelf to display your favorites. “Hats that need to keep their form should go onto hat stands, while baseball caps or sun hats can stack one onto another,” says the expert. Categorize them by color and size to bring cohesion to your chapeaus.
If you don’t have closet real estate, Fowler says the next best thing is to hide your purses elsewhere—like desk drawers or file cabinets; small clutches, especially, will only look like clutter when left out. On the flip side, if you’ve spent a good chunk of your paycheck on a couple extra-special handbags, why not show them off on a shelf? You can even paint it to coordinate with your accessories, depending on how much of a focal point you want them to be.
“I love making custom, grommeted peg walls and using jewelry as art,” says Fowler. That takes care of necklaces, but for earrings (or just valuable pieces you’d rather not have laying around), make their container the decor. Fowler suggests picking up a box (head to Jessica McCormack for luxe velvet options) that you can keep out on a dresser or nightstand—or scour local shops for a chic ceramic option.
There is only one type of footwear that deserves to be put on display, according to Fowler: “beautiful, embellished shoes.” She recommends glass or acrylic shelves to really let their colors do the talking. For out-of-season (or less display-worthy) options, make use of under-bed storage. Place a large sealed bin, which you can get from Rubbermaid or Target, on a commercial rubber mat, so you can easily slide it in and out without damaging your floors or carpet. When you do decide to pull out those beat-up running shoes, you won’t have to dig through a mound of clothes to find them.