Storing Vintage in a Small Closet

I live in an apartment building that was built in the 1920s. It was originally a hotel, so nearly every unit is the same size and has roughly the same floor plan.

Since this place was designed for people in transit and not for folks with long-term residency in mind, the storage situation is sketchy at best. Despite these odds, I have two walk in closets in this space, both long and very narrow. One is dedicated to storage for the shop, the other is for storage of my own clothes. These photos are of the latter.
It seems to be a common trait in apartments that once housed Murphy beds to have long skinny closets in the place where those beds once were. I’m lucky for the high ceiling, because vertical storage is the way to go when you have limited space. The ceiling  is so tall that I have a special stepladder to reach things that are too high (and I’m six feet tall). Those white drawer units on top of that dresser are made of wood. I got them from Ikea years ago and they took a while to put together. I spray painted them white, and they store my jewelry and sunglasses.
My more plain and flat hats are in the hat boxes, which I got at the Container Store. I was looking for vintage hat boxes for a while, but they are hard to come by, and are usually just made to store one hat at a time. More on hat storage in a moment.
This next method comes directly from Solanah at Vixen Vintage. Shortly after reading her post on storing bras in a vintage hanging shoe holder, I came across a pretty cotton one at my favorite local antique store, Stuff.

Above the lingerie holder and near the top of the ceiling are my hats with the most personality.

Not only do they need space so their delicate details don’t get squished, they are vibrant and beautiful and brighten up a tight, poorly lit place like this closet.
Beyond the hats and smaller handle purses is what I call the corset bag. I have named it as such because, well…
Long and lean, made of thick muslin with a cotton drawstring cord closure. The embroidery is expertly hand sewn.I found it an an antique store and am having a hard time convincing myself that this is really as old as it could be, and not an invention of the shabby-chic boudoir movement. That is to say, well over 100 years old. It seems to be the right shape, but the tell that raises my skepticism is the fact that the bag is actually labeled with what goes inside. What ladies would do that? Wouldn’t they just know? And wouldn’t that be a sort of racy thing to embroider on a bag for the time? Either way, all my garters, girdles and waist cinches live in there, as the bag really is the perfect size and can conveniently hang on the wall.
This is my favorite part – all my shoes in their boxes. Almost none of them are actually vintage, but it’s still an important component of my closet organization and I feel it’s worth mentioning. I wrote about how I did that here. Hope you enjoyed this sneaky closet peek!


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