How To Live Without A Dresser: Tips Learned Over 25 Years

Hands-down, how to live without a dresser is the one thing I get asked about most often when people read my ideas on doing a minimalist bedroom declutter.

Today, I’m talking about how I’ve made my no dresser lifestyle work for over 25 years and answering your questions about living without a bedroom dresser. I’ll also share some simple organizing tips for how you can do it too.

Text how to live without a bedroom dresser on white background over faded image of open dresser drawers top view.

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Benefits Of Living Without A Bedroom Dresser

Eliminating a dresser isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. Plus, the benefits are definitely worth having to get just a little creative when it comes to storing your wardrobe.

With a small master bedroom, not having a bulky dresser makes the room feel so much bigger and more open.

My bedroom is very small. If yours is ‘normal’ size, then you can use that extra space for something else. Create a reading nook, set up a home office, or have more room for morning stretching.

Even better, no dresser means eliminating a clutter-catching dust magnet. I’ve always hated dusting, so NOT having to dust a dresser was actually a huge incentive to get rid of it.

Also, I don’t have to worry about constantly clearing things off the top — or worse, clearing piles that block the drawers. I realize not everyone has this problem, but people with clutter issues almost always do.  

Do I Need A Dresser In My Bedroom?

When it comes to bedroom furniture, most people tend to think that a dresser is an absolute necessity. But while a dresser may seem like part of a complete bedroom furniture set, is it really something you need?

The answer, quite simply, is no. A bedroom dresser is not actually necessary for storing your clothes or keeping your room organized.

There are plenty of clothes storage ideas for a no dresser bedroom. And if you have a closet — even a tiny one — then you probably don’t need a dresser at all!

My closet is just 42″ wide and holds all of my clothes. So I know it can be done. 😉

Let’s talk about how you can make a no-dresser bedroom work…

How To Live Without A Dresser

A big part of successfully enjoying life without a dresser is reducing your need for clothes storage space.

It’s a multi-step process, which I recommend working in this order:

1. Stop recreational shopping

The first step in learning to live without a dresser is to stop shopping for non-essentials.

In other words, stop making excuses to bring more crap into your space, especially if you already have clothes you’ve never worn or you often regret your clothing purchases but never get around to returning the items.

In today’s consumerist culture, it can be easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of buying and always looking for something new. To avoid this constant need for new items, try adopting more mindful shopping habits.

Avoid signing up for newsletters or mailing lists from your favorite retailers so you’re not constantly bombarded with sales or discount code promotions that might tempt you into a purchase you don’t truly need or want. You can always sign up temporarily to get a coupon code when you know you’ll need to shop.

2. Declutter your clothes

When it comes to living without a dresser, it’s absolutely necessary to declutter your clothes as much as possible. I know, this is REALLY hard. And I’m not saying you need to get rid of everything. But I can almost guarantee you’re holding on to clothing you don’t need and will never wear again.

We all make excuses to avoid decluttering clothes. But you can STOP doing that today and successfully learn how to declutter your wardrobe until you have just the right amount of clothes for your needs.

This might mean getting rid of items that you don’t wear or haven’t fit into for years, and sorting through your existing wardrobe to remove anything that’s stained, ripped, or otherwise damaged. Once you’ve cleaned out your closet and your dresser, it will be easier to envision storing your clothing in less — or just different — space.

3. Embrace a capsule wardrobe

This doesn’t mean living exclusively in jeans and t-shirts or limiting yourself to 10 items of clothing – rather, it means building a collection of high-quality basics that you love wearing and feel confident in. 

Even if you need separate clothes for work vs. casual, the concept of a capsule wardrobe is sure to help reduce your need for clothes storage space.

Not sure where to begin with capsule wardrobes? You’ll want to check out the collections and information at Outfit Formulas. I love these wardrobe collections because they’re size-inclusive and so helpful for someone like me who is completely clueless about putting outfits together.

When everything easily fits in even the smallest of closets, life is so much simpler!

4. Establish good clothing habits

Do your laundry regularly, which includes putting it away immediately after it comes out of the dryer. That way you won’t need to run out and buy extra clothes because you ‘keep running out.’

Bonus: Stick to a ‘hang everything’ philosophy and this takes almost no time at all!

Review your wardrobe weekly or monthly. This means regularly culling your clothes and getting rid of anything that is worn out or doesn’t fit properly. You’ll also want to repair any clothing if it’s worth the time and effort.

If necessary, store off-season clothing. I prefer to dress in layers and wear most of my clothing year-round (yes, even here in 4-season Michigan). However, if you’re truly short on space, wash your off-season clothing and then store in collapsible bins or under-bed bins so they’re not interfering with your regularly-worn clothes.

In addition to eliminating your need for a dresser, adopting these good clothing habits will also help you keep a neat, organized wardrobe that you love! 

How To Organize Without A Dresser

Top view of white dresser with open drawers holding clothing in shades of blue.

For some people, it takes a little extra creativity. For others who realize they don’t actually have a lot of clothing, it turns out to not be difficult at all.

1. Hang everything possible 

This includes t-shirts, pants, jeans, skirts, jackets, and more. You can use slim hangers for many things. And try multiple-item hangers with clips for skirts and pants. 

Bonus: no more folding laundry… just hang it up!

Of course, clothing such as heavy sweaters should usually be folded. I also use this hanging method to store my sweaters without stretching.

You can store folded sweaters stacked on a shelf just as easily as you could in a dresser drawer. Plus it’s easier to see what you have when they’re on shelves. 😉 

2. Utilize a closet organizing system 

You can try either a custom-built organizer installed by professionals or a simple DIY solution that works for your needs.

Regardless of which option you choose, make sure that everything you own can be easily organized in some way with shelves, bins, and pieces that actually work together.

3. Use under-bed storage properly 

Whether you have drawers or wheeled bins that fit underneath your bed, be sure to work with this space effectively.

Choose carefully what goes where. Don’t store frequently-needed items like underwear and the shirts you wear every day unless they are physically easy for you to access. 

4. Don’t store clothes all over the house

Deciding to live without a dresser doesn’t mean you should take over closets in other rooms.

Nor should you pack everything into collapsible zippered storage bins and stash them in various storage areas simply to avoid using a dresser.

The idea here is to have less clutter, more space, and make it easier to manage your wardrobe. Keep your stuff in your room as much as possible.

5. Organize non-clothing items

Consider what to do with non-clothing items you might usually keep in dresser drawers. For example, things such as scarves, belts, jewelry, and toiletries or mementos.

Don’t forget to declutter first!

Scarves and belts are super-easy to store in a closet with special-use hangers, folding bins, or wall hooks.

Other items could be stored in bins in a small cube storage unit or on shelves in your closet. Or, you may want to keep some of them nearby in a nightstand drawer.  

How To Store Underwear Without A Dresser

All right, here it is… THE thing I get emails about every.single.day. ‘Where do you store your socks and underwear?’

I know, when you’re used to beautiful images of dozens of pieces of lingerie carefully stored in large dresser drawers — likely different than most people’s reality of shoving it all in willy-nilly — it’s really hard to comprehend other ways of storing those items.

First off, remember that I take a minimalist approach to my wardrobe. I keep very few bras and panties. It works because I do laundry every other day(-ish).

That said, ALL of the undergarments and socks I’m not wearing fit neatly in two baskets on the narrow cube shelving unit in my closet.

Two wicker baskets in white cube storage unit in no-dresser bedroom closet.

If you’re super-particular about your bras, you could always hang them on these special lingerie hangers.

Another super-organized look is these boxes with compartments for each item.  

I also keep my socks very simple because matching and folding socks feels like a ridiculous waste of time. Simply put, buy the exact same socks once or twice a year — and not too many.

Bonus: Whenever one sock gets a hole, it gets tossed — but you never end up with ‘odd’ socks because they’re all the same.

More Help With Decluttering And Organizing

How to Declutter and Donate Your Stuff Without Regret

My Amazon Picks For Organizing Your Clothing And Closet

How to Organize a Cluttered House in 4 Essential Steps

9 Reasons You Fear Decluttering Clothes {And How to Get Past It}

How to Declutter Your Bedroom in 10 Simple Steps

Concluding Thoughts On Living Without A Dresser

It’s not crazy, it’s not hard, and honestly… it’s probably THE best organizing decision I’ve ever made.

If you’re nervous about getting rid of your dresser, give it a trial run. Go through the steps in this post, move your dresser to a different space, and see how it works for you.

Having more space in your room and an ultra-organized closet are pretty great incentives to get rid of that dust- and clutter-magnet dresser!

You’ve got this!


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1 thought on “How To Live Without A Dresser: Tips Learned Over 25 Years”

  1. One thing my husband liked about military service was the cushy socks. Just before he completed his service, he bought a gross — that’s 12 dozen — 144 pairs, 288 individual socks. And wore them all out over the next decade plus. He didn’t spend time deciding what to wear in the morning, and I didn’t spend time matching and folding them after laundry. He’d definitely agree with your philosophy!

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