For most people, additional closet space is very near the top of a home improvement wish list. Somehow, there is never enough room for everything and you can never find what you are looking for.
Two storage problem solvers are organizing an existing closet and building a new one.
Organizing a closet
You can double the storage capacity of an ordinary closet by installing an efficient system of poles, shelves, drawers, hooks, and pullouts. Ready-made components are available from closet specialty shops, or you can build your own modular units.
Instead of a single horizontal shelf at the top of the closet, install vertical shelving units from floor to ceiling. For most efficiency, make the shelves adjustable.
Pull-out storage consists of drawers, baskets, and bins. All can be incorporated into a closet. Drawers can replace a bureau, and vinyl-coated baskets and plastic bins provide color, a view of the contents, and ventilation.
Shirts, pants, and dress can be reorganized dramatically merely by installing several short poles at different levels. This allows you to devote a small section to longer garments and double up in the rest of the closet. For instance, shirts and blouses can hang on a high pole, while skirts and jackets can be hung on a lower one directly below it.
You can increase storage space by utilizing the back of the closet door. It’s easy to install hooks, racks, shelves, bins, or grid systems on any door except bifold or bypass ones.
These systems can make use of wasted space in a closet. Ready-to-assemble systems come in a variety of styles. Most include shelves, closet poles, and drawers or baskets. They are usually made of wire or particle board, high-end ones have all-wood construction.
Some modular closet organizers can be custom-made to fit the size and shape of your closet. Wire organizers are relatively easy to cut into needed lengths. Some come with mounting hardware that can be attached directly to the closet wall, eliminating the need to locate the studs.
Organizers come with complete installation instructions. An average system can usually be installed in half a day or less.
Designing the system. Before you select an organizing system, make a list of what will be kept in the closet. Place the items into categories according to size, shape, and whether they will be on hangers, on hooks, on racks, or laid flat.
Consider also how often you will use each item; those that rarely can see the light of day can be placed at the sides, on a high shelf, or in the corners, whereas those you use often should be easily accessible.
If seldom-used items are stored out-of-sight (in a drawer or cupboard), it’s not a bad idea to label the drawer front or cupboard door so you don’t forget what’s inside.
Place the highest closet shelf approximately 7 feet from the floor. This will leave 12 inches of storage space on the shelf. Be sure that any light fixture that is positioned so that nothing piled on the shelf can touch the bulb. Allow for that fact that stored items may project several inches beyond the shelf.
Baskets or drawers work best in the center third of the closet. This allows them to be used without interfering with the doors or side compartments.
Average items of clothing on hangers require 1 inch of horizontal space. Bulky winter clothing requires 2 to 3 inches. Shirts and blouses need approximately 40 to 42 inches of vertical space; suits need 42 inches; and unfolded slacks need 50 inches.
If your closet organizer doesn’t include a rack or bag for shoes, allow 10 inches of vertical floor or shelf space for men’s shoes, and 9 inches for women’s.