Your closets are an essential part of your home and daily routine, but too often they are not as efficient as they could be. This results in a waste of potential storage space and creates frustration for you through difficulty in finding things when you need them. Have you ever suffered from the “I have nothing to wear” blues? The cure is a more organized closet that better showcases your wardrobe so that pulling a great outfit together becomes effortless, even on Monday mornings!
Where To Start
The first step in designing a closet upgrade is to determine, with as much accuracy as you can, what you need to store in that closet. Whether it’s a clothes closet, a coat closet, a hall closet for storing cleaning supplies and linens, a pantry, or a “catch all” space, knowing what will go in there is essential to knowing what you’ll need in order to achieve a more organized and efficient use of storage space.
Take everything out of the space and assess it. Determine what to keep, what to sell, what to donate or discard. Once you’ve narrowed down what to keep, you’re ready to take these next steps:
Assess your entire wardrobe situation. What should be relinquished to drawers and what would be better housed in a closet? Sweaters and cardigans are best stored loosely stacked on a shelf or in a breathable drawer or bin in your closet. Scarves can be hung or loosely folded and assigned drawers. Keep the highest part of your closet for occasionally used items such as out-of-season footwear and bags. Prepare for your closet makeover by replacing flimsy wire hangers with matching plastic, wood or fabric hangers for your new closet.
Supply & Demand
Determine which cleaning supplies are used for which task (bathroom cleaning, floor cleaning, pets etc.). Once categorized, assign products to a basket labelled with the category they belong to. It’s ideal to use baskets of the same general size so they can be neatly arranged side by side in your new closet organization system. Frequently used cleaning equipment such as dust mops and vacuums should be more immediately accessible than equipment that only gets occasional use. Arrange your labelled cleaning baskets of products on one or two eye-level shelves. Install drawers to hold paper towel, dryer sheets and dusting cloths. Many dust-mop designs can be neatly hung on hooks or held upright using wall mounts inside your new closet.
The linen closet can get chaotic quickly. Take everything out and keep like with like by tucking sheet sets neatly into a matching pillowcase. Using this trick, sheet sets will be kept together and you won’t have to sort through a myriad of mismatched linens to find a set when guests stay over. Depending on the space you have to work with, determine whether rolling your towels will take up less space than folding and stacking. Closet organization products such as shelf brackets can create perfect compartments for stacking and separating rolled facecloths and towels. A shelf and baskets can be used to hold rolls of toilet paper and paper towel. Finally, adding a few drawers creates perfect space for holding your back up supply of lightbulbs, toothbrushes, soaps and toiletries.
Take note on how your pantry is arranged now. What’s working and what’s not working for you? Can more shelves be added to create more space for stacking canned goods and other shorter items? How about wire drawers for storing root vegetables and a shelf divider to vertically organize baking sheets and cutting boards? Modular pantry kits are an easy and affordable way to get started and allow you to make adjustments as needed.
Catch All & Collected
Put an end to clutter and organize your catch all closet using shelves and clear plastic bins. Tools can be hung from hooks and custom DIY tool holders suspended from a securely mounted peg-board. Extra extension cords and wires can be kept in drawers. Wrapping paper can be suspended using stationary clips and hooks. All-season holiday decorations, first aid kits, and storm supplies are best assigned to their own easily accessible bins.
This is where a single rod system will do. Use the extra space up-top and along the bottom for a shoe rack along with wire or breathable fabric bins and cubbies for storing warm woolens and reusable grocery bags. Umbrellas purses and keys can be organized on hooks installed on the inside of the door, or nested along with wallets and sunglasses inside a dedicated mid-level drawer.
Getting away from “traditional” closet thinking is also a benefit. Most clothes closets, even walk-ins, that come in a new home consist of an eye-level hanging bar with a shelf above and empty space below. This design creates a tremendous waste of space! Rethink this by installing 2 hanging bars, one above the other. Move the hanging bar for short things like shirts and skirts down, opening more space above for jackets, tunics and pants. Get footwear off the floor and organized into custom shelves or racks. Doing so keeps your closet uncluttered and easy to keep clean. Readily used articles such as workout wear, belts and bags can be organized into easy-accessible shelves, drawers and pull out bins. Everything you use most should be in easy reach and uncrowded.
A Move to Modular
Modern closet systems are modular, allowing you to combine hanging spaces, bins, drawers, and shelves as needed. Many will allow you to re-arrange the components if the need arises, but it is best to map out how much space you need for each type of storage and buy just what you need to get started. Modular closet systems are especially ideal for kids’ rooms as they allow for easy adjustments to be made to features such as rod height, and bins for toys as kids grow and their needs change.
Getting the Right Look
Materials are also important. Shelving can be had in wood, plastic laminated wood, hollow plastic, and vinyl coated wire. Each has its own look and its own benefits and drawbacks. Finished wooden shelving and drawers look elegant. Vinyl coated wood is easy to clean. Wire shelving and drawers allows dust and debris to fall through to reduce the need for regular dusting and are excellent for storing articles such as cleaning supplies, pantry items, woolen sweaters, scarves and hats. Blow-molded shelving is strong but light weight.
Look at what is available in each style and find a product that will address all your needs within that product line so you don’t end up mixing products and looks. Also keep in mind the uses and locations. Drawers and shoe bins that will be down low are fine in a heavy wooden construction, but off-season clothes stored up by the ceiling are less cumbersome in plastic or fabric bins because of the reduced weight.
What about the door? If you revamp the interior to be elegant and efficient, is the door now frumpy? Consider an upgrade here too. Louvered doors allow for easy transfer of climate-controlled air so the closet doesn’t get cold in winter and stuffy in summer. Clean front modern bifold doors , plantation style louvered bifold doors, or even industrial-modern sliding doors are ideal for smaller closets. Lastly, the style possibilities are endless when it comes to cabinet fronts and hardware options for applying finishing touches to the walk-in closet of your dreams!
Can You See It?
Finally, don’t forget to consider lighting. Do you have adequate lighting for being able to see what you have in each closet? How about in the evening? In a clothes closet, high-kelvin Battery Powered LED lighting will show true colors better than incandescent or florescent bulbs and reduce energy consumption and heat dispersal. In-closet lighting comes in extra handy when one person rises earlier than their partner, allowing them to dress without waking the other.
If you choose electric-powered lighting versus battery operated LEDs, completely rewiring a section of your home is not needed. Fixtures and decorative wire channels can be surface mounted to avoid the need to fish wires through ceilings or walls. If you don’t have an electrician do this work, at least have one inspect it before you make the final connection to a switch.
Maintain Closet Zen
Once you’ve completed your closet makeover, make cleaning and organizing your closets a habit. Doing so will make looking for an outfit more like “shopping from your closet” because everything you already have will be properly showcased and easily accessible.