Moving to a new home provides a perfect opportunity to maximize closet functionality. But before you hang your first shirt or pair of pants, it is critical to design the space correctly. With these 4 simple considerations you can enjoy many years of clean, functional space.
1. Where to Start:
It all starts in the home you’re leaving. That is where the necessary purge must happen. Clothes rarely worn, jeans saved for when weight-loss goals are met or items still with tags on them should go.
It’s the “80-20 Rule”. We wear about 20 percent of our clothes and everything else just sits. This is a great time to separate the stuff you’re not wearing and donate it to your favorite charity. In general, if you haven’t worn it in over a year, you never will.
Once you have decluttered, take an inventory of your items. How many hanging clothes do you have vs how many folded? How many shoes do you keep in your closet? Do you prefer to fold your jeans or hang them? Do you like drawers in your closet or do you utilize a chest of drawers in your bedroom?
If you are a "do-it-yourselfer" and/or on a tight budget, you can find shelf and hanging rod systems at your local home improvement store for $200 to $500. Another option is to hire a reputable closet company to build a custom design for your space.
3. Design Basics:
- Hanging: For your new closet, implementing a double hanging system is imperative. Although it may seem counterintuitive, hanging pants on top and shirts on bottom when using a double hanging system makes organizational sense. Pants hang shorter and narrower than other clothing items. Therefore, hanging pants on top makes it easier to fit a shelf underneath them for folded sweaters or t-shirts and does not obstruct your view of the clothes hanging on the bottom rod.
- Shelving: In general, all shelves should be at eye level and never close to the ground. Drawers or sliding baskets can be placed close to the floor and should be used for underwear and socks. If you can’t see it, you don’t wear it. Don’t keep a sweater in a drawer. You can fit more shoes on each shelf if you alternate the direction each shoe faces (i.e., heel to toe). Be sure to measure how many shoes can fit on one shelf before committing to a standard shelf width. Note that more women’s shoes can fit on the same shelf space compared to men's shoes.
- Drawers/Baskets: Drawers or sliding baskets should be used for underwear and socks. If you can’t see it, you don’t wear it so keep sweaters and shirts on shelves rather than in a drawer.
4. Utilizing Space:
For deeper reach in closets, consider placing a hanging system on one of the side walls rather than the rear wall of the closet. On the adjoining sides, start a 14-inch deep shelf wall 28 inches from the back wall that has the end-to-end hanging poles. This allows for clothes put at the far end of the long hanging poles to still be easily reached. In most cases, you can gain two to four feet of hanging space using this design.