Drawers are great for folded slacks, sweaters, lingerie, socks or jewelry. Photo courtesy of Ridgewood Closets Inc.
Keep frequently worn outfits (suits, shirts, ties and dress shoes, for example) easily accessible and in one location. Photo courtesy of Ridgewood Closets Inc.
Depending on your needs, you can also add additional storage options such as pull-out or motorized racks or specialty hangers for belts, ties and scarves. Photo courtesy of Ridgewood Closets Inc.
Create the closet of your dreams with crown and furniture base molding, as well as glass insets (frosted, antiqued, patterned or colored) in doors. Photo courtesy of Ridgewood Closets Inc.
No matter how well organized your closet is, you’ll still be frustrated if you don’t have adequate lighting inside. Photo courtesy of Ridgewood Closets Inc.
Add a luxury resort touch to your closet by incorporating antique furniture. Photo courtesy of Ridgewood Closets Inc.
3 Quick Closet Organization Tips
- Donate items you haven’t worn in the past two years, suggests Olescia Hanson, spokesperson for The Container Store and Elfa Closets. Discard mismatched hangers in favor of space-saving huggable hangers and padded hangers for delicate and hand-knit items.
- Add hooks on a far wall for items such as handbags and an over-the-door plastic organizer for your underwear and other accessories, says professional organizer Leslie Jacobs.
- Design your closet to fit your dressing style, says Paul Donohoe, founder and president of Ridgewood Closets Inc. Keep frequently worn outfits (suits, shirts, ties and dress shoes, for example) easily accessible and in one location.
Creating the Perfect Closet
From simple changes to complete overhauls, learn how to make the most out of your closet.
- by Nancy Christie
The problem closet: either you can’t get your clothes into it or you can’t find them once they are there. In either case, you know it’s time for a closet makeover.
The goal for any closet redesign is to “find a system that gives you visibility, accessibility and flexibility,” says Olescia Hanson, spokesperson for The Container Store and Elfa Closets. “Visibility means you can easily find what you are looking for, while accessibility means you can easily access the items because of how they are stored.” Flexibility is an important one because, says Hanson, “our lives change and our wardrobe changes, too.
Evaluate Your Needs
A well-organized closet includes these key areas:
- Long hang—for coats, dresses and garment bags for formal attire or seasonal attire
- Short hang—for blazers, shirts, folded pants, skirts
- Drawers—for folded slacks, sweaters, lingerie, socks, jewelry
- Shelves—for shoes on lower shelves; seasonal items or sentimental items (stored in archival storage boxes) on higher shelves
Depending on your needs, you can also add additional storage options such as pull-out or motorized racks or specialty hangers for belts, ties and scarves, concealed with fluted pilasters with capitals and plinth blocks.
Next, choose the right shelving system.
Select Your Shelving System
“Wire systems are the least expensive, least flexible and, as typically installed in new construction, have the greatest likelihood of falling off the wall,” says Paul Donohoe, founder and president of New Jersey-based Ridgewood Closets Inc. “They also have a tendency to leave waffle marks on folded garments placed on shelves.”
On the other hand, melamine board, used in most moderate and upscale closets, is “dimensionally stable, cleans easily, and looks good for a long time,” he says. Melamine comes in thicknesses ranging from one-half to three-quarter inch, with better closet installations using the thicker material.
“But if you want your closet to look like fine built-in furniture, there is nothing like real wood,” Donohoe says. “The warmth, depth of grain, and unlimited finishes possible cannot be equaled by melamine.”
Cherry is the most commonly used wood in closets, followed by maple, oak, and mahogany, while maple is the commonly used for custom paint installations. Vertical panels and shelves are typically made from veneered sheets, with solid wood used for doors, drawer faces, trim and accents, notes Donohoe.
Light up Your Space
No matter how well organized your closet is, you’ll still be frustrated if you don’t have adequate lighting inside. “I always choose fluorescent for its energy-efficient lighting that tends to outlast both incandescent and halogen,” says professional organizer Leslie Jacobs, owner of Les Is More, a professional organizing company in Connecticut. “Fluorescent fixtures can be more expensive, but the energy savings make them cost-effective in the long run.”
You can further increase the visibility in the closet by choosing lighter shades for walls. “The best choice is the person’s favorite color in a light version of it,” says Jacobs. “Or if it’s wallpaper, pick something that you would like to see every morning. Make it cheery so when you open the closet you are happy to see it.”
Open up the Access
Closets are all about accessibility and doors play a major role in either hampering or ensuring easy access.
“Always opt for single or twin hinged doors if possible,” says Donohoe. “Their only disadvantage is that they require the most space to be able to open. Bifold doors are a compromise as the second choice because they add to the return wall length when open but don’t require as much space in the room. Bypass sliding doors are the least desirable because they only allow access to half the closet at a time unless they can be pocket doors. In that case the return walls may need to be long.”
Add Some “Bells and Whistles”
Create the “closet of your dreams” with these high-end suggestions from Leslie Jacobs and Paul Donohoe:
- Upgrade the appearance with crown and furniture base molding, upgraded door handles and pulls, real wood panels, solid wood doors and drawer faces (with custom-painted, stained or glazed finishes) or glass insets (frosted, antiqued, patterned or colored) in doors.
- Increase its usability quotient with tilt-out or compartmented hampers (whites, coloreds, dry cleaners), a drop-down ironing board, pull-out or three-way “tailor” mirror or wall safe for jewelry or other valuables.
- Add a luxury resort touch with antique accessories or furniture, or even a mini-refrigerator and coffee station.
With these design improvements, you can solve your common closet problems and add some zing to your storage setup!