Making the Most of your Closet

Closet Flexibility

While you may have figured things to a T when you first designed your clothes closet, like a lot of people, you may now find that what worked then, is not working now. There are a variety of reasons for this phenomenon. We wear out clothes and buy new ones that don't use space the same way, we simply accumulate and end up with more than we had in the past, and styles change so that one year we're wearing mini skirts, and another year we're wearing jackets and jeans. All this means that we have to create some closet flexibility. Here's how:

First things first—get some graph paper and a tape measure. Then choose ways to group your clothes that make sense to you. This may be according to the seasons in which they're worn, by length, or by style. The next step is to measure each group you've created according to its length and width.

Existing Space

Now take a look at how you can make the most of the existing closet space. One terrific way to maximize your space is by using two rods, one above and one below. This eliminates any wasted space by giving you a way to hang jackets and skirts, for instance, one above the other, instead of side by side. This is a very good solution for a man's closet, but bear in mind that pants will have to be folded over a hanger, rather than hung lengthwise. If the closet is for women's clothes and there will be a lot of longer items like dresses and long skirts, one single rod, hung high, is what will work best.

In a standard closet, it's best to hang the upper rod at a height of 82" with the lower rod at a height of about 42". If you want to find the perfect spacing, measure your longest item, figuring in the hanger, and then add 4". If your long items tend to be used only on rare occasions, for instance evening gowns and long coats, see if you can find a different closet so that you can install double rods the whole length of your closet. In most cases, the most practical solution is found in a combination of both double and single rods. In addition, it's wise to put in some narrow shelves, one or two, for storing sweaters, accessories, or shoes.

In a child's closet, the bottom rod should be placed much lower, within the child's reach, while the upper rod can be used to store clothes that are not in season.

Shoe storage inside a closet can be accomplished in many ways. Some of the options are hanging shoe bags which hang alongside your clothes from a hanger and have pockets to hold shoes. Or, you may opt to buy a floor unit. Some really like the look and convenience of cubbyholes or slanted shelves with a ledge to keep the shoes from slipping off the shelf.

Of course, there's always the issue of clutter to consider. Look over the items in your closet. Have you worn that skirt within the past year? If the answer is negative, you really should give it away. You should be able to accumulate a decent sized pile of clothing to give away if you're intent on creating space. Sometimes it helps to have a friend on hand to help you make ruthless decisions about what's got to go.