Tips on Planning Closet Space

A closet is the most important storage area in any bedroom. For this reason, it’s essential that it is kept organized and tidy – maximizing space is key. In a typical bedroom, you will either have a roomy, walk-in closet, or a wide but shallow wall type. Both have their advantages. In general, people with large wardrobes prefer a walk-in closet simply because it holds more. But with good space planning and double-decker closet rods, for example, a wall closet can often accommodate the same amount of clothing. Shelves, drawers, pullout bins, and racks can make either of these closet types more space-efficient and organized.

If necessary, consider ways to enlarge your present closet, or think about where you can build a new one. Below you’ll find suggestions for temporary or movable closets, as well as instructions for constructing your own built-ins or free-standing models.

Whether you choose just to add racks and hooks to your present closet, or you decide to install a complete closet system with shelves, drawers, and rods, you’re sure to be pleased with the extra storage.

Knowing the general dimensions of items in the basic clothing categories can help you plan just how much room to allow for each article.

Shelves are probably the most versatile components in a closet system. They accommodate items in a wide variety of shapes and sizes (from 10-gallon hats to handkerchiefs). As well, they keep stored items visible and are relatively easy to install. And if you use an adjustable system of tracks and clips, or tracks and brackets, you’ll find that shelves are easily positioned at various levels.

If you’re planning to make shelves out of natural wood, fir and pine are good choices; ¾-inch plywood is best for shelves deeper than 12 inches. Particleboard, though inexpensive, sags under-weight. For shelves longer than 4 feet (3 feet if you do decide to use particleboard), be sure to add a mid-span support. This will provide structural integrity for storing heavier loads such as books and magazines.

For added interest – and convenience – use vertical dividers to form clusters of cubbyholes, or convert some of your shelves to pullouts by adding standard drawer slides and lipped edges made from 1x3s.

Adding a commercially available modular drawer system to your closet can free up floor space by eliminating the need for a bulky dresser. Constructing your own set of drawers may give you greater flexibility. The frame is built to accommodate drawers made to fit your specific dimensions. For visible storage, try a system of vinyl-coated wire bins that glide in and out on their own framework.

In updated closets, the primary space-waster – the traditional single closet rod – has given way to multiple rods, with heights determined by the type of clothing. But you need not make any major structural changes to accommodate a multilevel rod system. Simply buy an adjustable suspension bar, or make one of your own from a metal bar or wood dowel. The bar can be held in place with steel rings, S-hooks, and some lightweight chain.

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