Best Closet Organizer to install yourself

mitzibarnesMarch 12, 2005

Which closet organizer is your favorite. We will install it ourselves, and have 4 closets to organize, I would appreciate your suggestions and thanks ahead of time!

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I love the new system at Home Depot. You screw the top rail into the studs. Then you hang these vertical pieces that come in a big selection of lengths. Then install the shelves with brackets.

Here is my playroom closet that I did with this system. The great advantage is that except for the top rail, nothing else is screwed into the walls. So you can change the closet around as your needs change!

Also - I can install them myself with a rechargable screwdriver. Easy! Just do some planning, and measuring, have HD or Lowes cut the shelves to length for you, and you are set.

Here is a link that might be useful: toy closet

    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 10:28AM
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That "screw the top rail into the studs, then hang the vertical pieces (standards, is the industry name)" is common for lots of different brands--Elfa, ClosetMaid, Easy Closets. They all seem to work well.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 1:14PM
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I got mine at Lowes - same style as Karen and Talley Sue mention - versatile - you can really design your own closet with them. I did one closet with separately bought pieces, but with the second one I saved money by buying a kit.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 1:18PM
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Are the pieces interchangeable among brands? We bought a wire-shelf system once; when we wanted to match it in other closets, we found very few people carried that brand and that it would be expensive to buy the same brand again just to keep everything looking similar. I'd vote for a brand you can buy in more than one place.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 1:49PM
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No, Steve, they are not always interchangeable among brands.

I have standards on my walls that will only work w/ the shelf brackets I can get from one hardware store in my area. It *looks* like I ought to be able to use Closet Maid's, but the spacing isn't the same, in several directions and they will NOT work.

So I agree w/ you, get a brand you can buy in more than one place, and in places you can get to easily.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 3:17PM
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The Ikea closet system is by far the best in my opinion. The PAX system looks just like the California closet stuff at 1/3 of the price.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 2:15PM
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Anyone else out there with comments on these systems? How long does it take to install?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 10:54PM
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I tried a few Millspride and a few Closetmaid. I think I prefer the Millspride so far. I just like the more solid sides over the wire/rack type. I have two cats and the solid pieces would be easier to wipe down.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 10:02AM
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I like Elfa. The wires are closer together on the shelves than on some other systems. The Container Store is having their big Elfa sale now.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 11:15AM
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I'm new to this forum, but I have to cast my vote for Millspride. We installed them in all of our clothing closets. Instead of purchasing additional shelves for the tower, my hubby bought white shelving and cut it to size at a much more reasonable cost. My DH is not a DIY-er, and he installed them with no incidents at all.

They are available at Home Depot, and we paid less than $100 each for them.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 11:51AM
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I mentioned this on an other thread today ( xxxxx ), but it bears repeating here.

There's a magazine on the newsstands right now from the Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications called "Simply Perfect Storage" (but the "simply perfect" is really really tiny--so look for the big word "Storage") that has a big chart of all those closet systems--price comparisons, notes on how easy they are to put up yourself.

I thought it was a useful idea (though I wonder what they had to edit out for space), and was surprised how much they can all cost--but when you think about it, they aren't that simple a thing to manufacture.

One thing they specifically mention is how easy it is to put up yourself. Several were labeled "easy to DIY."

Here is a link that might be useful: This is a earlier issue; the logo is the same, but the issue you want has lots of green on the cover

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 1:38PM
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tally sue, I'm so glad you referred back to this thread. I went ahead and ordered the stosrage issue, just for the closet system comparison.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 11:57PM
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Thinking about the closet systems which hang from the horizontal frame mounted to the wall like Elfa....Are there any which aren't just open wire? Was thinking about putting in some w/ closed door shelving and solid drawers rather than wire. Mostly I'm trying to cut down on the build up of dust on things. This seems to happen w/ some of the items which sit on the shelves in our current 'wire' closet system and aren't moved much throughout the year. (Probably means I should consider purging them, doesn't it....heehee)

Thank you for any info you have.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 4:25PM
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Hi, Kim,

I've used the ClosetMaid laminate system from Lowe's and been very happy with it. Also used their ShelfTrack system, both at home and for clients.

The systems are easy but you can't cut corners, either in time or materials. If you use the online design tool it'll help you lay out your design and list the materials you'll need.

Here is a link that might be useful: ClosetMaid Visual Storage Planner

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 9:20AM
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When we moved to our house 13 years ago I had a carpenter working on some projects. We had him use left-over wood in our kids double closets with bi-fold doors. We kept the hanging rod on one side and the carpenter built shelves and cubbies on the other side. The cubbies were made specifically for their back packs (at mid level) and the lower cubbie was for a sleeping bag. We left a few inches at the very bottom for shoe storage.

It doesn't have the ability to change around but has been functional and a good use of left-over wood while I had the carpenter on the clock.

BTW, I am new to this forum and have been lurking at this thread for a long time.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 10:47AM
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Thank you txspice for the comment. I've used this in my daughter's 'reach-in' closet; a center stack w/ rods on either side. For our walk-in closet I was thinking about something which hangs on the wall just to free up floor space. I thought I saw it once on a home improvement show, but might be mistaken. I'll keep looking, but did appreciate your comment. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 7:05PM
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I am doing research on closet systems and really appreciate all the old threads. Yesterday we lookmed at Easy Track sold online or at orchards hardware. In the display the drawer hardware is kinda falling apart. Is there a way to upgrade? Is it just the "display" factor e.g. lots of people pulling it out.

Also any people have more feedback once they selected and put it their systems?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 11:40AM
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I'm still an Elfa fan. Our closets have held up very well. I like the open wire shelves because they don't collect dust bunnies. You can also see what's on the upper shelves from below (I'm short).

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 6:14PM
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Elfa was listed as being the easiest to assemble and sturdy.I believe Ikea was rated the worst by consumer reports new magazine.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 10:54AM
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I'm voting for Elfa, too. We are using it in our pantry and all our bedroom closets. Easy to install and change components around (we're re-using many components from our last house). For some of the wire baskets I've bought their clear or white plastic liners so little things don't slip through between the wires.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 7:12PM
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Our new house will have a small master bedroom - just room for a bed, small nightstands and a chair. All of our clothes will be in the closet/dressing room which is very good sized. I thought I wanted a lot of options in a closet system, but I'm seriously considering this Stolmen system from IKEA. (IKEA has several closet systems. The PAX is the most extensive, and probably most common.) I will have a dressing table in there, but may use this for everything else. As you can see, the only options are hanging rods, drawers, a pant hanger, and flat or tilted shelves, though there are sides & backs available for the shelves. The components can be hung at any height on the poles.

I like this system for a few reasons. The simple, modern lines appeal to me, as does the fact that it would be easy to change things around down the road. I've spent so much time and energy plotting where to store every last little thing in the new kitchen, and have no desire to go through such a detailed process with the clothes.

I'm still not sure if I want to keep folded things on open shelves or inside drawers. They seem more accessible on the shelves, but I worry about dust. I'm not sure this is a valid concern. I don't worry about dust on things that hang in my closet for ages without being worn. Wire shelves are said to be better because more dust would settle to the floor, not the shelf. But I like the look of solid shelves better. Well, I've rambled on here. Any thoughts on all this?


    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 5:15PM
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Well, I'll try the pics again. If this doesn't work, I'll attach 1 per message.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 5:28PM
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Anyone have any comments on the Stolmen system pictured above?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 8:29PM
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We have a stolman installed in one of our bedroom walk in closets. It's fantastic! The nice thing about it is that if you have an old house like we do you don't have to attach anything into the walls. The Stolman works off of poles that are height adjustable and will even work for a closet that has an uneven floor or ceiling. They provide drill points if you really want to drill into the ceiling but you really don't have to. Ours is solid as a rock.

There are two widths and two depths that you can choose from so it really work well for even a poorly shaped closet space. We plan on installing Stolman for the rest of our bedroom closets in the house. The only downside I can think of is that it takes some time to plan the layout and get a list of pieces that you need to purchase. (we did a U shaped closet so it took some time to plan it our correctly)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 4:16PM
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Thanks Waygil. :) I thought nobody was going to see this. How long have you had yours? I saw them at IKEA the other day, and the drawer unit was a bit beatup. But where it was placed in the store, it may well have been scraped by some carts.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 12:26AM
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Store displays get alot of abuse. Can you imagine how many people have touched that unit? You'll never give anywhere near the slamming and scraping it gets in a busy IKEA store.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 1:19PM
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Good point Susan. I just realized one reason I like the display in the first photo so much - one reason it looks so neat and tidy - is that nearly all the clothes are white, the same color as the units! That's never going to happen in my closet!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 6:26PM
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That, and the fact that most people have more than 6 garments hanging in their closets. :)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 8:13PM
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We have had our closet for about a year and a half now. Due to how the closet is shaped we decided not to get the drawer unit. There are two widths and two depths and the drawer only works for the deeper depth. (Although we did purchase one at first and the quality is pretty good.) We have mainly shelves and rods in the closet.

Since the Stolman is a fairly open closet system it might not be the best choice if you are concerned with how the closet will look with clothes in it. We wanted to maximize storage space while having an uncluttered closet and for that the Stolman worked great for us.

We also have an IKEA kitchen and overall we are extremely happy with the quality of their products!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 12:03PM
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andcax, are you familiar at all with IKEA's Pax wardrobe/closet system? They have all kinds of interior fittings. I don't think they have a dark door, but it would be fairly easy to buy the components without doors and have your own made.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA Pax with modern look, though not wenge

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 1:04AM
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We received a $3,000 quote from California Closets for our 7x7 walk-in closet. We searched the Internet and found Closets Central, who has the same quality but only cost half that. They ship all over the country and send complete installation instructions and hardware. We wanted something really nice and couldn't be happier. If we ever sell we can add at least 3k to our asking price a realtor friend said but we'll have to wait and see.

Here is a link that might be useful: Closets Central

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 10:59AM
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All the previous threads were quite informative. Has anyone tried closet central that Bandana is referring in previous post? The link does not work. I am also looking for a not so expensive solution for my closets.

Thanks for any tips.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 2:32AM
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Sorry for all that aren't interested, but I'm pushing this to the front because I have closets to do and that organization is very important to me. I have a great deal to do in the near future and I've done a lot of research with a great deal of disappointment. I need to know all I can about this subject.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 11:08PM
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In past, I used Mills Pride organizers from Home Depot and they worked very well and were easy to install. I did several closets by myself that were quite extensive and tons cheaper than California CLosets. I had some California CLoset stuff installed which was SOOOOO expensive...which is why I did the rest myself.

I also put together some other closet storage units for the garage which were a different brand. All I know that Mills Pride has been the easiest of anything I have ever 'built' myself.

Have four closets that are narrow with bi-fold floors. Floors are uneven...half carpet, half tile. Weird I know!

HOWEVER reading about the Stohlmen system from Ikea, it sounds like this would work with my uneven floor. IS this correct? I would do Mills Pride again, but it would mean having someone come and remove the carpet that goes halfway into the closet, install tile etc. Stohlmen sounds easier due to the uneven floor.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 10:05PM
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where can you get mills pride? i can't find them on the web.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 5:38PM
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Mills Pride is sold exclusively through Home Depot, I believe.
And I think they were renamed "Distinction."

(when you type into the browser, you get redirected to "Distinctions Cabinetry"

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 11:02PM
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Millspride anything is PARTICLE BOARD , weak & not worth wasting your time using unless you are a student & this is a 1 year only closet. You won't use the particle board more than 6 months even when you drill it into the studs. Millspride used to make Cabinets too @ Home Depot. They were so "cheap" the contracters wouldn't install them, because it would mean a CALLBACK. So HD dropped there cabinet line. If you want simple organization where your clothes are the headliners then get the wire rack system from Rubbermaid. Will last 10+ years and it is metal not flimsy particle board. If you want something fancier then that hire a contractor to make you a closet using real wood and Metal dowels for your racks, The result will outlast your lifetime. If you must have a kit then make sure your kit is composed of at least 3/4" wood and that it goes all the way to the floor; so it is floor standing as well as wall hung.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 9:47PM
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I see this started years ago, but still going so I'm going to assume that there's still an interest. When we first moved into our home my hubby and I were in a hurry to get a closet up just to get our clothes off the rolling racks so we used whatever system HoDe had at the time in the coated wire line. We followed the directions to a T except maybe a time or two we over did it when attaching the hooks that held the system to the walls. It should have held forever. It didn't. One day I was bringing clothes in from the laundry room across the hall. All was fine when I left to get more clothes. When I came back one whole side of clothes was on the floor. Holes from one end of the closet to the other. Made me sick! We were a bit concerned when we installed it because it was all done with anchors which were part of the hooks to hang the shelves. No way to attach it to studs. We should have listened to our gut.
We took detailed measurements and went looking for a better system. They all were outragously priced in my opinion for what they were made of, so I talked my hubby into letting me draw up plans and us to build it ourselves. This is what we did......
Closet before even first system was installed.

Hubby's side before the end shelves for our shoes was finished. And my side before I dusted and the last of the trim was added.
    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 10:26PM
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Very nice!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 8:18AM
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Trying to decide between a Whalen Closet system or an Easy Track. Any thoughts about these options?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 2:47PM
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I always love to deal with the Martha living @ Home depot systems for organizing my bedroom closet. Recently I tried this corner shelf and it was perfect to keep my stuffs around the corners

Even I have tried with the closet organization of Organized Interiors. They are classy and are pretty cool to deal with.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 3:18AM
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There is always a way to attach something to studs. If you are going to attach it with a drywall anchor, it can be attached to the studs.

You may have to second-guess the instructions, or they may not go into this detail (they usually leave it to you to figure out how to attach it in your own house), but all you need is a stud finder and some good long screws.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 9:14PM
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Yesterday I installed an EasyCloset organizer. We are doing a remodel and I had my contractor install the track to studs & I did the rest. It took time but was easy and results are awesome. I'd suggest getting someone to help with track of your nervous & doing rest yourself.

Here is a link that might be useful: EasyClosets

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 2:38PM
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Bumping to hear if there's anything new out there....

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:52AM
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We used Cedar Closet Systems from We didn't need a complicated setup. We also didn't want wire shelves. This system has ventilated shelving or solid boards. It smells and looks nice, the price was good, and assembly was relatively easy.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 3:50PM
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Elfa, hands-down. Container Store has free design service, presorts your order for store pickup (they'll even load your car).
and when it's in, it's rock-solid. The hanger rods let the hangers slide. It's modular, easy to install, strong and versatile.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 2:49PM
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We ended up not getting Elfa in our last apt because the 3" increments would not have maximized the space in one closet that was oddly-shaped. We also preferred the more finished-looking CA Closet-type systems. We ended up getting Easy Closets, which was a great compromise. It is fully customizable and with a coupon, priced out the same as regular price Elfa. It looked like new after several years of use, although I wonder if it would have held up so well in a pantry. I have not seen CA Closets in person, but I'm guessing it looks nicer than EC, although we had no complaints about the look of EC. Back then, CA Closets quoted us double the cost of EC. We recently moved and wanting to go "higher end," we called CA Closets again. Their quote for our walk-in closet of 17' linear feet came out to an eye-watering $7K. I priced out one of the smaller closets and once again, CA Closets came out double (actually, more than double) than EC.

One benefit of custom closet makers such as CA Closets is that the work is considered a "capital improvement," meaning you can add it to the cost of your home when computing taxable gain on sale. Also means no sales tax. Easy Closets charges sales tax (at least in NY), which in reverse logic tells me that it is not considered a capital improvement, but I'm not 100% sure on this.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:36PM
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Well.....homeowners can call pretty much any additions to their home a "capital improvement", but it doesn't mean a buyer will find value in it and want to pay for it. Like kitchens and bath remodels, closet systems probably have a pretty good ROI, but no one should expect to get dollar for dollar back for any improvement when it comes time to sell.

1 Like    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:39AM
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I am currently looking for a master closet system. Easy Closets is about 2300 and California Closets is about 5300. There is something sort of in between I don't see mentioned in this thread called Closet Organizers USA. They might have deeper drawers (back to front not tall). Not sure of any other differences. Their price is about 3300. I have no way to compare the quality of the products other than to ask if anyone has first hand knowledge. I am not going to go with California, but would like to point out that their cost also covers installation. We can do it ourselves.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2015 at 9:49PM
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