how many inches clearance above stored items on shelf?

illinigirlApril 8, 2014

I am new to this forum- but I post over on some of the others quite a bit. I am in the "designing my closets" phase of home building. My question is about clearance between shelves.

Example: If my vacuum cleaner is 44" tall, how tall should the space be to fit the vacuum in comfortably? Does 48" give enough clearance or should it be higher to give more wiggle room for getting it in and out of the space?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you can get straight in front of the space, 48 should be plenty.

Make the shelves adjustable!

When you have to reach up, or down, it's helpful to have a bit extra so you can tilt the object as you withdraw it.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do you have to lift it over anything?

And different vacuums might have different tolerances; can you try it out somehow? Taping a piece of newspaper across the area? Or maybe just stretch masking tape between some supports at the height you're testing.

But the lovely thing would be if the shelf is adjustable, as lazygardens suggests.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 4:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thank you! The shelves are being trimmed out by our carpenters so they will not be adjustable with the materials they work with. I settled on 51" height. It will not have to be lifted over anything and I will have access directly in front of it.

good idea about taping an area off to try it out. I will most certainly do that!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 8:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm in the same process. I'm trying to fit a desperately needed broom/linen/kitchen overflow closet into an awkward area of our small and awkward living room.

I have an 11'3" wide wall with an off-center window on the "back side" of the front door. It's too displaced by the walkway to be part of the livingroom, and too large of a space to waste.

I taped out the broom closet area. It's 51" wide, 27" deep, and goes up to the ceiling. It will have a half louvered bi-fold door.

I've taped off the two top shelves that are going to hold the dining table leaves, with tablecloths stored on top of them. The leaves need to be stored top-down so we fiddled with the shelf spacing to ensure we could get them in an out.

The two top shelves will have 1x2 supports on three sides and 3/4 inch plywood shelves. Just below the second shelf will be a ClosetMade adjustable wire shelf.

I spaced out room to the vacuum, flag, broom and dust mops, and an expanding pole I use to raise and lower bird feeders in the front yard tree.

The tape off to the right is the spacing for a window seat that will go from the outside of the closet, under the window, and over to the other wall.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Generally, if an item is on the floor, you can slide it right out and you don't need extra height. I think you are wise, though, to add extra height for the vacuum because in the future, you could have a taller one. For the other shelves, I've found that anything with rubber feet has to be lifted up before I can get it out. One to two inches helps. If you are going to have several items on a shelf, you want to figure out how to see what is there. Nice to get custom shelves! Enjoy!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry - to answer your main question; I left about 5" above the vacuum handle, but the shelves will be height and width adjustable. They can be full-width, 1/3-width, or 2/3 width depending on how I want to the hang shelf sections on the four uprights.

I have the same system in my linen closet. I like to have about 3" of space on top of each shelf to make it easier to get items in and out. Still, I want to use every square inch of storage space that I can.

This table leaf is 38" wide and about 6" tall, counting the apron. I will stack the seldom-used tablecloths on the top leaf, and the everyday ones on the second shelf.

There will be room for 3-4 heavy coats on the left side, and larger kitchen/canning equipment can go on the shelf above the vac.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You need *some* clearance, even if you're going to slide something straight out. I'd think a minimum would be 3".

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 2:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a rainbow vacuum cleaner. I live in a 1927 house. Storage is at a premium, and I had a tough time finding a spot for the vacuum. The closet to the garage has exactly 1/3 inch of space above the vacuum. It just slides in. My hose and want have to be taken apart, and put beside it.

Works just fine. 1/3 inch space. :)


    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 6:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just had a conversation with people today about how one could possibly measure 1/3 of an inch. It's not marked on any ruler. There are rulers that divide inches into tenths, but I've never seen one that would measure 1/3 of an inch.

It's interesting that you picked that instead of 1/4 or 1/2 or 3/8. It's not a customary proportion when speaking of inches.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 10:18PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
How do you let go of stuff that's worth money?
On the "share your success" thread, taft...
More organizing for my Mom
My Mom's apartment has cheap, inefficient kitchen cabinets....
How to get your kid (young, or young adult, or adult) to declutter
On one of the other threads (the "madwoman"...
Loved This Book!
I just (quickly!) read "The Life-Changing Magic...
Meet and Greet - Please Introduce yourself!
I don't think I've ever seen that happen on this particular...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™