Advice on 'reloading' closet

californiadreamerJune 10, 2008

Hi ~ I recently remodeled my kitchen and I am amazed at how easy it is to maintain it now that I have more storage and a place for everything. Tomorrow I get new closet systems installed in my college age son's bedroom and my bedroom. Each of us will have the left side equipped with the double-hung rods and the right side with shelving. The closets are a little more than 6 feet across. From the mock-ups, it looks like there will be a little floor storage, 5 shelves that go half way across on the right and one shelf at the top that will go all the way across. Any advice you can give me on how I should organize my items will be much appreciated. I will be de-clutting clothing as I go along!! Thanks much!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

From what I heard... you should have decluttered and figured out your needed configuration before you order the closet!

How you organize depends on what you have and need.
I have sweaters because I live in snow country.. you may not.
I am not a shoe collector... you may be.
Do you hang t-shirts or fold them?
Are jeans going in the closet, or do you have them in a dresser?
etc., etc.

It really depends on you, what you have and how you like to store it.....

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 6:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree w/the last poster. Organized closets won't do much good if you hang most things and don't fold, such as t-shirts and such. I recently did my own to my specific specifications. Do you need baskets instead for socks instead of shelves for shirts??

We hang all t-shirts, but we fold all jeans. I grew up hanging those, so you really need to make sure you will have organization for the way you live, just as in any other room, otherwise it won't do any good.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You are both right - I am new to this board and didn't do my homework before meeting with the closet company. I think the configuration will work well for my son's closet. I may have to rethink how I store my items and, come to think of it, will probably need to buy some baskets for my son's closet. Oh well, I can probably find them somewhere else that would be less expensive than this company! This may really force me to make those decisions about what I don't really need to keep.

Do you know if there are pictures on this site somewhere that people have posted their organized closets?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Might be... but photos of other people's storage won't help you with what you have. They have different stuff, different sized closets and different shelving/rods than you do.

You will just have to figure out how to put your stuff into what you bought.

Sorry to be negative... but you did go about this backwards! It would have been better to let us know what you have, how you like is stored, how much cubic feet you have... and then ask for suggestions for configurations.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 12:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, I agree I should have come here first, but I was busy in the kitchen forum and found this site after I had ordered my closet system. :-( I just felt that seeing how other people stored their items might give me some new ideas that I could work with instead of the ones I've stuck to since childhood.

If nothing else, if it doesn't work, it'll definitely force me to declutter more and get very creative. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 2:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One thing about those closest systems: some of them are very adaptable. You can buy more or different shelves, drawers, hanging sections, etc.

I don't have any pics that would help you at all, I'm sorry to say.

For one thing, my closests are all a MESS.

For another, they all have weird jerry-rigged shelves, etc., leftover from the last owner.

Re the hanging/folding issue: You can *change* how you do this to fit your space, if you're so inclined. (bcs, as you point out, just because you're stuck w/ something since childhood doesn't mean it's the only way, or even the most useful)

There's no one right way.
For example, AnnEllis wrote: "We hang all t-shirts, but we fold all jeans."
That's the opposite of what I've always done.
(well, wait, maybe it's "right" not to hang heavy sweaters that stretch out, but even then, you can if you want)
So, here's my helpful (?) advice:

stay light on your feet

what I mean is, don't think you have to have the right answer NOW. Start by putting stuff in there. (I don't have to say anything about *which* stuff, bcs you will have already purged)

Then, see how it goes. Find that you're always reaching way up for stuff? Move that stuff down.

Decide you hate hanging T-shirts? figure out where to stash them folded.

Don't have anywhere to put the bathrobe? Oops, forgot hooks--get one to put up.

That sort of stuff.

(don't worry about what order you did this; unlike the kitchens forum, nobody here is really going to Photoshop up a closet diagram for you. We're much better at hearing of the problem, then brainstorming solutions).

A few weird thoughts about closets:
-I've discovered I do NOT like storing shoes on the floor. Too much bending over for something I wear every day. And I have to bend over to put them on my feet; I don't want to do it twice. I store them either on a shelf about waist level or higher, or I put them in a hanging bag on the back of the door.

-when you have a left side and a right side and a gap in the middle, it's sort of important not to try to put too much stuff in the gap. A "galley" closet is actually more effective than a U-shaped one (kitchen terminology!!). But you will have a hard time letting that space go to waste. (a shoe back would go GREAT here!)

-I know people love the double rods, but sometimes those annoy me (I lik ell my clothes to be highe rthan waist level; I don't want to have to look down to see what's there, or manipulate the hangers at waist level). I wouldn't put one in my current closet, bcs my current closet is sort of small, and I need to stash all sorts of bulky stuff (laundry basket, vacuum cleaner, luggage) on the floor. So the lower rod would get in my way. And of course, you need somewhere to hang tall stuff.

-in my dream closet, I won't store anything under the hanging clothes. I'll space the lower rod so the longest thing store there *just* brushes the floor.

Even though you have your...

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 4:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

talley_sue_nyc - you are the link QUEEN!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 4:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

talley_sue_nyc ~

I truly appreciate all the good advice you gave me.

I had the closet systems installed today and delayed going back to work until I could put together my son's closet, at least the first run at it. It's so nice to have a shelf for each individual item type as opposed to stuffing things into a drawer they don't fit in. I ended up putting his shoes up higher, just like you do.

I'm excited to go home and do my own closet, but mine will be more complicated because of the purging that must be done first. I love your statement that I don't have to have the answer NOW, to see what works for me and what doesn't. You are so right about that. I want to buy a few bins for things, but I need to know the right size, and in time I'll know what that is.

Oh, and I do want new hangers, and I won't need to wait on those - well, I will wait until I purge my clothing, otherwise, I'd have to take out a home equity loan to pay for the hangers! =:-O

Again, thank you so very much for your help!!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 6:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

stuffing things into a drawer they don't fit in

hey, stop knocking my clothes-organization skills!

It's fun to have a new space, and I bet you'll really enjoy making your closet work.

I do find that I end up moving stuff around before I end up w/ a plan that puts stuff both where it will fit AND where it's appropriately easy/hard to get to.

I got a new purse/wallet setup, and I have shifted coin storage once already, and may actually shift it yet again.

When you're picking bins, you'll want to worry about what fits *in* them (in other words, how big of one do you need? how many sweaters, scarves, whatever) and how many of them will fit on a shelf.

Did you get the closet setup that can use drawers? I'm finding I like drawers as a sort of "cubbyhole"--small, not a lot fits, so it's "open and get" instead of "open, rummage, lift, get, set other items back in."

The Container Store has some nice canvas bins, as well as other styles, in different sizes.

One thing to consider is having different size bins on different shelves (w/ different shelf spacing). Smaller ones for scarves, bigger one for sweater, medium for painting/gardening/grubby clothes, etc.

If all else fails, before you take out a HELOC, you *can* simply use cardboard boxes (copier paper size, shoe box, etc.). That might be a good transition strategy.

For big ones, I love this faux leather tote/bin (BedBath&Beyond has them too), but they really will mean a HELOC.

I've seen inexpensive opaque ones in an off-brand at Target that I've been happy w/ (if they still have them).

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 8:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

talley_sue_nyc ~

I think I just lost an hour of my life on the bedbath&beyond site...LOL!

I don't have the ability to add drawers, but I love the idea of the bins. I can use those in my son's closet for his socks especially. I think I want to leave his shorts and shirts on the shelves so that they are easy to grab and go, or, more importantly, grab and put away!

I purged so much in my closet and feel so good about it. I have 3 big containers of clothing to donate. My clothes are so easy to see now, too. Before I had the 5 layer clothing hangers, so seeing all my clothes and getting to them wasn't easy.

I can see I will be rearranging the shelves as time goes on and I will definitely keep in mind not wastng air space, and the different sized bins/shelf spacing, etc.

I think this forum is going to be my new favorite site as I work my way through the house. Thank you for making it so welcoming!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 1:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are lots of books just on closet styles and organization, with loads of photos. If you have them in your library or big bookstores, you can browse them for free.

Of course it doesn't change what your needs are, but I've gotten lots of good ideas from looking at such pictures, because there are storage ideas and gadgets I would never have thought of; it helps you identify the "look" that looks best to you--so you can enjoy not only the use, but the visual of opening the door and liking how things look; and also, you can often identify concepts that you just know won't work for you,and maybe not anyone; that is, sometimes they LOOK good and tidy, and maybe feature some cute boxes or bins, but you can immediately see that they're impractical, but it made a great photo (form over function); I like to get a good laugh over those.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 10:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think I just lost an hour of my life on the bedbath&beyond site

No, you invested it!
Shopping is research.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 10:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't have the ability to add drawers, but I love the idea of the bins.

Bins, as i'm sure already know, can become drawers.

I love the idea of drawers/bins for socks & underwear--bcs then you could skip folding them!!

In some instances, I'd place a shelf immediately above the bins, so they would seem much like drawers; in the case of socks & underwear, though, I would *want* some headroom so's I could reach in and rummage around without having to pull the bin out.

(a bin for white socks, and a bin for dark? that would make me happy in my sock drawer)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So much great food for thought. I like the suggestion of browsing the decorating books to get some additional ideas! The "look" of the closet is important to me, even to the degree of having matching hangers. I have a chest of drawers in my room to store socks, bras, etc., but the bins will be a great thing for my son who doesn't seem to have time to stay organized. The bins for the white vs. colored socks is a great idea, and one for the undies to keep them out of site will really work well for him. His socks are shot, so I think I will only buy one type of sock so that they won't even need to be rifled through to find a matching mate.

My favorite store is Chico's and I always seem to find something there I like, complete with jewelry. Any good ideas for storing necklaces? I probably have 20+.

Thanks much!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 11:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't like my shoes on the floor either. I used to store them on the shelf on a shoe rack above the closet rod which worked for me, until we added more shelving to the side of the closet. Now, they're all on slanted shelves, 3 pair to a shelf, and I can easily see the pair I'm going for. That's my favorite system to date, and since my dh didn't have any kind of ''system'' for his shoes, he adopted my former shoe shelves for his closet. It's working for him too, and eliminates the mess on the floor. I prefer to keep the floor space cleared, except for a scale that lives there, and when I sweep the bedroom floor, it's easy to hit the closet floor at the same time.

Personally, I would hate steel hangers, but I realize everyone has different preferences. (My mom also likes slick fabrics to sleep in so she can get out of bed more easily! Maybe that's why TS likes's easy to pull the clothes off the hangers.) The Ultra Slim hangers at Bed Bath and Beyond have worked very well to give me back much needed real estate in my very small closets. (I've had trouble with things falling off the hangers, so I also like the fact that clothes stay on.) My dh wasn't convinced until he moved our seasonal clothes from the basement to the closet, and finally realized how many more of my clothes he could move in one trip, compared to his. We just finished changing out the hangers in his closet so he would gain extra space as well. Before I had a dresser, I was hanging my jeans on open hangers. I particularly like these because I don't have to remove the hanger to grab my pants; I can just pull them off the open end of the hanger, which made them easier for me to use. It's working so well for me, I'm using the dresser for other ''things'' instead.

I've been trying to decide on jewelry storage as well. I have a system for earrings, but those darned necklaces are tripping me up! I decided I think I like this one as it's dual-purpose because of the mirror, yet locks for when I'm away. (I was looking for something that locks for security.) That said, I've even considered mounting cup hooks on a strip of wood to the back of my closet, which would make it easy to choose which one to pick with what I'm wearing. That would certainly be more cost effective, although I wouldn't actually mind having an almost full-length mirror in the bedroom.

Since it's your son's closet, you might think about what's easiest for him to manage...would he do better hanging or folding his clothes? Personally, I like hanging as much as I can, as I think it's easy to access. I've noticed that ''folders'' often tend to be very neat. For those of us who find that a little harder, I think hanging storage works well.

Have fun. An organized closet is a beautiful thing to behold! Keeping it that way isn't hard if you have a good system in place.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 1:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I forgot to link to the jewelry box. It's a version of one someone posted here a while ago (I'm sorry I forget who to credit for this). This one appealed to me because of the beveled mirror, because it locks and white works in room.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jewelry storage cabinet

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 2:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Lena M

I found a tie rack at a thrift shop for 60 cents, something like the one shown below. My necklaces are all glass beads or stones. I'm not sure I'd use this for my fine pearl and 20k gold strands, if I had any that is *grin*.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 2:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hanging vs. folding:

i like hanging bcs then there's no folding--take out of dryer, slip on hanger.
Of course, DH does the laundry and doesn't TAKE hangers down w/ him.

He might if I ever got around to adding the long hook I want to add, inside the closet, at the top of the door jamb, for putting the empty hangers on. He won't fish around to find the empties on the rod (and frankly, I hate it too). I just haven't gotten around to that.

Some people buy the hanger holder--the Hanga Danga (but maybe it's not made anymore?) for plastic hangers.

I put my jewelry in a organizer with see-through pockets that hangs on a hanger, on the clothes rod.

It's a tad cumbersome, but I find that I actually use the stuff now. And I can put rings, pins, etc., all in the same set of clear plastic pouches.

Do a Google search on jewelry+organizer+pockets. I found pics of them at Target, Lillian Vernon, Container Store,, all sorts of places.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 5:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gee, I may have to rethink that always folding t-shirts concept. My son's closet looks wonderful since I have just folded everything and stacked thing according to color, but...real world, it probably won't look like that for long. And he does have a lot of t-shirts, so one digging through would really cause a mess if not hung up.

Oh, I loved all the different organizer suggestions for jewelry - I particularly liked the locking mirror one, maybe during an uncontrolled impulse I might get that one! :-) My stimulus check is long gone and there is no end to things to do to make my house a home!

I'm not sure what I'll do for hangers, but I just worked about an hour and a half in my closet switching hangers so that all the wooden ones were together, all the black, etc. I really like the look so will definitely research what I want and take the plunge so that they are all the same! This was after I organized by my method of color, etc.

It's funny how we can be lax with some things and obsessive with others!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 9:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Very informative post! I like the jewelry holder ideas and the canvas bins and slim hangers. I use the open sided pants hangers now and love them.
I was glad to hear that searching on-line is considered research. I do so much of it.
Since I am just getting started purging and organizing, it was good too to have the "know what you need for storage before you buy storage containers" re-inforced. I get so anxious to just go out and buy and then make my things fit. But I know if it is the way I do things, I will not use them after awhile and my things will be out on a chair again!
Thank you for asking the question Cal dreamer.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

On the Hang vs fold- DH is a "closet clothes better not be worn and ruined or she will harm me (learned the hard way after wearing brand new clothes and working on someone's car)but anything in the drawers are fair game" I have always said dressers are logical- top drawers are for undies,next for shirts/tops, next for bottoms, etc. I fold his polo's and T's for every day length wise, sleeves in, then in thirds with logo at edge. Put in the drawer "standing on end" he can see which one he is looking for easily. clean ones just go in the front since that's the frequency they get used. Son, on the other hand, is a hang all tops and jeans are put in one of those closet hanging canvas organizers from WM. God only knows what he uses his dressers for except socks and boxers... probably school papers he "lost". would like to know if there is a man gene that makes them leave their undies in the same spot on the floor- marking their territory maybe???

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 9:30AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Best life lesson I ever learned
Best life lesson I ever learned was at 25 years old...
Are Lazy Susans useless or is it just me?
I'm in the process of revamping underutilized areas...
Missing the Garden Web Already
I feel betrayed by the sale of the Garden Web to Houzz....
I am donating like a madwoman!
In 2006, we put our home on the market, and to get...
Designing a home office! What would you include?
We are gutting our home office .... creating a his...
Becky Berend
Sponsored Products
Deep Water Outdoor Loveseat Dining Set
Grandin Road
Cedar Hanging Tie Organizer
Signature Hardware
Concepts in Wood Cherry KT613C Storage/Utility Closet - KT613C-3036-C
$226.99 | Hayneedle
Rev-A-Shelf Closet Organization Small Drawer Peg System 4DPS-2421
$46.18 | Home Depot
Monogrammed Leather Luggage Tags and Passport Holder
$125.00 | FRONTGATE
John Louis 12-inch Tie and Belt Undermount Rack
Jane Hamley Wells | JAZZ Stackable Armchair
Stratus Bowl by Maxim Lighting
$368.00 | Lumens
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™