Drawers or open shelves in closet?

liz_hAugust 26, 2006

I'm used to having all of my folded clothes in a drawer or on a shelf in a closed cabinet. I'm considering open shelves in my new closet/dressing room. I feel silly asking this, but for those of you who have used an arrangement like this, what do you like about it and what was a problem?

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I would have open shelves in a walk-in closet, over drawers in a dresser, in a heartbeat.

In a recent article in a local magazine, it showed a dressing room with open shelves, but in cubby-mode. The owner loved the idea of seeing all options at once, instead of digging through drawers - or even forgetting about what sits at the bottom of the drawers.

If you want me to mail you the article/photo, let me know.

Maura ...full of envy at your predicament. I am stuck sharing a double (non-walk-in) closet :-(

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 8:51AM
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Put a dresser inside a closet if you have room. You can do half hanging over it. Cubbies over a dresser are good; problem is that cubbies are better for purses, shoes, boots, boxes, but have you ever seen anybody assigned the job of folding sweaters at KMart? They do not look like happy campers.
I finally got clear plastic boxes and put the sweaters in the cubbies so I could pull out a whole box and rummage through. Remember the people who photograph stuff for the magazine articles that make everything look splendid are the same photographes that spray oil on the food so it looks yummy. Models have clothespins that tighten clothes in the back for photos so for all we know those lovely piles of clothing in photos are glued together.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 10:23AM
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I love shelves, hate drawers. The only exception is for underwear and socks and small personal items such as jewlrey

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 7:19PM
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If you have open shelves, you will have to be conscientious about folding things properly so items stack properly. If you tend to toss things in a closet, go for drawers.

I placed a shelving unit inside my closet. I do have to fold things "the proper way" but I like being able to see everything at once.

Another alternative is to have, say, all your T-shirts/socks/whatever in a rectangular basket on one of the shelves, so everything is categorized, kinda, but you don't have to worry how it looks and whether the stacks are falling down next to each other.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 11:26PM
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We built shelves along the back of our walk-in closet for jeans, heavy sweaters and sweatsuits. Love them. I found some shelf dividers which keep them stacked. In the linen closet I found cardboard boxes turned on end work like the dividers but were big enough to separate stacks of towels, etc. Sandy

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 3:24PM
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How about wire drawers? It seems like the best of both worlds - you can see everything, but you can pull something out without disturbing everything else in the stack.

I *love* how sweaters stacked on open shelves look. It's just pleasing to the eye. BUT, I know from shopping experiences that I am completely and totally incapable of pulling a shirt out of a stack without destroying the whole stack. Therefore open shelving is not an option for me (except for shoes, bags, etc).

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 11:21PM
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I've had open shelves and, like stated above, I could trash them in two minutes flat. I would only be willing to put ocassional use items like purses or shoes there. I'm a dumper and want drawers. I also just don't want to spend time neatening up things. While I keep my drawers fairly neat for my jeans and nightgowns, I just dump in undies and socks.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 12:49AM
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As mentioned in another post, I have converted to transparent drawer-boxes, originally designed as shoe or boot storage, they are perfect for sweatshirts, sweaters, t-shirts, sox, etc. You can see what you have and there is no moving or lifting to get what you want. Clothes are folded vertically and then rolled to fit the drawer... very little wrinkling occurs.

I've had dressser drawers, which inevitably would look like a cyclone hit within a couple days of straightening them [bah, humbug!] - and shelves were even worse for me, since the riffled stuff had a tendency to fall onto the floor and then just get stuffed back any ol' place. I've lived with the drawer-boxes for a couple years now, and wouldn't trade them for anything. If I had it to do over, the only change I would make is to start with, and use only the bigger box- I started with the smaller size which is just a bit too small for the heavy sweatshirts.

Here is a link that might be useful: drawer-boxes

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 8:03AM
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I liked the wire drawers in stacks that Elfa makes. In our last house we used 5 stacks (each about 4' tall) in our walk-in closet, 2 for me, 3 for DH. The rest of our clothes were on hangers, and the hanger rods were above the stacks so there was almost no wasted room. Longer clothes got hung where there were no stacks of wire drawers.

For some of the wire drawers we got clear liners to keep stuff from falling through, or white compartment liners to sort things into their own little compartments.

The downside was that the clothes got dusty, which we hadn't thought about. We put up custom curtians that hung just outside the stacks and also slid very easily, and that took care of the dust.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 5:17PM
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Thanks everyone. I've pondered all of your posts - several times! I guess I'm somewhere between the kind of person who keeps everything lined up perfectly and the kind who just dumps things in drawers. DH would prefer open shelves but I'm not sure how neat he'd keep them. Fortunately I have 2 or 3 weeks to decide this.

I wondered about the clothes getting dusty. Has anyone else experienced this?

Susi - is your closet or bedroom carpeted? Our house won't be and I know that keeps the dust down quite a bit.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 6:15PM
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I think dust is a fact of life, because the dust comes in with the air, and is moved around as we move. The difference is that we use a cloth or duster in the other rooms but not inside the closet, so dust landing on the clothing just accumulates. I don't have carpet on the sewing room floor, and if anything, the room and its closet are slightly less dusty because I swop with the dust mop more often than I do with the vac on the carpeting. ---I just realized that is because I can *see* the dust on the flooring while it's 'invisible' when on the carpet.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 12:22PM
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Liz H - The area that was our walk-in closet was carpeted, and had a large window (usually kept closed). It was adjacent to other areas that were tiled. Once we put up the curtains we had no more problems with dusty clothes.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 2:52AM
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Definitely drawers! I don't have a closet big enough for either, but I know that open shelves would look untidy all the time and make me crazy.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 5:08PM
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I have a combination in my closet. Some drawers, and some open shelves. I put underwear, pantyhose and socks in the drawers. Tops go on the open shelves. It seems to work for me.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 10:20AM
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I vote for open shelves. You can use plastic boxes to hold smaller items,they slide nicely and will keep it well organized.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 11:22AM
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BUT, I know from shopping experiences that I am completely and totally incapable of pulling a shirt out of a stack without destroying the whole stack.

I solved this for my DD by rolling shirts and then standing them on end, so they're always visible and nothing's on the bottom.

I know I get dust on the shoulders of the seldom-worn stuff in my closet--but I also leave the closet door open a lot, which makes it a little bit worse.

I think I'd go for the combination of open cubbyholes and drawers:
-underwear, socks, small stuff in drawers;
-open cubbies for the frequently worn T-shirts & sweaters;
-drawers for seldom-worn specialty stuff that I don't need to see to remember to wear--stuff like the three knock-around T-shirts I've got, or the two sweatshirts I own for chilly days, or the one pair of sweatpants.
-Maybe even specialty stuff like evening gowns (I own 1 of them, but wear it to weddings) can go in a drawer, if I move the other stuff out to make room. Hmmm..this is an interesting idea...

It helps a lot, w/ dust, not to own too many things!

And I agree that cubbies would be a good way to keep stuff from sliding or falling over.

You'd still have the "bottom of the stack" problem, though you could roll shirts, etc.

Or, I find that most of the stuff ont he hangers is stuff I seldom wear--so if it could go in a drawer, I could hang all my T-shirts, probably....Hmmm..

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 5:11PM
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Inspired by this thread, I moved my t-shirts from a bureau drawer into the open shelf in the closet, and the bicycling shorts from the open shelf to the drawer. The t-shirts fold nicely; I fold around a clipboard to make them all the same size. Using the clipboard to fold takes no longer than doing it by hand. The bike shorts do not fold neatly, so better they be out of sight. I think this will prove to be a better way to do things.

Jean Marie (long time lurker)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 11:56AM
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(also, those bike shorts don't need to remind you that they're there, when you're picking clothes--however, T-shirts might needs to say, "hey, remember me? you haven't worn me for a while!" The difference between utilitarian clothes and optional, when-the-mood-strikes-me ones. And my fancy dress actually counts as utilitarian, LOL!)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 5:34PM
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