Everyone can use more closet space, but taking an existing area and making it organized is more about using it wisely than devoting a whole second room to be the new closet. Essentially, an organized closet requires more bins, more shelves, and more racks.
What to Know Before You Shop
Know the experience level and hand tools required for the planned design of the closet. This article includes a list of the bare minimum requirements. If short on skill or time, consider buying a custom closet kit or purchasing different portions of a kit to make up the finished product. Most home stores sell DIY kits that include everything necessary for this project, and several offer a customization and installation service; however, these get more expensive with each upgrade.
Next, measure the closet space once, write it down, and then measure it again to confirm. The better fitting everything is, the better it will work and look, and the better it will stay organized.
Most closets have at least a storage shelf running the length of the closet above the tallest closet rod. If not, this is the first opportunity to create space. Install a shelf 4-6" above the closet rod. Test that a hanger can be easily placed on and removed from the rod before completing the final installation steps for the shelf. Because it will be high up, consider using the shelf for items that are not needed on a daily basis, such as last summer's bikinis or winter gloves and hats.
Another handy spot for shelving is the very center of the closet rod. Install a narrow shelf unit that measures from the floor the closet rod shelf. The closet rod will lose about six inches of hanger space, but it is well worth it, and gaining it back will be easy with other additions. Placing the shelving unit in the center ensures items are not lost in a back corner. Also, if the closet is a shared space it is an excellent divider. Narrow bins turn this unit into a handy lingerie drawer, or leave the shelves open for sweater or shoe storage.
There are many ways to expand closet rack space. The simplest is to add more closet rods using wooden dowels and closet rod sockets. Move all short clothing items such as blouses, t-shirts, and shorter skirts to one area. It is easy to notice there is three to four feet of wasted space underneath them. Install the second closet rod below the shorter items with enough clearance so that the upper clothing items will not become tangled in the lower hangers.
Hanger extenders allow an organizer to use one hanger for multiple items, usually skirts and slacks. Two stainless steel "S" hooks and 12" of stainless steel chain will accomplish the same goal. String the chain between the two hooks and secure the hooks to the closet rod. Each chain link is now available to support one hanger. Pushing the "S" hooks together on the rod compresses the clothing. However, remember that more clothes equals more weight. Try not to overtax the closet rod. Too much weight will pull the rod sockets out of the wall. Usually, two or three of these per rod is just right.
The closet door is probably the least used storage space of all. Metal and plastic storage racks offer a temporary solution with minimal cost, but they are temporary. After a while they will start to show signs of wear and since they are not attached they can also cause damage to the door or frame. A wooden peg board is a great way to add storage without drilling several holes. Most large hardware stores and home stores sell Masonite peg board and most retailers will cut it to size with little or no charge.
Stores that sell peg board also tend to carry the hook, shelf, and bin accessories to go with them. To start off, purchase a few of each type of accessory, since it is hard to tell what will work best until it is all pieced together. After installing the pegboard rack, play with different arrangements to get the perfect and most convenient fit. The new door rack is a great place to store belts, purses, flip flops, sunglasses, ties, or anything that takes up essential drawer or shelf space. Shower curtain rings can also be used to hold multiple items on a single peg by stringing belts, beads or scarves through the ring and hanging it on the hook.