Getting organized is often at the top of everyone’s wish list—and it’s no surprise that one of the biggest organizing challenges are closets. From basements to bedrooms, pantries to playrooms and family rooms to foyers, the storage that closets provide is both a blessing and a curse. Having your closet professionally redesigned is a wonderful way to maximize space and create sturdy results. However, not everyone has the budget for that type of home improvement, so here are a few tips to maximize your closet space.
The hang up: A quick fix that makes a tremendous difference with clothing is hanger overhaul. Despite your best intentions, the mismatching of hangers often leads to clothes getting pushed and pulled in various directions and, inevitably, different shapes lead to gaps or wasted space. Donate or recycle your old hangers and make a big difference by replacing them with velvet slim hangers that are available at stores and online.
Top-shelf terror: You try to be smart by storing purses and bags on the top shelf of your closet, but every time you pull on one, you have an avalanche. Sound familiar? Try clear shelf dividers. These inexpensive and easy-to-install solutions slip onto the shelf and create a wall that keeps stored items separated.
Understanding cubism: Professional closets usually contain a cube system for storing smaller items. Consider building these yourself out of mesh squares that clip together to form cubes in any configuration you like. Use these at the bottom of your closet for shoes or along the side for storing stackables like sweaters.
Over: Many clients have had success with sturdy over-the-door shoe racks. Don’t think of the flimsy pocket ones that tear and can only fit a flip-flop. These industrial-strength organizers hold up to 36 pairs of shoes and can even accommodate heels.
Under: Under-the-bed shoe organizers can be perfect for seasonal shoes and seriously reduce closet clutter. Be sure to buy one that has a zip cover to provide protection against dust.
In between: If your closet has the space, slanted shoe shelves are the perfect solution, making as many as 50 pairs of shoes easy to see and grab. Some are even available on wheels, so you can roll them out of your closet.
Push: Shoving cans and jars into your pantry after shopping is a time saver, but finding those items later is a time waster. Can dispensers are great for soups, vegetables and beverages—and help keep you organized as you load new cans from the back to push older items to the front.
Pull: Pull-out pantry shelves are fantastic, but they’re expensive to install. For the same effect, try pull-out bins and drawers that can be installed right onto the shelf.
Rubbermaid makes slide and stack baskets that can do the job.
Grab: Sometimes, you have to go back to basics and stick with what’s tried and true. The lazy Susan is one such product. Rotating bath caddies are great, too. With so many modern variations, this turn-and-grab solution makes items like spices, small cosmetics and toiletries easily accessible.
Tina O’Keeffe is a professional organizer at Stow & Behold (www.stowandbehold.com), where her slogan is “Believe in the power of organizing.”