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Storage wars – 7 essential tips to win the battle of a his and hers closet

While it is fun to watch the reality show Storage Wars where people bid on the contents of storage lockers where the rent wasn’t paid – you may be living a “storage war” yourself. That war is the battle for space (and organization) in your his and hers master bedroom closet. Piles of sweaters, sweatshirts and sports gear thrown haphazardly on the top shelf. Shoes piled in a heap on the floor which resemble a land fill. And if you’re being honest your side of this shared walk in closet is no prize either. Too many boots and high heels on the floor. A jumbled array of scarves and belts thrown onto hangers in a crazy mess. More than your fair share of clothes jammed together you “hope” to fit into someday. All this stuff has you and your husband Bill in a constant battle for space.

How can you get the most out of your his and her closet? Is there a way to get organized without killing one another? In this article, I’ll look at 7 practical tips to actually make your walk-in closet work for both of you.

His and hers closet tip #1 – Eliminate storage gaps by adjusting the hanging space to fit your clothes   

The problem with most closets is they weren’t “designed” in the first place. The builder kept their costs low by putting in one single rod and shelf at the top. This leaves large gaps of unused storage below your clothes and often a large unused block above the upper shelf. Your closet was not designed for you – or anyone else for that matter. It was simply a cheap way for the builder to check the closet box when they built the home.

Double your storage by adding double hanging sections. These sections have an upper and lower rod in the same vertical space. You can hang your pants at the top and blouses at the bottom. Bill can have his sports shirts and slacks in one area.

Double hanging closet rod sections in a custom Columbus Ohio closet | Innovate Home Org

With an adjustable closet, you can move rods up and down depending on how long your garments are – allowing flexibility and getting more bang for your storage bucks.

His and her closet tip #2 – Determine how to divide up your sides

What makes sharing a closet nearly impossible is when your clothes and your husband’s clothes are mixed together. It can be confusing (and infuriating) if you’re the “Felix” to his “Oscar” (this Odd Couple is a throw-back for some of us).

In most cases women own longer dresses, more shoes, tall boots, and a collection of purses and hat which require more space in a his and hers closet. If you need 70% of the space, design your closet with this reality in mind. If you want to create a visual “dividing line” use a grouping of drawers to separate your area from his.

Using drawers to divide a his and hers custom closet in Columbus Ohio | Innovate Home Org

His and hers closet tip #3 – Change your hanging habits and watch space grow   

One of my favorite sayings is from Satchel Paige (the first African American pitcher for the Cleveland Indians – I’m showing my C-town pride here) who said, “It’s not what you know, it’s what you know that just ain’t so.” What people “know” about maintaining a closet is you’re supposed to hang up EVERYTHING (after all when we were kids Mom used to nag us to pick our stuff off the floor and hang them up NOW).

So, here’s what we do today. We hang up our pants by the hem. We hang up running shirts and yoga pants. We hang up sweaters (giving them those ugly little indentations at the shoulders). A lot of these hanging practices not only take up too much room – they also stretch out our clothes.

A cluttered columbus closet with too much hanging space |Before picture - Innovate Home Org

Closets with one rod and shelf along the top leave wasted space underneath clothes and along with the top shelf

Check out these 3 ideas to increase storage by decreasing the number of items you hang:

  • Idea 1 – Fold sweaters and put them on shelves (note – make sure the shelves are at least 14” deep so they don’t hang over the edge).

 

  • Idea 2 – Fold running shirts and yoga pants and store them standing up (check out the Kone Marie method to learn more about this) in drawers and get 2x the stuff in the same space.

 

  • Idea 3 – Hang pants folded over vs. by the hem to get more slacks per square foot.

His and hers closet tip #4 – Design a closet where you can get “completely” ready. Avoid the back and forth routine to the bedroom chest of drawers

Your closet is likely not equipped to get completely ready in it. Yes – you will find your skirts and blouses in the bedroom closet – but often your socks, underwear and pantyhose are in the dresser in the bedroom. Going into the bedroom to get ready forces you to turn on the light in the morning. Your partner probably isn’t exactly loving this routine (whether they tell you or not).

A simple solution is to add drawers in your master closet. Consider a 5” deep jewelry drawer at the top. Add 8” medium depth drawers for your underwear, socks and hose. Add 12” deep drawers for sweaters, blankets and sweatshirts. Drawers can make a huge difference and create a “fully functional” closet.

Eight inch high textured laminate custom closet drawers make for a stylish and efficient closet | Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

Adding drawers makes it possible to get completely ready in the closet – without having to go to the bedroom dresser

His and hers closet tip #5 – Remember rotation is not only for produce or your spinning class   

Even after adding double hanging sections, drawers and decluttering your closet you may still conclude you still have too much stuff. In this situation, you’ll need to think like your local grocer and become an advocate of rotating (your clothes in this case). Identify your “Fall/Winter” and “Spring/Summer” wardrobes. If you have a basement in your Columbus home add a storage bag with your off-season clothing. You could also use the area underneath your bed for out of season things.

Yes – moving clothes 2 times a year can be a pain – but at least it’s better than struggling everyday finding things because you have too much volume in your closet.

His and hers closet tip #6 – Don’t let Pinterest lure you into a state of closet design “La La Land”

I love the glamour closets on Pinterest. Raised shoes shelves reminiscent of a Gucci store. Expensive islands with a leathered seating. Vaulting ceilings with rolling library ladder with upper storage for hats and purses. How cool is that?

It’s fun to drool over Pinterest pics – if you have the space and budget to pull these concepts off. Closets are generally designed with an eye on aesthetics or efficiency. When you start evaluating remodeling your closet – think about these 2 key questions:

  • What is your budget? You might love a fancy custom-built wood closet – but a functional, low cost closet may be better.

 

  • What’s more important, fashion or function? A super stylish closet can have a focal display area, deluxe LED lighting, wood textured shelving, raised shoe areas, back panels and glass doors. However, it is certain to be more expensive. A functional, cost-effective closet will have flat shoes shelves, more hanging sections and a plain white laminate design. Decide what’s more important to you – fashion or function.
A white laminate Columbus closet with flat shelves for a more price and cost effective design | Innovate Home Org

This design is more efficient than using tilted (raised) shoe shelves and textured laminates

His and hers closet tip #7 – Don’t forget the “little things” for a closet you’ll both love

It’s the little things in life which make the biggest difference. A smile from your granddaughter. The smell of flowers in the spring. Watching the Ohio State Buckeyes beat Michigan (OK – maybe that’s a big thing if you live in C-bus!).

In a closet design – the tiny accessories can make your life simpler and more organized. Using a wardrobe rod to stage tomorrow’s outfit.

A pull out wardrobe rod in a custom Columbus closet makes it simple to stage tomorrow's outfit | Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

Adding a jewelry tray so your necklaces and rings aren’t mixed up. A rack for scarves and belts are nice and purposeful. These little things will make a big difference in you and your husband’s daily getting ready routine.

Conclusion

A his and hers closet doesn’t need to disintegrate into a war for storage space. A master closet can be a challenging (or a downright pain) if you and your husband don’t have a plan to make it simpler and designed to fit your needs. While you may not need all 7 tips above, look at which ones you can use to make your closet neater – and your life less stressful. Act today to improve your home, your closet and life.

How can I or my team help you? 

If you need help with a Columbus closet organizer system or would like a Free 3D closet design to see how your space can be transformed, contact Innovate Home Org in Columbus at 614-545-6888 or in Cleveland 216-658-1290.

For more information on closet organizing follow me on Twitter @Mike_Foti or my companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.


Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. Learn more about Mike

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. Learn more about Mike

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