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7 biggest gaps stopping you from an organized closet

Do you know what’s making your closet disorganized today? There are gaps in your closet system. Some of these gaps (think of gaps as holes or problems) you see, many you don’t. You may be asking, “Mike – what the are you talking about? I don’t know if I see gaps. I just see a mess.”

Let’s look at a modern-day example of one system which has closed your personal “gap” in getting quicker, better and safer travel directions. This is a gap you didn’t realize existed until you used this better system – a GPS (Global Positioning System).

The GPS vs. The Dude at the Gas Station, Your Dog-Eared Rand McNally Map or Your Personal Knowledge of where you’re going

Back in the old days when you went on a trip you either pulled out your dog-eared Rand McNally map to get directions, or told your family “I know where I’m going. There’s nothing to worry about.” You might have gloated in your mastery of the universe (or just of the town you were traveling to while the rest of the family thought, “I hope Dad doesn’t get us lost AGAIN!).”  

You thought your system of getting from one place to another was foolproof…until the following happened:

  • Until there was road construction the map didn’t show
  • Until the directions you got from the guy at the gas station got you completely lost (was it 3 lefts and one right – or 3 rights and one left?).
  • Until the street you needed wasn’t on your old map.

When GPS came out my son Grant (who was 13 at the time) would say to me, “Dad we need a GPS.” My reply to Grant was, “We already have a GPS. You are my GPS – my Grant Positioning System!” This was accompanied by an “Oh, Dad.”  

Today if you buy a luxury car (or even a not too expensive one) you expect a GPS is included in its features. Your old system (your personal GPS, old maps and the dude at the gas station) are no longer considered good ways to close the gap between where you are and where you want to go.

Is it time to close the disorganization gap which is your closet?

This brings me to your closet. Much like GPS vs. the old systems above, with a closet many times you don’t realize you need a better system to improve organization. Sometimes our organization problems are structural. It’s not just being lazy. It’s having a better way (a better system) to keep things in their place.

In this article, I’ll take you through 7 storage gaps in closets today which will show you the need and benefit of a contemporary closet system. At the end of the article let me know how many of these gaps you’ve thought about already, and which ones never dawned on you before. Ponder the frustration (just like getting lost in a car without your GPS) you can eliminate with a better system. Let’s check out the gaps and how you can get rid of them to actually enjoy your closet.  

Closet storage gap #1 – The big unused space at the top of your closet today

Most closets in older homes have a single hanging rod with one shelf on top. This shelf is usually placed 2’ from the ceiling. It’s hard to get more than 12” of folded clothes on this shelf without piles toppling over and looking bad (can you relate to this problem?).

Too much unused storage space above wire closet shelving

This huge shelving gap at the top will be very inefficient when the new homeowners move in


How to close the gap of too much space on the top shelf of the closet  

One simple way to solve this problem is to move your shelf up 12” from the ceiling. (although you’ll want to have a plan to use the 12” you’ve freed up (more about this later). This will help you effectively use this “hole” in your closet storage space.

12 inch spacing above top shelf for an efficient design in a Dublin Ohio custom closet system - Innovate Home Org

Only 12″ of spacing at the top for efficient top shelf storage

Closet storage gap #2 – Do you have a place to neatly store your shoes?  

If your shoes are buried in the deep crevices under your hanging clothes (almost) never to be found again, this is not good. Getting ready quickly in the morning is joined at the hip with your ability to find things without going into panic mode. Since closets are the ‘red-haired-stepchild’ of new homes (builders think you don’t care about closets so they use the cheapest materials and don’t think through their design) shelving for shoes is usually not part of your closet system.

How to solve the no shoe storage problem

For efficient and effective shoe storage add flat shelving (or slide out shelves if your collection is big) on the wall as you enter and exit your walk-in closet.

Flat adjustable shoe shelving at the entry of a custom Worthington Ohio closet - Innovate Home Org

Flat adjustable shoe shelves

This location is logical since you put your shoes on last and take them off first. If you want to elevate your favorite pumps to “celebrity closet” status consider raised shoe shelving.

Closet storage gap #3 – Is the depth of your closet your friend or foe?  

If you have the cheaper standard 11” to 12” deep shelves, your sweaters and husband’s sizes 14” shoes will hang off the edge. In this case your current closet system is working against your efforts for a neat space.

How to solve the closet depth problem

Look at the length of the items you want to hang, put on shelves or put inside of drawers. In the case of a single stack of folded sweaters, using 14” deep shelves will ensure they don’t hang over the edge.

14 inch shelving depth for improved storage in a columbus bedroom closet - Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

If you want hanging clothes behind closed doors for a minimalist look – you’ll want to use 24” deep sections. When selecting your depth (especially if you’re putting doors on your closet cabinetry) make sure you have enough room to open the doors and stand behind them.

Closet storage gap #4 – Figuring out what to do with the dead space under the hanging sections with your blouses and husband’s shirts  

With a single rod closet system if you look below your blouses, pants and husband’s shirts you’ll see blank spaces. These blank spaces are “gaps of opportunity” for more storage.

How to get rid of dead space under blouses and shirts

There are two simple ways you can reclaim this dead space:

  • Put in double hanging sections and get 2x the hanging space in the same area. That’s closet magic!
  • Move your hanging rod down and add 3 to 4 shelves above for more space for folded clothes.

Lower hanging closet sections with 3 shelves above for a more efficient closet design - Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

Closet storage gap #5 – I’m having a harder time matching outfits in this way-too-dark closet  

As Father Time starts rearing his ugly head (I know I resemble this remark) you can’t see as well as your kids, nieces, nephews and grandkids. The single, feeble lighting fixture at the top of your closet isn’t cutting it anymore.

How to solve closet lighting problems if you don’t have an outlet or want to call an electrician

Cost effective LED lighting is here to save the day for your closet. These systems are not complex, and you can even get motion-activated units. Position them to illuminate the side of your clothes or inside drawers. The closet below used hard-wired LED lights built into the top shelf. 

LED puck lighting built into the top closet shelf in Columbus Ohio - Innovate Home Org

Closet storage gap #6 – Don’t put up with the gaps between wire shelves

Whoever invented wire shelving must have been on something. Not only do you get nasty “shelf-lines” in sweaters and shirts, but it’s impossible to put your heels on them in any effective way. They are also not known to be the sturdiest system in the world. The gaps in wire shelves cause nothing but problems.

High heels coming through wire shelving

How to solve the wire shelving problem

The simplest approach is to get rid of wire shelves and replace them with durable laminate shelving. Since laminate shelves have no gaps (they are made as one continuous piece) you can use them for folded clothes, shoes or anything else. If you want more style choose a wood-textured option to compliment cabinetry in your adjoining bedroom or bathroom.

Adjustable laminate shelves in a custom walk in bedroom closet in Columbus Ohio - Innovate Home Org

Closet storage gap #7 – Creating the ability to get “completely ready” in your closet and solve the gap of an incomplete closet

Do you have to tip-toe back and forth from your bedroom dresser to your closet to get ready in the morning (hoping you don’t wake up your partner)? Your bedroom dresser stores your underwear, socks, pantyhose, scarves and jewelry – while your closet has your hanging and folded clothes. This problem can be solved by adding a bank. This bank doesn’t dispense any cash (bummer), but it will make getting pulled together for your day more efficient.

How to get completely ready using your closet by adding a “bank” of drawers

A fully functioning closet needs more than closet rods and shelves. You need drawers to put all the things in it doesn’t make sense to hang up or fold. Use shallow top drawers for jewelry, socks and underwear. Use mid-depth drawers for yoga pants and workout clothes (fold them standing up to get more in). Use deep drawers for your sweaters. 

Closet drawers help to provide a complete custom closet - Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio


How many of these 7 storage gaps are a problem in your old, cluttered closet today? Would a new system cut down your frustration and get rid of your clutter problems?

If you want help with a custom closet design and see a 3D version of how cool your new space could be, call us or click on the links below.


For information on a Columbus walk in closet call Innovate Home Org in Columbus at 614-545-6888 or for a Cleveland closet design 216-658-1290.

Follow the author on Twitter @Mike_Foti or our companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.


Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

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