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The SINGLE BIGGEST problem with your MESSY CLOSET you can solve RIGHT NOW

Most likely if you’re reading this we’ve never met. And I’ll bet you’ve never ‘invited me in’ to see your closet (wow – that sounds kind of personal doesn’t it?). So, you may be wondering how I think I know the SINGLE BIGGEST problem with your MESSY CLOSET if I haven’t even seen it yet?

Well – even though I’ve done thousands of closet designs while leading a Columbus Ohio based closet organization company, I know there are billions of closets out there. I’ve only seen a small percentage.  

And, though I haven’t seen yours I’m confident (sight unseen) I know the #1 problem causing your closet to be a bit messy (OK, you may be saying, a ‘bit messy’ would be a ‘P.C.’ way to put it). And I’m even crazy enough to name this problem in one word. And the single biggest problem with your messy closet is….


So, if you’re still wondering why I have the audacity to say your closet hanging is a mess, it’s not because I have some deep-seated emotional problem with hanging and hangers. Although I do hate flimsy wire hangers from the cleaners and #SnapLikeATwig bulky plastic hangers from The Dollar Store.

No, it’s because I’ve seen during thousands of closet consultations the same crazy problems with hanging. And these 3 ‘pain in the closet’ problems are:

Problem #1 – Your closet doesn’t have enough hanging. Your stuff is packed in like sardines!

If ‘tightly packed’ doesn’t even begin to describe your hanging rods you know this problem all too well.

Problem #2 – Your closet only has one rod, one shelf and there’s no place to ‘hang’ your shoes either.

One big long rod with a shelf at the top and shoes in a big heap on the floor DOES NOT make a pretty (or effective closet) You know that… and you may be living that.   

Problem #3 – Your hanging looks so doggone messy  

Your clothes are pushed onto your rods in a random fashion. Finding something is a ‘needle-in-haystack’ experience. Your hanging leaves A LOT to be desired.

If you look at these 3 problems would you agree hanging is the #1 problem in your closet?

If you’re like most people you’re checking the ‘bad closet ballot box’ on at least 2 of the 3 problems identified above.

And while identifying the problems is easy enough, as a guy (and a closet designer) I think it’s more important to give you practical ideas to get these challenges fixed RIGHT NOW! And that’s why I want you to read the tips below. You CAN eliminate these problems (and let someone else’s closet be victimized by them). Let’s dig into the solutions to your hanging problems.

Solutions to Problem #1 – Your closet doesn’t have enough hanging. Your stuff is packed in like sardines!

If I was a bettin’ man, I’d predict 99% of those reading this article are frustrated with a lack of hanging space, and the other 1% are delusional.

As you know your wardrobe has grown with every trip to the mall and on-line shopping extravaganza. The next thing you know….voila – you wake up one day and realize your reach in or walk in closet is a disaster.

The question is how can you ‘fight back?’ How can you tame this tightly packed hanging (and closet storage) disaster? You need to begin with the 3 ‘D’s.’ And if you’re not sure what the 3 D’s are, I’ll share them now.


‘D’ #1 – Declutter

I’ll tell you if you wear 50% of the clothes hanging in your closet today, you’re exceptional. You deserve a gold star from the ‘E.C.A.’ – the Efficient Closet Association (OK, there wasn’t even enough possible members to start such a thing, if I’m being honest). When it comes to efficient closets most of us don’t even follow the 80/20 rule, but we do follow the 100/20 rule. If you’re not familiar with this rule, it’s when you wear 20% of your clothes 100% of the time. The rest of your stuff gathers dust (am I tellin’ the truth, or what?).

Decluttering with piles of clothes credit | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Home Org | #Declutter #HomeOrganization #ClosetOrganization #CustomCloset

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This means your hanging space (and closet in general) won’t get better until you start the evil task of decluttering. But how can you tackle this ‘tasty task?’ Take these steps:

Step 1) Pull everything out of the closet (yes – those walls without clothes do look ugly!).


Step 2) Organized your piles by type of garment (shirts with shirts, pants with pants, jackets with jackets etc.).


Step 3) Donate or discard 33.3333% of what you’ve got. Yes – even if you must cut one item to get the .3333% (OK – I’m just making that up). But discipline yourself to move out 1/3 of what you’ve got.

And here’s ‘the bet’ I’ll make you. If you miss even 1 of the items in the 33.3333% you donated or discarded I’ll buy you a steak dinner or some BBQ tofu ribs (and yes I DO eat those BBQ tofu ribs, and hope this doesn’t completely revoke my ‘man card’!) the next time you visit Columbus Ohio.

‘D’ #2 – Design

A H-U-G-E problem with closets is most come ‘standard’ (sarcasm intended) with virtually Z-E-R-O thought and planning. OK – I’m sorry to be harsh, but it’s true.

The original home builder ‘threw up’ (‘er bad visual) wire shelving or a rod and painted wood shelf and called it a day.

This lack of planning results in dead corners where clothes are pushed against clothes. Or you have dead space at the top and bottom. It’s a big mess. Your ‘no-design-design’ is doing you no favors. You need a ‘closet design strategy’ to eliminate these problems. To help with this, you should read 11 Dumb Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Custom Closet (or click on the image below).

Problem 1 design - 11 Dumb Mistakes to Avoid Designing a Custom Closet System | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Home Org | #ClosetMistakes #DesigningCloset #ClosetSystem

I’ve had 48,000 plus people ‘pin’ this article, so somebody is finding it helpful to get their arms around closet design (or my Mom is spending waaaay too much time on Pinterest repining my content!).

‘D’ #3 – Drawers

One of the smartest ways to solve a hanging problem is to use less hanging. And the best way to neatly hang less – and gain space – is to add drawers for your t-shirts, leggings, and sweaters. And if you haven’t been told this before, you can get 2.5 more clothes in drawer than hanging your clothes on hangers.  

Drawers in place of hanging in a custom closet Columbus | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Home Org | #Drawers #CustomCloset #Storage #CustomStorage #StorageSolutions

Solutions to Problem #2 – Your closet only has one rod, one shelf and there’s no place to ‘hang’ your shoes.

If you don’t know why your closet was built with only has one lonely rod and shelf, I’m going to break it to you gently. OK, maybe not so gently.

The original home builder ‘cheaped-out.’

Sure, the builder checked the ‘this home has a closet’ box when they put up that ‘fancy’ (sarcasm intended) rod and wood shelf. However, they didn’t do you any favors creating an efficient and effective closet with this ‘so-called’ system.

Even though you desperately need efficiency, the ‘structure’ (‘er single rod layout) of your existing closet makes your space D.O.A. (Dead on Arrival). So, how can you fix it? Here’s 2 quick strategies:

Strategy #1 – Have a ‘mix’ of hanging

One single rod placed 66” off the floor only makes sense for your long dresses and long coats (which you likely have few of). And since you and your partner wear casual blouses, shirts, t-shirts, leggings, and jeans most of the time, your closet rod is too high to get the most of your space.

double hanging westerville ohio closet | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Home Org | #Reachincloset #closetstorage

Simply put you need double hanging (‘er one rod on top another) for your clothes. This strategy is the ‘double-mint twins’ approach to a better closet. And if you didn’t grow up in the late 80’s I’ll share below this ‘blast-from-the-past’ corny commercial for you so you can see how you can ‘double your (closet) pleasure, and double your fun’ – when you double things up (like these 2 lucky guys were able to do). 

Strategy #2 – Get your shoes off the floor

After you’ve improved your amount of hanging with strategy #1, you’ll then have the opportunity to get your shoes off the floor with shoe shelving. With your shoes NOT in a jumbled mess on the floor, you’ll be able to find both shoes and STOP frantically BEING IN SEARCH OF the other shoe when trying to get out the door and not be late for work.

shoe shelving dublin ohio custom closet | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Home Org | #ShoeStorage #CustomCloset #StorageSolutions #ShelvingStorage

Solution to problem #3 – Your hanging looks so doggone messy  

Since you’re not a professional closet designer (and you likely don’t play Jay Pritchett from Modern Family on TV either), I’m going to tell you professionally designed closets have 3 key elements. They are….

  • Hanging
  • Shelves
  • Drawers

And guess which one looks the UGLIEST?

If you guessed hanging, you’re the lucky winner (I’m not sure what you’ve won, but you’re still the winner).

You have mish-mosh of hangers. Your clothes are packed in tighter than a drum. It’s a mess.

But here’s the good thing. I’m going to give you 4 simple and cheap (and 1 hard and expensive) idea for your hanging clothes kick up their looks more than a notch or two.


The 4 simple ideas

Simple idea #1 – Use the same hangers (and NOT the ugly wire ones from the dry cleaners)

Mismatched hangers make a closet look disorganized. I love the slim (yet sturdy) velvet ones best. Shy away from big, bulky wood or plastic hangers. They take up too much doggone room.

black velvet hangers in short north columbus ohio closet | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate home org | #HangingStorage #CustomCloset #HomeOrganization #StorageSolutions

Simple idea #2 – Group garments together

Put pants with pants, blouses with blouses, jackets with jackets. It’s neater and simpler to find what you’re looking for.

Simple idea #3 – Stack more, hang less

Nobody likes ‘hanger bumps’ permanently embedded in their sweaters and sweatshirts (and it’s bad for your sweaters also). Get a neater closet (with more stuff in the same space) using shelves for your sweaters and jeans.  

closet shelving with sweaters vs. hanging columbus | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Home Org | #CustomCloset #Shelving #ShoeStorage

Simple idea #4 – Color coordinate (assuming you’re not color-blind)

Take simple idea #2 a step further and color coordinate from white through black. Sure – it’s a bit OCD – but it’s also a smart way to find what you’re looking for quickly.

color coordinate clothes in closet credit  | Innovate Home Org | Innovate Building Solutions | #CustomStorage #OrganizeStorage #customcloset

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One hard and expensive idea – Put doors on your hanging sections

OK – if you’re ‘hanging out’ (bad closet pun intended) in the high- rent district, and you have a big closet, then putting doors over your hanging spaces is ultra-chic and keeps your clutter hidden. I’m sure you ‘tiny closet people’ out there are saying, “Wouldn’t that be cool….in my dreams…”

How can me and my team help you next?

At the beginning of this article I made the bold claim your single biggest closet problem was hanging space. So, now I need to ask you this about hanging being your #1 problem

Did I nail it, or am I full of it?

And you know what, even if I didn’t nail it, I’ll bet if your hanging was being graded by your kid’s elementary school teacher, it would get an N.I. (for Needs Improvement).

However, this hanging problem doesn’t need to be your problem.

Act on the tips above. Or if you don’t want to figure out your closet on your own (and you live in Columbus Ohio) me and my team would love to help. Call us at 614-545-6888. Click here for a Free 3D closet design. If you don’t live in Central Ohio, never fear, my friends at the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals are here would be glad to help you.

The best of success to you in ‘straightening-out’ (bad closet pun intended) your closet hanging space.

Thanks for reading (and putting up with my humor).


If you’d like more information on closet organization, a wardrobe closet in Columbus and interior design (with a little wackiness thrown in along the way) follow me on LinkedIn @MikeFotiLinkedIn (and you might even ‘like’ me better on LinkedIn because you’ll get more of the ‘buttoned-up’ business guy version of me there!).

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.

Comments (2)

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    Your true care and wisdom to your craft shines through. I see your true purpose. Blessinings…. (too bad you are not in NY) (Orchard Park NY that is.)


    • Avatar

      Mike Foti


      Leah – thanks for reading my blog. If you’re looking for a professional in your market to help you, you might want to check out the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals. – Mike


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