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11 Secrets about Closet Drawers Even Most Closet Designers Won’t Tell You

OK – I get it. If you’re like most people you’ve never had drawers in your closet so why should you start now? And that’s a good question. There’s no reason to spend money on something you won’t use.

And if there’s one thing I will do in this article is ‘be real with you.’ I have Z-E-R-O intention of ‘beating around the bush’ (or around your overstuffed closet). Closet drawers are a feature most people haven’t given much thought to. And they certainly haven’t developed a plan on how to use them effectively either.

So, let me tell you what I’m planning to do in this article. I’m going to take on this ‘double-headed’ monster. I’m going to explain why closet drawers are smart and if you do add them in your walk in closet design, how to get the biggest bang for your buck. And I’m going I’m going to present ‘my argument’ why drawers can be a godsend for your closet.

And I’ll double-down and say when used properly you’ll love them as much as this closet owner and closet designer does (and no – I don’t only love them because I make more money selling and designing with them – although I’ll fess up and tell you closet design and installation companies like mine do make money on drawers).

So, let’s stop messing around. Let’s get to the 11 secrets about closet drawers even most closet designers won’t tell you. At the end I’ll ask you if you’re convinced drawers make sense for your closet OR if you think I’m still feeling the effects of too much partying with my Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers at Carnegie-Mellon from years ago.

Secret # 1 about Closet Drawers– You need them because your partner (or spouse) IS NOT getting any less grouchy in the morning!

So – you’re rummaging through your bedroom dresser drawer at 6:00 AM. You’re turning on lights. You’re opening drawers. Then your spouse wakes up. Now you know you’re going to have to pay H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks for this!

Secret 1 closet drawers help with not waking up your spouse | Innovate Home Org | #ClosetDrawer #CustomCloset #OrganizationSystem

To describe them as grouchy in the morning might be an understatement. But when you can’t get ‘fully ready’ in your walk in closet because your jewelry, socks, and underwear are in the bedroom dresser drawer you know things aren’t going to turn out well when you wake them up.

A smart way to lick this problem is add drawers in your walk-in closet. You can shut the closet door. You’ll be able to find everything you need in the closet without turning on the light or search frantically through your bedroom dresser drawers. This will be one morning you’re not-starting-off on the wrong foot.

Secret # 2 about Closet Drawers– You need them because you can fit more in drawers than you can on hangers

Sure – Momma told you to hang up your clothes – and you listened (sometimes). But you know what Momma – and even a few closet designers don’t know? It’s you can store 2 to 2.5 more clothes (when efficiently folded a la Marie Kondo’s upright method) into drawers than you can hanging.

get more from drawers folding upright in a drawer | Innovate Home Org | #CustomStorage #Organization #StorageOrganization #TshirtDrawer

Now if you’re like – EVERYBODY – you desperately need more space in your closet. Drawers are a sound ‘tool’ to increase your storage.

Secret # 3 about Closet Drawers– You need them because there’s no other efficient place to store your bling, eyeglasses, belts, ties and scarves

Let’s face it, belts slung over the back of your walk-in closet door is a pain. And scarves haphazardly draped over your hangers is a hassle. And finding your jewelry in the bevvy of add-on organizers you’ve accumulated on your bedroom dresser won’t win you style points or help you grace the cover of House Beautiful.

Drawers become a major asset by providing an efficient system to organize bracelets, rings, necklaces or ties and scarves which are here, there, and everywhere today.

jewelry tray for better organized bracelets and necklaces in a closet drawer | Innovate Home Org | #JewleryDrawer #ClosetDrawer #ClosetDrawer #OrganizationSystem

Secret # 4 about Closet Drawers– You need them because your closet looks ‘butt-ugly’

OK – maybe I could have used more ‘flowery’ language than butt-ugly. However, I’m still thinking about ugliness and the C.U.S. scale (‘er that would be the Closet Ugliness Scale) I wrote about in an titled 10 Steps to Take the ‘Ugly’ Out of Your Closet. 

And you know what most closet designers (or at least those who want to make a sale) won’t tell you? It’s that your closet really is butt-ugly – even though many of you reading this know it is. But you may not have the strategies up your sleeve to turn it around (after all that’s why you called the closet designer to help you make a plan).

And if the closet designer is worth their weight in drawer slides, they should tell you how you’ll gain style points (and functional space) adding built in closet drawers. After all, drawers are the most beautiful element of a closet design. They’re often placed on the ‘feature wall’ (a feature wall is the most prominent wall in your closet) to show them off.

closet drawers add beauty custom closet columbus ohio | Innovate Home Org | #ClosetDrawers #CustomCloset #OrganizationSystem #MasterCloset

Secret # 5 about Closet Drawers– You need them because you’re sharing your closet with HIM…. or HER!

Battles between couples over cleanliness, organization (and I’m sure many reading this have told their spouse they live like a pig on more than one occasion) and closet space have brought even the most well-adjusted people to tears.

closet drawers keep closets neater and less fighting over space | Innovate Home Org | #ClosetSharing #CustomCloset #OrganizationSystems

Closet and cleanliness wars are real. And if you’re the Felix Ungar to his or her Oscar Madison (and for those of you who aren’t old enough to remember this analogy check out this YouTube clip from The Odd Couple TV show below for a laugh) you know seeing haphazard ‘so-called stacks’ of clothes and a crazy array of hangers which look as random as your teenage daughter’s hair color (today), this is a nails-on-a-chalkboard experience for you.  

And one smart way to minimize (or at least hide messiness) is to use drawers (and doors). At least you’ll keep the sloppiness hidden. You’ll feel calmer. You’ll have less fights.   

Secret # 6 about Closet Drawers– You can get the most out of them when you understand ‘size matters.’

Maybe this section title didn’t come out exactly as I wanted but size (meaning the width and depth of your drawers for those of you with your minds in the gutter) does matter. All drawers should not be created (or sized) equally. The amount of space on the inside makes it work beautifully …. or not. 

For example – if you’re looking to put t-shirts and leggings in a drawer, you’ll find a 24” wide drawer will work better than an 18” or 30” unit. Why you may ask? Well since folded clothes are generally 10” – 11” wide, with a 24” wide (outside dimension) built in closet drawer you can get 2 stacks of clothing side by side in one drawer. With an 18” wide drawer you’ll only get 1 ½ (and cutting your t-shirts or jeans in half is probably something you’re looking to avoid). Conversely – the 30” drawer will have wasted space (‘er 2.5 stacks of clothes just doesn’t make sense).

And now let’s look at the height of drawers. Most common drawer heights are 5”, 8” and 12”. And here’s why I’d argue you don’t want all your drawers to be the same height. If you’re storing socks in a 12” deep drawer finding the one perfect pair will be like finding a specific piece of ‘popcorn’ in a package you just received from Amazon Prime on your doorstep. It will be a pain in the butt.

different sized drawers in a custom closet design Reynoldsburg Ohio | Innovate Home Org | Columbus, OH | Dublin Closet | #CustomCloset #OrganizationCloset #Organize #CustomStorage

To get the most out of the size of your drawers you need to know what you want to store in them. Then get the right widths and depths based on what you’ll store. Small stuff like jewelry, socks and underwear are best in 5” high. Casual legging, yoga pants, t-shirts and jeans will fit best in an 8” high unit. Bulky sweaters and blankets are perfect for the 12” high drawers.

Secret # 7 about Closet Drawers– You can get the most out of them when you eliminate ‘jumble-aya’ and strategically divide them.  

In life, diversity and mixing things up is empowering and enlightening. However, when it comes to drawer organization ‘mixing things up’ is a ‘triple D’ – a doggone dumb decision.

When it comes to the inside of your drawers you need compartmentalization and structure. You need segregation, not integration. And ‘dividers’ are man (and woman’s) best friend inside your drawers.

For example, jewelry drawer trays are wonderful to separate bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. Acrylic sock and ‘drawer’ (‘er underwear) organizers are sweet when you’re looking for just the right pair which DOES NOT ride up on you!

When it comes to the inside of your drawers – plan to ‘divide and conquer’ to get rid of the ‘jumble-aya’ which IS the inside of your drawers today.

acrylic compartments in a jewelry drawer closet tray Columbus Ohio | Innovate home Org | #CustomDrawers #OrganizationSystem #StorageSystem #Drawers

Secret # 8 about Closet Drawers– You can get the most out of them when they open all the way.  

This can be a H-U-G-E source of frustration. Drawers which don’t fully extend. And what good is it to have a deep drawer if you can’t see what the heck you have in the back?

Make sure your closet drawers fully extend so you can use every inch of space.

full extension drawers custom closet New Albany Ohio | Innovate Home Org | Columbus, OH | Dublin, OH | #OrganizationSystem #CustomStorage #Drawers #SweaterDrawer

Secret # 9 about Closet Drawers– Some drawers will be ‘cheaper’ than others – and this can be a good …. OR this can be bad.  

Sure – we all love a deal. I know my wife loves to brag when she gets 40% off the 40% sale. Even though she’d admit her math skills aren’t her strong suit, when it comes to a sale – she can nail the discount to the penny!

And when it comes to buying closet drawers (and a walk in closet project in general), we’d all love to find a bargain there too. However, when you start to price closet organization systems you’ll undoubtedly see different types and quality levels of drawers. And they, obviously, come with different price tags.

And as an example, I’ll tell you you’ll find ‘built in drawers’ (which from a design and style standpoint are the nicest looking and best constructed) and ‘pull out accessory drawers’ are not the same thing (and are not priced the same either). Basically, built-in drawers have a ‘drawer front’ which can complement your cabinets in the adjoining rooms. This ‘full front’ hides the contents (and maybe, just maybe the messiness of what’s inside).

On the other hand, the pull-out accessory drawer foregoes the front to keep costs down you’ll partially see the contents of the drawer. The pull-out accessory drawer is not a bad thing, it’s just when you’re comparing walk in closet costs you need to buy what makes the most sense for you.

In addition, you’ll find the ‘guts’ (or inside) of the drawer box are made of different materials. There are wood drawer boxes with dovetail designs. They’re the highest end and strongest. Then there’s birch wood drawer boxes which are mitered together. They’re still a sharp drawer – but not as ‘luxe’ as the dovetail design. And lastly, you’ll find the inside of drawer boxes made with plastic. They can ‘do the job,’ but won’t hold up as well.

When it comes to drawer box types and quality – I’ll bring back my b-school training to you and serve up the Latin phrase – caveat emptor (which translated means ‘let the buyer beware). While cheap drawer boxes may work, they also can end up being a pain in the tuchus (OK, that’s Yiddish for rear).

Secret # 10 about Closet Drawers– You can get the most out of them when they come with a hidden ‘insurance policy’

OK – this section isn’t going to be a special insurance product pitting Jake from State Farm vs. Flo from Progressive to see who has the better deal on a closet drawer insurance plan (if there was such a thing).

Secret 9 Jake from State Farm vs. Flo from Progressive credit | Innovate Home Org | Columbus OH | #Organization #CustomStorage #OrganizationSystems #Discounts

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But I’m going to let you in on a little ‘closet drawer insurance policy’ which will save wear and tear against those drawer-slammers in your house. This insurance policy is to insist on slow close operators. They’ll not only make your closet more luxe but save your investment from unneeded abuse from the ‘door-slammers’ in your house.

Secret # 11 about Closet Drawers– You can get the peace of mind from your drawers when you ‘lock them up.’

Yes – I’ll start out here and now and tell you I’M NOT making any political references in this section.

What I’m talking about is a little discussed benefit (and feature) of closet drawers. This feature is drawer locks. You see drawer locks not only make it more time-consuming for an intruder to take your stuff – but even more practically keep your little ones from playing with your grandmothers’ heirloom necklace as if it has the same value as what you bought them during your last trip to the (magic) Dollar Store.

And here’s a bonus safety invention you may find cool. There are even closet drawer locks with NO visible hardware you see from the outside.

Locks on closets doors and drawers for safety Columbus ohio | Innovate Home Org | #ClosetDrawers #CustomCloset #LockedDrawers

BONUS! Extra Secret # 12 about Closet Drawers– You can get even get a ‘charge’ out of them

If you’re someone who HATE, HATE, HATES to see cell phones being charged on your counters, you’ll appreciate the value of keeping you (and your partner’s) charging activities out of sight.

Secret 11 drawer charging Docking Drawer | Innovate Home Org | #Organization #Drawer #ChargingDrawer

And if you thought this was impossible in closet drawers, think again. Drawer charging stations can be built into the back of your drawer. They’ll keep your counters clean. These charging stations also come in handy if you don’t want to pay big bucks moving an outlet which is (unfortunately) smack dab in the middle of where your closet drawers are going to be installed.

Ok – now that we’re at the end…I’ve got a question for you. Do you need closet drawers?

At the beginning I said I was going to ‘present my case’ to convince you why you need closet drawers – and how to get the most out of them. So, now you need to let me know how persuasive I’ve been.

Do you think closet drawers are a good idea? In the comment section below ‘let me have it’ (and yes, I’m wearing my ‘big boy pants’ right now). Let me know whether you’re ‘sold’ on drawers or not.

And now that you’ve given me your opinion, how can me and my team help you with your walk-in closet?

Like many home improvement projects it doesn’t take long to realize deciding on drawers (or planning a complete custom closet) isn’t as simple as you thought before you started digging into the details.

And while it’s my goal to educate in these articles (with a dash of ‘entertainment’ thrown in so …. hopefully…. it’s not too boring) I also understand you may not want to become the next Jay Pritchett from Modern Family and start your own closet company or ‘take on the job’ of closet designer for your own closet.

So – here’s where I’ll tell you I (and my team) would love to help you through the journey. And if you live in Central Ohio (anywhere in and around Columbus and our fantastic O-H-I-O State Buckeyes) we’d be delighted to provide a Free 3D Closet Design (either in your home or through a virtual design appointment).

And if you’d not in Columbus Ohio – and my gut is most of you reading this article are not ‘Buckeyes’ – I’d still love to help. In the comments let me know where you live. Then I’ll do my darndest to find one of my buddies (and even a guy who is this wacky as me has a few real friends – not just imaginary ones) in the closet industry to refer you to. And you can rest easy knowing they ARE NOT AS WACKY AS ME! Thank God!

Anyways, thanks for reading.


 If you’d like more information on closet organization, a custom closet with built in drawers 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 a more ‘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 (1)

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    Karen Wilson


    Thank you for sharing these ‘secrets’, Mike! Closet drawers are extremely useful. I cannot think of a better way than them to keep my bedroom more organized and immaculate.


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