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11 Features You Need to Take the Stress Out of Your Messy Closet

OK – here’s a statistic which may seem funny or a bit sexist, depending on your perspective.

According to a study done by IKEA, women with shoe racks are 7 times more likely than women without shoe racks to be on time for work.

For some people reading this, you’ll chuckle. For others you may want to punch those sexist idiots conducting this study in the face.

However, no matter what your opinion about this study is, here’s one fact I’ll share based on my experience designing thousands of closets (and it’s true whether you’re a guy or a gal) …

A closet design with the right ‘features’ will….

  • Help tame your messy closet AND

  • Help you get to work, or your kid’s recital or even your Mother-in-Law’s birthday on time AND

  • Help reduce your stress

Here’s the harsh, cruel reality about closets. Most closets are doomed from the start. Cheap wire closets the builder threw in at the last minute ARE NOT your ‘little Fre’ (as Tony Montana would say in the movie Scarface) when it comes to creating the ‘Marie-Kondo-esque’ closet you desire.

And while you can buy skads of ‘add-in’ organizers from your local Dollar Store or Container Store, you’ll still be pulling your hair out trying to find your shoes, scarves, favorite sweater…you name it.

So, how can you eliminate the stress which IS your reach in or walk in closet today?

I’ll argue you need 11 features closet designers (and just plain ‘ol smart homeowners) use to finally gain control over their messy closets. And if you have a family member (like me) who creates (just a few) stinky clothes from their daily exercise routine, you’ll want to check out Feature #8.  

Now, let’s explore the 11 stressors you HATE, HATE, HATE about your closet and 11 features you need to bury these stressors once and for all.

Stressor #1 – You can’t find the shoes you need to save your life

Stress-reducing closet feature #1– Adjustable shoe shelves

I remember laughing about it like it was yesterday (even though it happened 20 years ago). Jamie – one of our excellent office staff members at the time – in her rush to get out the door for work wore 2 different colored shoes to work (although they were the same style)!

Jamie WAS NOT happy.

However, as one of her fellow teammates we had something to tease her about FOREVER!

However, if we’re being honest about it, we realize Jamie’s challenge of finding (and then) matching shoes in her closet is a hassle soooo many people share. Your doggone ‘dogs’ (‘er shoes) are buried in the deep, dark crevices of your closet floor (under ‘bulging-at-the-seams’ clothing stuffed in above).

The good news is there’s a simple solution to this problem.

First, get the shoes off the floor where you can see them – and put them together in pairs (like they belong).

Second, make sure the shoes shelves have ‘increment holes or the ability to be adjusted. Then, when fashions change, and mid-highs give way to boots, for example, you can change your closet storage system on a dime to fit the height of your flats, pumps or boots.

feature 1 adjustable shoe shelves pataskala ohio closet | Innovate Home Org | Dublin, OH | #ColumbusClosets #ShoeStorage #Adjustableshelving #Shoestorage

Stressor #2 – You can’t see squat in your closet

Stress-reducing closet feature #2– LED lighting  

Your closet feels so depressing. With one dimly lit bulb it’s impossible to see what you’ve got. It’s a downer to HAVE TO use this space 3 or 4 times a day.

Even though most closets don’t have windows for natural light, they also DO NOT have to be depressing.

If your budget is a bit on the dainty-side adding a few rechargeable, motion-activated LED lights can be just what the CLOSET DOCTOR (if there was such a thing) ordered.

If your budget is bigger, using LED lighting built into the sides of a closet system (like you’ll see in this glamour closet done by Boutique Closets and Cabinetry below) is a smart, and super-cool idea.

Stressor #3 – You have NO PLACE to hang any more clothes  

Stress-reducing closet feature #3– Double hanging rods   

When the original home builder slapped up one lonely rod and shelf and ‘called it a closet’ they did you (and all the previous owners of your home) no favors. And when you look at your closet, it’s not hard to see dead space above your top shelf AND below your casual hanging clothes. You’d like to use these ‘dead gaps.’ However, the challenge is how to convert these ‘useless gaps’ into much needed storage?

Well – the #1 trick any closet designer who has a clue knows it’s space-effective to convert ‘single hanging’ sections into double hanging sections (assuming you have an 8’ ceiling or taller). This super-simple trick doubles hanging storage overnight (or at least the night after the closet installation company puts in your new system).

Feature 3 double hanging in a westerville ohio closet | innovate Home Org | Columbus, OH | #Storagesolutions #Doublehanging #ReachinClosets

Stressor #4 – You have to jump between your master bedroom, your closet, and a spare room just to pull together your outfit for the day   

Stress-reducing closet feature #4– Drawers in your closet   

The blouse and jeans you need for today are smooshed together in your master closet.

Your socks and underwear are in the dresser in your master bedroom.

And the fun hat to complete your look is stored on the top shelf of your guest closet.

Getting ready is a ‘round-robin’ (and the weird question I have for you is ‘was Robin really round?) activity makes your morning a HUGE stressor.

One way to put this stress in your rear-view mirror is to design a closet you can get ‘fully ready’ in (meaning everything you need is in one place). And one feature which is key to a ‘complete closet system’ is drawers.

Adding drawers in a closet gives you space for socks, underwear, pantyhose, and other small things you have no place for today with your lonely rod and single shelf which IS your closet. Plus – a bonus of drawers is if you put them on your closet ‘feature wall’ (this would be the most visible wall of the closet) they add style to the space. Imagine that!

Feature 4 drawers in a reach in closet marysville ohio | Columbus Ohio | #ClosetOrganization #StorageOptions #OrganizationSystems #ReachInCloset

Stressor #5 – Scarves, or belts or ties on the floor!

Stress-reducing closet feature #5– Retractable tie, belt, and scarf racks

It’s no fun frantically trying to find the perfect tie or scarf for your mission-critical board meeting only to find it ‘hanging out’ with the dust bunnies on the floor (after 15 minutes looking and a few ‘choice’ ‘French’ words thrown in).

And you know when you drape scarf after scarf on a hanger it’s not exactly an efficient storage system.

Feature 5 tie or scarf rack columbus ohio | Innovate Home Org | Columbus OH | #ColumbusStorage #Organization #TieRack #ScarfRack

This is where retractable tie, scarf and belt racks are a Godsend. They have individual hooks and retract into your organized closet system.

Stressor #6 – Dead corners where hanging clothes are buried behind other hanging clothes

Stress-reducing closet feature #6– A smart design which has hanging clothes adjacent to shelving  

The #1 sin in closets IMHO (at least as bad as only having one single hanging rod) is the super-stupid design where your hanging clothes butt up against more hanging clothes in the corners of closets. This ‘quote/unquote’ design creates ‘Bermuda triangle’ closet corners where your clothes descend into the world of the ‘dearly departed’ (even if you never organized a funeral for them).

They’re out of sight. Clothes buried in these corners are dead to you.

This closet design flaw doesn’t have to be your problem, but it will take one smart strategic design change.

Rid yourself of this problem by designing hanging clothes adjacent to shelving (like you’ll see in the image below). Your dead corners will be gone faster than magician David Copperfield can make The Statue of Liberty disappear (like he did in front of a live television audience in 1983).

Feature 6 solving problem of bad closet corners shelves adjascent to hanging | Innovate Home Org | #HangingClothes #ClothesHanger #StorageOptions #AdjustableShelving

Stressor #7 – Trying to ‘beat the clock’ in the morning and get yourself off to work and your kids on the bus on time  

Stress-reducing closet feature #7– A wardrobe rod to stage tomorrow’s outfit   

Do you feel like your morning routine is like an old episode of Beat the Clock (if you remember this – or if you don’t, I’ve included a video below of this ‘old, old show’ )?


You’re rushing around like a mad-man or mad-women. You’re barking at the kids to GET UP and GET READY. You know the bus is due in 3 minutes. Yikes! You can’t find your favorite sweater. The jeans which fit you just right are NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!

This morning rush-around routine is not a good test of your high blood pressure. You mutter (or swear… hopefully to yourself), there’s gotta be a better way. And the good news for you is there is (at least when it comes to your own clothes). And that better way is to ‘pre-stage’ tomorrow’s outfit tonight. Use a pull-out wardrobe rod to get in front of your day.

Feature 7 wardrobe rod worthington ohio | Innovate Home Org | #CustomStorage #Wardobe #ReachinCloset

Why start you day behind the eight ball? Pre-plan your outfit, hang it on your wardrobe rod and take some of the craziness out of your morning rush.

Stressor #8 – Even Febreze is no match for your spouses’ stinky workout clothes  

Stress-reducing closet feature #8– A pull out hamper to ‘quarantine’ dirty clothes (OK – still sprayed down occasionally with the Febreze…and no, this isn’t a paid endorsement)   

If there were times you wish your sense of smell (at least for dirty, smelly workout clothes) wasn’t so good, raise your hand?

In most closets one of the dreaded sights (and smells) is the plastic clothes hamper with dirty clothes. This ugly basket not only reminds you of how far behind you are keeping up with your life, but they also smell D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G! The challenge is what can you do about this?

Well – a smart (and stylish – believe it or not) strategy is to use a pull-down clothes hamper. They’ll hide dirty clothes from sight. They’ll keep smelly things under quarantine, without you needing a mask or getting guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.  

Feature 8 pull down hamper custom closet hilliard ohio | Innovate Home Org | Columbus ohio | #ClosetSystem #Organization #StorageOptions

Stressor #9 – Your sweaters have annoying hanger marks  

Stress-reducing closet feature #9– Add adjustable shelving     

When your co-worker started busting your hump about the ‘Dr. Spock ears’ on your sweaters, you knew something had to give. You know sweaters aren’t supposed to be hung on hangers, but your pathetic closet has given you no other choice. And while you can ‘bolt-on’ hanging cloth shelving units like you’ll see below; a sturdier more permanent approach is adjustable laminate closet shelves.

Feature 9 hanging cloth closet shelves credit | Innovate Home Org | #OrganizationSystems #StorageSystem #HangingClothes #OrganizationSystems

Image Source:

Laminate shelves come in many colors. They can be moved up and down to your hearts content. The don’t need to be repainted…. EVER!  

Feature 9 adjustable laminate custom closet shelving upper arlington ohio | Innovate Home Org #ClosetOrganization #StorageSolutions #ClosetShelving

 Stressor #10 – The jewelry ‘tree’ on your bedroom dresser keeps falling. Your necklaces are tangled and dusty  

Stress-reducing closet feature #10– A jewelry tray in your closet drawers     

In a perfect world you’d have a full-sized curio cabinet to show off your bling. However, this IS NOT realistic for the space (and budget) constrained world which is your life today. It’s not only a pain finding the right necklace or rings in the morning but blowing the dust off the ones you haven’t worn in a while is so disgusting.

A smart – yet also uber-stylish – solution to this problem is an in-drawer velvet jewelry drawer tray. With special compartments for everything, you’ll not only feel like a VIP owning one, but you’ll actually be able to find what you need as well.

Feature 10 velvet closet jewelry drawer tray Powell ohio | Innovate Home Org | #Jewlery #Storage #JewelryDrawer

Stressor #11 – Your socks, pantyhose and underwear are all ‘catawampus’ (had to throw in the world’s funniest word) in your dresser drawers   

Stress-reducing closet feature #11– In drawer organizers       

If the contents inside your dresser drawers resembles popcorn from an Amazon Prime box you pick up from your doorstep, you’re certainly not alone.

Most dresser drawers are not only too deep, but they also resemble one big, jumbled mess of stuff thrown in. Who can find ANYTHING in this over-stuffed drawer box?

A stylish way to rid yourself of this problem is to use interior drawer organizers. You can find ones made from plastic, acrylic or wood (if you want to get really fancy). These separators make it a breeze to find your favorite pair of underwear which don’t ride up!

Feature 11 clear arcylic closet drawer organizers westerville ohio | Innovate Home Org | #Dividers #ArcylicDividers #ClearDividers

Do you need help getting rid of the stress which IS your reach in or walk in closet today?

So, which of the 11 stressors above makes you want to pull your hair out the most?

What can be really challenging is when many closets have 5, 10 or even all 11 stressors built into one walk in closet and it’s hard knowing where to start first.

And if this is your challenge, ‘I’m gonna give you an offer you can’t refuse’ (as Don Vito Corleone from the Godfather would say).

If you live in Columbus Ohio, I (or a member of my team) would love to provide you with a Free 3D closet design to blow up all (or as many as your budget will allow) stressors mentioned above.

And if you don’t live in Central Ohio (where my company does business) I’d be happy to refer you to one of my closet design friends from across the country (just ask for a referral in the comments below).

Thanks for taking the time to read this article – and put up with my wacky humor. I’m looking forward to helping you,



If you’d like more information on garage, pantry, entryway or custom closet design follow me on LinkedIn @MikeFotiLinkedIn.


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 (3)

  • Avatar

    Clara Bulens


    Who would you recommend for closet design in middle Iowa. I live in Grinnell which is between Des Moines and Iowa City. Both cities are about 50-60 miles from our home.
    I love reading all of your suggestions. We are also planning to remodel our master bathroom and want to incorporate some of your suggestions.
    Thank you,
    Clara from Iowa


    • Avatar

      Mike Foti


      Clara – I’m going to check with some of my friends in my closet association to see if I can get you a recommendation. Thanks for your nice comments – Mike


  • Avatar

    Karen Wilson


    Great post, Mike! I still think that the first and the most important thing you can do to de-stress your closet is purge. You can donate or even sell wardrobe items that you no longer wear or use.


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