10 Frustrating Signs You Need a Custom Closet System (with expert tips to solve these problems)
If your master closet makes you want to pull your hair out – you’re not alone! Most people do not enjoy their closet. Most people are living in a closet disaster.
And while it’s simple to complain about the train-wreck which is your closet, it’s far more difficult to know how to create a functional (and dare I say fun) closet system which will work for you. And I know a fun and functional closet might seem like a Ripley’s-Believe-It-Or-Not vision you can’t imagine!
In this article I’ll present 10 frustrating signs which will allow you to recognize when you need a custom closet system. And more importantly, I’ll give you practical tips to overcome the pain-in-the-rear closet features which are causing your closet nightmares today. Now, let’s dig in.
Closet Problem #1) Dead corners
This is the #1 problem I see in closet after closet after closet during my in-home design appointments in Columbus Ohio today (and I KNOW this problem isn’t limited to our town either). And this problem is ‘dead corners.’ These dead corners are created when hanging clothes intersect with other hanging clothes in the corners. This creates the Bermuda Triangle of closet dead space.
How to solve dead closet corners
The solution to this problem is actually quite simple. DO NOT – if you can at all prevent it – allow hanging clothes to intersect with other hanging clothes in your corners. What I recommend is hanging clothes on one wall and on the perpendicular wall use shelving. This will (actually) allow you to see EVERYTHING in the corners. Now, that’s a novel thought!
Closet Problem #2) Dead space above and below your hanging rod
OK, I know I’ve talked about ‘death’ in these top 2 problems – but when an already-too-tight closet has poorly used space, it’s the death spiral of efficiency. And when your top shelf and single rod are set in the wrong location (which is true of at least 90% of the cheap wire closets slapped in by home builders), then you have dead space above and below your hanging rod. Fortunately, there’s a simple custom closet system solution for this.\
How to eliminate dead space above (and below) your single hanging rod
All you need to do to eliminate dead space is move the top shelf (and top rod) up. When you do this (even in an 8’ high closet) you’ll not only have room for ‘double hanging’ (where you have one closet rod on top another for more efficient hanging storage), but you’ll also have an efficient 12” of space at the top for out of season – or less frequently used – items (note: this requires you set the top shelf at 84” off the floor). And if you have a 9’ ceiling, I’d recommend putting the top shelf 90” above the closet floor (so it’s not too high for those vertically challenged people – yet still offers efficient storage at the top).
Closet Problem #3) You can’t find your shoes
Our love affair with shoes IS NOT getting any less passionate. However, in most ‘closet designs’ (and I’m being generous here even referring to many closets as having been ‘designed) – there’s literally no place for shoes. So, by default they’re buried in a heap on the floor. This isn’t efficient and makes them a pain to find. But you may be wondering what can be done about it?
How to create an efficient closet shoe storage system
Forgetting about your shoes is a ‘closet sin’ you don’t want to commit (especially if you have more than 30 pairs…which includes most women – and no, I’m not trying to be sexist here, it’s just a fact). However, there are many solutions (including some with funny names like a ‘shoe shrine’ or a ‘lazy shoe-shen’) if you’ll take the time to dig into them. You’ll find answer to your shoe storage problems by reading, 13 Wild, Wacky and Workable Shoe Storage Tricks You Need to Know.
Closet Problem #4) OK, this one’s personal…but your partner’s a slob!
OK, I could be P.C. (politically correct) and say they’re not as neat as you’d like them to be, but when you’re shouting to get their ________ (fill in the expletive laced words here) off the closet floor, you know their messy tendencies do not exactly help your O.C.D. nature. And short of throwing them out, you need to find a solution to their messy ways, without throwing out the relationship with it. But how?
How to create a custom closet system which tames your sloppy partner
Since you don’t want to ‘win the battle’ (and get a neat closet) yet lose the war (‘er throw in the towel on a nice relationship) – you need a plan – and effective closet design which can tame your spouse or partner’s ‘slob-like’ tendencies. And if you’re looking for ideas to make this happen read Storage Wars – 7 Essential Tips to Win the Battle of a His and Hers Closet.
Closet Problem #5) Your folded clothes hang off the edge
Whether you’re stuck with cheap wire or painted wood shelves – you’ll find most measure a measly 12” deep. And although I have nothing personally against 12” shelves –when you’re putting bulky folded sweaters, sweatshirts, or sheets on them, they look sloppy when hanging off the edge of the shelves. The good news is this is a simple problem to solve.
How to make sure folded clothes don’t hang off the edge of closet shelves
To eliminate this problem, choose deeper shelves. For most folded sweaters – and bigger shoe sizes – a 14” deep shelving system works fine. If you’re storing towels or linens in your master closet – upgrade to a 16” depth.
Closet Problem #6) Your closet system is a series of immovable objects
So, your wire shelving rods are screwed into the wall. And your painted or stained wood shelves won’t budge an inch.
And while you barely noticed these fixed closet systems in your builder’s model home, or when you toured an existing home you were looking to buy, it didn’t even dawn on you how your inability to move shelves and rods would create the following problems:
- #1) It’s impossible to move a hanging rod down so you can reach the top rod or
- #2) You can’t move the top shelf up to eliminate dead space near the ceiling or
- #3) You can’t put shelves close together for shoe storage.
The ‘fix’ for this problem is simple.
How to ensure your closet can ‘adjust’ to your needs
The simplest way to make sure a closet system will ‘adjust’ to your needs is to buy an ‘adjustable closet system’ (OK, I know that likely doesn’t sound like a brilliant revelation!). However, you’ll find an adjustable system has holes on the sides to allow you to move rods, shelves, and drawers up and down as your styles and storage needs change.
Closet Problem #7) You have a narrow closet with a ‘blank wall’ you have no idea how to use
It’s frustrating seeing the ‘super-sized’ walk in celebrity closets on Pinterest. You think, “If I only had that much room, everything would be different.” Then – like being doused with a cold glass of water – you wake up and realize this IS NOT your reality. You’ve got a narrow closet – and unless you want to make an even small bathroom or master bedroom than you have today, your closet isn’t getting any wider. So, what can you do? Well, you can learn how to use all your walls – even if you can’t put deep storage systems on all of them. You need tricks to ‘find’ storage space on narrow walls. Here’s how.
How to use narrow closet walls
Even though there’s no way to put hanging – or even ‘standard depth’ shelving – on both sides of a narrow walk-in closet, there are ways you CAN get value from every inch of wall space. Here’s 3 ideas to get more from your narrow, blank, closet wall.
- Idea #1) Use a decorative – and adjustable – wall organizer. Your closet will not only look cool, but you’ll find new places to store jewelry, scarves, shoes… you name it.
- Idea #2) Use shallow (6” deep) shoe display shelves or floating shelves. Display your shoes like a high-end boutique store by setting them on their side – just like a retailer.
Closet Problem #8) You’ve got the weirdest shaped closet known to man…and woman!
So, your closet IS NOT a standard rectangle, or square. And to make matters worse, you have windows, outlets, and air grates in the stupidest places. Your odd shape and weird obstructions have made it impossible to even think about buying a modular closet system from a big box store. And if you don’t have a clue how to get the maximum storage from your crazy closet, read on.
How to figure out an effective custom closet design for even the weirdest shaped closet
If you’re faced with a weird-shaped closet – here’s my expert tip for you. It’s to…
Designing weird-shaped closets are not for first timers pretending to be closet designers. To get the most from odd shapes, and knowing the tricks (and products) to work around terribly placed windows, doors, and soffits – takes custom closet design expertise. I’d recommend finding a professional closet designer to do this for you. And if you still want a few tips to navigate your weird-shaped closet read How to Organize Your Odd Shaped Closet.
Closet Problem #9) You need to find more space
OK, I realize everyone needs more space in their closets. However, not everyone can (or will) share with you the ‘triple’ D’s to find this space. And if you’re wondering what the ‘triple D’s’ are, read on.
How to find more space in your existing closet WITHOUT blowing out walls…the triple ‘D’s’ to get you there
Here’s 3 ‘secret-weapons’ (or triple D’s as I’m calling them) you can use to INSTANTLY gain space:
- Declutter – If you’re like most people you don’t wear 50% of what’s in your closet and need to declutter. However, if you can’t bring yourself to do this job alone, find a professional organizer to help you discard or donate what you’re not wearing.
- Double-hang – Hanging one section on top another is a beautiful way to 2X your hanging storage.
- Drawers – Drawers not only make your closet look stylish, but you’ll fit 2 to 3 times more clothes in a drawer than hanging clothes up.
Closet Problem #10) Your closet looks butt-ugly
If your closet depresses you –join the club which includes most people in the world. And why shouldn’t you hate this space. Your clothes are jammed together, your hangers look like a mosh-pit of craziness, and you’ve got shoe boxes stacked to the ceiling.
And while effective closet design does begin with function, there’s no reason you need to throw the towel in on fashion. But you may be wondering how you can create a fashionable closet even though you don’t have a Kim Kardashian sized budget? Well – check out these ideas.
How to create a fashion-forward closet without a king-sized budget
Fashion is simple if you have bookoo bucks, but what if you don’t. Well – here’s simple ideas to notch up your closet looks on a budget.
- Affordable closet fashion idea #1 – Get rid of ugly hangers. Throw out bulky (space-eating) plastic hangers. Chuck cheap wire hangers from the cleaners. Invest in (one color) velvet hangers. They’ll create a uniform look and keep strappy dresses from falling to the floor.
- Affordable closet fashion idea #2 – Strategically add drawers on your ‘feature wall.’ Find the most visible wall in your closet. Then add pull out drawers in the center of this wall. You’ll gain storage – and style points!
- Affordable closet fashion idea #3 – Add pattern and color to select door and drawer fronts – OK, while a white closet is the cheapest way to go, if you want to add a dash of interest, change out the drawers to a different pattern to make a fashion statement…on a budget.
So, how many of these closet problems are you living with? Do you need help figuring out a custom closet system which will work for you?
Even though griping about your closet is easy to do, it doesn’t do you any good unless you have a smart (and dare I say affordable) plan to fix it. And while I hope the ideas I’ve presented have helped you in this task – I know the simplest way to tackle all of these problems is to get an experienced closet designer to lead you through the maze of options, and create specific solutions which are right for you.
On the other hand, if you live outside Central Ohio (which is undoubtedly most of you) comment below where you live, and I’ll see if I can find a referral through my closet design friends across the country.
Thanks for reading.
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