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If kids are sharing the space, label what area belongs to whom. A tall center tower adds shelves and drawers and also divides the hanging space equally for the two brothers. Because no long vertical hanging space was needed (yet), upper and lower rods organize clothes by season.
Here are more storage tips to consider:
• Get rid of extra hangers. Figure out exactly how many you need, and then ask if your dry cleaner will take the rest.
• Pick one color of hanger for each clothing type--white for shirts, blue for pants.
• Stash more than clothes in cubbies. Extra cubes can stash handbags, toys, and magazine binders.
• Fold sweaters and knits to prevent them from stretching out of shape.
In its quest to accommodate a host of needs, it's easy for a multipurpose closet to lose control. The key to keeping it clean and functional, even in the smallest of spaces, is the delineation of tasks:
• Remove everything from the closet and clean it.
• Figure out what your closet should accomplish. Is it the storage of out-of-season coats, keys, seasonal items, and mail? Or should it corral general cleaning supplies? Keep like-things together, and store anything that doesn't fit within those functions elsewhere.
• Divide the closet horizontally or vertically by task. One shelf can hold cleaning supplies while another can stash beach towels. If your closet is home to craft supplies such as batteries and tape, a rolling caddy with drawers works well.
• Store seasonal or rarely used items on harder to reach shelves.
Don't ignore the closet door--or the wall. Put both to work with a bulletin board for family notes and reminders, clips for photos and invitations, bins for stashing bills to mail, and hooks for keys. Choose different color bins or label similar containers to identify the contents. When designing the space, select organizational methods that are easily modified to suit your needs. Adjustable shelves, for example, maximize space, whether they're holding a tall pair of winter boots or storing a few pairs of summer's flip-flops.
Whether you need more room for clothes or a dedicated spot for housecleaning and laundry supplies, look beyond built-in space and put an unused corner to work; even plain wooden shelves hidden behind coordinated fabric panels allow you to tailor storage to your needs.
Consider these tips to maximize your closet space:
• Maximize vertical space with tiered hangers. Use them to hang skirts, scarves, and even shorts by season or color.
• Group ties by color. It makes choosing and matching an easier task.
• Adapt readily available products to meet your needs. Hang a shoe bag over the inside of your closet door to stash belts, scarves and tiers. Use a coat hanger for bags and belts.
• Label shelves and drawers. If you add labels to each section of your closet--including baskets, shoe shelves, and bins--you'll be more likely to return supplies to their rightful homes instead of dropping them in temporary spots.
If adding an armoire to your bedroom isn't enough for your clothing collection, repurpose a corner in your bedroom by hanging a shower-curtain rod and luxurious drapes from floor to ceiling. It's the perfect place to hide a wealth of wire storage baskets and rods. Simply close the draperies and no one knows you've just created a closet.
Storage by the front door is valuable space, so find another place to stash out-of-season jackets and convert your coat closet into functional space that will help keep the entryway clear. Simply adding a couple of wire shelves and hooks give frequently used items, such as backpacks, sports bags, and sweatshirts a new home. Hanging a clipboard and hook outside of the closet for each child ensures permission slips, homework, and other papers are not forgotten at home.
Encourage good organizational habits in your children by giving them a closet that's kid-friendly. After all, they won't use and organize what they can't reach. Once the kids are old enough, set rods and drawers at toddler height. Help older kids group clothes by categories they're likely to remember--T-shirts and summer pants, for example. Just make sure the closet system you purchase has height-adjustable components.
This homeowner, a self-proclaimed storage nut, wanted to make her daughter's walk-in closet as efficient as possible. She widened the doorway to accommodate French doors, and maximized excess dormer space by installing a rod close to the ceiling to store out-of-season clothing. This left enough space for a small window seat, which also houses two drawers for socks and underwear.
If you keep your organized closet in full view, you'll enable quick item retrieval--even in a small space. Begin with a basic 8x8-foot system like this one (shown in an almond finish with zebrawood drawers). It holds purses, sweaters, blouses, jackets, pants, skirts, and shoes.
Before you toss that vintage box that's been collecting dust in your basement, give it a good cleaning and find a new purpose for it. Storing out-of season scarves in hatboxes not only keeps unused items out of sight, but also adds a decorative touch to the closet.
A clear acrylic sock organizer keeps socks and stockings in line, making digging through drawers a pain of the past. Also, weed out your stash of widowed socks. They take up space and you may never find their partners.
Eliminate mystery drawers and keep similar things together by organizing items in labeled linen boxes. Find boxes available in a variety of sizes to accommodate different items. This is a great solution to stash smaller items, such as sunglasses, in an easy-to-find spot.
Keep large drawers neat by breaking the space into smaller sections. Design custom organizers or install inexpensive versions that corral belts, ties, and other small items. A clean, flat surface at standard countertop height serves as an excellent spot to plan tomorrow's outfit or fold laundry.
Incorporate multiple types of storage into your closet. In addition to stacked rods, include a wall of shelves to hold shoes, totes, and bags. Hang clothes for the next day on an extendable rod to make the morning routine run smoothly.
Keep favorite purses and clutches organized and easily accessible by attaching heavy-duty clips to clothing rods--you'll find the right bag in no time.
Woolen sweaters, shawls, and loosely knit items keep their shape better and last longer when stored folded in cedar-lined drawers or boxes, safe from pests and the environment. Also consider sweater boxes with acrylic windows; you can see what's stored without having to rifle through stacks of drawers.
This once rarely-used spare room was transformed into a swanky dressing area that's used every day. Hanging rods and open shelves line the walls while a new island provides a convenient drawer-filled surface for folding and packing clothes. The wall opposite the island stores nearly a hundred shoes, all neatly stacked in clear acrylic shoeboxes. High storage is reserved for less frequently used items.
Maximize the capacity of existing closets with a metal organizing system. These customizable systems offer an array of easy-to-install options, including two tier hanging rods, pullout bins, shoe racks, and adjustable shelves.
This gentleman's closet takes advantage of its style and storage volume. Lower drawers hold everything from pajamas to boxers, and chests of drawers or stacks of wire bins store small items within easy reach. Fill spare shelves with photos or attractive toiletries to make the functional area more inviting.
Storage space in a loft is often hard to come by, so this homeowner took inspiration from a vintage Airstream trailer. Items not needed every day can be stored in a luggage rack, built by soldering metal pipes together. The rack spans one entire wall near the ceiling.
Making use of every inch between the floor and ceiling creates extra space for a window seat that also stores out-of-season clothes. Combining shelves with drawers and hanging space insures every garment and accessory has a home and is easily accessible.
Gain a few extra inches of drawer space by using hand-holds instead of pulls or knobs. Have a cabinetmaker install drawer glides in a stock cabinet and make drawers as deep as possible to fit behind the door.
Rambunctious socks can't go astray when the drawer is divided into neat sections just right for one pair. This plastic grid adjusts to fit various drawer sizes. Spring-loaded metal dividers or interlocking boxes would also do the trick.
Store clothing and shoes in attractive matching baskets. Choose sleek wire-grid or woven willow baskets for durability. For a more decorative look, line them with washable coordinating fabric.
Several rods multiply hanging space and keep coats and shirts above eye level, pants below, and full-length items to the side. Ties are quick to find on an extending rod.
Vacuum away dust bunnies and store out-of-season clothes under your bed. Choose from strictly utilitarian or highly decorative containers in plastic, vinyl, fiberboard, or cardboard, and put them on wheels for easy access.
When your closet includes a flat surface for folding clothes, you're more likely to keep shirts and sweaters neatly stacked. Rather than moving small decorative items from countertop space, these homeowners customized a drawer that pulls out to create folding space. When the chore is done, the drawer can be closed.
If shoes litter the bottom of your closet, reestablish order with built-in cubbies. You can also add sloped shelves with a narrow lip that holds shoes in place. If your space is tight, don't despair. Keep your closet tidy by storing each pair in the original shoebox or a see-through plastic box. If your box isn't transparent, tape a photo of the shoe to the front of the box.
Wherever there's clothing, there's dirty laundry. A deep pullout bin with a liner lets you easily transport soiled clothes to the laundry room and keeps them off the floor and out of sight.
Incorporate cubbyholes for foolproof shoe storage, and install an extension valet to hang tomorrow's outfit or for handy pullout hanging space.