Real-Life Closet Makeovers

All closets -- whether they're used for adults, kids, or laundry -- can become storage nightmares. Use these solutions to solve your closet storage dilemma.

Shared Space

Problem: Your two-sided walk-in closet is a shared space.

Solution: Create a line down the middle and claim your space. Add shelves, baskets, cubbies as needed to customize your side of the walk-in.

Multi-Purpose Unit

Problem: You use the closet for more than just holding clothes.

Solution: Tuck a free standing unit into your closet. Make sure it has drawers for holding folded clothes. Use the open areas for storing non-clothing items, such as important papers or magazines. Turn the flat surface above the drawers into your morning wake-up station. Nothing brings a jolt to your morning like a cup of coffee as you decide what to wear that day.

Double Trouble

Problem: The room has two closets, but both are small and shallow.

Solution: Designate specific functions for each closet. Install a rod in one and use it for hanging clothes. Add a shelf above the rod for storing out-of-season items. In the other closet, install multiple shelves that can hold folded clothes, bins for accessories, and other wardrobe essentials.

Small and Mighty

Problem: Your small closet has one opening making it hard to reach items in the back and on upper shelves.

Solution: Place out-of-season or rarely-used items at the back of the closet or on high shelves. Organize the most accessible parts of the closet by adding shoe racks, sweater boxes, and hanging hooks on the door. At the end of each season rotate items so the most frequently used items are the most accessible.

Two Boys, One Closet

Problem: Toys, shoes, and who-knows-what-else ends up in a jumble on the floor of a shared kids' closet.

Solution: The secret is in giving each child his own space, even when it's shared. Separate the space into two sides, and use name tags to label who's who.

Double Capacity

Problem: Kids' clothing may be tiny, but it sure piles up.

Solution: Add a second rod to double storage potential. Because kids' clothes are typically short, the upper layer won't interfere with the bottom rod. Also, add lots of bins and boxes to hold loose items.

Family Catchall Closet

Problem: A closet crammed so full of stuff no one can find what they need.

Solution: Take advantage of the space you have with floor-to-ceiling storage cubes and wire shelves positioned at various heights.

Problem: You need a place for cleaning supplies as well as coats and clothes.

Solution: Mount wire hangers on a side wall and hang the dustpan, broom, and leash for the dog out of the way.

His & Her Storage

Problem: "We never had space of our own," says Becky Mollenkamp about her closet's typical rod and shelf arrangement.

Solution: Ready-made stackable shelves and cubes make space for every pair of shoes and a host of accessories.

Seasonal Storage

Problem: No place to put seldom-used seasonal items.

Solution: Use cabinet units with sliding doors and mount them into the space under a sloping ceiling and behind clothes.

Fresh and Clean

Problem: The closet near your laundry room is a catch all for cleaning supplies, appliances, and wet clothes.

Solution: Create zones for each function. Install rods for hanging wet clothing. Add a store-bought unit with adjustable shelves for laundry and ironing supplies. Use bins to hold smaller items and folded clothing. Label each area so everyone knows what goes where.

Problem: Towels and sheets are spilling out of your linen closet.

Solution: Designate a specific linen to each shelf. Make sure to place frequently used towels on a middle shelf for easy access. Place smaller items, such as washcloths and pillowcases, in bins to keep them from getting lost. Add a basket at the bottom of the closet for dirty laundry.

Walk-In Laundry

Problem: The laundry room is inconvenient because its far from where you need it.

Solution: Install your washer and dryer in a closet near the bedroom. Route the plumbing from a nearby bath, and vent the dryer through the outside wall.

Organizer Bags

Problem: Limited space makes it hard to keep organized.

Solution: Hang canvas bags from a rod above the washer for dirty clothes so they don't clutter the floor. Organize supplies with wire baskets.

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