Closets, they are the perfect hiding place, whether it is are a child playing hide and seek, or an adult trying to hide the mess and clutter before guests come in the door, closets have long been the keepers of the unknown, the champions of all that remains unseen, the fortress of clutter. However, a revolution is happening in the dark recesses of homes all over the nation.  Closets are breaking the mold and becoming organized and clutter free spaces, some even daring to go so far as to be considered welcoming and stylish. The revolution and evolution of closets is due in large part to an increase in the options and quality of closet organizing systems.  These systems range in complexity from a simple bar for hanging clothes with a shelf placed above it, to an entire room full of dedicated cabinetry and options that provide a better experience in the closet than in most chic clothing boutiques. Helping a closet transform from the black hole for hiding things to the luxury storage area for clothing and other items is not as difficult as it may seem.  The next several blogs will combine to provide a step by step process of how to determine what type of closet organizing system will provide the maximum amount of storage for the given space, will provide the greatest value, and will be the most visually appealing.


Determine the Amount of Space Available: The place to begin when starting any project is to determine the guidelines.  This is especially true when designing a closet system.  The dimensions of the space will determine the size and scope of the system for the closet.  Be careful to make accurate measurements when determining the space that the system will go into. Never forget to make note of both the horizontal and vertical dimensions.  Many systems are able to take advantage of the vertical space available to a greater degree than in the past while still making the items stored in the higher areas accessible. The most economical approach is to use existing closet space and reinvent it with a smartly designed organizing system.  However, a project like this is not limited to preexisting guidelines and walls.  Feel free to explore “dead” or unused spaces in your walls, see if there are smaller closets that can be combined to provide a better storage area, or, in larger scale projects, if adjoining rooms can be repurposed to become a single or double closet. When the area to be designed steps outside of the bounds of existing closets it is advisable to consult with a professional contractor or designer who will be able to tell you the feasibility of the project and more accurately assess the scope of work necessary to move walls, add doors, and possibly reroute plumbing, electrical, and HVAC to accommodate a new closet. It is always advisable to have at least two plans to work from so that the best use of the space can be achieved.  However, it is more important to have an accurate floor plan of the area that is to be updated so that the rest of the steps can be accomplished properly.  Make sure that all measurements are checked at least twice as this will determine the scope of the work and the options available.


Determine the Items To Be Stored: Once an accurate floor plan has been drawn it is necessary to determine the types of items that will be stored within the closet.  It is the types of items and the way in which the closet will be used (STEP 3) that will be the determining factors for the functionality of the closet.  Therefore, figure out if the closet will be holding food items, towels and bedding, sports equipment, tools, clothing, or something else. Each type of item requires its own unique storage solution so make sure to make a detailed list of all items that are to be stored in the space.  At this time make sure to measure the largest or oddest shaped objects so that they can be used as a benchmark for the closet system.  There are standard sizes (such as 12 inches for the width of a folded shirt or sweater) but not all items fit within these standards.  Therefore, each closet will be unique in its storage solution.  A pantry that is designed to store standard sized food would not do for a family that buys in bulk and needs to store large amounts of food at one time.  A person who a large amount of “long” clothing such as dresses, coats, and suits will need a different closet system in their space than a person who has mainly t-shirts and jeans. This step may seem tedious and overly time consuming as a list is made of all potential items to go into a closet, but it will save many years of frustration after the closet system is in place and is designed for the needs of the individual rather than designed to pre-determined norms.

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