Custom touches - like adding cubbies to corral shoes - maximize your closet's storage potential and keep clutter at bay. Image: Merrick White of Merricks Art
More vital than a bathroom, more useful than a kitchen, your closets make every other room look terrific and function well. They’re the ultimate storage and organization partner — and the key to any sane household.
That’s why we believe that closets are the most important room in your house, hands down.
If you’ve ever tried to negotiate a room cluttered with out-of-season clothing, random sports equipment, and a basket of to-be-folded laundry, you know that a well-organized home is much easier to clean and maintain.
Closets are your key ally, providing a place for everything and clearing out your housescape, making home maintenance an easier chore.
What else makes closets so vital? Let’s count the ways:
1. Closets Save Time
No need for an archeological dig through the back corners of your closets. If everything is stored correctly and in its proper closet, you’ll know right where to go when you need something.
Put your foot down and assign specific uses for each closet in your house — then stick to your guns. You’ll get the best use of your closets when each has a special duty. No “temporarily” stashing the wallpaper steamer in the linen closet!
Instead, make the effort to return items to the correct storage area. When you need them again — voila! You’ll have them right at your fingertips, saving time and frustration.
2. Closets Save Money
By optimizing each closet with shelves and other storage systems, you’ll have exactly the space you need for your stuff.
Leftovers? Out they go. In fact, storage experts say that the average household has 20-40% more stuff than they actually need.
With your existing closet space as a guide to organized bliss, get rid of everything that doesn’t fit. Take it to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or your local thrift store.
End result: You’ll put a leash on your buying instincts, get more use out of the things you have, and say goodbye to that $50-$150 per month storage locker.
Don’t cheat by stuffing your garage with leftovers! Instead, organize your garage with the same principles – if it doesn’t fit in the space you have, toss it.
3. Closets Keep Kids (and You) Happy
In bedrooms with two or more kids, closets help reduce sibling rivalry (and disputes) by establishing boundaries. Shared closets should be organized with bins, shelves, and hanging spaces. Color-coordinate bins and label them so ownership is clear — and it’s obvious whose stuff needs to be put back in its proper place.
A closet is a confidant. Put your things in your closet and close the door — your closet won’t reveal what’s inside.
That’s more important than ever. Open floor plans, with tall ceilings and few partitions, continue to be the most-popular house design, which puts extra emphasis on having clean, clutter-free spaces. Easy to do if you have closets to neatly store the clothes, toys, and other everyday items that tend to wander around your house.
You’ve got a new carpet or hardwood floor cleaner that warns you to first “test in an inconspicuous area.” Where do you turn? Exactly.
Why Does It Seem We Never Have Enough Closet Space?
Everyone wants more storage space. But most standard houses aren’t built with generous storage in mind.
“Really smart closet storage and configuration is an afterthought for most builders,” says Michael Mahoney, a design consultant with remodeling specialists Neil Kelly, and a self-described closet guru. “I have many clients who need their closets remodeled for more space and better efficiency.”
Tips For Maximizing and Adding Closet Space
Look up. Most closets don’t take advantage of that last foot or so of space, where an extra shelf can handle little-used and seasonal items. That’s especially true in homes with 9-foot ceilings and vaulted ceilings. Tuck a collapsible stool in a corner so you can reach when you need to.
Freestanding furniture is a godsend for the storage-challenged. Carefully measure the space you’d like to annex as closet space, and buy an armoire or wardrobe to fit. Or, buy inexpensive shelving units and add a curtain as a door. Bonus: If you move, your freestanding closet goes with you.