An overstuffed closet is a daily frustration: sweaters falling off shelves, shoes that seem to disappear into a black hole, closets rods cluttered with so many hangers that squeezing even one more in requires herculean strength. So we force the door shut and try to ignore the problem, even as we accumulate more stuff.
But there is a solution — and it isn’t just about getting rid of clothing. If you design your closet to suit your needs, you can maximize space and make your storage more functional.
“A closet should never be an afterthought,” said Jessica Schuster, an interior designer in New York. “Your clothes are an important of your identity and how you present yourself to the world, so I always try to create a space that feels like it’s an extension of the home.”
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Maximizing closet space can be so challenging that even professional interior designers like Ms. Schuster sometimes call on specialized closet designers or organization experts to help. “There are some amazing systems and organization tips and tricks these people can teach you,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot.”
Horderly Professional Organizing. “That’s when we run into problems.”
So before you buy those nice-looking drawers or baskets, figure out exactly what you need to store. “Pull everything out of your closet, sort it into categories, edit through those categories and get rid of donations and trash,” Ms. Baxter said. “Then you can take stock of what you’ve kept.”
This doesn’t require extreme decluttering or wasteful purging, but if you have clothing you haven’t worn in more than a year — and it’s not something you’re reserving for special occasions — it’s probably time to let it go.
Lisa Adams, the chief executive of Los Angeles-based LA Closet Design, said she itemizes the remaining pieces by creating an inventory on a spreadsheet.
California Closets, in New York.
If you’re pressed for space and “you have room for drawers outside of the closet,” she added, “you should not be wasting the space inside of your closet.”
Design the Primary Components
A basic closet with a single hanging rod and one high shelf isn’t doing you much good. “People will have all sorts of stuff piled on the top and falling all over the place, some things hanging and then a bunch of shoes on the floor,” Ms. Musher said. “That’s just not a way to live.”