Q: I have a large closet in the main bedroom, but it’s always a disorganized mess and I can’t find what I’m looking for half the time. How do I tame the closet and get space back?
A: A disorganized closet makes poor use of space and can cost you time; it can even influence how you feel about yourself. If you find your bedroom closet bursting at the seams or becoming a dysfunctional mess, it’s likely because the space was never laid out well in the first place. It’s difficult to maintain order in an impractical space.
No matter the size of your closet, the key to making more space is figuring out the best way to organize the space’s contents. Here’s some practical advice to help you tame your wild closet.
Add drawer units
Folded clothes in drawers take up less space than clothes on hangers. Adding drawer units to the lower part of your closet and folding jeans and T-shirts into them can double your closet space. Hangers can prolong the life of your clothes, but you should only hang delicate items like dresses, skirts, jackets and blouses.
While folding clothes is a great way to save space, stacking them is not. Have you noticed how you only use the top few items on the pile? It’s difficult to take something from the bottom, and the pieces you’ve stored there can end up mashed up and wrinkled.
The solution? Get containers for your shelves, and dividers for drawers. Containers keep related items together and your shelves neat. Instead of stacking your clothes in a vertical pile, you file them horizontally in a row — like paperwork. This way, you can see every item at a glance, and you can slide items in or out as you need them. You’ll be amazed at how much space you can save.
When you look at your space with fresh eyes, you’ll find plenty of areas where an extra shelf can be fit in: between the upper shelf and ceiling, above the door of a walk-in closet or in the recessed corners of a standard closet. Even when they’re a bit harder to reach, shelves are great for storing infrequently used or seasonal items.
Remove seasonal clothes
Make space and reduce the visual weight of your closet by packing away bulky winter clothes, extra blankets and offseason sports gear when spring arrives. Vacuum seal or fold away your offseason items in under-bed boxes or upper-shelf containers until the weather changes again. This also gives you the opportunity to do a quick seasonal edit of what you may want to cull.
Edit and reduce regularly
We get attached to our clothes, but most of us wear only about 20% of the clothes we own. Most of the space in our closet is consumed by things we don’t ever put on. It’s costing us precious real estate and can lead to wasted time. It’s not easy to sort and let go of things, but ask yourself if you have too little space — or too much stuff.
Tackle one section of your closet at a time. Remove all garments and consider every one before you return it to its hanger or storage nook. Ask yourself these three questions: Do I love it? Do I wear it? Do I need it? If the answer is not a resounding “yes” to all three, consider how happy that item could make someone else who may need it more than you do.
Mia Hannom is the owner of In Form Design, a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS). If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBAKS’s more than 2,600 members, write to email@example.com.