Magazine article Sunset

Bringing Order to Chaos

Magazine article Sunset

Bringing Order to Chaos

Article excerpt

A number of closet systems and accessories--from inexpensive to high end--make it easier than you'd think

YOU CAN NEVER BE too rich or too thin--or have enough closet space. We can't help you with the first two, but there are a few things we can point out about the third. Your closet is one of the most ill-designed spaces in your house.

Bathrooms have become bastions of better planning, kitchens have become models of efficiency--even appliances are smart now. Closets, though, have remained, for the most part, just plain dumb.

But it doesn't have to be that way. There's a wealth of space-saving, put-stuff-right-where-you-want-it, drop-dead good-looking gadgetry on the market that you can install in a weekend. Home centers and big hardware stores are usually well stocked with different product lines. And if you don't want to do anything but write the check, there are plenty of talented designers out there who can help you take advantage of the numerous closet systems available. Check your yellow pages; most have listings for Closet Designers. Reconfiguring your closet without tearing off doors or knocking down walls is a project you can enter at any level. You want to do it all yourself? You really can, with great ease and little more than a drill, screwdriver, level, and hacksaw. You want to do nothing more than make a phone call? Sure, you can do that, too.

You can revamp an 8-foot closet for as little as $35; prices go up as you discover all those how-did-I-ever-live-without-them accessories.


Everything you put in your closet isn't best stored hanging from a wooden rod 66 inches off the ground or stacked on the single shelf above it. Take stock of your wardrobe, and you'll quickly realize that some items are longer than others, that some stuff is better stored folded, and that lots of things get lost. The old adage "out of sight, out of mind" could have been written about the contents of your closet.

Doubling up clothes rods is a key space-saver (in a kid's closet you can even "triple up"). Follow the guidelines below, positioning the top rod between 6 1/2 and 7 feet off the floor and the lower one 3 to 3 1/2 feet up; err on the high side. A single rod is usually just under 6 feet off the floor; you'll probably still need a short length of single rod for dresses, coats, and the like. The way to keep all those formerly lost items from disappearing again is to put them where you'll see them. If you can, position shelves, drawers, cabinets, and other built-ins between 2 and 5 feet off the floor.

When setting shelves over closet rods, don't neglect to leave a couple of inches of space; you shouldn't have to curse the hanger every time you try to remove it. …

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