Level of Difficulty: Beginner Do-It-Yourselfer - Easy

A well-designed closet is crucial to eliminating clutter and maintaining organization in the home. Good planning and observation skills will help you maximize every square inch of available space. Modular storage, adjustable storage, shelves, drawers, rods, hanging storage, hooks: there is a whole range of storage solutions to optimize closet use. Here are a few ideas to help you make the choices that will best meet your needs.

First, you need to designate a closet for specific use, and then you need to make a detailed list of the items you want stored in that closet. For effective storage, you must then determine the most suitable storage solutions in order to maximize space.

1. Get rid of unused items
Disorder is generally the result of an accumulation of new items crowding a collection of old items; eliminate all unused, obsolete and old items in your closet.

2. Measure the available space
Measure and make a note of the size of each closet in the house: width, height, depth and the space taken up by shelves and doors. These measurements will help you decide how you can best make use of each closet.

3. Allow for easy access
Inaccessible storage is akin to throwing an item away: out of sight, out of mind! So ask yourself this question: “How often am I really going to use this item?” As much as possible, items should be stored close to where they are going to be used.

4. Identify your needs
Make a list of everything you want to put away in a particular closet. If possible, store out-of-season articles somewhere else. List what should ideally be stored in each closet of the house.

5. Calculate the space needed
To determine the space you need, sort items into categories. Then, next to each item make a note of its approximate size; this will give you a fair idea of the space required. Bulky items may be stored elsewhere, such as the entrance or kitchen closet. Remember to allow for 5 cm between pieces of clothing; lack of space and ventilation can lead to stuffy smells and unwanted creases.

6. Choose a storage system
If you don’t like how your storage space is organized, you probably won’t use it properly (i.e. put things away). There are different ways to store an item (hanger, basket, shelf), and your choices should reflect your personal preferences. Of course, take into account the item’s size, closet doors, etc.

7. Make a drawing
Use grid paper to make a scale drawing of the closet design you’ve chosen and how you plan to organize it.

Durable, high-quality storage solutions such as modular systems are recommended if your needs, storage habits and style of clothes to be stored are fairly stable. Prefabricated systems are available in simple and easy-to-build solutions. You can maximize your available space and adapt the closet to accommodate the items you want to put there. With this type of storage, you usually start with base units, the standard and corner units, which you can superimpose. To these base units and closet rods you can add:

  • Drawers of varying sizes;
  • Stationary or sliding shelves;
  • Cubic organizers;
  • Doors;
  • Different racks (for shoes, pants, jewelry, belts, etc.).
Because their configuration and design makes them easy to adapt to a given space, adjustable shelving systems represent a versatile solution that is ideal for rooms where needs are likely to evolve over time, such as the children’s room, guest room, games room, or office. Adjustable shelves are good value, easy to put up, very adaptable and require very few tools and building knowledge to install.

There are different kinds of adjustable shelves:

  • Simple shelves
  • Clothes hanging shelves, that combine shelf and rod
  • Corner shelves
  • Rods.

These components make it possible to set up a basic installation. However, you can add certain accessories to accommodate the items you want to store in the closet, such as:

  • Shoe racks
  • Hooks
  • Tie and belt hangers
  • Baskets
  • Drawers
Does a lack of space restrict your flexibility? Is modular storage or adjustable shelving not suitable for the items you want to store? Here are some other options to consider:

  • Hanging storage, made of hard-wearing textile material, is hung from closet rods and includes small units of space. Use a number of them to store a whole range of items
  • Baskets, which can be placed on shelves and replace drawers
  • Hooks of all kinds, perfect for belts, ties, jewelry, hats, etc.
  • Shoe racks, which can be installed on the inside of closet doors
  • Multiple hangers and rods designed specifically for hanging up several pairs of pants
  • Add a shelf above the closet rod
  • Double up your closet rods, one above the other, to double your hanging storage space for short clothes such as shirts and blouses
  • Put baskets on shelves instead of installing drawers
  • Install special features if you have sufficient space, such as an island to facilitate folding clothes, a comfortable seat, a lamp or a mobile storage unit

The modern closet has come of age. With the range of styles and storage solutions available, closets have become prominent features of a well-designed home. Take note: no more excuses for neglecting your closets!

If you have decided to build a new closet, try to locate it in an area of the house with minimal traffic. Ideally, the closet should be installed in an area that does not command attention, such as:

  • On common walls
  • On north-facing walls
  • In dark corners
  • On windowless walls
  • In the space under the stairs
  • In the space next to the hot water heater or other household equipment

Every bedroom should have a regular closet for everyday use. As for the master bedroom, a ‘master closet’ is in order; these days, the celebrated walk-in closet has become a must-have in many homes