Home Experts: Local News
From Cluttered to Clean: The Organized Closet
Story Updated: May 4, 2011
Every home has it – the door that shouldn’t be opened.
Behind that door is a closet full of unidentified clutter. You don’t really remember what’s there or how it got there, and you’re a little bit scared to find out. But be strong, clutter busters.
The time to confront the chaos is now. When you do, you’ll have taken the first step toward organizing your life.
What’s really behind that door?
Professional organizers and closet designers agree that taking an inventory of your belongings is the essential first step to starting your closet makeover. You first need to identify and categorize the items in your closet, according to Luis Suarez of Alaska Premier Closets.
“Ask yourself ‘What are we really using? Do we really need this? When was the last time we touched it?’” he says. “And then start to create a recycle pile for Goodwill.” He also recommends considering consignment as an option – he says that one of his clients “almost paid for her closet remodel” by consigning her clothing.
Be brutal when editing your closet. If you haven’t worn something for more than two seasons, it hasn’t fit for more than a year, or you don’t absolutely love it, it’s time to let go. The more unsuitable clothing you nix the more you’ll be able to put your closet to work for you.
Figure out your budget
A wide variety of options await would-be closet remodelers, says Chris Cusack of California Closets. “For some, a do-it-yourself option may be the best fit,” he says. “ But if your home and lifestyle justifies it, bring in a professional for a custom-made solution.” Prices can vary widely, too. In the past year he’s done closet makeover jobs that ranged from $700-$30,000.
What’s your organizational style?
The next step is to analyze storage needs for your now manageable wardrobe. Think about how you function and tailor your closet accordingly. How much room will you need for hanging items like long coats or dresses, versus items like slacks, skirts, and shirts?
Consider the amount of room you’d like to devote to accessories. Should your shoes be on shelves, in cubbies, or kept in shoe boxes? If you have a large tie collection, consider investing in a motorized tie rack. Make sure to leave space for your dirty clothes hamper or items for dry cleaning.
Make your closet reflect your personal style
Once you have the building blocks in place, you can start to make your closet reflect your personal style. Closets are often thought of as purely functional spaces, but with a little consideration you can make them fun and functional. If you like color, paint a wall hot pink or invest in bright, patterned wallpaper. If you’re in love with the granite countertops in your kitchen, you can use the same finish on an in-closet storage island. Cusack says that nationally people are looking for a “more finished look, like wood-grained melamine finish instead of the traditional white.”
Regardless of what décor you choose, make sure to invest in lighting – no matter how well designed your closet is, if you can’t see what’s inside it won’t help you to be more organized.
More than just storage space
Suarez says another national trend is converting closet space into office space. "We encounter a lot of customers who want multi-use spaces," he explains. "Your closet can still primarily function as a closet, but now you have the ability to have a desk too – with the size of laptops today, all you really need is a 30" x 30" surface." One of his customers even coined the term ‘cloffices’ to describe the hybrid space. "By adding a cabinet above the desk, a cork board, or a slot wall with accessories, you’ve created a modern office," he says.
Another way to transform a closet into a multi-use space is the addition of a built-in bed – when you need extra sleeping space, you can open your closet, pull out the bed and ta-da! Your office or den is now a guestroom. Transforming the room back to its original purpose is as easy as opening the closet door and shutting the bed inside. "It’s a great way to maximize your real estate and also up your resale value because the space can be classified as a bedroom," Suarez says. Built-in beds can cost from $1,800 to $6,000.
When the remodel is over, take a minute to stand in your brightly lit, well-decorated, organized closet. You’re no longer making new piles to get to the bottom of old piles. You can actually see all of your clothes and accessories. Maybe you’ve created a workspace to catch up on paperwork at, or perhaps the cleverly tucked-away wall bed you’ve installed is the perfect spot for visiting in-laws.
Regardless of what you’ve decided to do with your closet, a less cluttered and more organized space will improve your life. No longer must you shield your messy closet from guests – in fact, you might even find yourself throwing the door wide open to show off your new closet to your friends. So don’t waste another second – it’s time to get organized. ✯