One Way to Make Your Bedroom Closet Feel Bigger, Neater, and All-Around Better
Been There, Felt That
When Amy Kressaty e-mailed Real Simple about her closet, she had a long list of issues. The closet’s odd configuration, which made it feel cramped. The “impossible to organize” 29-inch-deep space. The overstocked, ill-fitting, dated wardrobe. “My coworkers are twenty something. I don’t want to feel like their mother!” said the 47-year-old northern New Jersey sales exec. Behold, the RS redo that sorted it all out.
Amy’s 3 Common Closet Problems
1. Blocked access.
The mirrored doors opened on only one side at a time, leaving half the closet hidden.
2. Hard-to-reach spots.
The inner alcove spaces on the left and right were black holes for empty shoe boxes and random trinkets.
3. No rhyme or reason.
Because it was so cramped, there was no logic to the closet. Amy stuck stuff wherever there was a place for it.
Open Shelves Always Help
Hidden = lost. These affordable stackable cubbies (that almost look custom) keep shoes and clutches in sight—and in order. They also help curb impulse buys. No open slot, no purchase.
To buy: 8-pair shoe organizer and 12-pair shoe organizer, $40 each, containerstore.com. Zigzag Stripe baskets, $178 for two; Equestrian hook, $32: anthropologie.com.
Extra Rod, Easy Upgrade
Don’t settle for what you’re given in the closet. Installing another rod below the existing one or to the side (or both) can instantly expand your storage space. Capitalize on that by hanging clothes in categories (casual weekend wear, office attire, special-occasion pieces). And this is key: Each category gets its own set of color-coded flocked hangers.
To buy: Adjustable closet rods, from $10 each, at hardware stores. Real Organized white shelf bracket, $17 for a five-piece set, lowes.com. Joy Mangano Huggable Hangers, $24 for a 35-piece set, hsn.com. Our Shoe Box, $2, containerstore.com. Real Simple garment storage suit bags in cream, $15 each, bedbathandbeyond.com.
Be Smart About Spillover
Even with the best-laid plan, there's only so much a closet can hold. Use the space outside the closet—an empty corner, a section of wall—to stage an annex dressing spot. This is where your costume jewelry, hats, and even totes can go. Use brassy hooks on the wall and sparkly dishes on a side table to contain items, and be ruthless about keeping this area tidy.
To buy: Hovet mirror, $129, ikea-usa.com for info. Gold four-inch distressed boat-cleat hooks (similar to shown), $7 each, laurenannalei.etsy.com.
3 Simple Tricks for Keeping Your Closet in Tip-Top Shape
1. Work on the infrastructure
Move a shelf lower to fit tall bags, or add an LED closet rod to light up a dark corner.
2. Organize like a store
Keep your most-used bags on hooks in the center of the closet, and change them out seasonally, like rotating merchandise.
3. Keep an open bin or basket on the floor
It will prompt you to purge regularly. When you decide you’re tired of a piece of clothing, drop it in. When the basket is full, that’s your cue to donate the castoffs.
To buy: Crown MetalWorks decorative sliding-door hardware, $150, homedepot.com. Artesano Iron Works black sliding closet door pull, $30, lowes.com. Speckle temporary wallpaper in black/white, $35 a panel, chasingpaper.com. Manhattan Modular Storage Drawers, $169, homedecorators.com. Steamline Luggage Correspondent carry-on, $600, and vanity case, $310: steamlineluggage.com.
Thank you to the contractors at Crisp & Son for expert installation and contract work on this project.