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A Closet Organizing System - Do You Really Need One?

Oct 22, 2007
We've been doing some substantial remodeling in our home over the past year and a couple of our main priorities were improving storage and gaining more efficient organization. The home we live in was originally designed for a couple and we have been trying to make it work for a busy family. It has been a challenge to say the least and our remodel, because of careful thought and planning, is improving things in amazing ways for us.

Closets are one of the areas we have looked at closely. A closet organizing system that works well in our home includes making use of existing space while allowing us easy access to all areas of the closet. Not an easy task because we have tall ceilings and normal-sized closet bi-fold doors. So I have been doing some research on closet organizing systems, trying to find what will work best in our scenario.

Here are some highlights of what I've found.

-- A budget really matters.

The options range from do-it-yourself (DIY) to custom solutions. Even within those options, there are sub-options. DIY, for example, can consist of creatively arranging cardboard boxes in your closet in order to better organize the space, to the other end of the scale which involves purchasing highly customized closet organizing systems but installing them yourself.

All of these choices come with their individual costs, ranging from very little to a considerable chunk of change. Decide on a budget up front and you'll narrow your choices immediately. Then you'll be able to focus on what the options are within your price range, not on wishful thinking.

-- Decide on usage.

A master bedroom closet has significantly different needs than a child's closet. For instance, a child's closet needs to exhibit flexibility over the years as the child grows. Your master bedroom closet probably won't need that kind of flexibility. In fact, you probably know exactly what your closet organizing needs are in your bedroom...you just may not know that you know! I say this because you're already using this space in a certain way, a way that makes sense to you on some level. I know this was true for us in our home.

To discover how you use your closet space and what you would like to change, try this simple exercise.

1. Take a look at your bedroom at night, after getting ready for bed. What's not put away? If you leave clothes on chairs (or the floor), why? Is your closet too full? Are your hangars difficult to use or the wrong type? Is there a pile on the closet floor? Do you have a separate storage area for shoes? Do you worry that if you put away your belt (tie tack, hankie, sweater, etc.) that you won't be able to find it quickly first thing in the morning?

2. Keeping in mind the late-night exercise in #1, go online or to a store and look at different closet organizing systems. Mentally imagine putting your stuff away in each of them. Some will have immediate appeal, some will not. Note the things you like and the things you realize you will never use. Keep this list and work from it as you refine your desires and eventually, shop.

My final closet research highlight is maybe the most important one.

-- Do you want to do this project yourself or would you rather let the pros go at it?

This is a true cost issue, so your answer will somewhat depend upon what you decided for a budget. We are comfortable DIY-er's but I have to be honest and say that a good percentage of the projects we have tackled in our home many folks would not want to do themselves.

A closet organizing system is actually a good project to begin learning some basic do-it-yourself skills, but only if you want to learn them! If you really can't stand the thought of this type of sweat equity, you will have to adjust your budget to reflect that.

The bottom line is this. I entitled this article "A Closet Organizing System - Do You Really Need One" because I think you should start with that basic question if you are searching for more efficient use of space in your home. If you don't want to invest ANY money or sweat equity into improving your closets' organizational value, then you'll probably be happiest simply rearranging your closets as they currently are.

You can probably get rid of any items that you realize you no longer use and simply rearrange what remains to suit you better. At the very least you can try that idea and live with it a while to see if that solution works for you. In addition, you've successfully answered the question in this article's title!

But I suspect, since you're actually reading articles on closet organizing, you want more than a simple rearrange. So take an hour and a piece of paper (this is the method we used in our home) and take stock of what you already have and what you wish you had in terms of closet organization. Then research your options and find the right combination of closet organizing systems that will fix the majority of your frustrations at the price and effort that comes closest to what you want.

One more thing. Do remember to think long-term. You might be surprised at how much you actually *enjoy* a highly organized closet! It's one of those things you didn't know you needed until you have it. Then you wonder how you ever lived without it!
About the Author
Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 26 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at http://www.paintedgold.com . Visit her website and learn more about the basics of a closet organizing system today.
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