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Unstuff your closet

Are your closets stuffed with shame? They don't have to be.

Published May 18, 2007

Expandable systems can save you tons of room while making your closet organized.
[Home Depot photo]

Let’s talk about closets. We clean them once or twice a year, and often make do with spaces that don’t seem big enough for our worldly goods.

If only we could have closets that resemble the people we hear about in the society news, like the socialite who built a closet so big she threw a party in it.


But recent innovations in closet organizing and a growing closet industry mean our closets can become assets rather than obsolete burdens.

Choose a 'system'

Have a plan, even if you have to sketch your ideas first. Think about the closet’s intended use and what you plan to store in it.

Mark Carufel, a flooring and closets expert with Home Depot at 16121 N Dale Mabry Highway in Carrollwood, can help.

It costs less than $400 to organize an 8- by 8-foot walk-in closet using a white wood veneer shelving unit system by Closet Maid. Maple and cherry units cost more.

Home Depot also offers a range of standard wire shelving units that can help organize the same size closet for less than $200. Workshops on creating functional closets start in early June. (For details call the store at (813) 960-0051 or call a Home Depot near you to check for similar programs.)

If your clothes are confined to a reach-in closet -- the kind with bifold doors common in Florida -- not to worry. Several closet systems can still maximize the space with shelving, shoe storage and extra hanging bars.

Expandable systems are available for do-it-yourselfers who want a more polished look.

Schulte Storage sells a unique “O-Box” in white, cherry or maple available in three styles and two sizes. It can be configured in a number of ways to fit many closet sizes.

Rubbermaid offers “Configurations,” a good-looking expandable kit with add-on accessories like sliding drawer-baskets, shoe shelves and tie racks.

Just clothes, please

Chasity Poe, a professional organizer from Lexington Oaks in Wesley Chapel who owns Poe-Fessional Organizing, says closets should be organized specifically according to purpose. A clothing closet should contain only clothes, shoes, accessories and purses.

After clothes are organized according to type -- work shirts, skirts, T-shirts -- they can then be suborganized by color. Hangers should face the same direction.

Shoes should go on a vertical shoe rack or in a canvas hanging shoe organizer, which are great for holding sandals in each compartment if you have the space.

Consider installing extra bars to maximize hanging space, and separate clothes by season. Winter jackets and once-a-year party dresses don’t need to be mixed in with everyday attire.

Poe also recommends labeled rod-divider discs, a great new item she spotted at a recent convention of the National Association of Professional Organizers. The plastic discs work well for people who need a little prompting from time to time.

“This way, you can clearly label and define sections by pants, shirts, winter and summer,” she explains. “We label everything else, don’t we, even file cabinets? Why not label our closets?”

Closet helpers

[Last modified May 17, 2007, 21:45:17]

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