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Make Over Your Closet

The best closet systems to help you gain more storage space
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All of us have them, but few of us really know how to use them. I'm talking about the common closet. That place you open to hang your friend's coat and get showered by junk you hid there last time someone came over. We stack, hang, shove and occasionally hide stuff in them, but are we really utilizing the space efficiently?

Closet Systems

One of the best ways we can start to use our closet space more effectively is to have a closet organizing system installed. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we have a large selection to choose from and selecting the right one can be overwhelming. Closets are big business, and this is obvious by the wide array of systems available.

What should you look for in a closet system? According to Kristina Ferrigan, marketing director of the National Closet Group, money should be your first consideration, as it will clue you in as to what type of system you can afford. "Have a good idea of what you're looking to spend for organization," says Ferrigan. "If you have a budget of under $200, you'll probably work with plastic storage bins to help you get organized. If your budget is a few hundred dollars, then a wire shelving system is certainly a possibility. If your budget is $1,000 or more, you can have a very nice laminate closet system for your closet, either installed professionally or as a do-it-yourself project."

Ferrigan says that prices for closet systems vary greatly based on materials and geography. A general rule of thumb is that a basic laminate closet system will cost approximately $100 to $120 per foot. This means an 8-foot reach-in closet will probably cost around $1,000. "Obviously, as the customer adds more features such as drawers, baskets, belt racks and other accessories, that price goes up," says Ferrigan. "Again, these prices are also very heavily based upon geography – closets in Kansas will probably be less expensive than those in New York City."

Organization Tips

Organizing consultant, Susan Sabo, who has appeared on HGTV's Mission Organization, favors organizing systems that are adjustable. "In a general sense, I prefer adjustable systems and shelving," says Sabo. "Many systems installed, in new homes especially, are not adjustable. Wire shelving is particularly flexible, good for clothing because it lets dirt fall through and air circulate."

Sabo suggests that if you do choose wire shelving, select the shelves that have the smallest spaces in between the wires. For hanging clothes, insist on a rod where the clothes can slide from one end of the bar to another without hitting a barrier. You will find this far more convenient when looking through your clothes.

Organized closets only stay organized if they are maintained. One way to help yourself and your family to do this is by using labels. "Labels are critical for things put into containers," says Sabo. "Clear containers compliment labels by offering a second visual for identifying things in the closet. Many of my clients have said that tidy labels encourage them to be tidy, so we use a label maker for the ultimate labels!"

The Dymo Letra Tag is one easy-to-use label maker, or if the system is for children, cut pictures of the items that belong in the container and apply them to the appropriate container. You can add the letters for the word the picture illustrates to start reading exposure.

Getting Started

With all the products and manufacturers on the market, it's difficult to begin a project as large as closet organization. Susan Sabo offers these tips to get you started:

  • Plan it on paper first.
  • Purchase the materials needed for your new storage system, which may include shelving units, baskets, containers or other storage items.
  • Take everything out of the closet. As you do, create piles of common items.
  • Paint the inside of the closet using satin or semi-gloss paint for light reflection.
  • Install shelving or other storage systems according to your plan.
  • Organize common items in baskets or storage containers, label the container and return the container to the closet.
  • Hang remaining articles of clothing.

Closets can be useful space if organized properly. By choosing and maintaining your organizing system, you too can have a closet you will want to show off to your friends – instead of hoping they won't want to hang their coat up!

A Run Down on Closet Organizing Systems
STOR-X™
STOR-X™ is a wood laminate-based organizing system, developed for use in reach-in or walk-in closets, mudrooms, pantries, garages, home offices or anywhere that maximum utilization of space is required. The STOR-X™ Organizing System is distributed through a network of dealers that design and install the system or sold direct through a toll-free help desk. For more information, call 877-275-6868 or visit their Web site at www.stor-x.com.

ClosetMaid
ClosetMaid has a variety of closet systems and organizers that can help bring a sense of order to the home. Wire shelving kits are available for different size closets with various shelf configurations. ClosetMaid's SuperSlide shelving offers continuous sliding action for maximum hanging storage space. For more information, visit ClosetMaid's Web site at www.closetmaid.com.

California Closets
California Closets systems are fully adjustable, with changeable components such as shelving and rods, drawers, baskets and cubbies. All systems are crafted from durable melamine laminate, mounted securely to the walls for safety and are backed by a lifetime guarantee and the Good Housekeeping Seal. For more information, visit their Web site at www.calclosets.com or call 800-2SIMPLIFY (800-274-6754).

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