End Closet Clutter

Take advantage of the array of shelving systems at home centers and get your closet organized. Empty, assess, and reorganize your closet with easy-to-install shelves.

By Gene And Katie Hamilton

End Closet Clutter

Storage experts agree that a well-designed closet system will easily double storage space whether it's a bedroom clothes closet, a linen closet in the hall or a catchall closet at the back door for coats and boots. A typical clothes closet has one pole and one shelf, not exactly the most efficient use of the space. A better choice is a coated-wire shelving system with either permanent or adjustable shelves that range in widths of 12, 16 and 20-inches.

Permanent shelving systems are installed with wall support brackets and clips; those with adjustable shelves hang on vertical wall standards so they can be moved and reconfigured when storage needs change. Both types of systems are designed for do-it-yourselfers so installing them has never been easier, even for the not-so-handy homeowner.

The systems are sold as individual pieces and as pre-packaged kits to fit standard-size closets. For example, a basic wire shelving system designed for a 5-foot-wide, 36-inch deep closet a carpenter or handyman will charge $300, which includes labor and material; but you can buy the components for $185 and install them, saving 28 percent. There is an assortment of accessories that include shoe racks, hooks for belts and scarves and various sizes of hanging baskets and organizers for sweaters or purses.

Measure the closet and make a rough sketch with the dimensions to find a kit that will fit your closet or plan a custom layout using the individual components. Go to a home center or hardware store, where the systems are sold, and pick up a closet system brochure or project planner. Some manufacturers provide a graph paper planner with suggestions for various designs to fit different size closets and provide installation instructions and guidelines. Ask a salesperson for help if you have questions.

To design your closet online type "Closet design tool" in a search engine.

And make the most of what you're getting rid of by having a garage sale. Here's How to Plan a Yard Sale.

Preparing for the installation is the most time-intensive part of the project. Empty out the closet and find a place to store the stuff while you decide what to keep, what to pitch and what to donate to a charity. When the closet is empty, remove the old shelving and rod with a prybar and hammer, then patch any holes in the wall with wallboard compound. While the closet is empty, clean the floor, dust the walls and give the walls and ceiling a coat of paint if needed.

Follow the manufacturer's directions for installing the closet storage system. It involves measuring, drilling holes and fastening the system to the wall. You need a measuring tape, pencil, studfinder, drill, hammer, screwdriver, level and hacksaw to cut the shelving (if required). The installation takes a few hours and every time you open the closet door, you'll agree it was time well spent.

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