Closet planning – know your terms and needs

walk-in closet dressing room

The Dream Closet – not every home has the space for a Dream Closet, and that’s okay.

When planning a custom closet solution, it’s helpful to think about how you use your closet space. At some point in the process, you are going to be speaking to closet storage experts such as us, so you’ll want to have a grasp on not only your closet needs, but some of the closet concepts that are likely to be at play. This knowledge, in conjunction with information about your needs and preferences will better arm closet professionals like us find the best closet solution for you and your space.

There are different types of closets

First, there are different types of closet spaces. Most people are familiar of course with Walk In closets – a closet that is large enough that you can walk into it. Some walk in closets may be a small as 5 feet by 6 feet, or they may be as large an entire room – and indeed, sometimes people will convert a spare room into a walk in dressing room, if you have the space to spare. More common are closets that are too shallow to walk into, which we call reach in closets – since you reach into them. We also commonly work in spaces that aren’t already closets – we can build enclosed cabinets to serve as wardrobes, or even close off the end of a room with our custom sliding doors to create closet where none exists. For more about closet types, please see this post.

short hanging closet rods

An example of double short hanging.

Clothes hanging

The greatest need and biggest part of any closet solution is clothes hanging. Your hanging needs are typically divided by short hanging and long hanging. Short hanging is usually the majority, comprising shirts, blouses, skirts, folded pants and some jackets. Grouping all of your shorter items together can allow you to more effectively manage the required space by stacking sections, known as double hanging. Typically, a single layer of short hanging requires between 36” and 40” in height, you generally you will need 7 feet (84”) in height to achieve effective double hanging. Some items may need less height – some skirts, folded pants and children’s clothes – so you may in some cases be able to utilize lower areas for double hanging. Since we most often will provide adjustability for your closet rods in our solutions, you can often re-space your rods after the installation if the need arises.

long clothes single hanging

An example of single long clothes hanging.

Most people don’t need as much space for longer things, but there are usually a few items that are longer. This may include dresses, longer jackets or coats, robes and pants hung straight by the cuff. For this you will need long hanging – the height required for long hanging will vary, but usually we will allow anywhere from 55” to 70” in height. As such, long hanging is most often not stacked with short hanging, although you can usually combine your long items with shelf space, either above or below the closet rod. Again, you can usually adjust your hanging heights after your installation, thanks to our adjustable rod holders, which easily fit into pre-drilled holes we provide in our panels.

Shelf space

The next most important aspect of your custom closet solution is how do you use shelf space? Open shelves will accommodate a wide range of things: folded clothes that don’t get hung, linens and bedding, smaller clothing items, accessories and mementos in containers, handbags, hats and shoes. Some things, like folded clothes, you may want in easy reach. Others, like seasonal and special occasion items, may be stored higher or out the way. While it is probably a given that you will have upper shelf space throughout your closet up top, above your clothes hanging areas, you may want to consider a shelf tower in your closet – a bank of shelves in their own contained vertical area. Store items you need most frequently in easy reach. A shelf tower, especially if storing commonly-needed items, will most often be placed in the most accessible part of a closet. If it’s a reach-in closet, likely in the center, and in a walk in closet, either closest to the doorway, or maybe at the end wall if you have clothes hanging down the two sides. Among other things, if you are setting up both double hanging and single long hanging on the same wall, you’ll need to have a division between these two areas at some point, and a shelf tower can serve that purpose functionally.

simple shelf tower

A simple shelf tower.

Shoes are something that everyone needs a place for, yet everyone has different needs and preferences for them, too. You may have 5 pairs of shoes, or you may have 50 pairs – either way, you’ll need a place for them that is efficient, and, if you have a larger collection, allows you to find what you’re looking for. Shoes are usually best starting at the lower levels within a closet – if you have enough, you may even need to devote an entire shelf tower just for shoes alone! For smaller collections, though, consider storing them below your long clothes hanging, or on the lowest levels of a tower. It’s not uncommon for people to want to show off their shoe collections by displaying them on angled shelves as a means of presenting them, or even to house their shoes in clear storage boxes on upper shelves.

Drawer space

custom walk-in closet

A simple shelf and drawer tower.

While not every closet requires drawers, if you can effectively manage the real estate in your closet solution by carefully planning your hanging and shelving needs, you can also free up space in the bedroom by eliminating the need for as much furniture. The types of smaller things that go into drawers are most often those that don’t easily exist on open shelves: socks, undergarments, workout wear, t-shirts and more. For smaller things, like socks, it may make sense to utilize more – yet smaller – drawers, in the interest of keeping it easy to locate things. Too many small things in a larger drawer, the more you need to rummage to find things. Larger items that may still get stored include sweaters and bulkier things, for which it makes sense to use fewer yet larger drawers. A proper closet solution is not just about finding room for everything, but making everything easier to find.

Accessories

There are many other things beyond simple garments that get stored in closets. Handbags, scarves, neckties, belts and jewellery all need homes. We can offer drawer inserts for organizing jewellery; racks for hanging ties, belts and scarves; hooks for grab-and-go things and even shelf dividers for sorting handbags. Think about what other things you may want to store in your closet – an ironing board? A laundry hamper? This is all important information for you to have at your fingertips when planning your custom closet with one of our designers.

Now you’re better armed to discuss your closet needs with one of our designers – contact us to set up your free in-home consultation today!