Closets 101: First Impressions

Diane LeWand LeWand Organizing

Have you ever heard anyone complain about having too many closets or too much closet space?  No, neither have I.

Nature abhors a vacuum, so our needs expand to fill the space available.  This is fine until the space runs out, but with some strategic thought and planning, you can make better use of what you have.

Closet space comes in all shapes and sizes, but even the single shelf and hanging pole found in most homes and apartments can be arranged to better accommodate your storage needs.  A wide array of closet systems and accessories are available today, priced for every budget.

We will move methodically through the house, but this post will address the entrance hall.

The entrance area of your home is generally where coats, hats, shoes, boots and umbrellas land when you walk through the door.  If you are lucky enough to have a closet nearby, there are a few ways you can maximize that space.

It goes without saying that a good purge is the first order of the day when you are struggling with limited closet space.  However, that may not free up enough space, particularly when one closet must meet the needs of an entire family.

A few closet basics:

Use the same type of hanger for every item.  It creates uniformity and reduces the overall space required.  Unless you are hanging heavy winter dress coats, which definitely benefit from a sturdy wooden hanger, thin, suede-like hangers will hold the garments securely without adding bulk.

Having all of the garments facing in the same direction squeezes out every bit of space.  Notice how the clothing is hung the next time you are out shopping — they do it that way for a space reasons, not just because it looks nice.

Hang “like with like”.  Grouping long coats, jackets, etc. together makes finding things a snap, and placing all the long garments to one side of the closet makes accessing shoes and boots easier.

Now, back to expanding the space available.

On that top shelf is there height enough for another shelf?  Inexpensive coated wire shelving can double the space between the shelf and ceiling.  This is a great place to put clear bins or baskets for each family member’s hats and gloves.

Another option is to put a clear hanging shoe bag on the back of the closet door.  This works particularly well for kids. They will be able to store and retrieve their own items, and if you add labels, it will help them develop their organizing skills, too.

Housing shoes and boots for ease of access is key to keeping your entry tidy and attractive.  Adding an additional row of coated wire shelves on the floor will double the storage at the bottom of the closet (and if you followed my suggestion of hanging the longer items to one side, access to them will be much easier).

Did you know that turning the shoes heel to toe, side by side takes up less space than having both facing one way?  At the end of a long day, it may be faster and easier to just kick the shoes under or throw them on top of the shelf, but the extra moment it takes to place them properly pays great dividends in terms of stress reduction.

Another entrance hall staple is the umbrella.  A great way to store them is to add hooks or loops to the inside of the closet door.  It keeps them off the floor and ready to go.

Not all homes are graced with a coat closet inside the front door.  In such cases, a row of attractive hooks with the shoes and boots lined up beneath them is an option.  (Be sure to either screw the hooks into a stud or use a wall anchor for stability.)

Lacking wall space, a row of hooks can be added to the back of the front door, unless the door is either not sturdy enough (in the case of some apartment doors) or is steel, as some front doors are these days.  In those cases, a rack of hooks that hang over the top of the door can answer the need for hanging space.

Attractive umbrella stands can be found in all shapes, sizes and styles, and for small, collapsible umbrellas, a waste basket can often fit the bill when there is no wall hook available for them.

Those are my suggestions for making your entrance hall a tidy, attractive and serene space.  Stay tuned for my next post on bedroom closets.

About Diane

Diane Lewand

In the 25+ years Diane spent in the business world as a project manager, she learned solving problems takes understanding, clarity of thought and a systematic approach. Six years ago, she decided to use her experience and innate organizational skills to help people create order in their lives. Diane works side by side with her clients to free up their space and time to create a simpler and more comfortable home.

LeWand Organizing will help you “Make More Room In Your Life!”


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