A closet is one of those things that’s easy to ignore, right up until it falls into disarray, or you suffer a clutter avalanche from procrastinated storage. While hangers and hooks tend to get a lot of attention, it is truly the humble shelves in your closet that do the majority of the work. Giving them the attention that deserves to keep them functionally organized will go a long way toward taming the chaos in your closet.
Whether you are reading this on “National Organize Your Closets Day” or it is just plain time to make some changes in your storage space, you can use some of the following tips to get your closet shelves organized today and keep them organized tomorrow.
Install Pull-Out Shelves
Shelves are just static things. With some proper engineering and forethought, you can use pull-out shelves to expand your per shelf capacity. This can also help adjust your closet shelves to better meet your seasonal storage needs.
Closet pull-out shelves are very similar to an office printer shelf or the shelves you sometimes find in a kitchen with deep lower cabinets. Most are a piece of wood or laminate with side mount drawer slides along the edges. For safe storage capacity, you want pull out shelves that are at least 3/4-inches thick. This will give them enough purchase to attach the drawer slides securely.
You can even give pull-out shelves specific purposes such as sweater shelves that include low, tapered panels with rounded edges along the top left, right, and back of the shelf. This is great for high-quality sweaters to help prevent snagging.
Of course, pull-out shelves aren’t just great in wardrobe, walk-in, and reach-in closets. Pull-out shelves can also be a great help in the pantry. These shelves typically have low sides that are not rounded and cover left, right, back, and front of the shelf. This helps you better see what’s on them before pulling them out.
One of the best ways to optimize the vertical storage space in any closet or pantry is to install adjustable shelves. This lets you change the height and spacing between each shelf based on your storage needs. While it’s particularly handy in linen closets and pantry spaces, just about any closet in your home will gain more storage capacity while enjoying more functional organization with adjustable shelves installed.
There are a few different types of the adjustable shelf to consider.
Dowel Peg Systems
This is the old-fashioned way to make shelves adjustable. Though it’s successful enough that it is still popular to this day. If you have an eye for accuracy and a steady hand you can drill the holes yourself. Even if your closets don’t have an immediate wood frame, you can create the dowel-drilled rails yourself and install them into the surrounding drywall with heavy-duty drywall anchors. This is a relatively easy way to retrofit a dowel system into an existing closet with existing static shelves.
Adjustable Metal Bracket & Rail Systems
These are the latest and greatest way to add adjustable shelves to just about any closet. The metal rails are installed with heavy-duty wood screws or drywall anchors. You can then pop the metal clips in and out via numerated slots. This lets you quickly adjust the height of all shelves through all four corners without having to count spots as you do with dowel systems.
Crank Down Or Pull Down Shelves
A lot of large hall closets and walk-in closets have excess vertical space available. This tempts a lot of people to stack boxes to the ceiling, only to have the boxes come down on them later. Crank down and pull down shelves have spring-loaded mechanical systems that let you move the shelf up and down with ease via either a pull handle or a special crank. You can even find some with additional hanger rods attached to the bottom for hanging up seasonal clothing items.
The simple cubby has evolved from the sort of thing preschoolers store their lunchboxes in to become an innovative way to group and organize similar items in a closet. You can easily use small cubbies to organize shoes, handbags, and rolled belts. While they are great in bedroom closets, they can be installed just about anywhere in entryway closets, hall closets, and pantry spaces. They are also very handy in the bathroom, as they provide each member of the family with their own place to keep their own personal hygiene items.
Angled Shoe Shelves & Shoe Fences
Walk-in closets and reach-in wardrobe closets often hold a fair number of shoes. Keeping them organized helps reduce the amount of shelf space that can be used for other essential items. Installing low angled shoe shelves with shoe fences helps keep all your footwear organized, while also making it easy to spot the shoes or boots you want to wear for the occasion.
Rotating Shelves & Lazy Susans
Lazy Susans might be thought of most for the kitchen and even the dining room table. Though a heavy-duty lazy susan can be just as handy in the corner of a closet or a pantry shelf. This lets you keep lesser-used items on the back of the corner shelf. When you do finally need them you can simply rotate the lazy susan rather than trying to awkwardly reach over the items in front.
Under Closet Lighting
Darkness and shadows are some of the biggest culprits contributing to closet clutter and disorganization. You rush in to grab something that you need at the last second, you can’t immediately find it under the stark light cast by the single lightbulb in the closet. Things get jostled and tossed around until you find what you wanted, then you run out the door trying not to be late.
By adding convenient light under key shelves, you can quickly find what you want exactly when you need it. You can do this by installing simple, lightweight portable LED lights. They run on batteries and are energy-efficient enough to last for years. You can simply touch the light to turn it on and dispel the shadows made by the solitary lightbulb glowing overhead.