7 Closets In 5 Hours

One year after moving in, there were unpacked boxes of clothes 
stored in the study, and the homeowner's closets were underused. 
We emptied the boxes and tackled 7 closets in 5 hours, clearing his study.

COST: 5 Hours Labor + One Shelf Bracket for a sagging closet corner

This homeowner has more clothes than the before pictures reveal, a LOT more!  Living alone, he is lucky to have all the closet space to himself.  In the end, we created closets dedicated to types of clothes: Casual, Formal, Dress Casual, Out-of-Season, Long-term Storage, and Sports Wear.  As an avid runner, he also had to make room for golf ensembles, ski wear, swimwear, football game attire (GA DAWGS, of course), and rugged outer wear that included cowboy boots and flannel shirts.  Travel luggage had to be worked in. Shoes were separated into different closets according to the occasion. A coat closet downstairs at the entrance filled up quickly.  The linen closet was the only closet that remained half filled. A hat collection found a home. In addition to 7 organized closets, the study was finally cleared and turned into a working study for the homeowner.
The first closet is in the master suite. It is one of two closets which line a hall connecting the master bedroom to the master bathroom. Across the hall is a walk in closet.  This closet has folding doors.



This closet houses the nicer casual shirts. Golf Shirts hang at the left. Short sleeve button downs are in the middle with long sleeve button downs at the right. Solid blue and white long sleeve button downs are across the hall in the walk in closet with the suits.

The top shelf has a fabric steamer and three boxes of ties.
Now that the closets are organized, it's time for the ties. Working around the space used, we're left with the insides of the doors in the guest room and the office for the ties. Ties racks hung on the inside of these large doors will work great.

The nicer shoes are in this closet because that's where the room is.

The second closet, a walk-in, is across the hall in the master suite. It had became a place to drop laundry. Sports wear and formal wear hung alongside casual wear.


This became the formal wear closet. 
The awkward L shape and shelves that overlapped layers was worked around.
On the top are the suit jackets. One the bottom are slacks and very nice shorts (golf wear, etc). The areas where shelves overlapped provide storage for extra hangers. On the far right top shelf, there are small boxes for bow ties and silk handkerchiefs. A very nice suit coat for tuxedo and black tie occasions hangs at the extreme right near the formal wear. The length of the coat and the limited use with formal wear dictated that it was placed in the corner of the formal wear closet.

The shoe boxes at top left are empty. Shoe boxes always come in handy; keep a few if you've got the room. 

An avid runner, the hall closet was turned into a sports closet.


The closet went from housing military uniforms to athletic wear. 
Now retired, uniforms went into the attic for permanent storage.


The sports closet
The top shelf holds shorts and running braces on the far right. Hanging from L-R are Long pants, shirts, and then jackets to the right.
The laundry basket works well for him. Tossing in a lightly soiled set of running togs for a second or third run, the basket is the perfect drop spot. This is an example of a habit that works. Previously, he kept the basket in another closet next to regular clothes. In creating a sports closet, the basket became our starting point.

The oodles of shoes must be better controlled. 

Our goal was to work with what we had. However, in the near future a set of plastic drawers with 2 DEEP drawers should be placed on the floor to the right of the laundry basket. The shorts from the top shelf should be moved into the new drawers and the majority of shoes should be put on the top shelf. (First, line the shelf. Cardboard will do fine.) The shorts folded on the top shelf won't stay neat for long. Drawers that thin running shorts will be tossed into are ideal. Keep 2 pairs (max.) of shoes in the floor with shoe inserts. 

TIP: For shoes that are seldom worn, stuff newspaper inside. It works in so many ways. The paper helps the shoes retain their shape, and it absorbs dampness and odors. No cobwebs either!



The study closet, like the other closets, was underutilized.  The study was unusable because boxes of clothes, pictures, luggage, and desk parts crowded the room. We had to clear the room to fill the closets and set up a study.


This is what he calls his primary overflow closet. It's mostly for casual wear.

When the client said he loved t-shirts he wasn't kidding. To the far left are events shirts from road races, distinguished by hanging on plastic hangers. The bulk of the shirts hanging are his usual t-shirts. The belt loop with 30+ belts works for him so it's hanging next to casual pants. 

The top shelf came in handy because he had little drawer space : one dresser with 5 drawers. Bulky jeans are folded and placed in two stacks to the left. The middle stack are work pants for painting and working around the house. The two stacks at the far right are "too small" shorts waiting for the day those few inches disappear and then the shorts will move into the limited drawer space.

The stairs angle beneath the closet so there's a strange little bump in the closet floor.
IDEA: Rest shoes at an angle.
The storage bins on the floor also contain t-shirts. He doesn't wear them, but doesn't want to part with them. 
To the left of the storage bins, extra pictures are stored. Out of sight, they are safe from breakage.

At Last! The room is transformed into a working office.


The guest room has a large closet, but if you're a guest, don't expect to share closet space.  By now, it's obvious that this homeowner has LOTS of clothes.


There's a hat collection hidden in here!

Cowboy boots, skis boots, sandals and more...


What a difference!

The hat collection is now in one closet. We had an overabundance of cup hooks and these worked perfectly. Just the week before he had asked why the previous homeowner needed cup hooks under every kitchen shelf. We found a great use for them.

A small wooden rod rests on the front of the shelf.  This works great to lift the caps from the hooks.

The clothes in this closet are seldom worn or off season.
(ABOVE LEFT) Seldom worn ski wear and boots found a place at the far end of the closet. Turning the boots sideways, we had room for 2 pairs side-by-side, two deep.
(ABOVE RIGHT) A mirror from a recent bathroom remodel no longer had a home, so we put it against the back of the closet wall. Mirrors can be expensive so he wanted to keep it for future remodeling.
This closet became the spot for casual shoes.


These two closets took about 5 minutes each.  If it works, don't change it!

Sometimes you don't need a big change. Don't create work.


Space was found for a vacuum cleaner. Collapsible travel bags for weekenders were placed on a lower shelf. The larger luggage went into the attic for those once-a-year week long vacations. 

In the end, we had a cardboard box of oddballs like socks he didn't want to get rid of. I recommended that he buy a plastic box with lid that will fit on the empty shelf for the odds-and-ends.

We actually redid the coat closet downstairs, but no pictures are available. It was very necessary because the upstairs closets had overcoats and outer jackets mixed in. When we took the outerwear downstairs, we discovered dry cleaning mixed in. We took five minutes to clear out the odds-and-ends which found a home upstairs in one of the other 6 closets. Coats were organized seasonally and gloves and knit caps were stacked on the shelf. It was a quick redo which left no room for future dry cleaning.
Only one coat remains upstairs. Worn only for black tie winter occasions, it made more sense for the long, wool, formal coat to stay in the formal wear closet.


Work with the client. 
Initially he wanted me to come in while he was working. This doesn't work with a space as personal as a closet. I found out just how often he does wear all those t-shirts and that he loves his collection of hats. I also discovered how committed he is to running and a dedicated sports closet is the end result. I also discovered the (in)frequency that he uses things from ski wear to flannel wear.

Work with what the client has.
Dry cleaning hangers. He uses dry cleaners more than most so I used his dry cleaning hangers for the things that get dry cleaned. All button downs went on metal because, let's face it, when's the last time you switched hangers after picking up your dry cleaning? 

Sometimes swapping all your hangers helps to create a neat, uniform appearance.  We opted to use what we had on hand. As inexpensive as hangers can be, this homeowner had a surplus of unused hangers. More importantly, he uses dry cleaners a lot, and it's easier for the clothes to stay on the D/C metal hangers. It wouldn't make sense to swap out hangers unnecessarily.

We sorted the plastic hangers, the clip hangers, the pants hangers, and the wooden hangers from the metal and used them appropriately. His golf shirts got the plastic hangers because they go in the washer and weigh more than a tee. T-Shirts got metal hangers because they are light weight and we had a million of them, t-shirts and metal hangers. Suits got heavy duty hangers. Pants were hung on a mix of D/C hangers with cardboard overlay, heavy plastic pants hangers, and clip hangers. Wooden hangers were used in the downstairs coat closet. Extra hangers went in every closet afterwards. Excess hangers were hung from the bottom shelf in the linen closet. As D/C metal hangers accumulate, return the excess to the dry cleaner or donate them to a thrift store.

Don't create work where none is necessary.
The closet shelves stayed where they were hung. 

The laundry closet was functional and organized; we only utilized the free space that was already there.

Buy only what you need up front.
In all, he bought one closet bracket because he saw the guest room closet wasn't braced at one end. 

Buy what you think would improve the situation after you know what the situation is.
In the end, I had two BUY recommendations. 

(1) a covered plastic box for odd-and-ends for the linen closet
(2) a set of deep drawers to store running shorts in the athletic use closet. It will be much easier to toss running shorts into plastic drawers than keep them folded on the shelf.
We discovered a need for these things after the organization was finished.

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