In the Pixar movie Monsters Inc., the professional scarers at the Monsters Inc. factory would open doors that gave them access to the human world, allowing them to enter the bedrooms of children through their closets for the purposes of scaring them. Children would lie awake at night scared to death of what might be lurking behind the closet door. Well, we know Monsters Inc. is just a story with no basis in reality. Yet how many of us are ashamed of what lies behind the doors of our closets? How often do we tell guests not to open that closet door?
Closets are the ultimate utilitarian space in the American home. They are not intended to be beautiful; they are designed to be functional warehouses in which we store our stuff. Unfortunately, closets also have inherent weaknesses that work against the idea of storage. Making the most of closets means working around these inherent shortcomings.
Closets That Are Too Small
A walk through the average home may give the impression that architects consider closets an afterthought. While large walk-in closets may be the norm for master bedrooms, closets in the hall, bathroom, and children’s rooms tend to be far too small for even a modest amount of storage. Short of enlarging the spaces, you cannot do much about the size. However, you can take advantage of wasted space.
Using racks of shelving or modular closet units lets you take maximum advantage of a limited amount of space. A little bit of creativity allows you to utilize all of the space, floor-to-ceiling, while still keeping everything neat and organized.
Not Enough Closets
There are plenty of homes that just do not have enough closet space. This is especially true in the New York area, where flats and brownstones are notorious for having next to no storage capacity. One option is to build closets. However, this is neither practical nor possible in instances where people are renting. The best workaround is to utilize other dead space in your home.
As an example, is there anything under your bed? Space under the bed is terribly underutilized in this country. In Europe, they have all but gotten rid of the box spring in favor of platform beds with built-in storage underneath. You can accomplish much the same thing by using plastic tote bins that can be slid in and out easily. Also, consider the wasted space on top of your kitchen cupboards, on top of the refrigerator, over the top of the toilet, etc. There are many creative solutions for using this space.
Closets in the Wrong Places
Another inherent weakness in closets is that they are often located in the wrong place. For example, you may have a large hall closet but no linen closet in the guest bathroom. This means you are storing bathroom towels and other products in a closet you would prefer to use for other things. That is just the way it goes.
The best workaround, in this case, is to categorize all of your storage items before choosing which closet they will go into. Then group the categories so that they are as closely matched as possible. This will not prevent having to store linens in this hall closet, per se, but grouping storage categories will result in a more logical setup that lets you find things more easily.
You can also divide your individual closets into distinct sections grouped by item category. All your bathroom linens to the left, for example, and all of your cleaning supplies to the right. Dividing closets by category also makes finding what you are looking for easier.
My Divine Concierge can help you make the most of limited closet space in your home. We are experts at organization for every room in your home. Take it from us, there is nothing quite like an organized home with clean and organized closet space.