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Golden Rules of Closet Efficiency

Get the look with a Martha Stewart Living Closet System.

1. Double up on rods. Two or even three short rods installed one above the other, rather than one high one, will maximize hanging space in one area of the closet for short items like shirts, skirts, and folded trousers. Reserve another area for storage of longer items such as coats and dresses.

2. Opt for adjustable shelves rather than fixed ones. They will allow you to change the arrangement of the closet as your storage needs evolve.

3. Utilize floor space -- install shelves or cubbies at the base of a closet and you'll never have to rifle through items strewn across the floor.

4. Use every square inch. Examine the closet closely for potential storage: If the ceiling is high, install shelves above the rods to store items you don't use every day, such as hats, gloves, and other off-season clothing. Walls and the backs of closet doors are also handy spots often overlooked; they can support hooks, Peg-Board (to which you can secure any number of hooks), mirrors, and even built-in bulletin boards and display areas for messages, photos, and other mementos.

5. Keep small items in containers. Corralling like things together in bins, baskets, or boxes is a sure way to minimize chaos.

6. Consider convenience. Heavy items should be stored below waist level; rarely used items, on high shelves. Stash a step stool inside the closet, especially if there are high shelves. A foldaway model will take up little space. Make sure the legs are secure and, if the stool is metal, that there are rubber feet to keep it from sliding.

7. Illuminate the space. If a closet is dark, it will be difficult to locate what you need (as well as to get rid of the things you don't). Consider battery-operated lighting if your closet has no power source. Better yet, have an electrician install recessed ceiling lights that turn on automatically when the door is opened. An incandescent light can also help prevent mildew.

8. Reassess regularly. To keep your closets functioning optimally, reexamine them every six months. If the types of items you're storing have changed, rearrange the shelves, rods, and bins.

Comments (7)

  • Sweet16me 26 May, 2014

    It's an interesting. I find it very helpful . Thanks for sharing.
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  • shaz5980 27 Dec, 2008

    This saves space even in my craft room, even using the hanging tips for my quilting fabric. Fantastic

  • decorbwphotos 27 Dec, 2008

    Mrs. Diaz: I am so thrilled with your idea to put the jackets on the lower rod. That will be a great improvement in my closet!

  • Tkitty 25 Oct, 2008

    I agree with Mrs. Diaz. I have found that hanging the longsleeved tops on the lower rod works better for me. There is less bulk, and it is easier to see what's on the top. It also makes it easier to get to the shelf above. And, it seems more spacious when I walk into my closet.

  • castleberry 15 Aug, 2008

    My brother-in-law made my sister steps(3) on casters. My sister is4 foot 11 and she was having alot of problems like toe cramps from tip-toeing to stretching.

  • KathMeg 20 Jun, 2008

    I am 5' 2" and I need a step stool for everything above the 1st shelf in the kitchen. This closet looks lovely and if I could grow to 5' 8" I could use it nicely. Probably not going to happen. Ideas for the the vertically challenged?-other than the step stool.

  • MrsDiaz 3 Mar, 2008

    For the double rod area of your closet, use the top rod for sleeveless tops, short sleeves, and pants (that hang folded). Then put long sleeve tops and jackets on the lower rod. This way, the bulkier items don't block your view of the items on the lower rod. It seems "backwards" in a way, but it makes finding items very easy and looks very clean and tidy.