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Hard-to-reach areas are a closet's no-man's-land. A spring-loaded pull-down rack, which you can install yourself, solves the problem. A light tug on a handle positioned in the center of the rod brings clothes to you. The racks are sold on the web and through some closet and organizing stores.
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Sized to Fit
These oak-veneer cubbies are the ideal dimensions (about 10 inches square and 14 inches deep) for holding folded sweaters and pressed shirts. Painted and labeled wooden boxes are used inside the cubbies to corral garment- and shoe-care items and toiletries.
In Plain Sight: Open, pull-out shelves provide an orderly home for men's or other flat footwear. Each shelf is deep enough to accommodate two rows of shoes, so no stand-alone racks are needed.
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Normally utilized in kitchens, a pull-out pantry becomes a shoe closet when the shelves are installed at an angle; professional assistance is recommended for this project. Nonskid shelf liners prevent pairs from sliding when the unit moves.
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Four divided trays, painted orange, become a layered jewelry organizer. Two trays lie flat along the drawer bottom. The remaining two, joined with wood glue, form the top shelf; it is elevated by strips of 1-inch square molding affixed to the inner sides of the drawer.
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Kitchen to Closet
A pair of paper-towel holders mounted on the inside of one closet door organizes scarves or ties and keeps them wrinkle-free. A kitchen-utensil rail proves to be ideal for belts: Each gets its own S hook.
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Clearing the Air
The bottom of each pull-out shoe shelf is lined with tongue-and-groove cedar planks. The aromatic wood helps neutralize any odors and helps maintain a fresh-smelling closet.
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No More Slips
Swatches of Ultrasuede fabric, affixed to wooden hangers with a bit of craft glue, provide just enough traction to keep delicate blouses, camisoles, and other hard-to-hang garments from tumbling to the closet floor.
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Linen-wrapped Homasote fiberboard panels are mounted to the front of each closet door. A similar panel also rests on the back wall of a bureau-height shelf. They can serve as bulletin boards for notes, dry-cleaning receipts, and mementos.
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Made for Hanging
Homemade hangers preserve the shape of tall boots and maximize space. They're created by replacing the knobs on cedar boot trees with large cup hooks, which are screwed into the tops. The trees and boots then hang from a cafe-curtain rod.
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One Last Look
Two full-length mirrors hidden inside the doors (plus a third along the unit's back wall) provide a tailor's multiview reflection. This area houses items typically donned just before leaving -- shoes, ties, belts, and watches.
Collecting Station: The space above the built-in drawers includes a magnetic message board, made by wrapping linen around a sheet of galvanized metal and then framing it. A nearby tray serves as a catchall for watches, keys, and other everyday items.
Adjust as Needed: These shelves are positioned to fit the closet's contents, with little wasted space in between. The two center shelves accommodate stacks of folded clothing. On top, a small shelf holds collapsible bags, while the lowest shelf is designated for laundry.
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Open storage cubes, available at organizing stores, rein in piles of folded shirts and sweaters and keep them from toppling over. The movable cubbies also provide support for the stacks on either side.
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Carry and Wash
A pair of canvas bags -- one for laundry, the other for dry cleaning -- eliminates sorting later and makes for easy transport. Clear luggage tags on each indicate the appropriate cleaning method. You can also insert your contact information to streamline drop-offs at the cleaner.
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Storing accessories in full view, whether neatly in a drawer or on the back of a door, can help you get out of the same-old-outfit rut. When you can see the options, assembling different looks is surprisingly easy.
Square acrylic organizers give ties and belts their own homes. Underneath, blue acid-free mat board lines the drawer for extra color. Additional trays are cushioned with coordinating felt to protect the jewelry inside. Clothing, shoes, and luggage provided by Brooks Brothers.
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This End Up
Tame your T-shirts by folding them into thirds and arranging them folded-end up in the drawer, rather than flat (this is an overhead view). Metal bookends, painted blue and outfitted with rubber surface protectors, hold the shirts upright, letting you see each one.
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Purses are stuffed with acid-free tissue paper so they maintain their shape when not in use. The bags are kept in flannel sacks to protect them from light and dust.
At a Glance: Windowed boxes covered in tweed make it possible to find a specific sweater in an instant. Magnetic catch-and-pull tabs ensure that the lids close tightly.
Pay It Forward: A basket on the floor of the closet collects clothing donations for a local charity and is a reminder to donate regularly.
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Being kind to clothes between wearings and seasons is an investment in their longevity. Use appropriate hangers so that jackets and shirts retain their shape, and stack sweaters from heaviest to lightest.
Clothes and accessories stored for a season or longer need protection from light, moisture, and insects. A box filled with acid-free tissue paper, assorted cedar inserts, and dried lavender makes it easy to prepare items as you put them away.
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Twenty-inch cloth napkins (or same-size squares of fabric) become protective covers for coats and vests that don't need to be stored in garment bags. Each is pierced in the center and reinforced with a grommet to slide over a hanger.
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Safe and Warm
Wool scarves and mittens are ready to wear from one season to the next when wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and slipped into labeled craft boxes (available at organizing stores). The boxes are then stowed inside shallow drawers.
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To create a belt rack that matches your other hangers (and doesn't require making holes in the wall), try this: Predrill a row of holes in alternating spots on both sides of a wooden clamp hanger, and screw in cup hooks. Make as many of these hangers as you need to accommodate your belts.
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A Peek Inside
Digital pictures, tucked into card-stock tags with windows, identify the contents inside each garment bag. Breathable and inexpensive, the canvas bags can be dressed-up with colorful bias tape, applied with an iron and fusible webbing.