Monday, May 27, 2013

Design Tips: Sharing a Small Closet

Who has enough closet space? I know I don’t! And I’m not a clothes horse, either. I do have a lot of bicycling clothes and coats though. So does my husband. In our house we share just a single 8-foot wide “reach-in” closet in our bedroom. 

With additional shelves above the hang bar and shoe shelves below, our closet is more efficient than many, and we do pack a lot in there. And we do have other closets in our house. 

While I would love to convert our spare room to a beautiful closet that looks like a high end retail store, like this dream closet shown above from Poliform, my reality is far from that. More affordable and more realistic solutions are available from stores like Ikea or the Elfa line from The Container Store.

Here are some of our strategies:

If there are two of you and one closet, divide the available space in half and respect it. Find or make a natural divider in the closet. In ours, the hang bar has a bracket at dead center, so we use that. The nice thing is that neither of our hangers can slide past the bracket into the other’s space.

If you’re using a handy on-line closet design system, like this one from Elfa, design two closets, each in half the space of your full closet. I found these automated designs often divide the available space in thirds, which is a hard way to divide anything between two people.

If one of you has a lot more clothing than the other, and there is plenty of space, talk to each other about a dividing line that is not a perfect half. If you’re the one with more clothing, realize your spouse or partner is giving up his or her rightful ownership to half the space even if it is completely obvious you have more stuff. Make sure your partner has enough space, take what is left, and if you still need more space, either rotate your clothing seasonally into another closet or get rid of some of it.

Decluttering is never a bad idea. Keep things you don’t wear out of the main closet space, and donate it if you haven’t worn it for more than a year. Trust me, unless it’s a very special item, you won’t wear it again. Ever. If you have less stuff, you’ll have more space for the stuff you actually do use.

Maximize your closet space with extra shelves or a closet organizing system. My house has a lot of original clear fir shelving in all the closets. I would not be happy about removing it, so I added a full-width shelf with cubbies above the existing one and at the floor for extra shoe storage instead of installing a full closet system. Plus, I added a bunch of hooks at the back of the door on my side for jackets, robes and sweatshirts.

“His” and “Hers” closets work, too, if you actually have them. In most houses there is only one closet per room but if you’re lucky you have two. Draw straws or discuss who gets the big one if they’re not equal. If one is big and the other is tiny, use the small one for jackets, linens or sporting goods, and split the big one in half.

Usually it’s pretty obvious what to do, but talk about it if it’s not. How does it work at your house? Let us know!

Until next time!
Elaine Bothe

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 12:01 AM 


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