Expand Your Wardrobe Space with DIY Closets

Build your own well-organized closet.
Build your own well-organized closet.
Comstock Images/Thinkstock

A neat, organized closet may seem out of reach when you look at yours – currently a jumble of mismatched hangers, shoes tossed on the floor, and bags crumpled on a top shelf – but making some smart decisions about how to maximize your space can turn it into a magazine-worthy space in less than one weekend. Follow these easy, DIY tips to organize your own closet and say goodbye to the mess forever.

Maximize Your Rod Space

Closets are first and foremost about hanging items – which means you need plenty of space for the things you regularly wear and that really need to hang. Your best suits and dresses and any out-of-season coats should have a different home (whether it’s a coat closet, a spare room closet, or garment storage in your attic). Your bedroom closet is a place for the shirts, pants, and suits you wear on a daily basis. Once you’ve figured out what you actually need in your closet, see if a second rod at a lower or higher level would make it easier to keep clothes separated by category and within reach.

Add Shelving and Drawers

A rod alone can leave you with lots of wasted space, both above and below. Take advantage of the depth and height of your closet by installing drawers below your clothes, where you can store scarves, underwear, t-shirts, and tank tops, and by adding shelving above for shoes, bags, hats, and other accessories. Once you give everything a place, it will be much easier to keep things where they belong.


Don’t try to store small items loose on your new shelves and in your drawers – this is setting yourself up for organizational failure. Instead, stock up on small bins, baskets, clear boxes – whatever you think will work best – to keep small items corralled but visible. Special organizers for handbags, shoes, belts, and ties let you see what you have so you don’t end up storing pieces you never wear, and give you a dedicated place to put your accessories when you change after work.

Rethink Your Doors

Are your closet doors getting in your way? If you have sliding doors that let you access only half your closet at once, six-panel doors that open up too far into your room, or accordion doors that never stay on their hinges, then you’re making your life harder before you even get a look at your clothes. Consider hanging sliding doors that move out to the sides, along your wall, instead of on top of each other, so you can see all your clothes at once. You can also take the doors off entirely for maximum access (although a closet without doors means you can never hide a mess).

Build Along a Wall

If you have more clothes than closet, your best option may be to give up your closet entirely and, instead, install a system along a full open wall. This gives you plenty of space for rods, shelves, organizers, and drawers; hang a curtain in front of it if you think you’ll want to hide it from view sometimes. Check your local home improvement or organizational store for DIY kits that let you plan and build a custom unit. Then turn your now-spare closet into a nook for your desk, a reading area, or even a spot for your dressers to free up more floor space within your room.

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