How to Design a His and Her Closet

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. A simple hand-drawn illustration of your closet design is an important step in organizing your closet.

Since men and women are quite different in appearance, it is not surprising that their clothing and personal accessories are quite different. An exploration of strategies and techniques for closet storage will insure there is a proper and agreeable division of space in the closet a man and woman share. In this article, we will discuss the tips and tricks to organizing a closet that will quell the war of sexes.

His and Hers

Some items of clothing and some types of accessories are ordinarily unisex in nature, such as slacks and belts. These items require little, if any special emphasis or treatment. But there is an impressive array of articles that are distinctly feminine or masculine, and these need specific discussion.


A woman's wardrobe includes dresses, skirts, high heels, handbags, and necklaces. These items of a woman's apparel require their own kind of handling. Men simply don't own these types of items, or the items bear little resemblance to their feminine counterpart. A man's wardrobe, on the other hand, consists of suits, shirts, ties, jackets, sweaters, and casual wear. Many feminine equivalents to these items exist. The issue becomes more a matter of space than classification, since a man's garments are usually longer than a woman's.

So, how is space in a his and her closet fairly divided? How do you recognize where and when to increase the vertical heights of closet rods and shelf heights? A significant, though subtle, factor is that space can be used more efficiently on the man's side of the closet. All his space can be double-rodded since nothing is longer than a suit coat or shirt, and the height of the shoe shelves need not extend above the height of his dress shoes or cushioned running shoes. A woman's half of the closet must have sufficient space to hang dresses, as well as shelf space designed to fit high-heel shoes, knee-high boots, or wide-brimmed hats.

In the next section, we will discuss the best ways for "him" and "her" to divide the space in a closet.


Designing a His and Hers Closet

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. The traditional rod and shelf design almost guarantees that the man's and woman's clothes will become hopelessly mixed.

As with any closet project, the first step is to establish a set of standard operational procedures, or handling instructions, for the items that will go in the closet. Do not deviate from these guidelines; without standard procedures, you cannot maintain control of your closet.

Remove Belts

Remove accompanying belts from slacks, skirts, and dresses. Otherwise, the garments may be stretched out of shape. Belts belong on a belt rack. When hanging slacks, match the inside seam to the outside seam at the bottom edge. Hold the slacks at the bottom, and the crease line is defined.  Buttoning or zipping the slacks misaligns the crease. Simply follow the crease line to the waistband and gently mold the zipper and placket into a fold. Then fold the slacks near the middle of their length and insert them onto a hanger, keeping the fold in the center of the hanger. You may prefer to hang your slacks by their full length, which calls for a type of hanger known as a clamp hanger. But be warned: These hangers might mar the cuffs of slacks or the waistbands of skirts by leaving pressure marks that are difficult to remove.


Button Up!

When hanging blouses, shirts, and dresses, fasten the top button, perhaps the top two, or, best of all, every other button for the entire length of the garment. This eliminates wrinkles, cockeyed collars, and twisted plackets. Perhaps the worst habit you can get into is deliberately pulling a garment from its hanger. Instead, remove the hanger from the rod and then unbutton the garment from the hanger.

When handbags are placed on a shelf or in a cubbyhole, they should face the same direction and be in an upright position. Create divided compartments for handbags, with each compartment containing one color or a range of colors from light to dark. Closures should be properly buckled, snapped, or tied shut; if the straps or handles can be placed inside the handbag, do so.

An Imaginary Line

The primary focus of a his and her closet should be forming a real or imaginary divider between "his" side and "her" side of the closet. But this line shouldn't hinder the overall usefulness of the closet for either of the participants. This divider can be easily obtained, and there are several approaches to achieving this objective. Perhaps the simplest course is installing a wall in the middle, or near the middle, of the closet. Once a divider has been agreed upon, each separate side of the closet is then treated as a complete and separate entity: a woman's closet and a man's closet.

Women are usually given more space because women usually own more categories of clothing as well as more clothes within each category than men.

Keep a Clean Floor

In this closet design, all supports and appointments are kept off the floor. This adds an extra convenience: You can run the vacuum cleaner or dust mop into every corner, reaching every inch where dust collects. Many of the shelves hold sweaters and shoes inside transparent drawer units. Since these type of Lucite drawers are somewhat expensive, not every sweater and pair of shoes can be stored this way. So you might want to use these drawers for the dressier and more costly shoes that are seldom worn.

Each part of your closet can be designed in a variety of configurations. You must determine which aspects of the given designs are most productive and effective for your own circumstances. For instance, in a smaller his and her closet, you may want to eliminate the drawers, luggage, and dirty clothes basket.

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. This is the same closet as shown at the top of the page, but with a more favorable design. Many design systems are available for each closet.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. In this case, more drawers and rod space were added, and the top shelf was reconfigured.

Keeping a neat and tidy "his and hers" closet can be a challenge. But with the right approach, the results can be spectacular.

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