Storage experts share closet design tips

What's the most common problem you see with your customers' closets?

Steve Jorgenson: Quite often, the problem is with the corners of the closets, where customers haven't used the space well.

Robert Coover: Wire shelving that's not adjustable. Still, with the right organization, storing a lot of stuff efficiently is possible. More importantly, our closet systems make it easier to stay organized.

Rick Robertson: People just don't have big enough closets for all their stuff. I can't grow their closet, but I can give them more space so they can do other things, such as add shelves.

What types of closet systems do you install?

Jorgenson: The two most popular types are ventilated wire and melamine laminate. We do some real wood products, but those are more expensive. There are a lot of wood grains where you can get the look of wood at a lower price. They're very durable and don't have to be stained. We do any type of closet - reach-in, walk-in, pantries, linen or storage. The accessories are unlimited: We can install tie racks, belt racks, hamper baskets, drawers, jewelry inserts, slide-out garment rods, built-in mirrors and ironing boards.

Coover: Most new homes have larger walk-in closets, but we deal with all kinds. A couple of organizing options include the double hang option, which is placing one short hang [rod] over another, and medium hang, which involves hanging medium-length dresses or pants by the cuff. Right after we install your new closet is a great time to upgrade your hangers. For shoes, one of the neatest solutions is shoe cubbies. The first step for deciding what the best setup is for each customer is assessing what's driving them crazy, and measuring their existing clothes and shoes.

What's the installation process like, and what do you charge?

Jorgenson: We do free in-home estimates. We bring literature and samples, get measurements, and see what customers' needs are. We use a custom drawing program [to design the closet], and e-mail it and the price to the customer. A reach-in closet typically takes an hour to install. Walk-ins can vary, depending on their sizes. Closets in the whole house usually take half a day to one day. We have a ventilated wire system that starts at less than $100. We've also done custom closets that are $5,000 to $10,000. We do a lot of closets that are about $300 for a melamine system, and you can get a really nice walk-in system for about $1,000. It's a very wide range. For the ventilated wire, we use ClosetMaid. I've been working with them for 21 years, and they've always given me great service.

Coover: It's typically a clean and hassle-free, one-day process. The only thing we need the customer to do is remove their clothes from the closet, which they can lay on the bed. From initial call to installation, it's usually one to two weeks. The cost really varies depending on the design. A small coat closet can run $100, while large walk-in masters can run $10,000 to $15,000. We custom manufacture all our materials and do free consultations.

Robertson: I bring a computer when I measure a customer's closet to simulate the setup and design. I print it out for them, and I can easily make design adjustments with the software. The price for a normal walk-in closet ranges from about $600 to $1,500, and we offer free consultations, one-day installation and closet solutions for every room.

Can closet organization add value to your home?

Jorgenson: Absolutely. A lot of times, when someone purchases a home, one of the first things they do is have the closets organized. If someone is looking at a home and sees a closet system, it's one less thing they have to do. With construction slowed quite a bit, remodeling work has picked up. People are putting money back into their house.

Robertson: Custom closets are a big selling plus - the resale value is great. Once people get a custom closet, they never want to go back to life without them. The homeowner gets a lifetime warranty on the materials because we use only three-fourths-inch thermofused melamine on particleboard for our closets. It's the toughest, most durable engineered material you can buy. 


Great article! I often see a lot of closets that do not utilize the height of the ceiling. High hanging (to the ceiling) is a great way to free up lower areas for shoe shelves or drawers.

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