Closet Organizing

August 11, 2010 by  

Closet Organizing

by Melanie Dennis CPO

Today’s Guest post is by a fellow local Professional Organizer, Melanie Dennis CPO (certified Professional Organizer). I consider her the guru of closets. Not only does she plan them out and organize them, but she installs it all herself! Ok…that is way beyond me. I wanted her to tell you and me some of her closet secrets!

You use your closet twice a day.  Some of us do the happy dance, and some of us feel contempt for the piles on the floor, the poorly used space, the spouse who hogs the rod, or shelves and rods bowing from the weight of it all.  The good news is that it can be better.  Lots of today’s melamine and wire kits can be installed with a few basic skills.  It can be overwhelming staring at the closet hardware at the store and know what you need to get the results you want.

Where to Begin?

Start with graph paper and a tape measure. Draw your closet shape and size.  After purging and donating the old clothes, measure the amount of clothes on the rods in the following categories. Hanging space is either long hang, short hang, or double hang (two short hangs one above the other.) Count sweaters and shoes. When planning your space don’t forget the non-clothes things stored in the closet like cameras, memorabilia, binoculars, or luggage.  Here are some of the magic numbers closet designers use to customize your space.

24” – how wide to leave between clothes hanging on each side of a closet for a person to walk through.  This is also the average depth of a reach-in closet.

21” – how much room you need from a wall to hang clothes on a hanger

34-36” -where you should hang the lower rod to hang slacks on the bottom of a double hanging wall.

75-80”- where the top rod of double hang goes.

67” -where contractors hang a long hanging single rod leaving an awkward amount of space not used wisely.

7-8” -amount of shelf space needed per each pair of shoes.

12” from the back wall is where a rod generally hangs.

2’ -how much long hanging rod space the average woman needs unless she long hangs her pants by the cuff or waist.

0’ -how much long hanging most men need.  A hook for a robe will suffice. I am a fan of hooks for everyone.

45 -average number of shoes a woman has. I am above average and that is all I am saying about that.

2-3 -sizes of clothes in most women’s closets. Yup…you are normal.

No drawers should higher than the eye level of the closet owner.

Piles of clothes should not be more than 12-14” high because they will topple easy- use more shelves with shorter piles will ensure better long term organizing. Some systems have supports for piles of clothes and purses to hold them upright.

Don’t fuss with systems that offer corner solutions.  Hanging in a corner is not efficient.  It is better to take one side all the way to the corner and hang the adjoining wall rod two feet out from the corner.  You can tuck rarely worn clothes in the corner.

Finally, splurge on matching hangers.  It makes a huge difference.

Melanie Dennis, CPO® is the owner of

Neat Streak Professional Organizing in Columbus, Ohio.  She has designed over one thousand spaces both as a as a closet designer for The Container Store and later as a professional organizer.

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4 Responses to “Closet Organizing”
  1. Ruth says:

    Melanie Dennis is a wonderful human being and her organizing skills are top notch. If you need organizing help she is definitely the person to call.

  2. Sandy says:

    She is awesome isn’t she?

  3. Leslie says:

    Hi Sandy: I just came across this page while planning a redo for my daughter’s closet. I completed my son’s planning with a tape measure and common sense, but I finished his double hang wall just fine and within your guideline suggestions. Lucky me. Anyway, I agree that 67″ is a waste of space for long hanging. What height do you recommend? Is it different for a male vs. female space, ie-the men have suit coats, the women dresses? Thanks for your website and I hope your father is doing well.

  4. Sandy says:

    Because I’m not a closet guru, but Melanie (who wrote the post) is, I’m going to refer you to her site to ask her. Let her know the post you were reading from here and ask her. She used to work at the Container Store and knows it all when it comes to closets! Neat Streak Professional Organizing

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