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Organize Your Closets

No matter how much closet storage you have, chances are you could probably always use more space. But while building new closets may not be a practical option, you may be able to use the space you have more efficiently. In this document you will find information about: Planning Closet Storage and Building Closet Storage. To make the most of your closet space, you first need to know the sizes of the things you want to store.

The following general clothing dimensions will help you plan your closet storage efficiently:

  • Five men’s suit coats: 12″ wide, 38″ long
  • Six men’s shirts (on hangers) 12″ wide, 38″ long
  • Man’s shirt (folded) 8″ wide, 14″ long
  • Man’s pants (on straight hangers) 44″ long
  • Man’s pants (folded on hangers) 27″ long
  • Man’s dress hat: 6″ x 11″
  • Man’s shoes: 9″ wide, 12″ long
  • Woman’s dress: 68″ long
  • Woman’s robe: 52″ long
  • Woman’s dress: 50″ long
  • Woman’s jacket: 36″ long
  • Woman’s blouse (on hanger) 34″ long
  • Woman’s blouse (folded) 10″ wide, 13″ long
  • Woman’s skirt: 36″ long
  • Woman’s shoes: 6″ wide, 9-1/2″ long
  • Sweater (folded): 10″ wide, 14″ long
  • Boots: 9″ wide, 12″ deep, 14″ high

You may not want to design your closet around an exact inventory of all your clothing (what if you buy another shirt?), but a general inventory can help you add up the space you’ll need.

One of the problems with building any kind of storage space is that your needs may change. The closet layout in Fig. 1 is an easy project to build, but it offers enough flexibility that you can change the design to suit your changing needs.

This design is based on the size of a common 6-foot closet-about 6-1/2 feet wide, 7-1/2 feet tall, and 24″ deep, with a 6-foot-wide, 80″-high door opening.

It provides nearly the same space for hanging clothes by stacking two 3-foot closet rods rather than using one rod the entire length of the closet.

One of the most wasted areas in a closet is the space between the top shelf and the ceiling. The top shelf in this design is placed as high as possible-only 3″ below the top of the door opening-but it is only 10″ wide, so you can maneuver items in and out.

The rest of the shelves are 22″ deep, almost as deep as the closet. The top shelf and the shelf just above the optional drawers are both permanent. They rest on 1×2 cleats fastened to the wall. The two uprights are also fastened in place permanently. They provide support for the permanent shelves, and anchor one end of the closet rods.

The remaining shelves rest on shelf clips that are hung from metal shelf standards. They can be moved up and down as needed to accommodate shoes, sweaters, shirts, hats, etc. The drawers are simple boxes built to slide into two shelves, although they may also be hung from drawer slides. The cubbyhole below the drawers will hold boots or other tall items. The shelves are cut from 3/4″ plywood, and the drawers are made from 1/2″ plywood, with 1/4″ hardboard for the bottoms.

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