5 organization tricks to overcome a bad closet design

It doesn’t take a crack detective to uncover a bad closet design. They are everywhere. Sagging closet rods bowing south from too much weight. Nasty lines on sweaters from wire shelving. Piles of shoes scattered in the darkest recesses of your closet floor because there is no place else to put them. What can you do to reinvigorate your walk in (or reach in) closet and make it a place you enjoy using?

Blowing up your bad closet design and creating a space which will work for you will require organization tricks from a closet designer’s “tool kit.” It’s knowing simple ideas of the closet trade to free yourself from being buried in a messy cluttered space. In this article, I’ll take you inside the mind of a closet designer (hopefully that won’t be a messy place – ha! ha!). You will learn 5 organizational fixes for bad closet design problems you can do with minimal muss and fuss whether you want inexpensive DIY ideas or splurge for a professionally designed and installed closet system. Let’s check out the tricks.

Closet organization trick #1 – How to overcome sagging closet rods  

In older homes, I have seen many sagging closet rods. Back in the day it was OK to have long rods because when these homes were built people put much less clothes on them. Now it is estimated we have 5 times the clothes or our grandparents (I can still see my grandfather in his white shirt and black tie he wore every day – he was minimalist before it was popular!). If you’re looking for a simple DIY solution to this challenge you’ll want to get rid of things you don’t wear, don’t fit, or are stained. This will ‘lighten the load” and make it simpler to find what you do keep (it’s funny because a few years ago I took 6 bags of clothes out of my closet and I don’t miss even one item I discarded!).

If you want a nicer – more permanent – solution I would recommend an adjustable closet system with laminate supports between the sections. With these systems, the sections are designed 36” or less apart so you don’t have too much weight on any one closet rod.

Laminate support sections between closet rods in a custom Dublin Ohio closet | Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

Closet organization trick #2 – How to eliminate nasty lines from wire shelves on your favorite sweaters

I don’t know about you but I’m not a big fan (as a matter of fact I’m not a fan at all) of wire shelving. The wire is too thin, you can’t put your high heels or shoes on them and they leave nasty lines on sweaters you have to waste time ironing out. If you want a DIY remedy for this problem buy a thin piece of plexiglass and have it cut and put over the wire shelving. It’s not a great solution – but it will get rid of the lines.

A better solution is to swap out wire shelves for a laminate closet shelving system. The laminate option is adjustable and can be made in various widths so you can use the full width of your closet (although sections longer than 36″ are not recommended). 

'Laminate #closet shelf sizes can be adjusted for better storage.' CLICK TO TWEETYou can also jazz up your space using wood textured laminates in many color variations to create a unique, celebrity-like, drool-worthy closet (now imagine that!).


Textured laminate flat shoe shelves for custom closet storage in a Worthington Ohio closet | Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

Closet organization trick #3 – How to gain hanging space  

Old closets normally have a single rod and shelf at the top. This “closet design” (I would contend the real problem is the closets in these homes were afterthoughts for the builder and there was no “design” to them at all) causes a lot of unused space in the middle of your closet (especially underneath shorter garments like blouses and skirts). The best way to gain hanging space is to double up the rods. If you want to accomplish this “on the cheap” you can buy a closet tension rod to put underneath your existing rod.

The better solution is to install new double hanging sections in a laminate or wood system. In most cases your upper rod will be higher than your existing rod today leaving enough room to put a lower rod in so you can get 2 times the hanging storage in the same area. That’s a BOGO (buy one, get one free) special!

'Double hanging #closet sections are a BOGO storage special!' CLICK TO TWEET


Double hanging closet sections double the hanging space in the same area | Innovate Home Org project in Clintonville Ohio

Now that’s something a girl can love. Another approach is to add drawers. What people don’t realize is you can get 2 times the storage folding your clothes standing up in a drawer vs. hanging them on a hanger.

Closet organization trick #4 – How to get your shoes off the ground in a place you can see them

Have you ever frantically looked for the perfect pair of shoes for a formal event or company board meeting only to find one but not the other shoe (maybe they go off to the same Bermuda triangle as those single socks from the laundry!)? Shoes can get buried below mounds of hanging clothes and be a challenge to find to say the least. A simple DIY way to improve shoe storage is to purchase hanging fabric or plastic storage container and put it on the back of your door in a walk-in closet. No, they aren’t a work of art – but they get the job done.

The upgraded strategy for shoe storage is to install shoe shelves. It’s nice (if space permits) to put these shelves on the outside edges of the closet (since you take your shoes on and off as you enter and leave the closet). If your space is constrained, use flat adjustable shoe shelves. If you have a big walk in closet you can use raised shoe shelves to create a display just like you’re shopping at Nordstrom’s.

Flat adjustable textured wood laminate shoe shelves in a custom closet in New Albany Ohio | Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

Closet organization trick #5 – How to overcome your dark, dingy closet  

Why doesn’t any builder put a transom window or skylight into a closet to make a more enjoyable and light-filled? Since your closet probably has no natural lighting the next best thing is to add task lighting near clothes and shoes. The cheap way to do this is to go to your local home center store and buy a battery-operated LED light and mount it to the walls or a shelf. It’s not very sophisticated (and changing batteries can be a major pain) but it can get the job done at a cheap price.

A better solution is to use rechargeable LED lights or a low voltage lighting system which is wired into an outlet (if you have one in the closet). Many LED systems today come with remote receivers so you can turn them on and off independently from your overhead light.

LED lighting in a custom Columbus ohio walk in closet | Innovate Home Org


Why continue putting up with a bad closet design you’re fighting every day? Whether you have a small budget (and need low-cost DIY closet design fixes) or can invest in a professional and adjustable system, there is no reason to be frustrated with a closet with bowed closet rods, bad wire shelves, or a dark space which lacks hanging or shoe space. Why not transform your frustrating closet today?


If you need help with a Columbus closet organizer system or would like a Free 3D closet designto see how your space can be transformed, contact Innovate Home Org in Columbus at 614-545-6888 or in Cleveland 216-658-1290.

For more information on closet organizing follow the Author on Twitter @Mike_Foti or our companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.


Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. Learn more about Mike
Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Closets, Organizing Tips

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