Closet Works
Closet Works Logo

Subscribe to this BLOG

How to Organize Your Closet

By Sue Tinker, Closet Designer/Creative Problem Solver for Closet Works (retired)

The Three Key Secrets of a Professional Closet Designer

When you don't know what to do, it's always best to ask an expert. Guest blogger and veteran designer Sue Tinker offers closet organization tips used by the pros, and discusses the process she went through when building her own dream closet!

“I recently purchased a new home that came with the usual builder supplied wire closet shelving. I immediately removed this to make way for a new closet organization system. To prepare for the new closet installation, the walls were patched and painted before beginning construction.”

Basic wire shelf for closet
The standard single wire shelving supplied by most home builders does not maximize storage potential in the closet and is fairly unattractive.

Sue was excited to rip out the old wire shelving and get started on designing her dream closet!

“After designing thousands of closet projects large and small for many wonderful clients, I finally have my own brand new walk in closet. I've always had small but functional closet systems over the years, but this is the first time my whole wardrobe fits in one place.”

  • “No more stopping at three closets and a dresser in the bedroom to get ready everyday — EUREKA!
  • “No more moving clothes back and forth from the guest room to the bedroom twice a year during change of seasons — EUREKA!
  • “It's all in one place and I'm ready for anything every day — YAY!

Sue's Essential Design Goals for Every Closet:

  1. Maximize the spaceThat's almost always #1.
  2. Make it a functional designVery important.
  3. Make it look goodWhy not?

Every custom closet design comes with its own unique set of challenges, but a good closet designer knows how to handle them, even transforming an obstacle into asset.


“The closet isn't huge and it had some obstacles, but I knew I could make the most of it. The walls were patched and painted white before the installation. I like white because it is the ultimate neutral and will also reflect the most amount of light into dark corners. The closet also had a large pull down attic stairway in the ceiling to access the furnace. Retaining unobstructed access to the attic was important and needed to be taken into consideration in the overall design. Furthermore, the door to the closet opened inward which totally hid one section of the storage. With only one light in the front of the closet, the original space was dark — not good in a closet.”

Empty custom closet after installationNew custom closet with a place for everything
By replacing the wire with a new laminate custom closet system, Sue was able to fit more than twice as many clothes in her closet, and it looks a whole lot nicer to boot!

The closet design was well thought out and purposeful. A place for every item that needed to be stored in the space was planned out in advance and built into the design. This ensures the storage will be both adequate and organized. It creates a closet that is simultaneously functional, plus beautiful to behold.


Goal #1

“Since the ceilings are 9 feet tall, the top shelf is at 8 feet high to gain an extra shelf in each section. There's still room for all my suitcases on the top shelf. Double hang across the back wall maximized that wall for short garments. Plenty of shelves were included for folded items and shoes.”

Goal #2

“The existing wire system had hanging across from hanging, leaving barely 12-18 inches of space to squeeze through. That's tight! I fixed this problem by planning the standard 14 inch deep drawers to be across from the 14 inch deep shelves and hamper which makes it feel more spacious. I put my dressy, seldom worn clothes, behind the door.”

custom closet view 2 after installation
A full length mirror increases the functionality of the closet by providing a convenient place to check your clothing before heading out. It also reflects light and will make a small space seem larger.
custom closet view 3 after installation
Placing a bank of shoes shelves and built in hampers across from a set of drawers in the narrowest part of the closet made the space seem more spacious.
Goal #3

“The closet was painted white to help lighten it up. A light fixture was added in the back part of the closet which brightened the space. After a few weeks, I realized I didn't really need the door. That came off and went into the attic. That meant the least used items were now in the primary spot. One of the best things about closet systems is that they are adjustable. I moved the long hang to the back wall and the every day "go to" clothes are in the front for easy to access.”

“It's great to have a full length mirror at the front of the closet. Plenty of hooks put necklaces on display. They look good and are easy to access on the side of the shelving section. Good looking drawers for items that need to be contained (socks, etc.) can be seen from the doorway. I matched the drawer fronts and handles to the adjacent bathroom cabinets as closely as possible.”

New custom closet with a place for everything
The necklace storage works like a piece of art, personalizing the space and acting as a decorative accent. The finished closet space is both beautiful to behold and extremely functional.

“I'm thrilled to finally have a beautiful place where I can pick out my clothes and jewelry for any occasion or season and even get dressed without leaving the closet. Thanks Closet Works!”