Design lesson: Keeping your closets clean
Take a deep breath. Now go to your front hall closet and have a look. Is it well-lit, logically organized and efficient?
• Pegs or wall hooks installed on the back of the door will provide a convenient place for scarves, jackets and bags - if you have young kids, install some hooks 30 inches from the floor for easy accessibility.
• If space allows, a freestanding coat rack and/or an umbrella stand outside the closet will alleviate cramped quarters. Boot trays, which can easily be slid out of sight when not in use, are essential to keep floors neat and dry. Design tip: For a closet that's a minimum of three feet wide, consider replacing a single door with two half doors to improve accessibility.
Double sliding door
Though a double closet with sliding doors offers ample storage space for coats, shoes and boots, you can only access half the closet at a time, but there are ways to make this design work for you.
• Divide items between each side - try His and Hers, or use one half for full-length coats and the other half for jackets and accessories.
• Long hanging shoe bags with separate compartments are great for storing gloves, hats and scarves, and take up very little space. Similarly, stacking shoe racks will help keep the ground clutter-free.
• See accessories at a glance by placing large clear plastic storage containers on a closet shelf or on the floor. Use large labels to organize them by family member or in helpful categories like sports gear, kids' stuff and winter wear.
Freestanding wardrobe or armoire
• If you don't have a built-in closet, a free-standing wardrobe or armoire is a stylish alternative. However, because they are the least accommodating in terms of space, rotating your seasonal items is the best way to ensure their efficiency.
• Look for an armoire that's tall enough to hold full-length coats and has a bottom drawer for clothing accessories. Wicker baskets placed on top offer additional storage.
• While there are many traditional options available, a large, sleekly designed armoire on casters makes an attractive and functional addition to a contemporary environment.
• Consider teaming an armoire with a double-duty bench that has a hinged seat that hides a storage compartment. This convenient space will easily hold hats, mitts, scarves and children's backpacks.