Skip to main content

Increasing Closet Space: How To Install A Closet Organizer

Even our teenage daughter can keep her closet neat and organized

Even our teenage daughter can keep her closet neat and organized

This Flexible Closet Organizer Storage System is Not Limited to the Bedroom.

Improve your closet space with a Closet Organizer: Installing a Closet Organizer is an easy DIY project that takes just a little planning, a few common tools, and a bit of time and effort. The closet organizer materials are inexpensive, and the results will pay big benefits by increasing the usable space in any closet.

The closet organizer is a simple DIY system that is easily adapted to any closet space, and uses common materials from any home center. The white wire rack shelving used in this closet organizer design is very sturdy and easy to install, and it can be used in combination with solid shelving and cabinets to custom fit any closet or storage area.

With just basic hand tools and a few hours of effort, you can also create efficient and attractive storage in any closet, improve the storage space in the kitchen pantry, in the basement, and in the garage or laundry room.

Closet Organizer Plans and Photos by the Author.

Closet Organization Systems

Closet Organization Systems

Plan Ahead

Begin your closet organizer project with a little planning by visiting your local home center or web sites specializing in closet organization systems for ideas and inspiration. Most of the big box home improvement stores have an aisle dedicated to shelving systems for home offices, laundry rooms, kid's rooms and closets of every size and shape. The white wire rack systems are economical, and easy to customize to fit any closet with minimal effort.

The Closet Organizer Project List

Things You'll Need:

  • White Wire Clothes Shelving (available from most home centers)
  • End Brackets
  • Wall Anchors
  • Melamine Boards (optional but recommended)

Basic Tools:

  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Wire cutters
  • Hacksaw
  • Pencil
  • Awl
  • Hammer
  • Stud finder
  • Level

Determine the best layout for your closet organizer by looking at your storage needs. Do you need more closet space to hang mostly shirts, or do you have a lot items that need to hang full length? Do you next extra shelving for folded items?

A basic closet organizer system can divide the space into two sections; two rows of wire shelves for shirt hangers on one side of the closet and a full length section on the other side. A melamine board separates the two sides and provides support for the shelves.

For this basic closet organizer layout, you will need:

White wire rack shelving. The white metal wire is plastic coated for long wear and cuts easily with a hack saw. The rack shelving fronts are divided into sections for supporting clothes hangers.

White plastic clips for the wire rack shelving. These clips can be purchased in bulk (about 25 clips per bag) and are used to attach the back of the wire shelving to the wall. The clips have hollow wall anchors with metal fasteners for securing the brackets into sheet-rock, without needing to be centered on a wall stud. Clips are placed about every 12" along the shelving to support the weight of the hangers and clothes.

End brackets to support the front of the wire shelving (two brackets per shelf). The white plastic brackets attach to the wall, and the wire rack shelf drops into the slot at the top of the bracket. The brackets also have hollow wall anchors with metal fasteners for securing the brackets into sheetrock without hitting a wall stud.

Melamine is a pre-finished composite "board" that is available in 12" widths. Melamine has a smooth, white plastic-like coating with one finished edge. Face this edge outwards when using for shelves or upright supports.

Closet Organizer Plans

DIY Closet Plans

DIY Closet Plans

Scroll to Continue

Build Your Own Custom Closet

Build Your Own Custom Closet shows you all of the inside tips on designing your own custom closet, where to buy the materials and how to install them. All the materials and hardware used by professional custom closet designers are now available at your local home center.

My new closet looks pretty good!

My new closet looks pretty good!


Clearing Out the Old Closet

Empty everything out of your closet including the old closet rod and any hardware. Once you have everything removed down to the bare walls, you can take accurate measurements to determine how you can best utilize the existing space.

An empty closet will also make it much easier to find the wall studs for securing the new hardware. If you chose, now is the time to patch the walls on the inside of the closet, and then freshen up the closet walls with a new coat of paint...

Measure & Cut the Shelves

Start with the double shelf section for hanging two rows of shirts, one over the other. Determine how much space is allotted to the shirt section, then transfer the measurement to the wire shelf and cut the shelf to length with the hacksaw.

Measure the heights for each shelf on the back wall of the closet, making sure that you have enough room underneath shelf to hang the intended clothes.

Use the level to extend the line across the wall. This line shows where the plastic clips will be installed to support the rear of the shelf.

Install the Shelf Clips

Using the stud finder or by looking closely at the sheetrock for indentations from the sheet rock screws, determine where the wall studs at located. The shelf clips are designed with hollow wall anchors for use in sheetrock without screwing directly into wall studs, and this system will support the weight of shelves. But where ever possible, screw the clips into the wall studs. Clip the wall anchor off of the back of the clip, so the screw will lay flat against the wall.

Attach the clip with a sheetrock screw that is longer enough to penetrate the sheetrock and into the wall stud. Continue with the rest of the clips.

End Bracket for Wire Shelving

End Bracket for Wire Shelving

Install the End Brackets

With all of the clips installed, snap the back of the shelf into the clips. Now, hold the shelf in it's level position. With an end bracket held in position supporting the shelf, mark the location on the wall for the end bracket.Attach the bracket, and then drop the shelf into place..

Install the Divider

If using melamine for the divider, measure the height of the top shelf and cut the melamine to length. With the finished edge facing outward, place the divider upright against the shelf.

Then, mark the bracket location and attach the bracket to the melamine with short screws.

Drop the shelf into the bracket, and the shelf is now supported on both ends.

The new shelf is in place

The new shelf is in place

Cut & Fit the rest of the Shelves

Measure the shelf to fit the opening on the opposite side of the divider, and then cut the shelf to size. Repeat the process for installing the clips and brackets, snap in the back of the shelf to the clips and drop it into place.

The divider is stabilized and held securely in place between the shelves. Now, measure and add the third shelf..

Another teenage daughter's closet

Another teenage daughter's closet

Tips for Closet Organizers

  • Cut each wire shelf just slightly shorter then the measured length of the closet opening to account for the thickness of the end brackets
  • Most home centers offer a variety of brackets, hangers, baskets and other options to further customize your storage spaces
  • Now that you closet space is functional and efficient, its time to organize your clothes - first by function, then by color...

How To Install A Wire Shelving

Watch this short video to see how easy it is to install wire shelving and create your own custom closet organizer. Your clothes will thank you!

First by Function, Then by Color


A Closet Organization Method

Organize closets with this simple system: First by Function, then by color is the mantra for efficiency in clothes closet organization.

If just the thought of organizing your clothes closet brings about feelings of fear and dread, fear not. You can organize closets to make them more functional, and it is worth the momentary pain & suffering on those hectic mornings when you're rushing to get dressed and get out of the door....

Organize closets of any size by dividing the available space into different sections: one section with two rods (one over the other for hanging shorter items like shirts) and another full length section to hang full length items. Most home centers and many specialty web sites cary wire closet organizer systems that are inexpensive and easy to customize to take advantage of the available storage space in your closet. If space allows, a set of floor-to-ceiling white melamine shelves are convenient for storing sweaters, folded jeans, shorts, etc.

Hang lighter weight items such as shirts on the upper rod. Separate the dress shirts from the casuals, polo's and sweaters, and hang each group in your preferred sequence (casual shirts on the left, then polo's and sweaters in the middle and then the dress shirts to the right.Now, arrange the items in each group by color. For example, all of the white dress shirts are hung together, then progressing from the beige and lighter colors to the blues and darker colors, then to the stripes.

Pants and any other remaining items are hung on the lower rod, following the same First by Function, then by Color mantra: casual and dress pants are separated, and then hung from light to dark.

Once the clothes are organized by function and the color patterns established, it's relatively easy to maintain as clothes return from the wash and need to be put away. Now, it's time to tackle the kid's closets!

Easy Closets and Affordable Storage Solutions

Rubbermaid FastTrack Expandable Wardrobe Organizer

Jumpstart that closet organization setup, shoes and all, with this expandable wardrobe organizer from Rubbermaid. .

Tell Us about Your Closet and Storage Tips

pawpaw911 on July 17, 2012:

I need to put some of this great information on closet organization to use on our closets. They look like a train wreck.

Anthony Altorenna (author) from Connecticut on February 17, 2012:

@sudokunut: Good point! My closet doors swing outward, so the placement of the divider was not a concern. Thanks for stopping by!

julieannbrady on January 28, 2012:

I have always dreamed of having a custom-made closet organizer system ... I'm still dreaming!

howtoorganizeacloset on January 04, 2012:

Another way to organize your closet is to group your items according to frequency. This is one of the easiest ways on how to organize a closet without spending. Take out everything from your closet and group the items as according to the frequency you've used them. In one area of the room, put all of your office attires in one pile. Choose another area of your room for your day clothes; then do the same for your nightclothes; and etc.

Mark Falco from Reno, Nevada on December 29, 2011:

I put one of these in recently, much easier than I thought it would be. Planning is the hardest part and once you realize the shelves can't go in the middle ('cause the sliding doors be in the way!) then its all plain sailing.

Mark Falco from Reno, Nevada on December 29, 2011:

I put one of these in recently, much easier than I thought it would be. Planning is the hardest part and once you realize the shelves can't go in the middle ('cause the sliding doors be in the way!) then its all plain sailing.

anonymous on December 24, 2011:

Angel dust is nice for freshening up closets....

zein12 on December 22, 2011:

this lens giving me inspiration..thanks

kitchenpantry1 on December 15, 2011:

I love it!!! Great lens. I must get me some of these.-----------------------------kitchen pantry

howtoorganizeacloset on November 12, 2011:

Empty your closet. Take out all of your stuff and pile them into categories. As you sort among your things, separate items you want to keep and the items you no longer use. It is not healthy to keep items that you do not use for longer than 6 months. Give them to charity instead.

anonymous on August 28, 2011:

First off, what tidy looking closets you have in your home, must be the expertly planned and installed closet organization system that make it possible to utilize all the space so efficiently. Well done, as is your custome!

Related Articles