6 Sensible Reasons To Upgrade A Builder Closet

upgrade a builder closet

There are several reasons why a closet space won’t function properly.

Most often, the issue is that the closet owner doesn’t declutter enough. Without this important maintenance routine, the closet will inevitably have too many clothes and accessories crammed into a relatively small space.

Another major reason we find it a challenge to manage our closets is that we’re still using the original builder closets that came with our house or condo.

These closets are too basic for most people’s needs, so let’s explain why you should upgrade a builder closet.

We all know what “builder closet” means

In most new homes (even expensive homes), only the bare minimum is done when the closets are installed. A builder closet typically includes one hanging rod and an upper shelf. If you’re lucky, there may be some additional wire or wood closet shelves (which probably aren’t adjustable). Having a closet light would be downright extravagant.

We all know what “builder closet” (also known as a builder-grade closet) means – cheap, low-quality, sub-par…take your pick of any word that is synonymous with “inferior”.

It’s not only closets, either. “Builder-grade materials” may sound very professional, but it’s also just a polite way of saying “cheap”. Virtually anything in a new home can be made with inexpensive builder-grade materials like kitchen cabinets, garage doors, faucets, and doorknobs, just to name a few things.

Homebuilders know that their clients have rock-bottom expectations for the closets they’re getting when they buy a newly constructed home. You can rest assured that if the builder is providing a bare minimum closet setup, the quality of the shelf/shelves and hanging rod will be sub-par, too.

We don’t mean to hammer (pun intended) too much on homebuilders here, but there’s a lengthy track record on the quality of their closets that’s impossible to dispute.

Why you should upgrade a builder closet

Relying on a basic builder closet to keep your clothes stored and organized makes your life more difficult and frustrating than it has to be.

Many of us do it, however. That’s partly because people tend to adapt to a situation that may not be ideal because it’s less work to try and fix it.

Others may not know any better that there are much better closet setups available than what their builder-grade closets offer. This could be because we’re so conditioned to expect that closets made by builders have traditionally had a very simplistic design.

Or you may be someone who isn’t that concerned with how efficiently your closet functions because you don’t have a lot of clothes, like Ryan Reynolds. The Canadian actor and entrepreneur told The New York Times he keeps his wardrobe so simple that his wife jokes he doesn’t even need a closet.

Even if you don’t own a lot of clothing, there are still plenty of reasons to rethink how you’re using your closets.

If you’re still getting by with closets that have barely evolved for the better since your home was built, find out why there’s no time like the present to upgrade a builder closet.

empty builder closet

A typical builder closet like this only offers a bare minimum level of functionality.

1. A builder closet lacks functionality

The biggest reason to upgrade a builder-grade closet is that they’re woefully lacking when it comes to functionality.

Sure, they technically function, but there’s only so much a no-frills closet space with a single hanging rod and a shallow depth upper shelf can do for you.

“One-size-fits-all” products rarely provide full satisfaction to anyone who uses them. Everyone has unique tastes and preferences, so anything built for the masses is guaranteed to leave a lot to be desired for a significant number of consumers.

You can try to supplement the limited functionality of a builder closet by adding things like hooks, additional shelving, baskets, plastic storage bins, and a shoe rack on the floor.

Although these extras will improve the functionality of a closet, the space will still fall well short of what a custom closet design can do for you.

2. Your closets are used every day

How many things do virtually all of us use every day, at least twice a day? We can think of the fridge, the kitchen sink, certain room light switches, the toilet (sorry, it had to be said), our phones, some furniture pieces, and our bedroom closets. We can’t even include the bathroom sink because apparently around half of us brush our teeth only once a day.

There are probably a few things we’re leaving out. It’s not a very long list, though. With every one of these things, we count on them to work reliably since they’re an everyday part of our lives.

If the kitchen sink or a light switch wasn’t leaving us satisfied every time we used them (as mundane as those interactions may be), we’d either fix them or replace them with a product that provided a better user experience.

Considering we have to get dressed and undressed every day, why do so many of us simply settle for using inadequate builder closets then?

full closet

Something all of us use twice a day like a bedroom closet should be easier to manage than what you see here. (Photo by Chris Scott from FreeImages)

3. A builder closet isn’t stylish

First and foremost, a closet should provide you with the storage space you need and be functional enough so that it’s easy to keep it organized.

Adding some extras to help with functionality can help you get a little more use out of the closet. A mishmash of products added over time tends to create a rather patchwork type of look and there’s no decorative cohesion, however.

While they may be a utilitarian space, there’s no reason a closet shouldn’t look stylish.

Attractive and stylish closet spaces are undervalued. Making your closet look as nice as possible should be a priority. After all, it’s something you’ll be looking at a lot, so why not make it as inviting and visually appealing as possible?

Interior design psychology and environmental psychology tell us that our mood can be affected by how a room looks. This includes things like:

  • lighting
  • wall and ceiling colours
  • textures
  • how much open space there is
  • clutter
  • the shapes and locations of things

A walk-in closet is considered a room and a reach-in closet is considered an enclosed space. If you style up these areas of the home to give them some personality and more visual appeal, it can make a world of difference when you use the closets.

Having a complete custom closet makeover is the best way to upgrade a builder closet and transform it from drab to fab. Other ways to add some style to a closet are to upgrade the lighting for improved ambiance, give the closet walls and ceiling a fresh coat of paint with a new colour, or replace the closet doors with new doors outfitted with stylish hardware.

4. Builder closets waste space

Here’s another compelling reason to upgrade a builder closet – they waste a lot of potential storage space.

Consider the upper shelf in one of these closets. It’s commonly at a height of around 5-6 feet, which allows for easy access to the shelf for most people. Now consider that the average ceiling height in a room is around 8-9 feet (and as high as 10-12 feet in some rooms). Most items that get stored on a closet shelf aren’t tall enough to reach the ceiling, so much of that useful vertical space isn’t used.

Unless you’ve added some helpful closet accessories like an extra hanging rod, a valet rod, or a tie rack and belt rack, a builder closet isn’t working as hard as it should be for you.

Leaving valuable storage space underutilized or completely unused ends up creating storage and organizational challenges (which is another way to say “headaches”).

5. Metal wire closet shelves aren’t ideal

It’s a wonder that metal wire shelving came to be used so widely in closets. Sure, it’s cost-effective, but it’s difficult to find any other things that wire shelving has going for it. Here are some of the drawbacks of using wire closet shelves:

  1. Aesthetics: metal wire shelving, which usually comes in white, isn’t very attractive. The look you get is rather bland and antiseptic compared to wood shelving, which has more character and design versatility.
  2. Stability: they can’t hold as much weight as wood shelves, so they’re more prone to stability issues.
  3. Crease lines: the wire grid design of the shelves tends to leave crease lines on clothing. That creates extra work to iron or steam away the creases when it’s time to wear the clothes.
  4. Storage versatility: those wire grids don’t allow you to use the shelving for much more than stacking folded clothes. Small accessories can fall through the gaps and it’s more difficult to stand things up because the top of the shelving isn’t flat.
  5. Durability: over time, the plastic coating on wire shelves can become sticky (higher humidity levels in the closet are one cause of this). The white coating may also discolour and start to have a yellowish look.
  6. Ease of cleaning: the grid design makes the shelves harder to clean than wood shelves.
wire closet shelving with hanging clothes

Metal wire shelves aren’t the best choice for a closet. They’re also not a good substitute for a proper hanging rod. (Photo by jswashburn from Pixabay)

6. (Your) time’s a wastin’…

The space in a builder closet isn’t the only thing being wasted. So is your time. As in the time wasted looking for misplaced items that don’t have a proper home and trying to work clothes storage magic with one proverbial hand tied behind your back.

Consider the following clutter and closet-related statistics:

  • 10% of women say they feel depressed every time they open their closet doors. (OnePoll survey of 1,000 American women)
  • It’s estimated we’ll each spend 3,680 hours in our lifetime searching for misplaced items. (The Daily Mail)
  • A study of 2,137 U.S. women revealed that their closets had an average of $550 worth of unworn clothing. (10 Yetis survey)
  • 47% of women struggle when it comes to deciding on which work outfit they should wear. (OnePoll survey)
  • 3 in 10 women say an organized closet would make their mornings less stressful. (OnePoll survey)

When you open a closet door, your immediate reaction shouldn’t be a feeling of anxiousness about having to deal with a disaster zone. You should feel a sense of calm because the space is so clean and organized. Or it should be no reaction at all because you’re so used to having a tidy closet that you take it for granted!

Upgrade a builder closet with a custom design

If you’re looking to upgrade a builder closet, the obvious solution is to have it replaced with a professionally designed custom closet.

The stark contrast between the average builder closet and even a relatively simple custom closet designed by a skilled professional is immediately obvious. Instead of getting the bare minimum out of your closet, a closet design pro cares about helping you get the maximum amount of storage room, functionality, and aesthetic value from the space.

The key difference is that the closet is designed specifically for the needs of the user. Shelves and hanging rods are located at convenient heights that make the most sense according to the height of whoever is using the closet.

If you need an extra hanging rod and a pullout pant rack, no problem. Have a storage tower with drawers and shelving added to expand your closet storage options.

High-quality storage systems and accessories that are strategically located to maximize the closet’s storage space can resolve any organization issues. The efficiency of your daily dressing routine will improve as well. Even in small closets, a good custom closet organizing system creates order within a confined space.

And because we know visual appeal matters even in the closet, give the space a modern look by accentuating it with:

  • attractive wood finishes
  • stylish decorative hardware and closet accessories
  • sliding closet doors
  • bright overhead lighting and cabinetry-mounted LED lighting for ambiance and additional illumination
organized custom closet

This reach-in closet is customized to maximize storage space, provide lots of functionality, and give the closet an attractive, stylish look.

Make the builder-grade to custom-made closet upgrade

In Organized Interiors’ 40+ years of operation, one of the common inquiries we receive is about upgrading builder-grade closets.

We’ve seen just about every type of closet there is, from basic builder closets to DIY closet installs that fall short of meeting the needs of our clients.

Let our talented designers apply their skills to transform one or more of your existing closets into stylish, highly functional spaces that will make your life a little easier. If you’d like something a little bigger for clothes storage than a reach-in closet and have the space, we can design a beautiful walk-in closet with a dressing area as well.

Schedule a free design consultation with us so you can bid adieu to your old builder closets and say hello to some amazing new custom closets!

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A Wall Bed With Desk: The Practical Study & Work From Home Solution

wall bed with desk hero

We’ve had to get more creative with how our condos and houses were used over the past couple of years.

Our homes have been not just a living space, but a fully-encompassing life space during the majority of that time. Most of us have done virtually everything in them including working, sleeping, relaxing, eating, exercising, entertaining ourselves, and socializing virtually.

Optimizing our homes for maximum functionality has taken on new importance. Furniture designs that saved space and offered more than one function – especially as everyone pivoted to studying and working from home – have been in higher demand.

A wall bed with desk setup turned out to be the perfect way for some families to study and work from home, without sacrificing too much functionality in one of their rooms.

What exactly is a wall bed with desk?

A wall bed with a desk comes in a couple of design styles. In this article, we’re mostly looking at the type that includes a wall bed with a side desk (and surrounding storage if desired) that is built-in to look like one large, integrated furniture piece.

The other type of wall bed with desk design is the kind that has the desk built right into the bed. The desk is attached to the bottom of the bed. When the bed is raised, the work surface is available to use. When the bed is lowered, the desk remains in a horizontal position and drops underneath the bed.

Depending on the manufacturer, the beds in both of these types of designs can be positioned horizontally or vertically. The biggest benefit of these beds is the significant amount of space they save in a room because they can be folded up into the wall during the daytime.

Some wall bed with desk models use genuine Murphy wall beds and hardware. The Murphy bed has stood the test of time since being introduced a little over a century ago. The highly respected “Murphy” name is as synonymous with wall beds as “Kleenex” is with facial tissues and as “Q-tip” is with cotton swabs.

Inventive furniture designers have improved on the classic, already-great Murphy wall bed concept by incorporating features in addition to built-in desks. You can even buy a wall bed that converts into a comfortable sofa!

A wall bed with desk saves space

Space-saving furniture designs have always been practical. When you’ve been confined to our homes for as much time as we have been during 2020 and 2021, our living spaces started to feel more and more cramped as each month passed. That’s made space-saving furniture even more practical and essential.

Built-in custom cabinetry like a Murphy wall bed and desk saves more space than freestanding store-bought furniture. It’s specifically built to the room’s dimensions, providing the highest level of space optimization.

Furniture like a wall bed with a desk is ideal for guest rooms, small bedrooms, condos, and any type of small living space.

Improve a room’s functionality

By making the most of a room’s space, you can upgrade its functionality and let one of your rooms work a little harder.

Wall beds are commonly used in guest rooms. Most of us only have guests stay overnight once or twice a year, however. Unless you live in a 30-room mansion and can afford to have one room in your home that will get used relatively infrequently, a single-purpose guest room may not be the most practical usage of your square footage.

A wall bed turns any room into a hospitable space in your home for guests in mere seconds. There’s no fussing around making up a rollaway bed, futon, or sofa bed that don’t provide a comfortable sleeping experience. Simply lower the bed from the wall and the fresh sheets put on the bed from the last time it was used make everything good to go.

For the vast majority of the time when the room isn’t hosting guests, it can be used as a home office and study space by having a desk included in the custom cabinetry design.

It’s a smart solution if you don’t have the square footage to dedicate an entire room for use as a home office and want to get everyday functionality from a spare room. Organized Interiors can design a highly functional home workstation that accommodates your family’s work and study needs.

bed pulled down and workspace

A wall bed with a side desk can be used in a guest room, bedroom, or small living space.

A dedicated workspace helps with productivity

Not having a stable work from home setup can hurt your productivity. It’s harder to focus and produce a good workflow when your work area is the dining room table one day and at the kitchen table the following day.

A permanent work setup with a proper desk, enough space, ample storage, and some privacy just may be your ticket back to better work productivity at home.

A wall bed with desk setup also creates a better study from home environment. Even if your kids resume in-class learning, a well-designed home study space provides them with an area that can be used for doing homework.

Triple-up on a room’s functionality

A spare room can do even more than function as a guest room with a home office, especially if it’s larger. Don’t just double-up on the room’s functionality by using it as a guest room and home office – triple-up!

Because a wall bed with desk takes up so little space, the room could be utilized in any number of additional useful ways. Here are a few ideas:

  • yoga room
  • exercise space
  • reading room
  • home library
  • music room
  • home entertainment room

The integrated furniture design featuring a wall bed and desk can be customized to include lots of surrounding open and closed storage for things like office supplies, bedding, books, and personal items.

Instead of a traditional wall bed, you could add a dual-purpose wall bed with a sofa and include a small entertainment centre in the room. Now you have the perfect home space to work, relax, and rest!

wall bed lowered

This room features a home office and sofa that converts into a wall bed.

The multi-purpose room provides the perfect space to work, relax, and rest.

4 drawbacks of a wall bed with a built-in desk

Wall beds with a built-in desk undeniably save space. They do have a few notable limitations, however. Here are some of them:

1. A small work area

The concept of a built-in desk and wall bed combo sounds great in theory, but take a look at any photos of them and you’ll immediately see one of their most glaring limitations – they have a very small work surface.

The tiny work area of a built-in desk consists of a single flat surface. There’s little surface space for a computer, printer, scanner, papers, office supplies, a desk lamp, and snacks and drinks. Forget about personalizing the desk with things like photos or plants.

2. A lack of storage and overall functionality

You’re not getting anything close to the “fully functional desk” that you’re being promised with virtually any desk that’s part of a wall bed. The furniture’s design simply can’t accommodate it.

The only functionality provided with a built-in desk is whatever you can do on the bare-bones work surface. We’d call that pretty one-dimensional.

There are no desk drawers and you can’t store things above the desk in overhead cabinets or on shelving. Extra storage would have to be added to the side of the bed/desk.

The wall bed’s bottom provides the backing of the desk and has a faux front that looks like cabinetry. The handles, which look like they’re meant to open cabinet doors, actually work as pulls to lower the bed.

3. Impracticality

One of the selling points of some bed/desk models is that you don’t even have to remove anything from the desk surface when you lower the bed. That’s because the desk stays in a horizontal position just off the floor below the lowered bed.

When you read the fine print on some product descriptions, however, they can say things like the lowered desk can’t have items taller than four inches left on it. With a clearance that low, you’d be forced to use a laptop instead of a desktop computer and have to be regularly clearing things off the desk when your workday is done (like you’re right back at the kitchen or dining room table).

Some furniture retailers even boast that you can leave a cup of coffee or glass of water on the desk when the bed is lowered. We’ll take a pass on drinking from either of them the next day, thanks.

4. Low weight capacities

The basic nature of built-in desks means they usually have fairly low weight capacities. Some models we looked at online had a weight limit of just 20 lbs. This is another example of the lack of practicality of using a built-in desk for a home workspace.

Be especially leery of buying add-on desk kits that can be attached to standard wall beds. They’ll likely underperform in the weight limit category for your workspace as well.

guest room with office

Even a small work setup like this is more practical and functional than what you’ll get from a wall bed with a built-in desk.

Get your home workspace design started

Talk to Organized Interiors about upgrading your home’s functionality with a custom-designed Murphy wall bed with desk and surrounding storage.

Our wall bed designs use genuine Murphy bed hardware for its superior quality and ease of use. The hardware is backed by a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Schedule a free consultation with us to start planning the design for your space for studying or working from home.

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3 Savvy Condo Storage Ideas Worth Stealing for Your Home

Condo living has its benefits. Things like not having to mow a lawn, living in the heart of the city, and being able to easily access amenities such as a gym or pool in your building are convenient and practical.

One area where condos present a challenge, however, is space. Living space. Private space. And storage space, of course.

A lack of condo storage space is becoming an even bigger problem when you look at the shrinking sizes of Toronto condos.

Some new 3-bedroom condos in Toronto range anywhere from 740 square feet to 825 square feet. The average size of new condos and apartments in Toronto is only 647 square feet.

That’s well down from the average of 1,070 square feet for new condo and apartment developments built in the city between 1981 and 1990.

condo storage ideas hero

The condo owner loved their bed and wanted us to build storage around it.

We got creative with these condo storage ideas

A condo storage locker can only hold so many things. So how can you do more with your condo storage space when the unit you live in has a much smaller scale than a house?

It turns out there’s plenty you can do.

Join us on a walkthrough of a project we did in a modern Toronto condo, with solutions in a variety of areas.

You’ll see different looks and styles for different rooms. In the end, all of these condo storage ideas and designs work together in harmony to create a home design that is elegant and practical. Perhaps you’ll find some inspiration for your own home.

All three areas of the home feature different colours, different hardware, and even different lines in the cabinet designs, but everything works well in the space.

This was a new condo location for the client, but the approach we took can also work nicely for you if you live in a house, whether it’s new or you’ve lived there for many years.

Use dual-purpose furniture in smaller living spaces

Finding space for enough condo bedroom storage may be one of the biggest tests for anyone new to condo living.

Using dual-purpose furniture to consolidate tasks is the way to go, which is what we did with this remodel.

The main showpiece in the condo remodel was the bedroom piece pictured in the top photo. In this case, the clients had a wonderful bed already and the task was to create a storage solution that went around it and worked with it.

This type of custom bedroom cabinetry is sometimes referred to as a bed surround. Beds that just have drawers for storage below the mattress without storage incorporated into the sides and top of the furniture are also known as storage beds and captains beds.

A space for storage, sleeping, and work

Our designer, Christopher, came up with a concept that looks great. It provides a useful condo storage solution, as well as a space for sleeping and working.

To the left of the bed, we built a tall, narrow cabinet for enclosed storage. The base of it protrudes and acts as a night table, so there’s a convenient space for a book, an alarm clock, a cell phone, etc.

On the right-hand side, a desk was created for a work space. It’s open at the bottom for more legroom and has convenient cubby hole storage space directly above it.

Across the top and bridging the two sides, we built a series of creative open and enclosed storage spaces. Using this design allows the client to use the appropriate space to either display things or conceal items they may not want to be left out in the open, such as extra bedding.

cabinetry condo storage ideas

Open and closed storage and display spaces above the bed give the condo owner more storage versatility.

Keeping things bright and light, we built the bulk of the structure using white melamine and added exterior trims and facing with a high-gloss white finish, giving the piece a popular, modern touch.

White melamine was also used for the closet peeking through the door to the right of the bed

The framed glass doors may look like aluminum, but they’re actually board and framed using a thermo laminate called Stainless. The doors then had the same white laminated glass we use for our sliding doors inserted for a great look.

For hardware, we used the ever-popular “towel bar” style of handle in stainless steel. We added a pair of LED puck lights above the sleeping area to provide more light for reading in bed.

undercabinet lighting above bed

Elevated undercabinet lighting provides reading light for the bed.

Built-in storage for the den

In addition to the work in the bedroom, we also designed and installed built-in cabinetry for the den.

This solution is a wall unit for general storage and the design required drawer storage for smaller, loose items that don’t stay put as well on the shelves.

To preserve the clean, vertical lines of the doors, we placed the drawers behind them so they’re hidden. The drawer boxes are the same size as they otherwise would be, but without the addition of a face or extra handles.

cabinet condo storage ideas

This built-in wall unit has hidden drawers to preserve the clean, vertical lines of the doors.

On the outside, you can see a series of flat doors with consistent handles. Inside, however, it varies.

This cabinet was built using melamine in Cayenne Maple. You might have thought that a crown moulding doesn’t go with flat fronts, but as you can see here, it works quite nicely and finishes off the cabinet.

open wall unit with drawer pulled out

Hidden, easy-to-access drawers keep things well-organized.

Condo storage for the dining room

The last of the condo storage ideas we looked at for the project involved the dining room. We designed and installed a simple built-in cabinet here. This cabinet features a combination of solid doors for concealed storage, as well as doors with clear glass inserts for display.

Again, we added LED lighting to the cabinet for illuminating their display items and further used glass for the shelves so that the light can pass through.

This cabinet was built using a combination of melamine and thermo laminates in Chocolate Pear, with shaker-style solid doors.

dining room cabinet

This built-in dining room cabinet has a simple design, but still adds a stylish, elegant aesthetic to the condo.

Customize your condo storage

Even a small or modestly-sized living space can be designed for comfort and optimal storage efficiency.

Blending traditional design details with fresh, modern lines is always exciting and effective and we can help implement these condo storage ideas in your home.

Schedule a free design consultation with Organized Interiors to discuss what condo storage solutions can work best in your living space.

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How to Share a Closet and Avoid the Battle for Closet Space

shared closet

When you share a closet, patience, making some compromises, and being selfless towards your partner or spouse are the keys to organizational harmony.

That’s all easier said than done, of course. Even two people who have previously always been able to keep their closets tidy can find sharing a closet very challenging.

The different dynamics of how the storage space is used takes some getting used to. Some people never quite figure out how to successfully share a closet, even after years of being with their significant other.

Here’s how hard it can be to share a closet

How much can someone’s organizational habits (or lack thereof) get under the skin of their partner? Clutter was the cause of 48% of the arguments between couples who lived together, according to a survey by SpareFoot, a self-storage company.

You can guarantee that a healthy percentage of those clutter-related disagreements were sparked by the untidy state of some shared closets.

The stress of managing a single closet space being used by two people is very real. There are plenty of things you can do to end the battle for closet space in your bedroom, however.

Here are some practical solutions to help any couple share a closet peacefully.

woman sorting clothes in reach-in closet

If you share a closet, prioritize storage

When you’re attempting to overhaul a dysfunctional shared closet, space considerations will be your biggest concern before you even begin to figure out how much room each partner will get.

The logical place to start with a closet revamp is to have each person reduce the number of items they want to keep in the closet. Prioritize using your respective storage spaces for important things only, not things that can sometimes go a year or more without being worn.

We’ve previously written about what items shouldn’t be taking up space in your closets. A few of them include:

  • sale items you’ve never worn
  • unfashionable clothing
  • damaged and old clothing
  • clothing that doesn’t fit

Agree on how you’ll share a closet space

Author Heidi Catherine Culbertson wrote, “Your abundance is not measured by what you have, it is created by what you share.”

That’s a selfless, ideal mindset for both parties to have as they hash out a plan for how to improve their shared closet situation.

Once you both have a better idea of what will be going in the closet, come up with an equitable and agreeable split of the closet space, whether it’s 50/50, 60/40, or 75/25, etc. If it’s the latter in your favour, congratulations – your generous partner is a definite keeper!

That whole “compromise” thing factors heavily into this step. Hopefully, the individual with fewer clothes sees the practicality and fairness of making some space concessions to the partner who requires more room for their wardrobe.

man holding shirt in front of closet

Hire a pro to custom-design a shared closet

Two heads are better than one, right? Then why not follow that logic and add another head to the mix when envisioning your shared closet’s design? Not just any head, though. We’re talking about someone with lots of closet design expertise who can help you and your partner create the perfect shared closet space.

A professional closet designer brings more to the table than what you’ll get with DIY closet organizer systems you can buy in stores or online.

Mass-produced, one-size-fits-all closet organizers like these can’t compare to the level of design flexibility offered by a custom closet organizing solution.

Custom closet systems are built just for you

An experienced designer will tailor the closet’s design for each person. Factors like the heights of each person are taken into consideration so the heights of hanging rods, shelving, and other storage areas are more easily accessible.

Your individual functional needs are met with smart design choices like adding a hanging rod below the traditional upper closet rod to double-up on your hanging space.

Remember that hanging rods don’t have to go across the entire width of a closet. We can add shorter rods on one side or both sides of a closet in one of those narrower spaces that might otherwise be underutilized. Those other “dead space” closet areas that can get wasted, such as in corners or up high, can also be put to work for you.

Design for style and function

A pro won’t just help you come up with a smart shared closet layout that satisfies everyone’s functional needs. They know that the closet space you’ll be using every day needs to look appealing, too.

Here are some of the stylish decorative touches that can be included in a reach-in or walk-in closet design:

  • crown moulding
  • cabinetry finishes that complement your bedroom décor
  • under-mount LED lighting
  • elegant decorative hardware

Share zones in your shared closet

A shared closet should be just that and not necessarily a space where each person’s things are exclusively in separate zones and never the two shall meet.

If your items can co-exist in the same area of the closet (or more accurately, if you and your partner can share the same zone of a closet and maintain the peace), by all means, team up.

Sharing zones in the closet is an effective way to maximize your storage space, especially if the closet is smaller.

Use a pullout pant rack and split the hanging space with each other. The same applies for the upper rod in the closet, which each of you can use for hanging your longer clothing items. A shoe rack and belt rack can also be shared.

shared closet shoe rack

Sharing storage zones with your partner helps maximize your closet storage space.

Add a closet storage tower

For clothing items that are better off being folded instead of hung (like sweaters), having some drawer space and open shelf space in the closet will come in very handy.

Adding a storage tower to the closet with a few drawers on the lower half and open shelving and cubby dividers on the top half keeps all of your wardrobe items in the same area. That allows you to free up space in the bedroom by getting rid of a wardrobe closet or dresser.

Give yourself a drawer or two and your partner gets the rest. Organized Interiors can incorporate drawer dividers or jewellery drawer inserts into the storage tower’s design to keep both of you more organized.

A custom closet storage tower can be designed to be freestanding (sitting on the floor) or wall-mounted, which leaves space underneath the tower.

Make use of helpful closet accessories

We’ve already mentioned a few great closet accessories like pullout belt, tie, and pant racks. They may be small details in a closet’s design, but these convenient helpers have a big impact on the space’s overall functionality.

Here are a few more closet accessories you might want to consider including in your closet’s design:

  • retractable valet rods
  • necklace hooks
  • versatile four-position hangers
  • pullout laundry hampers to keep dirty clothes sorted and tidy

All of our closet accessories are designed to save space, make your daily dressing routine more efficient, and add a sophisticated decorative touch to any closet with their sleek metal finishes.

Venture beyond the closet border

Even with the best closet organization and storage systems in use, it’s just a reality that sometimes you can’t fit 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5-pound sack (to paraphrase an expression that uses slightly more colourful language).   OKAY TO USE?

Downsizing and decluttering may only get you so far. If the number of clothes you and your partner own simply won’t all fit in one closet, it could actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

If your bedroom has some open floor space, setting up a separate wardrobe space for one of you may be the best and easiest solution. This is especially true if one of you is, shall we say, a closet slob.

There are a variety of ways to create more space for storing clothes outside of the closet. Here are some bedroom storage ideas that go beyond the borders of a traditional closet:

Any of these bedroom storage solutions are better than hanging extra clothes on a garment rack in a room corner, which can look unsightly.

White wardrobe with open doors

If you and your partner have too many things to fit into a shared closet space, look for other bedroom storage solutions to help out like a wardrobe closet.

Respect each other’s space

Those three noble virtues we listed in the very first sentence (patience, selflessness, and being willing to compromise) will serve you well as you share a closet with your better half. We’ll add “respect” to that list, too.

Even with a seemingly sound closet-sharing strategy in place, things from one partner’s side may slowly start to encroach into the other person’s territory.

Try to respect each other’s space. After all, both parties agreed to the allotment of closet space each of you would get.

Make an effort to keep your portion of the closet tidy. Even if everything is contained in someone’s designated area of the closet, if it all looks like a disaster zone, it can fester negative feelings and lead to an argument.

And be flexible and willing to make improvements to your shared closet space if things aren’t working as efficiently after some time has passed. There are always ways to tweak and modify a closet’s functionality based on your changing storage needs.

Make it easier to share a closet with your partner

If your efforts to share a closet with your significant other just aren’t working out, Organized Interiors can solve your closet-sharing problems. Read about how we helped a Toronto couple with a custom shared closet design.

We know that having a closet space with a smart design makes maintaining a shared closet significantly easier.

Organized Interiors has been designing shared closets for over 40 years so couples can enjoy their main clothes storage space, not argue over it.

Organized Interiors customer review

A review left on Facebook from a satisfied Organized Interiors client.

Schedule a free design consultation with us to get your shared closet space design plan in motion.

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9 Clutter Hotspots in Your Home To Conquer Once and for All

Clutter hotspots abound throughout our homes, attracting all types of miscellaneous items like bees to honey.

Essentially, they’re the dumping grounds in our living spaces.

Junk drawers, closets, front entryways, and garages are just a few of the common clutter hotspots that restrict your home from functioning at peak efficiency.

A Professional Organizers of Canada study found that 83% of Canadians described themselves as “extremely disorganized”. 91% of Canadians believe that their life is negatively impacted by clutter.

clutter hotspots hero

Photo by Curtis Adams from Pexels

The causes of our clutter hotspots

Those numbers are alarmingly high. It’s no wonder we’re drowning in so much stuff – and unhappy about it.

We live in a time where you can’t drive more than a minute or two without seeing a Walmart, Costco, or dollar store dotting our suburban landscape, luring shoppers with aisle after aisle of cheaply priced merchandise.

The massive growth of online shopping makes it easier than ever to buy almost anything. Jeez, who knew that being able to purchase something in only a few seconds by tapping a phone screen (without even needing to get out of bed) and having it delivered to our front door might be too much of a good thing?

Clutter starts to multiply in our homes because, let’s face it, the vast majority of us dislike spending our cherished free time doing tasks as admittedly tedious as decluttering. We also let clutter accumulate because we get too attached to things and have a hard time letting go of them.

But you can’t ignore clutter forever.

Why your home clutter shouldn’t have a home

Allowing too much clutter set up permanent residency in your home affects your life negatively in a number of ways that are costly (literally and figuratively).

Clutter costs you wasted time searching for things. When things get misplaced, they get purchased again…only to have the misplaced item mysteriously turn up shortly thereafter with frustrating frequency.

Clutter is costly to your mental health and can cause stress and contribute to poor sleeping habits.

A home’s ability to run efficiently is limited when there’s too much clutter around. Trying to function in a messy garage, laundry room, or bathroom simply isn’t as easy as it is to function in the same spaces if they’re organized.

Tackle these clutter hotspots

Target the areas of your home where clutter always seems to end up.

Dealing with these clutter hotspots is only half the battle. They’re the most sensible places to start, though, as you work your way towards organizing your home once and for all.

Here are 9 common clutter hotspots in your house or condo to focus on fixing.

1. Garages

Garages are perhaps the most popular go-to space in a house for stashing clutter. Ironically, clutter often ends up in the garage because it’s such a large space, but that extra space is there because the garage is designed to accommodate vehicles for parking.

Instead, junk that collectively isn’t worth more than probably a few hundred or a few thousand dollars (at the most) occupies prime real estate in many garages.

Meanwhile, vehicles that are worth tens of thousands of dollars sit parked in the driveway or on the street where they’re far more vulnerable to theft and vandalism.

Garage remodel experts Garage Living have a number of helpful articles on their blog that can help you get the room more organized and functional.

Get started by following their guide listing 15 different things you can toss from your garage that you won’t miss.

clutter hotspots garage

25% of people with 2-car garages don’t park in them at all. A third can only park one car. (U.S. Dept. of Energy study)

2. Junk drawers

Anyone living in a country in the Western world who disputes that we’re a wasteful, consumerist society has to defend the junk drawer. We’re pretty sure they’re a foreign concept in countries like Japan, where they wouldn’t even think to attach a name with the word “junk” in it to an area of their home.

Junk drawers may not take up a lot of space (unless you have a few of them spread throughout your home), but there’s no reason these notorious clutter hotspots are even a thing. Most of the stuff in a junk drawer is, by definition, junk.

Turn your junk drawers into odds and ends drawers

Spend an hour or two tossing out or recycling all those grease-covered delivery and take-out menus. Bookmark the websites of your favourite restaurants on your phone or computer.

Those menus will probably be faster to find online compared to hunting through your junk drawers for a particular menu. Some of those businesses likely have a phone app available to make ordering from them even easier, too.

Clear out that collection of junk drawer pens (soooo many pens) and figure out which ones still even work. The same goes for the assorted batteries that most junk drawers contain. All of those plastic cutlery packages, condiment packets, outdated cables and cords for your electronics, and loose change can take a hike, too.

Now you’ve gotten your odds and ends drawers (which has a nicer ring, doesn’t it?) down to a manageable number of items. To keep your drawers more organized, add dividers and keep the items you’ll use most at the front.

3. Closets

The National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professional’s (NAPO) Public Survey of Residential Organizing Attitudes found that closets ranked first as the most disorganized storage area in homes.

55% of the 1,005 people polled in the NAPO’s revealing 2019 survey gave that response. Garages, cabinets and shelves, and attics/basements also took the top spots in this category.

Cultural shifts like the aforementioned online shopping boom and the rise of fast fashion (when high-fashion clothing is mass-produced and sold for low prices) has led to our closets becoming overstuffed.

A different NAPO survey found that about 80% of your clothes are only worn 20% of the time. To streamline your home’s closets, edit their contents at least once a year to prevent them from becoming clutter hotspots.

Maximize the storage space in your closets by having a closet design expert like Organized Interiors give them a makeover. Closet organization systems and accessories for added functionality will help make your wardrobe and other items stored in your home’s closets easier to manage.

woman in walk-in closet

Closets were the most disorganized storage area in homes, according to a survey conducted by home organizing professionals.

4. Kitchen cupboards

Kitchen cupboards and pantries tend to harbour a lot of clutter. Some examples include:

  • expired condiments
  • appliances you never use (we’re looking at you juicer, slow cooker, and waffle maker)
  • plastic food storage containers
  • more glasses, mugs, bowls, and dishes than you ever use
  • tote bags
  • stale dry food and old canned goods
  • expired spices

You can only use so many food storage containers, so recycle what you can and only hold onto your favourite items. To cut down on the amount of plastic in your home, consider investing in some microwave-safe glass food storage containers.

Thin out your kitchen pantry by getting rid of spices you never use and spices you’ve had for a while. Ground spices have a shelf life of about three years and whole spices are good for around four years before they lose a lot of their flavour.

Tote away those extra tote bags

shopping tote bags end up in clutter hotspotsReusable shopping bags are a fantastic concept that are so ultra-practical, it’s a wonder it took us so long to embrace using them without a second thought, as most of us do nowadays.

They’re way more reliable than using paper or plastic shopping bags and can hold more groceries. And most importantly, of course, tote bags keep billions of plastic bags from ending up in recycling facilities, landfills, and nature every year.

That being said, the rise in the usage of tote bags has resulted in virtually every company on the planet giving away bags with their logos on them willy nilly. Now our kitchen cupboards, closets, and cars are filled with more bags than we’ll ever need.

Clear out the bag clutter by donating them, using them when giving things to friends, having the tote bags recycled, or tossing them out when all else fails.

5. Entryways

It’s logical that our entryways accumulate clutter because they’re the first point of contact when anyone enters the home.

Your front entryway, in particular, should always look organized because it’s the area visitors to your home see first.

First impressions count

A survey by The Independent Network powered by VEKA (a UK organization representing window and door manufacturers) found that guests judge your home within 38 seconds of entering it.

Your home’s entryways shouldn’t just be kept tidy for the benefit of visitors, however. Anyone living under your roof should appreciate entering their living space and being greeted by a clean, organized doorway that gives them that home sweet home feeling.

Assign homes for your kids’ school bags, sports equipment, apparel, and footwear. Wall hooks and cubby storage systems are ideal for keeping the space tidy. If necessary, use labels with your kids’ names to encourage them to put things away properly.

Ensure out-of-season clothing is stored anywhere besides your high-traffic entryway areas. Set up a doorway spot for placing car keys, house keys, and mail.

To keep your home’e entryways tidy, ask Organized Interiors about our mudroom design and storage ideas.

6. Home offices

The 2019 NAPO survey shows that home offices were the second-most disorganized living area in our homes, just slightly below the kitchen.

More people are working from home and numerous studies over the years consistently find that one of the biggest factors that lowers workplace productivity is clutter. Messy desks and workspaces impede our ability to focus and slow down our productivity.

Set up a paper management system

Excess paper is one of the main things that clogs up your work area and makes an office look untidy. Set up a practical paper management system that includes a shredder and filing system. To simplify things even more, make your paper management system one that involves handling barely any paper at all!

It’s the 2020s, so most of the statements you receive that outline your monthly expenses, due payments, and financial portfolio should be getting to you via cyberspace, not your mail carrier’s truck.

Desktop computer screens and monitors also come in large sizes like the latest iMac’s 24″ display. That lets you have multiple documents and windows open on your computer desktop at once, instead of having paper documents spread out on your desk.

If you’re working full-time from a home office now, you have every reason to optimize your work setup to encourage better productivity.

files in home office

Create an efficient paper filing system in your home office.

7. Bathrooms

It’s no surprise that bathrooms, one of the busiest rooms in our homes, end up as a clutter hotspot.

We use a lot of different products to clean and groom ourselves and most of them are kept in the bathroom.

Go through your medicine cabinets and bathroom storage cabinets to get rid of expired medications, first-aid products, and beauty products. Your skin can have a bad reaction to expired makeup that is applied to it. Most makeup products have a shelf life of about three months to two years.

Also get rid of any mini-sized shampoos, soaps, or other toiletries you’ve accumulated that never get used. Call a local homeless shelter or charity to find out if they will accept them.

Avoid storing extra bath towels and linens in the bathroom

If you’re coming up short on bathroom storage space for all of your toiletries, you may wish to reconsider keeping your extra bath towels and other linens stored in the room. The reasons for why you shouldn’t store linens in the bathroom may surprise you.

Old bath towels lose their softness and absorbency over time and can start to fray. Get them out of the bathroom and use them as rags. Some veterinarian clinics and animal shelters will welcome your old bath towel donations, which can be repurposed as bedding for their furry patients and residents.

There are lots of practical reasons to have a linen closet in your home that is located in a hallway or somewhere else outside of a bathroom.

8. Nightstands and dressers

The tops of nightstands (or bedside tables if you prefer) don’t have much space, so whatever items are put there can make them look cluttered in a hurry.

Most nightstands have at least one drawer, which should be used whenever possible to keep the surface organized. Prioritize keeping only essential things on top of a bedside table, such as an alarm clock, sleep mask, reading glasses, and lamp. It’s also nice to have a little room beside the bed to place a hot beverage or glass of water.

Things like magazines, night creams, tablets, and phones should be put away in the nightstand drawer(s). This makes extra sense for your phone, so alerts or late calls don’t disturb you as you fall asleep.

Professional organizers recommend keeping any flat surface beside the bed as clutter-free as possible, which can help you get a better night’s sleep.

Another area of the bedroom to look at is the top of your dresser. This space is another clutter hotspot that can become an eyesore that is covered in things like:

  • spare change
  • jewellery
  • car keys
  • watches
  • wallets and purses
  • sunglasses

By all means, make use of this handy space. All it takes to keep things tidier is to use some drawer dividers or a few organizing trays and mini storage bins on the top of the dresser.

plant clock lamp on nightstand

The tops of nightstands don’t offer much room, so only use the surface for keeping essentials. (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels)

9. Kids’ bedrooms and playrooms

A list of home clutter hotspots wouldn’t be complete without including our kids’ bedrooms and playrooms.

Try as they might, most youngsters don’t have it in them quite yet to keep their spaces tidy on a consistent basis.

If you’re frustrated that your kids’ rooms can’t stay clean, see if there are any ways to make it easier for them to keep their rooms more organized. Adding better storage systems and making the storage they use for their toys, craft supplies, clothing, and other things more accessible can help.

For their bedroom closets, parents should be working with their growing kids by going through their closets and dresser drawers together at least once a year to remove outgrown clothing.

Conquer your clutter hotspots. Need some help?

Identifying the clutter hotspots in your house or condo is a positive first steps towards ridding your home of the unnecessary things that cause you to feel weighed down.

One of the questions from that NAPO survey was “What prevents you from effectively addressing the clutter in your home?”. The top reason people gave for not dealing with their home clutter is, “Dealing with clutter is overwhelming.”

Yes, it is. But that’s why professionals with home organizing solutions like Organizing Interiors exist.

We specialize in helping our clients feel a lot less “whelmed” when they’re making the effort to get their homes organized.

Schedule a free design consultation with us to get your home on the path to becoming a tidy, clutter-free space you can enjoy more.

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