Our closet expert provides advice for one Arlington couple struggling to share space. Custom features and creative organization help them make the most of their walk-in.
The closet experts at Closet America want everyone to find the perfect closet solution for their home. In our Ask a Closet Expert series, we answer questions from local DC-area residents about their storage issues, providing insight from our years in the industry.
Today, we answer a question from Katherine and Tom in Arlington. They say:
“We recently bought our first house together, and it’s great, but the master bedroom only has a single closet. We’re having trouble fitting all our clothes into it. Do you have any advice for how we can better share the space?”
Thanks so much for your question, Katherine and Tom. You’re not alone. Arlington has some great condos and smaller homes that attract a fair number of newlyweds, but sharing closet space is a frequent stress point for couples. We’ve got a few tips to help.
50/50 Is Not Necessarily the Best Split
While we’re all about equality at Closet America, chances are, Tom, that you may need to give up a little extra space for your wife. But don’t give up all the space. You should both consider your top priorities and design your closet around those needs.
Here’s how this might play out: Katherine could vote to install extra shoe racks if she’s got a large collection, while Tom may need a slide-out tie rack. Not a 50/50 split but still an equitable one. Women’s clothing also tends to be a little more fragile and easily wrinkled, so you may need to give Katherine a slightly larger hanging area.
Use All Available Space
Squeezing two people’s clothing into one walk-in can be challenging, but standard closets are actually somewhat wasteful with storage volume.
Look for ways to extend your shelving and hanging rods up to the ceiling to get the most out of every inch. A wardrobe lift is a great way to keep your clothes easily within reach even when they’re up high. (We mention wardrobe lifts a lot around here, but they make us almost as excited as a trip to the Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe.) For the lower reaches of your closet, shoe racks or even a row of drawers are good bets. What you’re ultimately trying to do is use up every scrap of open space.
Clearly Divide the Closet
You’ll want to avoid getting your things mixed up, and you’ll definitely want to avoid getting into arguments about who is taking up whose space.
In general, a more modular design (where your hanging areas are broken up and separated by shelving or drawers) will help you delineate individual sections. For instance, we see lots of folks use a row of drawers to separate two different hanging areas. You might also consider using color-coded storage bins or clothes hangers if you want an easy visual reminder as to which parts of the closet are yours.
Overhaul a Hallway or Guest Room Closet for Extra Space
Lastly, if you’re really in need of more room, consider repurposing another space. You might have a hallway or guest closet that can hold seasonal clothes (or anything you don’t wear often), freeing up space in your walk-in.
One word of warning: If you decide to use a hallway closet, it may not be set up for anything beyond coats and umbrellas. However, it can usually be remodeled to incorporate extra shelving and hanging rods pretty easily—especially if you’re already hiring someone to renovate your master closet.
Let an Expert Closet Designer Help
Plenty of couples face the problem of limited closet space. In fact, we often see homes where the husband’s clothes are relegated entirely to the spare bedroom. But we’d recommend another route for you, Katherine and Tom.
Although standard closets don’t give you many options, a custom design opens up a range of possibilities that will allow you to use your available space efficiently and fairly. Get in touch with us for a free design consultation so that you can focus on more important issues, like which movies to catch at the Rosslyn film festival.
Lead Image Credit: Bret VA (CC by 3.0)