Get the Look for Less: Custom Closets

Closet space is a coveted thing, and even if you own a house with a walk-in closet in every room, there still just never seems to be enough closet space. And chances are that you aren’t in a house with a walk-in closet in every room, because few people have that luxury. Statistically, you are far more likely to be in a condo with a small closet in every room. Because of this, closets tend to become overcrowded and messy catch-all sites, hidden behind closed doors.

There’s big money to be made in the closet organization world, with large companies charging thousands of dollars to make over a single closet. There are many closet organization kits also available on the market, with multiple add-on compartments that still run you into the high hundreds to low thousands, and include a lot of work to install yourself. For most, having a nice organized closet is not high enough on the priority list to justify spending that kind of money. But there are ways to have that closet without the big price tag – or at least a closet that is close in appearance and function.

First, there are a few tricks that will improve the look of your closet immensely without changing a thing structurally. The number one thing you need to do is ensure all of your hangers match. Look at any picture of any beautifully organized closet and the one thing they inevitably have in common is that the hangers always match. As you can see in the photo, even the most beautifully designed closet with expensive built-ins looks messy when you don’t have nice, matching hangers. Matching hangers are important for an organized feel, because it keeps all of the clothing at an equal level.  The shoulders extend to the same length and height as all of the others.

You can easily double the available space in your closet by using slimline hangers that are flocked. These used to be quite rare and expensive but have become more common and can be found for great prices – sometimes even in dollar stores! You might be able to find them at even better prices than dollar stores have to offer by purchasing them in larger packages in stores like Costco, Walmart, or online. These hangers not only allow you to fit more clothes into your existing closet space, but the flocked coating (almost like velvet) ensures that clothes never slip off – which is another issue that makes a closet look messy and disorganized.


But let’s take it a step further; most closets come with one bar across the top and a bunch of space left underneath. Another quick trick it to install a second bar underneath. Tops can be hung on the top bar, and bottoms can be folded over hangers on the bottom bar. But if you own longer skirts or dresses, that leaves you with a problem: where can they be hung? There’s another really simple (and cheap) solution! Closetmaid makes a simple little stackable storage shelf that can be picked up new for between $20-$30 CAD, and they are the perfect height for a second closet bar. They can be placed at any point in your closet to allow as much (or as little) space as is needed for longer items. Expandable closet bars are available that can easily be widened or shortened as needed so you can figure out the perfect placement of that new shelf to accommodate all of your longer items.

The final detail in creating a beautifully organized closet on a budget is to get those odds and ends off the floor and shelves and into matching baskets, bins or boxes. These can also be picked up at the dollar store, and will allow you to tuck away items like belts, shoes, and bags without junking up the look of the closet. Buy larger bins of the same style for the upper shelf, and smaller ones for that new shelf you’ve used for the bar. This design is geared towards a small to medium sized closet, but the same tips and tricks can be applied to any size closet! Watch for cheap shelves that aren’t necessarily designed for use in a closet, as some companies charge more automatically for closet-specific items just because closet organization is so high-end. Expand on this as needed, trying to keep all of the shelving the same colour, and depending on the size of your closet, you could easily have a beautifully organized closet for under $100.  Enjoy!