The most common closets . . . Reach-Ins
The most common closets you'll find in your
home, office or other location are reach-in closets. Reach-In closets are
usually of short width, shallow (2' deep) and whose height is the same as in the
rest of the room. They aren't accessed by going into them (as in a small
room) but by reaching in with your hand and arm to retrieve what you want.
Reach-In closets commonly are found in
entryways, bedrooms, bathrooms, pantries and hallways for linens. They
either have a conventional swing-out door, bi-fold or sliding doors.
Sometimes it works best to remove the doors (especially in bedrooms and
mudrooms) as they tend to get in the way.
The biggest mistake in outfitting a Reach-In
closet is what builders have done in most homes--install a single pole and plank
at medium height (usually about 68" from the floor). While this works
for some applications, it doesn't utilize space to the best advantage.
There are huge gaps below hanging garments (as most garments tend to be short as
in a shirt or blouse) and above the shelf. Very typically over half of the
space in these type of closets is simply wasted.
Some improvements over the "pole &
- Entryway: If there is enough width divide the
hanging into long and double short. Usually one third for long is
sufficient. Shorter jackets seem to prevail, especially for
kids. So the double hanging works best for this. Configuring it
this way makes for more total hanging space. Even if long or medium
hanging is retained an extra shelf above the hanging rod and shelf will
double shelf space. Also, a deeper shelf can be used with the hanging
below it (16" vs. 12"). Another useful addition in these
locations is a tower (either wire or laminate) with shelves to hold gloves,
hats, scarves, etc. With laminate, drawers and baskets can easily be
added to augment the shelves. Small hooks can be fastened on tower
ends to hang garments on. Many
kids find it easier to hang their clothes on hooks rather than using
- Bedrooms: The story is much the same in
bedrooms as in entryway closets with only a single "pole &
plank" installed. The result is that well over half the available
space is wasted. Doing an inventory of clothes for a bedroom closet is
a good idea. Very often little space is needed for long hanging
garments. Bedrooms closets usually require space for sweaters and
sweatshirts which are best not hung. Many men also choose to fold up
their jeans or pants rather than hang them. With these needs in mind,
it is wise to provide more shelves for folded things. Shallow towers
are great for almost any bedroom reach in. The side walls of the
towers can also be used for sliding belt and tie racks which retract out of
the way when not being accessed.
- Bathrooms: Even though you won't find
a "pole & plank" in the bathroom, many bathroom storage areas could also be
improved immensely. Shelves are either too deep or too shallow or more
often improperly spaced. Again, little thought has been put into what
needs to be stored and how much space it will require. If you are
storing linens or towels, wire shelving works well. But if you are
storing small items (such as medications or cosmetics), it's better to use
solid shelves or have some sort of liners on the shelves so things won't fall
- Pantries: No "pole & plank" here either,
but the same situation exists here as elsewhere when no planning has occurred.
Many special items can be added in pantries to help organize them better--such
as lazy-susans, spice and bottle racks, under-shelf baskets, etc.
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