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Whether you’re a closet design veteran or this is a new venture for you, one of your goals is certainly creating profitable sales.

Guess what? Well designed closets = profitable sales.

As a professionally certified closet designer and author of two closet design books, I can assure you that selling closets that are well designed not only have the highest ratio for closing, but are the most profitable. And while custom closets CAN be complex, they don’t have to be.

 Incorporate my five favorite design tips and watch your numbers increase



#1-Just Say No to Shelves Below

The closet consultation conversation often begins with the client saying:

“And I’d like some shelves for my shoes on the bottom” (meaning near the floor underneath their hanging clothes).

Just because putting shoes on the floor is a familiar practice doesn’t mean it’s the best practice for efficient and organized closet design.

And just because other closet companies advertise their products that way that does not mean it’s a best practice.

Typical hanging garments average 24” in depth. That means when they are hanging on a hanger inside your closet, they occupy about two feet of space from front to back. Shoes occupy less than half that amount of space and fit easily on a shelf that’s 12″ deep.

Putting shoe shelves below hanging garments means the garments block the view of the shoes because they hang out past the shoe shelves.

Best practice in the closet industry is to bring those shoes into the light. So, not shelves BELOW hanging, but shelves ABOVE hanging. 


#2-Deep or Shallow

We’re not talking about your personality here – we’re talking about the shelves in your closets and storage spaces.

When people show me closet spaces – they often feel compelled to “use every inch”.  So whether the closet is 24” deep (standard depth for a reach-in closet) or 38” deep (space left over that a builder turns into a closet), they want shelves that are as deep as the closet itself.

Bad idea.

Extremely deep shelving is not only more expensive, but it creates what I refer to as “the big,black hole”.

If you want to remember it with a rhyme – deep shelving “increases cost and things get lost”.

Here a couple rules of thumb:

  • -The deeper the shelf – the farther apart the shelves should be spaced.
  • -Small items work best on shallow shelves. An ultimate luxury is being able to see every item that’s on your shelves. So if we’re talking about  pantries, let’s avoid having 7 cans of tomato soup (with expiration dates from 2010) hidden behind today’s juice box purchases. Think: open door –look at shelf – find needed item – grab and go. Closets aren’t gardens – we don’t want digging.
  • -Larger items can work on deeper shelves – things like pillows and blankets or furniture cushions. But be aware – the deeper the shelf – the greater the propensity for the client to overload the shelf. The added weight could be a service call waiting to happen – so reinforce any shelving you install that’s deeper than 16”.



#3 -Shoe Shelves- Angled, Flat or Cubbies?

Since shoes are so important, we’re going to address some additional storage options for keeping them accessible and beautiful.

Lots of people see – and then want – angled shoe shelves.

I can see why.

They’re pretty. They also allow you to see more of  shoes at a glance, which is a plus.

The counter sides to pretty are:

  • -Angled shoe shelves are more expensive than flat, adjustable shelves
  • -Angled shoe shelves take up more space than flat, adjustable shelving
  • -Angled shoe shelves can pretty much just be used for shoes – and perhaps magazines – and who stores magazines in their closet? (If you do –I do NOT want to hear about that!)

So in order to maximize every inch, I recommend flat, adjustable shelving.





#5-Even More About Shoe Storage 

Shoe storage – and the location of shoe storage – is always at the top of a client’s list when it comes to designing their closet space.

So here’s what I recommend after figuring out where to store over 5000 pair of shoes during my career as a closet designer:

While it’s true that we (women) may decide on the shoes we want to wear and then build our outfit around that, the shoes are typically the last clothing item we put on.

So I design from the perspective of last on – first off (because shoe’s are typically the first item of clothing we remove when we get home).

That translates to having some shoe storage close to the entrance of a closet space. We want it to be easy to put those shoes back where they belong (instead of flicking them off on the floor and having them be in the way).

If it’s a mudroom that serves as the “landing space” for your shoes, incorporate shelving in that space. Shallow shelving. Twelve or fourteen inches deep max.


#5 – Lone Star Long Hang

Most people need at least a little – long hang that is.

Yet when space is tight and every inch counts –it’s often best to take the long hang out of the primary closet and store it somewhere else. Especially if the client’s personal style is to not wear dresses very often.

This is where the 80/20 rule comes into play.

The primary closet should store most of the clothing (hopefully 80% of the garments).

If the main closet is the only closet, that’s one thing. But if there’s another closet, perhaps in a guest room, put the long hang there.

This is important for the following reasons:

-The more sections a closet is divided into, the more expensive it becomes and sometimes the more difficult it is to access items.

-Designing a small section that’s – say 18” wide– into a corner makes it very difficult to access.

-You’ll get more ROI capacity by using Double Hang instead of  Long Hang.

In case you’re not familiar with the 80/20 rule (the Pareto principle) –  we wear about 20% of our clothing 80% of the time.

Think about it for a minute.

How often do you end up walking out the door in your “go to” favorites?

Even if you think you want to wear a different outfit – the favorites win time and again.


If you’re interested in even more closet design insights, you can find them here:

How To Design a Walk In Closet


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