DIY Closet Organizer Plans: How to Customize Your Closet

Updated on April 21, 2019
Anthony Altorenna profile image

Anthony enjoys spending time in the workshop, the kitchen, the garden and out fishing. Many of his projects are featured in his yard.

Closet Organizer Plan
Closet Organizer Plan | Source

Designing a Custom Closet Organization System

Create your own DIY closet organization plan. Increasing the storage capacity of any closet with a closet organization system is an easy do-it-yourself project. In most homes and apartments, the typical bedroom closet consists of an inefficient storage arrangement consisting of a single rod for hanging clothing of all types and different lengths, with a shelf above for storing folded items. Floor space is used for shoes and other items that accumulate in the bottoms of closets, leaving a lot of wasted storage space that can be utilized much more efficiently.

A customized DIY closet organizer plan (based on your storage needs) together with a closet organization system helps to maximize the available storage space, either as purchased kits from a variety of manufactures or assembled from common closet and shelving materials available at home centers. Designing efficient and effective DIY closet organizer plans is easy, and installation requires only a few basic tools and a few hours of time.

Closet Diagram
Closet Diagram

Measure the Closet

A good DIY closet organizer plan requires maximizing all of the available space. To do this effectively, carefully measure the width, depth and height of the closet. Lay out the closet dimensions on to a sheet of paper, making note of any obstacles that you might have to work around such as pipes, heating vents, etc.

A diagram of the closet area helps to visualize the available space and to create a shopping list of components needed to customize the closet.

Closet Organizer Diagram
Closet Organizer Diagram

Creating DIY Closet Organizer Plans

This example of a closet organizer plan shows a closet organization system consisting of a tower of shelves for folded jeans and sweaters, a section for hanging full-length items with another small shelf on top, and a section with two rods for hanging shirts and other shorter items.

When designing the layout for a closet, consider storage requirements for the amount and types of clothing to be stored in the closet, and adjust your closet organizer plans accordingly.

Custom Closet Materials List
Custom Closet Materials List

Prepare a Materials List

After finalizing a design, use the diagram to determine the individual components needed for installation. The white, plastic coated metal shelving is a popular choice because it is strong, economical and easy to work with. Melamine, a plastic coated particle board, is another popular material for solid shelving.

Together, the wire shelving and Melamine are a good choice for building a closet organization system, and the materials are readily available at home centers.

DIY Closet Organizer Plans

DIY Custom Closet Organizer Plans
DIY Custom Closet Organizer Plans

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Tips for Organizing Closet Space

First by function, then by color
First by function, then by color | Source

A Closet Organization Method: First by Function, Then by Color

Organize closets with this simple system: First by function, then by color. This is the mantra for efficiency in clothes closet organization.

If just the thought of organizing your clothes closet brings about feelings of fear and dread, fear not. You can organize closets to make them more functional, and it is worth the momentary pain & suffering on those hectic mornings when you're rushing to get dressed and get out of the door.

Organize closets of any size by dividing the available space into different sections: one section with two rods (one over the other for hanging shorter items like shirts) and another full-length section to hang full-length items. Most home centers and many specialty websites carry wire closet organizer systems that are inexpensive and easy to customize to take advantage of the available storage space in your closet. If space allows, a set of floor-to-ceiling white melamine shelves are convenient for storing sweaters, folded jeans, shorts, etc.

Hang lighter weight items such as shirts on the upper rod. Separate the dress shirts from the casuals, polo's and sweaters, and hang each group in your preferred sequence (casual shirts on the left, then polo's and sweaters in the middle and then the dress shirts to the right.

Now, arrange the items in each group by color. For example, all of the white dress shirts are hung together, then progressing from the beige and lighter colors to the blues and darker colors, then to the stripes.

Pants and any other remaining items are hung on the lower rod, following the same "first by function, then by color" mantra: casual and dress pants are separated, and then hung from light to dark.

Once the clothes are organized by function and the color patterns established, it's relatively easy to maintain as clothes return from the wash and need to be put away. Now, it's time to tackle the kid's closets!

© 2011 Anthony Altorenna

Tell Us About Your Closet Organization Project

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I need this - it's my fall project!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes great info. I need more shelving and I need to de-clutter which should help minimize the problem. Thanks!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Excellent information. I only once had a walk in closet and it was wonderful. Most of the time I have had one or more closets that are too small, and it's been difficult to organize my clothes. Nicely done, blessed.

    • profile image

      Showpup LM 

      8 years ago

      I have a walk-in closet that is huge but so badly disorganized that not much fits in there. I really need to give it an overhaul!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      8 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Yes, it's time to build a few closet organizers. I'm finding that my suit jackets are too heavy for the long bars. Perhaps your suggestion of shelves in the middle would help. Thank you.

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      8 years ago

      I love an organized wardrobe, you have some very useful tips here. Our house has high ceilings, so our wardrobes are really tall. Great for space.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you ... this will come in handy as we plan another bedroom closet. My husband laughed when I organized his clothing by color, but now he never has trouble finding anything and it's so easy to put clean clothes away.

    • gamecheathub profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm not mechanically inclined and every project I've started has met with disaster. I hope that when I move back to California next year, that I can find a handyman who can do this. Maximizing square footage is what I'm all about. This lens really hit home. #diggit

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      8 years ago from So Cal

      I like the step-by-step directions that makes this seem more do-able. Thanks!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      8 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Lots of good suggestions. In a previous home, we built a custom closet system out of pine wood and used lots and lots of polycrylic finish. I would love to have another one in this home as soon as we get the time. Nice lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      closet organizers are so helpful, especially in kids rooms, love them!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      How I would love to have an organised closer system! (All in melamine. I believe there is a special place in heaven for whoever invented melamine). You're right about sorting by colour - that's the only way to have a workable closet or wardrobe

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My closet definitely needs this!

    • knit1tat2 profile image


      9 years ago

      very good if I only had a closet! Someday!


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