How to Measure Closets for Custom Storage

The “top three” factors in real estate decisions may be location, location, and location, but next is storage. Organized closet spaces can make the difference between a good morning or way too much time spent digging through a pile of shoes. 

A custom closet system might seem indulgent at first thought, but the time and effort it will save you each day are well worth it. With some strategic planning and careful measurements, you might just find yourself gazing into your closet with a smile on your face instead of shutting the door and trying to forget about it.

Reach-In Closets

Many people just don’t have the space to carve out a new closet in their homes. Working with your existing reach-in closet to maximize the potential of the space can still yield great results. As constructed, your closet may have nothing more than a standard hanging rod and an overhead shelf. You know how you use the space, and you know what you want to store in your closet—so let’s make that happen.

Designing For You

Closets have a standard minimum depth of twenty-four inches to accommodate hangers—which is something you can’t change. Beyond that, you can configure everything else to suit your needs. You might not need a hanging rod that goes from wall to wall if you tend to fold more of your clothes, for example. 

Do you maintain a minimal capsule wardrobe but have a different pair of shoes for nearly every day of the year? Maybe you want drawers or baskets to store smaller items or dividers to hold stacks of sweaters that won’t topple over. Several systems are available when going custom, and the right one just depends on the items you need to show. Wire shelves, which can include sliding baskets and hooks, are low-profile and will allow for air to circulate throughout the space. A laminate system, on the other hand, can look more high-end and can contain drawers and cabinets. Consider which will work best for you.

Measuring Your Closet

It can feel intimidating to measure your closet knowing that mere inches can make the difference between a system fitting or not, but with some planning, you can handle it. Draw a diagram of your closet to help keep track of the measurements. Start by sketching the closet from the front, then from the top, as though you were looking down on it through the ceiling. In the top view, you can include the shoulder of the closet, the space that extends to the sides beyond the door opening.

Feel free to recruit someone to help you—most people can’t hold both ends of a tape measure themselves! Measure the width of your closet, making sure to measure in three places: the back, the middle, and the front of the space. Most areas are neither exactly plumb nor completely level, so you’ll want to know the smallest measurement you’re dealing with within the space. 

Next, measure the height of your closet—take carpet into account if you have it and realize that anything that has to be secured to the floor will need to be secured to the subfloor. Again, be sure to measure in three spots for accuracy.

Finally, measure the doors and make a note on your diagram of whether they swing in or out or in which direction they fold. Get three measurements again, and record everything on your trusty diagram. 

Walk-In Closets

A small bedroom you no longer use could be a luxurious closet instead of a cramped guest room. If you can give up a room or part of a large room, you can design the walk-in closet you’ve always wanted. The minimum space for a walk-in closet should be about 5 feet in depth so you can hang clothes or shelves on both sides and still walk down the middle. 

Designing and Measuring Your Walk-In Closet

Now is the time to think about how you want to use your closet. Consider your shoe collection and all the floor-length coats and dresses you either do or do not own. Maybe you need mainly double hanging racks because you have a lot of tops but fold most of your pants. The standard required height for double clothing racks is at least 84 inches. Consider whether you’d like to use a system of laminated cabinets, drawers, and shelves or a simpler wire shelving system. Both have advantages.

How to Measure for a Custom Walk-In Closet

Taking measurements for your walk-in closet system is more straightforward than measuring a reach-in closet, but you should still draw a diagram to help you keep track of your measurements and to help you envision the space. Another factor that holds true is that while you may be measuring a room rather than an existing closet, you should still assume it is neither altogether level or plumb. Measure each dimension in at least three spots and record those measurements and where they were taken on your diagram. If you’re dealing with a lot of lovely space, block out with some tape a spot for a dressing table in the middle or where you might like to put a mirror, lighting, or other custom touches. 

Dreaming of a Beautiful Closet

If you’re ready to add some custom touches to your closet or want to build a walk-in closet everyone will be jealous of, Harkraft is here for you. We’ve been making custom closet systems for years, and we can make your closet dreams come true. Contact us today to get started.