There’s absolutely nothing worse than being in a giant rush, looking for something to wear and scrambling through your closet, completely unable to find that one blouse or one pair of paints that you just know would complete your outfit. How do some pieces of clothing seem to vanish into thin air right when you’re busy and don’t exactly have time to look around?
While it can sometimes be difficult to admit, if your closet looks like a war zone more often than not, chances are good that your favorite shoes or blouses aren’t actually disappearing. You might just be too disorganized to actually find them when you need or want them.
But getting a small space like a closet organized is easier said than done. If your closet didn’t come with built-in shelving, and you just have a big empty rectangle, is your only option hiring a contractor for a pricey custom closet fix? Not at all!
Organization expert Mary Jo Contello of Organized by MJ explains there’s no need to rely on anything but your own two hands for the ideal closet setup. “There are various systems out there that someone who is handy can install,” she says. “An example is the Elfa system from the Container Store. If you can operate and own a drill, level, screwdriver and a hammer, you can install it.”
You can buy a closet system, online or at your local hardware store, that will keep you organized and stress free for likely a more affordable price than you think. Any close that fits your needs is the way to go. As Mary Jo says, “The best system is what works for you.”
Here’s everything you need to know about shopping for the right closet system for your needs, getting your closet organized and then staying organized.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Closet System
To pick the best closet system for your needs, there are a few key details to keep in mind.
The most important factor to consider when shopping for a closet system is size, and not just the size of the kit and how much you want to be able to store. Carefully measure the size of your closet, including its height, width and depth. Don’t forget that if your closet door opens inward, you’ll need to account for that space being taken up as well. Similarly, if an attic or other utility door is in the closet, you don’t want to block it.
Careful measuring will ensure you purchase a closet system you can actually use — not one that you’ll realize is totally incompatible with your closet only after it’s half-installed.
Most closet systems include both racks for hanging hangers and then shelves for storing folded clothes, shoes, etcetera. You may want more of one than the other, depending on how you like to store your clothes. If you hang up every single shirt, for example, you might want a longer rod with more hanging space, but if you’re more likely to fold your t-shirts, you might want more shelves.
The price of closet systems can range greatly. Some are under $100, but others can be over $1,000. Carefully consider what your budget will allow and try to find a solution that won’t break the bank.
No matter how pricey or how big your storage system is, you want it to at least be durable. Your closet sees a lot of action and gets a lot of wear and tear. You don’t want a closet system that’s going to fall apart just after a few months on the job.
It’s always nice to have options. With an adjustable closet solution, you can change the shelves around, change the height of the hanging rods, etcetera, to fit whatever your current needs might be.
Our 12 Favorite Closet Systems
Below are our top picks for closet systems that will help you organize and elevate your space.
This extremely affordable (less than $200!) closet system from the brand name ClosetMaid will fit your basic closet storage needs with ease. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done on a budget.
Available at Lowes, the storage solution is suitable for closets that measure a minimum of 4 feet by 9 feet wide. The kit includes a laminate wood tower with shelves (for holding shoes or folded clothes, or even a toiletry rack or jewelry box), and then three closet rods that you can install at varying heights, for whatever configuration will best fit your needs.
The system comes in white or brown.
For an even cheaper option (but also a less attractive option, to be honest), go with this Rubbermaid solution that’s available on Amazon. The titanium kit is all-metal, so there’s not much to look at, but it’s expandable and adjustable to fit your needs.
The kit includes five shelves and two rods for hanging your clothes. All your mounting hardware is also included.
It’s simple, sleek and affordable.
This closet system from Wayfair is highly recommended for a few reasons. One, it’s very affordable. Two, it’s one of the few closet systems that doesn’t require you to nail or screw anything into your closet walls, making it an excellent choice for renters (or just those that don’t want to put new holes in their walls).
The system stands alone, on its own, with two towers with five shelves each. Between the two shelves, two long rods provide stacked hanging space.
No closet, or just looking for an organizational closet system to sit out in your bedroom? This option will also work for that (in fact, that’s exactly what some reviewers have done, with excellent results).
On the other end of the spectrum from budget-friendly, this option is big, pretty, easy to install — and admittedly pricey. However, if you have a large space, this closet system will outfit the entire thing with all the shelves you could possibly need. It’s a great solution for a walk-in closet or if you intend to turn a small spare bedroom or bonus room into a walk-in closet. There are adjustable shelves, drawers, hanging rods and even a vanity.
While this closet system is technically designed with small entryway or foyer closets in mind, you don’t have to use it only there. If you have a small, square closet space, this system is ideal, at a tiny two feet wide. There’s a small hanging rod, one shelf at the top and two shelves at the bottom, allowing you to maximize even your smallest closets.
Another walk-in closet-ready solution, this L-shaped organizer offers lots of variety. You get multiple shelves, including two full towers full of shelves, multiple spaces for hanging clothes, including longer clothes like dresses, and even some drawers, for hidden storage. The shelves are adjustable, and the hanging rods can hold up to 50 pounds.
This freestanding closet system is technically a wardrobe, but it could easily slide into a walk-in closet or be used in the place of a closet. However you use it, you’re sure to love the shoe racks, multiple drawers with pull-out trays, hangers and other versatile storage options. It definitely helps that the wardrobe is sleek and stylish.
Reviewers love the quality and just how organized this wardrobe can help you be, but they do note that you might need to have a little patience as you put the wardrobe together (and an extra set of hands definitely will help, too).
This acrylic and brass closet system is simple and very fashionable. There are two wall-mounted shelves with hanging rods included in the system, as well as a caster-mounted cart that includes three additional shelves.
This closet storage system includes a hanging rack and a series of four slide-out drawers and will fit into smaller, two-foot-wide closets. However, to take your storage possibilities further, it also includes a sturdy door rack with four additional shelves and a shoe rack. Do note that the closet door rack’s shelves aren’t really suitable for folded clothing, as they’re not deep enough. Instead, you might want to use those racks for other items. Balled socks or even underwear might find a suitable home there.
Just want the simplest closet solution possible? Don’t need any hanging space? Then go with this closet tower that’s essentially just a shelf. The tower includes six closet shelves for storing folded clothes, shoes, purses; you name it. It can be used as part of a larger closet organization system but is also sold separately for those who just need a straightforward storage space fix.
This stylish and scalable closet tower includes one clothes hangers rail, a cabinet with a vanity top, two upper shelves and one lower shelf that’s intended to be used as a shoe tray. With the black iron anchors that attach the cabinet to your wall, and the white, minimalist shelving, this is a modern and modular solution that you won’t even want to hide away, out of sight.
This all-gold organization solution on wheels can be moved in and out of your closet for easy browsing before you slide it away out of the way. The rack features a large hanging space up top that’s tall enough to hold most dresses or slacks. Two purse hooks are on either side. A basket beneath the hanging rod can hold folded items, while a shoe shelf at the very bottom is ideal for multiple pairs of shoes.
This rack is affordable and available on Amazon. Plus, it doesn’t require you to screw or nail anything into your walls.
Tips for Installing a Closet System (and Then Keeping it Organized!)
Don’t go in without a plan.
Before you install your closet system, have a plan for how you’d like to organize your clothes. If your system is adjustable, how would you like to adjust the system to fit your needs? How many shelves do you want, and how would you like to space them? How high would you prefer the hanging rods?
Decide on these details ahead of installation to save yourself extra headaches.
Follow the directions (really).
Some of our above closet systems look really straightforward and easy to install but don’t just plow ahead with what you think you should do. Read all of the manufacturer’s included instructions and then follow the directions. Closet systems sometimes require certain steps that ensure the system won’t put too much weight on your walls. If you don’t take those steps, you could end up with a big gaping hole in your drywall.
Add extra accessories.
Unless your closet system comes with them, you may want to add extra accessories to make organizing your closet even easier. Think baskets or cubbies to go on shelves, makeup organizers or storage bins to slide beneath the lowest hanging rods.
Closet System FAQs
How much does a closet system cost?
It totally depends on what you buy. You could spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on a custom closet system that you have the pros install. However, for a system that you buy online and install yourself, you can expect to spend around $100 for a budget-friendly, basic solution or closer to $1,000 for a higher-end solution designed for large spaces.
How difficult is it to install a closet system?
If you have basic DIY skills and know how to use a stud finder and a drill, you can likely put together a closet system easily. However, do read all of the details regarding a particular system’s weight and hardware requirements before making your purchase, just to be sure you won’t need any extra tools or a helping hand when it comes time to put your new closet system together.
A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place
Once your closet is organized, you’ll find that getting ready in the mornings becomes so much less stressful and far more enjoyable when you’re not running to and fro, trying to find that one piece of clothing that you just know you didn’t throw out. All it takes is investing in one purchase and one afternoon of work to install the right closet system for your needs.
You may also be interested in: 10 Beautiful Flooring Ideas that are Easy to Clean
The 12 Best Home Closet Systems for Staying Organized:
- ClosetMaid Custom Laminate System
- Rubbermaid Configurations Deluxe Closet Kit
- Wayfair Basics 58” W – 83” W Closet System Starter Kit
- CosmoLiving Gwyneth Closet System
- Elfa Decor Entry Closet System
- Wayfair Dotted Line Grid 120” W Closet System Corner System
- Ikea PAX Wardrobe
- Pottery Barn Acrylic Closet Organization System
- Elfa Classic 2’ Closet With Door & Wall Rack
- Closet Evolution Essential Shelf 25 in. W White Wood Closet Tower
- Crate and Barrel Flex Modular Clothing Rack and Closed Storage Cabinet with Shelves
- Thick Forest Clothes Rack Gold