A Shopper’s Guide to Closet Accessories

Today’s marketplace offers a variety of closet-storage inserts and accessories. In fact, whole stores are now devoted to selling closet components. To see what’s available near you, browse through a home center or closet store. If you’re not sure where to find one, look under “Closet Accessories” and “Interior Design” in the Yellow Pages of the telephone book. Some stores also have Internet sites, where you can see what’s available and even order components without leaving the house.

For quick fixes, you can find wire baskets, shoe caddies, tie racks, and clear stackable boxes in almost any home center or department store that will help you reorganize the contents of your closet yourself.

To redo the whole closet, you can often get design help at a home or closet store — some offer it for free at the store or in your home. Once you have decided on all the components you need, you can put in the system yourself or hire a professional to install it.

Most shelves and accessories are made of epoxy- or vinyl-coated wire, also called ventilated shelving. Coated wire is a relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and practical material — this kind of shelving allows for plenty of
air circulation. You’ll find it in wide mesh (great for towels and lightweight clothing) and sturdy narrow mesh — better for storing heavy items in the garage or pantry.

Plastic laminate (plastic-covered particle board, also called Melamine) components cost more than those
made of coated wire. They are durable and attractive, and can be combined with wire storage units to create a flexible, functional closet. These components come in white, black, or wood finishes, such as maple or cherry.

Most closet systems include the components listed below.

1. Hooks are available in metal and plastic. They can be screwed into walls or doors to hold robes, shirts, towels, and belts.

2. Clothes rods are a main component of laminate and wire closet systems, especially to separate hanging clothes of different lengths. They are often metal in laminate systems; in wire shelf systems the rods may be an extension of a shelf component.

3. Fixed shelves are available in wire and laminate, and in a variety of sizes: narrow for shoes, sweaters, and pants; and wide for games, toys, bulky clothes, and boxes.

4. Gliding pull-out shelves made of wire or laminate ease access to heavier items such as boots and jeans, or to high or low parts of the closet.

5. Wire baskets come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be useful in ventilated organizing systems. They are often sold in stacking sets and are good for storing towels, laundry, jeans, sweaters, and toys. They can be built-in or freestanding.

6. Laminate cubbies look attractive and keep shoes organized and purses and bags upright and neatly separated from each other.

7. Stacks of drawers, available in laminate whole-closet systems, hold everything from hosiery to sweaters, keeping them dust-free and away from light. Some makers even offer special designs, such as jewelry drawers with velvet organizing inserts.

8. Casters adapt various closet components, such as basket sets and shoe racks, into mobile units that can be shifted easily as your needs change.

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