What to Do With Weird Closets
Closet storage solutions for weird closet configurations and other common problems
The spelunker's special comes in two styles: a narrow, deep box or a deep, dark L. If opening up the front wall for double doors is out of the question, hang rods in front of the opening, where they are visible. Then build out the hard-to-reach wall with shelves for bins.
Tucked under the roofline, this variation couples lots of not-very-useful floor space with a not-very-useful shortened back wall. Position your rods front to back between the return walls and back wall. Then build out the knee wall with shelves.
The Plywood Solution
To shore up walls and plaster that's in poor shape, line the closet with ¾-inch hardwood plywood and screw it to the studs. Now you can attach rods and shelves wherever you want. Or build three- or four-sided plywood boxes, then slide them in.
Industrial Pipe Solution
To overcome an odd configuration or sketchy walls, build a scaffold using commercial Speed-Rail fittings (hollaender.com) and closet rods. Use this closet storage solution to make a system supported by vertical rods screwed to the ceiling and floor or to make freestanding racks. The result looks like other industrial-pipe fixes but does them one better: System options include connectors with swiveling joints that can handle awkward angles for just a few dollars.
The Bifold Solution
No room for swing-open doors? Avoid sliders, which block the view, and invest in sturdy, solid-core or solid-wood bifolds and heavy-duty fittings (we like those at johnsonhardware.com). Lightweight doors with bad fittings wobble and constantly fall off their tracks.
Decide on a destination for off-season items, ideally a wardrobe in the attic or a dry corner of the basement. If you have spare room on the same floor, consider a clothes rack that can be wheeled to the closet when it's time for a swap-out. If elsewhere isn't an option, stash off-season items in easy-to-hoist bins and space-saving vacuum-storage bags on the closet's topmost shelf. Label them so that you can find your bathing suit in January—you never know.