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How to get your closets organized

A clean closet utilizing storage systems.

To maximize all the space you have, you want to make sure you're using every cubic inch in your closets – but that means you need to be really organized. That's no problem with ready-to-install storage systems. The result is at least double the storage space and an uncluttered, organized closet.

The challenge you're faced with is not installing the shelving and getting yourself and your belongings organized – that's the easy part. The tough job is going through your closets to decide what you want to store, where and why.

Make better use of the space you have with ready-made storage units

Make a whole house game plan for your storage needs. Naturally, you'll want the linens near the bathroom, clothing in the bedrooms, etc., keeping in mind your special needs. Customize your manufactured home closets to fit your lifestyle. If you live in a four-season climate you might keep all change-of-weather clothing in one closet and rotate as weather dictates. If your special interest is sports, one closet may hold leisure-activity gear.

Get started by measuring each of your closets, and then plotting them out on graph paper. Make sure to note the location and type of door so you can plan your storage system around door swing or gliding tracks.

At hardware stores, home centers, and catalog retailers you'll find a selection of closet storage systems. One option is ventilated, vinyl-coated wire shelves and baskets that assemble together in virtually any combination. They are mounted on the wall, suspended and braced with easy-to-install brackets. These provide excellent storage space because air can freely circulate around clothing and shoes.

Closet design

Redesign your closets using the graph paper. Before you buy anything, make sure you plot it all out using the exact dimensions of each component. Most systems come with 12″ and 16″ wide shelving in 2′, 3′, 4′, 5′ and 6′ lengths. For linens and bulky items use the 16″ shelves. Shoe racks may be made from shelving mounted close to the floor using angled supports.

Combinations of shelving and clothes-hanging rods are endless. If, for instance, you have small children, you can put hanger rods low with shelving above or double-deck them for everyday and dress-up clothes. In planning your closets, refer to the manufacturer's specifications about load capacity to engineer storage of weighty items on fully-supported shelves.

Wire baskets can be used for small items. Or rubber dishpans work well as drawers on the wire shelving. Try using gallon ice-cream containers or plastic shoe and sweater boxes; the possibilities are limitless.

Short sections of shelving may be combined with longer sections to create custom lengths to fit your closet. Spacers link sections together and end caps give a final appearance.


With closet plan finalized, shelving system purchased and closet emptied, you are almost ready to begin installation. Before drilling any holes, take time to wash and/or paint the closet walls. It's also a good idea to contact your manufactured home manufacturer to find out the location of your home's electrical wiring before you begin drilling.

While each manufacturer provides complete instructions and the necessary hardware to mount their units, your manufactured home walls are most likely covered with paneling that can not support the load of the shelving by itself. Therefore, you need to find and mount wall braces to the studs behind the paneling.

Use a studfinder to locate the studs, which are most likely spaced 16″ apart. When you locate the studs, mark the location.

The larger shelf unit mounting brackets should be mounted directly to the studs with wood screws. To mount smaller units that require bracket spacing at closer intervals than the stud spacing, screw a 1″x 4″ wood strip to the studs. Then attach the shelf unit to the wood strip.

Keep it going!

Your closets will be so organized that you probably won't be able to tolerate other messy areas in your home, so continue your neatness binge.

There are door-height shelving racks suitable for kitchen items, cleaning supplies or just about anything that stores on an 18″ wide space. Small spaces like the inside of a kitchen or bathroom cabinets can provide convenience with shelving attached to them. Mount a small unit over the shower to keep soaps and shampoos in place or over the kitchen stove to store frequently used pots and pans. Lawn and garden utensils hang from hook and rack as will a pitcher's mitt or track shoes. Storage shed clutter can be cleared away with wire baskets holding small tools and odds and ends.

Your home, lifestyle and interests dictate your use of these ready-made, simple-to-install storage systems.

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