How do I reach in closet corners?

by Kim

We have a reach in closet in our bedroom and each end has a 12" return. It may not seem like a lot but with so little closet space I need all of it to work efficiently. Clothes get lost and it's impossible to know what I have. We've had a design for a closet organizer drawn out on graph paper for a few years but I need to get this right- my husband will only do this job once. Opening up the closet without the returns is not an option- one side originally had a 30" return but we shortened it to the 12" minimum. We've had people tell us the corner shelving never worked well for them and they're still trying to figure out an ideal solution. Any ideas? Have you dealt with this issue?

  7 answers
  • I’m a little confused as to how you’re describing the closet. This will sound weird but you could scrap the plan you have and completely start over. Think of all sorts of crazy ideas and ways to fill the space; sometimes I find my better plans come from thinking outside the box and differently. Or you could try hooks or other small organizers to make best efficient use of the space.

    • Kim Kim on May 03, 2019

      I've "scrapped" my closet- it's already empty except for a portable temporary rack. I've purged more items than I want to think about and have a very good idea of exactly what I'm putting back into the closet. We have a farm which dictates our lifestyle and I spend a lot of time in my art studio/workshop in the barn- my wardrobe isn't likely to change so hanging space isn't a priority- but still need a little. Any of the closet sections - drawers, shelves, a smaller than average area for hanging, etc...can go anywhere in the closet- it doesn't matter to me- but how to arrange the sections that will give me the clearest, no hassle access to the ends where the deep corners are is my biggest need/pet peeve.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on May 02, 2019

    A picture would help with coming up with ideas, Kim. Thanks!

    • See 1 previous
    • Kim Kim on May 03, 2019

      I'm having a problem uploading photos....

  • Twyla J Boyer Twyla J Boyer on May 02, 2019

    Put short, double rods in the returns, but perpendicular to the main closet rod (so sideways from how you would normally hang a closet rod). Mount the main closet rod from the ceiling or use brackets attached to studs so that you have access to the perpendicular rods. Or, if there's enough space (you don't say how wide the closet is), add narrow closet shelves with a tall rod in between for the space in the middle. Those shelves are great for sweaters, folded jeans, purses, or shoes.

    Use the middle space for longer clothes and the double rods on the sides for shorter clothes. Put shelves above the top rods on the sides if there's enough clearance and definitely put shelves above the main rod. Change out the doors if they are bi-fold or bypass to double doors on hinges so you can use the back of the doors for shoe racks as well as hooks or pockets or shallow shelves for extra storage.

    Put a decent light in the space (there are inexpensive LED ones that run on batteries and last a long time) so you can see what's in there.

    Remove anything that really doesn't belong in a closet, too. That makes such a difference.

    • Kim Kim on May 03, 2019

      Hanging a rod across the ends has been in the back of my mind- there's enough return-wall to make it easy but I question what will work best along the back wall where it meets the hanging clothes. I don't want to block access.

  • Donna Donna on May 03, 2019

    I’ve seen some neat ideas on hometalk for shoe racks (like on doors) that might work in the end “dead spaces” you need to keep but don’t use frequently...that might be helpful. I also find it more useful to put longer hanging items on the ends (dresses, pants clipped on hangers) and shorter items on doubled rods in the middle (tops, trousers, shorter jackets).

    We had a similar problem & took off the bi-fold doors completely as the folded doors took up another 6” of reach into the closet on both ends. We used a pair of floor length draperies, but that may not be for everyone.

    • Kim Kim on May 03, 2019

      Thank you. We removed the mangled closet doors as soon as we moved in and I had made curtains for it that we had up for years. We removed them when we gutted the closet recently. I'm not sure what we'll do after the interior is complete. My husband doesn't have much to hang and will probably use shelving and drawers for sweatshirts/ underarmor shirts but won't be accessing the closet very often- he rotates his wardrobe with the seasons and stores a lot of his cold weather /hunting gear in a cedar closet in the basement. The shoes and boots have been worked into our design plan as the base of all the other sections and one large cube with boot stands that stores them upside down to keep the leather from slouching/wrinkling. I'm wondering if a curved hanger rod in the corner will solve this issue? Have you seen them before? It made sense when I saw them because the clothes won't be blocked on either side of the rod. It's only one corner I'm concerned with - the other corner will likely store a couple of my husbands hunting shotguns.

  • Donna Donna on May 03, 2019

    Curved hanger rods sound like a great idea! I haven’t seen them. Seems like you have really planned it out carefully, including the hunting necessities! ☺️

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Jun 30, 2021

    what do you mean ?

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Dec 22, 2021

    I need a picture, can't wrap my mind around what a closet return is.