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Taking the chaos out of your closet; by remodeling, with storage systems. You have options.

Living with a disorderly closet is a fact of life for most people. But bringing some order to it--and some relief to the life of the closet's owner--may be easier than you think.

The ideal closet fits you like a glove. It has places for a variety of clothing articles without squishing sweaters, crumpling shirts and blouses, tangling ties, or turning an evening dress into a wrinkle factory. It's organized so you can easily find what you want. It doesn't waste space. And its rods don't sag.

On these five pages, we offer several strategies to help you plan a reform, so you can spend more time wearing your clothes than searching for them.

Our examples may also help you define the functions you want your closet to fulfill. You need to decide whether it's just for storage or whether its contents will be on view. Do you need the space of a walkin, or will a recessed closet do? Do you need to undertake structural changes, or can you buy ready-made units to fit existing space? Is there wasted space at the top of your closet that could be used for extra shelving? Baskets and bins

An antique armoire seemed too bulky until Peter VanDine of Tanner-VanDine Architects in San Franciso designed one wall around it--with extra storage behind louvered doors to one side and an open display reces above (next page, top left). Vinyl-coated shelves and baskets keep sweaters, shoes, and shirts visible for easy selection.

Standard plastic busboy bins--sold by restaurant supply stores for about $5 each, or 12 for $40--become instant drawers when paired with wood or metal tracks. Seattle architect Stephen Matthias has 16 such bins on one wall of his closet (see opposite page, top left). The tracks are 1-by-1 wood strips. Shoes: Hidden or exposed

Shoes don't have to take up a lot of room if you don't mind hiding them--as architect Mark Hajjar and interior designer Patricia Whitt of Napa prove in the mirror-faced slide-out unit above right. The 18- by 24-1/2- by 70-inch plywood-framed module has six angled racks on each side that can hold a total of 36 pairs.

Storage can amount to display, as you see at right in the abstract tower of plexiglass boxes that shows off a shoe collection under a pitched roof. Three unusual approaches

Four large hollow cylinders (opposite page, top right) function as closets for Pat and Jim Matthews. Phoenix architect William P. Bruder designed the 7-foot-tall, 20-inch-diameter sheet metal columns as a kind of storage sculpture. Custom made by a sheet metal firm, they occupy a corridor. Each cylinder is open on one side and pivots on a turntable.

It's convenient to sit down while putting on your shoes, but walk-in closets don't often have room for chairs. San Francisco architect Dan Phipps solved the problem for owner Randy Peters by adapting an idea from the gymnasium locker room: a narow bench bolted to the floor on black-painted galvanized pipes. You see it on the opposite page, bottom left.

Keeping a closet ventilated (to prevent mildew) can be a problem. To be sure air could flow through their bedroom closet, Sandra and Dan Webster tacked caning to the closet door frames (opposite page, bottom right). Shopping for closet organizers and getting professional advice

Gadgets to help you organize are legion. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of hooks, handles, boxes, racks, and shelves available from hardware stores, catalog department stores, bath shops, and specialty closet stores. You'll find hangers specifically designed for coats or skirts or for multiple blouses, skirts, or pairs of slacks; zippered vinyl garment bags in many sizes, including some styles with shelves; and organizers for shoes, handbags, belts, and neckties that fit over the rod or attach to the door.

To give you some idea of the range in storage devices, we show five stackable shelf, bin, basket, and drawer systems, and two devices for shoe storage. Prices vary, so shop around.

Don't let yourself be overwhelmed by the sheer number of organizing aids. You may find that many of them are unnecessary for the way your use your closet.

Closet stores--a relatively new phenomenon--are springing up all across the West. (Look in the yellow pages under Closets and Closet Accessories.) Sometimes personnel in these stores can also provide design services. For an 8-foot closet, the cost for design, materials, and installation by a company that makes its own components starts at about $375.
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Date:Apr 1, 1985
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