Handyman: New year, old closets – new plan

Glenn Haege
Special to The Detroit News

Getting more organized is a popular New Year’s resolution. And one of the things that often needs better organization is the closets.

Closet organization is an especially good project in the winter when you are looking for things to do inside. And like any project around the home, prior planning is a must if you want to be successful.

The first thing is to determine which closet or closets you plan to get organized. One of the biggest reasons people’s closets are so messy and disorganized is they are trying to put way too many things in the closet. That’s why you need to take everything out of the closet you want to organize and get rid of things you don’t need by donating them, selling what you can and throwing the rest away.

Now you can start to think about ways to improve the closet space to store more things in an organized fashion. Just getting rid of things may give you the needed closet space to store things properly. However, if you want to go to the next step, you can use an easy-to-install organizing system from Easy Track, (800) 562-4257,, that features numerous closet solutions that fit many differently sized closets. You can even go to the Easy Track website and click on the “Start a Design” icon to see design solutions for your particular type closet. EasyClosets, (800) 910-0129,, also offers lots of DIY closets systems and a design tool on its website, along with some excellent closet organization tips and ideas. In addition, the Shelving Store, (800) 637-9508,, and Spacesavers, (800) 880-6264,, also have closet organization solutions for the do-it-yourselfer.

One area often lacking in many closets is enough light. Fortunately, you can add LED lights to any closet without needing to run additional electric wires. One company, Mr. Beams,, offers a motion-sensor activated LED ceiling light that can be easily installed on a closet ceiling and instantly turns on when it detects motion.

If you don’t want to make this a DIY project, there are professional closet organization companies that can turn that closet space into an organized storage nirvana.

“With our system, we can actually double the hanging and storage space in a reach-in or walk-in closet,” said Gary Dion, owner of Closets by Design, (248) 499-9774, “We start with a blank space and use a floor to ceiling system to develop storage that makes it easier for people to store and find things.”

In some cases, the company will recommend putting drawers in the closet to eliminate the need to have a chest of drawers in the bedroom, which increases the space available in the room to put other things. Closet systems also come in a variety of color options, such as standard white or wood colors, to match the room’s decor. He said the new Brio Collection combines textured panels with colors inspired by nature.

Dion said that while a lot of his company’s work is based around the standard bedroom, hall or pantry closets, he is also seeing more empty nesters doing his and her closets and using spare bedrooms to create into hobby rooms that require storage options.

In addition to Closets by Design, other closet organization companies include Closets Plus, (586) 323-6088, and California Closets, (248) 624-1234,

So don’t procrastinate if you would like to organize your closets this winter. With all the DIY and professional options available, this is one project you can check off your to-do list and make your life better in the process. Now that is something you can brag about.

If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536, from between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.