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MEASURING

Before starting on a storage/closet plan, assess exactly how much you will need to store. This involves literally measuring your possessions by the foot or count, remembering to allow for future additions. From the table below you will find some standard clothing dimensions:

MEN'S

Suit coats & shirts 38" L
Pants on straight hanger 44" L
Pants folded on hanger 27" L
Jeans folded 11" W X 12" D X 2-3" H
Shoes (pair) 9" W X 12" L X 4-6" H
Sweater/sweatshirt (folded) 11" W X 14" D X 3-4" H

WOMEN'S

Dress 52-68" L
Robe 52" L
Blouse 34" L
Suit jacket/blazer 36" L
Skirt 36" L
Shoes (pair) 6" W X 9" L X 3-6" H
Sweater/sweatshirt (folded) 10" W X 13" D X 3-4" H

Now you must measure the closet. Accurate measurements of the floor area and walls will help you decide exactly where to locate storage and how much of each type you can store. You will need a tape measure, notepad, pencil and [maybe] a stepladder.

First, sketch the room. Stand in the center (or doorway) and draw a rough sketch of the floor area in your notepad. Take special note of angled walls and ceilings and differing ceiling heights. Draw in the outlines (and dimensions) of any existing fixed furniture and features such as doors (include swing direction) and windows, heat registers and vents, electrical switches and lights and any other obstructions or anomalies.

Next, measure the length, width and height of the room. Then measure each of the wall lengths individually as rooms may often look symmetrical, but aren't. If possible, measure the height in a corner as here it's easiest to plumb. Note if ceiling heights vary. You may need a step ladder to do this. Plot all of these dimension on your notepad.

If your closet is a reach-in (rather than a walk-in) you will need to do a little extra work. The front wall or the wall through which you access your closet is a special case. Measure this wall from the corner to the door frame or trim on each side. If there is no trim just measure from the corner to the edge of the wall which forms the doorway. Also, measure the width of the door opening. On bi-fold doors measure only what can be accessed when the door is completely folded out.

Finally, measure and record the height and width of doors, baseboards, moldings (door, ceiling and windowsill). Make note of any places you do not want to obstruct. Once all these rough measurements are recorded, transfer them onto scaled graph paper. This will give you a much better picture of what you have to work with and how to best use your space.

A few additional tips:

  • Measure to the nearest inch, rounding up. Fractions aren't necessary.
  • Note your measurements in inches, rather than in feet and inches.
  • Double check your measurements by comparing lengths of opposite walls. They should be within an inch or two of each other. Remember what your grandpa told you: "measure twice cut once". Take a little care in reading your measurements.
  • Double check that the sum of the measurements for the access wall (where the doors are located) is close to the corner-to-corner back wall dimensions.
  • If the distance is longer than your reach, make a small mark on the wall near the center and measure from each corner to your mark. Then simply add the two measurements together.