This article was crafted with the help of Josh Kiernan of Closet America

Any home, from a bungalow to a McMansion, can benefit from an encounter with a professional closet organizer and designer. Getting organized is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, and lack of storage space is an almost universal complaint.

While the closet industry generally works year-round, according to Josh Kiernan of Closet America in Northern Virginia and Maryland, the busiest times are generally late winter to early spring and then again in the fall. Josh adds that newlyweds and empty nesters who have seen their kids off to college are often the majority of calls in the early part of the autumn season, though the impulse to remake your closet space can strike at any time. Josh assures that closet remodeling is practically painless, and he dispels several myths that keep some people reluctant to take this big step toward ultimate organization.

Myth #1: “They’re going to throw out all my beautiful stuff!”

Despite what you see on alarmist reality TV shows, professional closet organization and design could actually help you hang on to all of your beautiful stuff. Builder-grade closets, particularly in older homes, often have poor layouts that contain empty spaces that can’t be utilized due to the original placements of shelves and rods. With a custom design and fitted closet solution, Josh says, the homeowner may be able to get up to 66 percent more usable space out of the same closet without initiating any major construction. “You’d be surprised,” says Josh. “There are so many different ways you can get back that space, just by having all your shoes in one spot and all your dresses in another. Let’s say, for example, you have a ten-foot ceiling that you can’t reach. We have a system that pulls down, allows you to hang up your clothes, and then goes back up about five feet. We utilize the whole room, top to bottom.”

Myth #2: “Closet, schmoset, they’re all the same!”

While there are some industry standards, it’s not always “more of the same” in closet design. Most custom closet systems use the same type of board for construction, but there can be great differences among manufacturers in the design of the closet itself as well as the hardware used in the system.

Some systems are designed from the top down to mount to walls with secure hangers, which may be preferable to those wanting a free-form space underneath the system. As Josh notes, Closet America’s systems are designed from the floor up—the base rests on the floor of the closet area and is lightly tacked to the walls to stabilize the structure. “In the closet industry, space is money. Depending on the design, with a typical hanging system there might be a foot of totally unused space down by the shoe molding. With our systems, you have storage all the way to the floor.”

Myth #3: “Call a guy for a closet? Heck, I can do it myself!”

While it is possible to pick up some type of DIY closet organizer from just about anywhere these days, when compared to a custom, professional storage solution, there is simply no contest. The professionals who take measurements and put together your closet designs are highly trained and experienced in creating storage solutions that make the most of your space. “The people that we hire to create the layouts have to have a design background or a degree in either interior design or architecture,” says Josh. Professional credentials and experience ensure that both the design and execution of the storage solution are successful, and any problems can be addressed at every stage of the process. A DIY project doesn’t have this type of support.

Most DIY closet systems depend on wire racks, which may be easy to install, but they won’t have the durability of a custom closet. “If you hang too much stuff on wire racking, it starts to dip in the middle, and eventually it’s going to come down. It’s not the best long-term storage solution.” Additionally, wire racks come in standard lengths, so they may not be easy to fit perfectly in the space where you want to establish storage. Settling for a shorter length of racking just to get something that fits a given space can mean you’re sacrificing inches of space that add up to feet of unused storage.

Myth #4: “It’s just a closet. No big deal.”

Giving your clothes a comfortable, crease-free place to hang out can revolutionize a part of your life: from the speed and style with which you get dressed in the morning (because you can see all the clothes you own) to the money you spend on clothing—no more buying the same black jacket or white blouse over and over because you forgot you already had one.

Moreover, because professional organization solutions are customized, there is no reason to limit them to the clothes closet. Imagine a kitchen where every pot and pan had a place to call its own, or a pantry with space for every can of soup, box of pasta, and envelope of chili seasoning. Or let your imagination run even wilder, as Josh notes some of his clients have done. “Recently, we turned a room off of a master bedroom into a walk-in closet with a bar area and breakfast nook—granite countertops, an island in the center.” Storage spaces are often able to take on new identities or purposes once the storage part is accomplished more efficiently.

Professional closet design does more than just give a room a new look. “Being more organized can really change people’s day-to-day lives. We hear that so often,” says Josh. “More organization can help you out in so many different ways—personally, professionally—the list goes on. Your overall quality of life at home improves and lifts up everything else from there.”

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This spotlight article was crafted with the help of Closet America, a Closet & Garage Organizers Best Pick in Northern Virginia and Maryland. While we strive to provide relevant information to all homeowners, some of the material we publish may not pertain to every area. Please contact your local Best Pick companies for any further area-specific advice.