Closet case

Posted by on March 1st, 2016


Spring is almost here – a time for renewal, re-organization and fresh starts.

And a time for cleaning out your closets.

Eminem had a hit song about it. While his was a more metaphorical message about his cluttered psyche, most will find there is beauty and joy in the literal de-cluttering and refreshing of closets, as well.

Those in smaller or older homes need to pay particular attention to re-organization – if not for their own current comfort and convenience, then for proper presentation later on.

Lighten up

Remember, closet space is an important factor for any potential home buyer, but studies show the Millennial generation – among the most likely buyers of starter homes – is very willing to give up living space, so long as there is better storage.

If they can’t have plentiful and sizable, at least give them beautiful and versatile.

Starting in the bedrooms, remove all clothing and other items from closets and clean thoroughly. Add a coat of light paint to the closet walls. Install portable lights in closets not wired for electricity.

Buyers like large closets, but short of that, they want closets that are light and airy.

On display

If you can’t empty out your closets completely to show potential buyers, then you need to give some real thought to organization.

First and foremost, pull back on your wardrobe. No one wants to see an overstuffed closet. If all the organizing tools in the world can’t reduce the wardrobe to a manageable size, maybe it’s time to cull a little.

Put your best clothes forward. Apart from a few well-placed “grubbies” – say a favorite college sweatshirt or stylish athletic pants, only hang your best-quality garments in the master bedroom closet.

Throw away or give away outfits you don’t wear any more. If you still have some nasty-looking clothes you keep for “sentimental” reasons, store them elsewhere for showings. Your clothes will understand, but your home-shoppers won’t.

Just hanging

Maybe you don’t have the flair of modern-day fashionista. In that case, you can copy the display methods of a favorite upscale department store.

When hanging clothes, don’t put too many hangers in too small a space, with the overflow ending up on the floor.

If potential owners think the closets are too small for the current residents, they’re going to think they’re too small for them.

Shelves, shoe organizers and auxiliary rods can help give turn a mess into a department-store quality display. Try collapsible multi-hangers to save space.

At the very least, invest in boxes or bins to keep loose items. That looks leaps and bounds better than stacking sweaters or t-shirts on the floor.

Organizing clothing by color or by style gives a nice visual of how buyers might be able to re-invigorate their own wardrobe.

His and hers

Even if it’s how you normally live, few things are as disconcerting to buyers as noticing that half of the clothes in the master bedroom have been moved to another room. Like his and hers, style.

There may be a good reason behind it, but it screams dysfunction to a home shopper. Always make sure clothes are distributed evenly, comfortably and equitably.

Other closets

Pantry, hallway and garage closets are important, too. Again, keeping things off of the floor should be the goal, unless it’s the bottom of a shelf or box used to keep things off the floor.

There are an abundance of after-market shelves, curios and hollowed-out ottomans to help re-imagine storage and turn clutter into clean.

For sellers, freeing up space on closet shelves or leaving a few empty hangers can create the illusion that a home has too much space – a nice feature.

It’s also easier to rearrange or put more items inside a half-empty closet.

Older homes

Older homes exude personality – their quaint and quirky touches bring instant feelings of love and belonging to some home-buyers.

The feelings are so strong, in fact, that some very important shortcomings may get overlooked – like extremely deficient closets.

Certainly an old-fashioned wardrobe or china cabinet can help make up for some of the problem – but what if there still isn’t much room?

If you simply have too much stuff for closet capacity, show off other spaces. Some less-used areas include under the bed, under the stairs or behind the living room or family room couch. Neatly! Not just in a wad.

Some older places even have surprise closets in the attic or basement. Make sure to give an accurate assessment.

Close the closet door

Ample and well-maintained closets are one of the most lasting issues of home ownership, and an absolute bellwether of the spring cleaning season.

Those looking in the luxury home market aren’t likely to have a lot of trouble – at least when it comes to space. Walk-in closets in larger homes are bigger than most college dorms, and have been a building trend for couple of decades now.

But for those buyers who can’t afford luxury or largess, these little tips could give them just enough wiggle room to adjust to your storage lifestyle.