(ARA) – Both fashion and budget-conscious Americans alike are taking better care of their clothing and other possessions, starting with how they store them. But if you haven’t been reading today’s most popular home and style magazines, sneaking a peak inside your neighbor’s closets, or house-hunting lately, you might not have noticed: Closets have evolved from clumsy and non-functional to downright fabulous.

Or maybe you’ve envied the spacious, custom closets characteristic of luxury homes, but haven’t had thousands of dollars to plunk down on a professional closet makeover.

In either case, you probably need a closet solution. That’s why manufacturers of closet organization systems have been busy developing new, do-it-yourself home storage solutions ranging from low-end, rack-and-wire plug-ins to handsome furniture-style systems in white or wood-toned melamine and even solid wood.closet design

Among the strongest and most flexible of the new systems are Home Options Storage Solutions, available around the corner at Lowe’s home improvement stores or at www.lowes.com. Shelving and pole heights are adjustable so your design can be adapted periodically to your changing needs. Full extension drawers with attractive fronts provide complete access.

Where to start creating a custom closet on a do-it-yourself budget? First, determine your skill level. Do you need a professional? Probably not. Many closet systems can be installed in a weekend by anyone of average skill level. Brands such as Home Options offer websites with pre-existing templates and online design tools that make closet planning easy.

Next, measure your space. Determine the width, height and depth and write them down. Is your closet a reach-in, walk-in, or are you creating it from freestanding space? Have high ceilings? Add a shelf to store items overhead.

When planning, consider designating 50 percent of your closet space for low-hanging clothes, 25 percent for longer clothes, and 25 percent for drawers and shelves. Then, take inventory of your stuff and make adjustments to meet your personal needs.

Use a tower unit to separate his space from hers and incorporate shelves and drawers. Use pant racks to organize 12 pairs of pants in a compact space while keeping them smooth and pressed. Use shelves for organizing folded sweaters so they keep their proper form. Raise shoes off the floor. Look for shoe cubbies that comfortably hold two shoes, not just one. Shoe cubbies are also ideal for stowing away evening bags, belts and other personal items.

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