Shopping
Advertiser Disclosure

The Best Closet Systems to Help You Be More Organized in 2024

clothes
iStock

Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

Updated February 1, 2024

A bit of a pack rat, I admit to being one of those people with woefully unorganized and overstuffed closets. I place some of the blame for this on the fact that, as well as writing, I also work in wardrobe and costumes for film, television, and theater. This means I have a ridiculous amount of garments and accessories that I keep around because they’re cool vintage pieces or something from a high-end designer that I got after a show ended, many of which I never would have bought for myself.

My life in costume departments (33 years and counting) also means I know a little something about organizing wardrobes and closet spaces. Once you’ve outfitted a semi-truck with racks, drawers, and shelves of apparel to quickly and efficiently dress hundreds (sometimes thousands) of background performers while parked in what can only be called a swamp, I think you can consider yourself close to an expert as far as storage solutions go—at least in the land of mobile closets.

To help with this piece, I consulted some professional organizers for tips and recommendations about transforming a closet disaster area into a beautiful, stylish, and orderly space. Keep reading for things to consider when creating your closet system.

What to consider when buying a closet system

Purpose

These days, there are closet systems available for all sizes, shapes, and needs. Many companies, including some online furniture stores, offer the ability to design your own. While designing may seem overwhelming at first, Amelia Pleasant Kennedy, certified life coach, professional organizer, and founder of A Pleasant Solution in Birmingham, Michigan, said that the key is placing the “majority of the closet that you're installing or building along the longest available wall.”

Then, she continued, decide the focal point of the space based on your needs. For instance, if you have lots of shoes, you might want to do a shoe wall to accommodate your shoe storage needs. If you prefer hanging as many garments and accessories as possible, you might want to maximize that. Storage beds are also an option for those who have limited space.

Kennedy also always recommends adding drawers directly into the closet system to eliminate the need for a dresser. “Dressers are pokey and take up space,” she said.

Resale value of your home

Kennedy, says it’s worth considering whether an investment in a closet solution will improve the resale value of your home versus what might be more practical if you’re renting.

“If you're going to be in your home for a while, investing in a specific closet would improve the resale value but, if you're renting, you’ll want something that perhaps you can remove and take with you.”

And don’t forget to consider the shape of your closet, Kennedy added. People often forget to take into account an oddly shaped ceiling or a very narrow closet or an obstruction in the closet, all of which can influence the type of closet system that you want to purchase.

Durability

Take into account the durability of the product and how much weight it can withstand as well as its flexibility in terms of being able to change the components in and out, advised Kennedy.

Make sure to choose durable and high-quality hangers and hardware as well, said Sarit Weiss, founder of Neat & Orderly in New York City. Sturdy hangers prevent clothes from slipping or sagging, as well as maintaining the shape and integrity of your garments. And quality hardware ensures the longevity and stability of the entire system, reducing the risk of damage and ensuring a reliable and long-lasting organization solution, she explained.

Specialty features

If you want certain specialty features such as a built-in hamper, drawers, or adjustable shelving that will help determine which closet system to choose. “Lots of brands offer beautiful features like quiet closing drawers, specialized jewelry drawers, or installed laundry hampers,” said Kennedy.

Customization

Heather Aiello, founder of The Organized You in the Boston area, suggests looking for modular closet systems which can be customized to your space and needs. Also, don’t forget to maximize your vertical space and use the full height of your closet, she said.

“Install shelves or hanging rods at different heights to accommodate different types of clothing—for example, long dresses versus shirts and pants,” she said.

Aiello’s other tips include adding drawers or bins for folded items, accessories, or items you prefer to keep out of sight. This will help you maintain a clean and clutter-free look. And, use drawer dividers to keep smaller items like socks, underwear, and accessories organized and easily accessible.

Our top picks for best closet systems

Best affordable closet system: The Container Store Elfa Classic 4’ Reach-In Clothes Closet

The Elfa system is really in the middle of the road in terms of budget and attractiveness, Kennedy told me. “It’s stylish and there are lots of components and upgrade options.”

This particular system, the Classic 4-foot, features mesh drawers, adjustable ventilated shelves with brackets, a closet rod, and steel wall mounting tracks. The integrated wheels on the drawer frames ensure smooth operation and the ventilated shelves allow your shoes, sweaters, and other accessories some breathing space. Each drawer can hold 25 pounds while each shelf supports up to 100.

“I don't think it can be beat for the durability, available accessories, and ease of installation,” Kennedy said.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 84'' H x 48'' W x 16'' D
  • Material: Steel
  • Mount type: Horizontal top track is wall-mounted
  • Price on publish: $1074

What we like:

  • Adjustable shelves
  • Made from strong epoxy-bonded steel
  • Great for small closets

What we don’t like:

  • Drawers and shelves must line up vertically because of the track mounts

The bottom line:

Study and durable metal closet system for small spaces with drawers, shelves, and one closet rod.

Best affordable closet system
The Container Store Elfa Classic 4’ Reach-In Clothes Closet

The Container Store Elfa Classic 4’ Reach-In Clothes Closet

Best walk-in closet system: The Container Store Preston Custom Spaces

Aiello recommends the Preston system from The Container Store for a walk-in closet solution. “It gives you a complete built-in look that you can customize to your exact needs,” she said.

She likes that you can choose the color to match the aesthetics of your home as well as the style, along with the number of shelves versus hanging rods versus cubbies. Available wood finishes are White Velvet, Champagne, Matte Black Luxe, Sahara, Silver Grey, and more. Other design options and accessories include pant and scarf racks, gliding shoe racks, glass shelves, mirrored doors, a range of drawer and door hardware, and vertical and drawer lighting.

“Using a custom closet company is a great option for awkward spaces like corners or areas with sloped ceilings as they’re able to work around these types of obstacles,” Aiello added.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: Customizable
  • Material: Manufactured wood
  • Mount type: Built-in
  • Price on publish: Varies

What we like:

  • Completely customizable
  • Lots of accessory options
  • Allows you to design your dream closet

What we don’t like:

  • Can end up being very expensive (while, arguably also worth it)

The bottom line:

A completely customizable closet system that will be designed from the ground up for your space offering a wide range of luxurious options like drawer lighting and specific hanging and storage solutions for things like scarves, pants, and jewelry.

Best walk-in closet system
The Container Store Preston Custom Spaces

The Container Store Preston Custom Spaces

Best modular closet system: ClosetMaid Modular Storage Closet System

This modular storage system from ClosetMaid consists of four units (each 21.38” wide) that can be stacked and arranged in various configurations and includes decorative trim, molding, and back panels to create a refined and stylish finished look. The two hanging rods can be installed between the shelf units. The complete kit contains a unit with four drawers, one with cubbies, one with full-length shelves, and one with guard rods on the front for a total of 21 shelves (five adjustable and 16 fixed).

Purchase multiple kits for larger closets and even more versatility. Shelves can be cut to fit your space.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 80.58'' H x 68.76 to 78'' W x 15.91'' D
  • Material: Manufactured wood
  • Mount type: Freestanding with wall anchoring options
  • Price on publish: $740

What we like:

  • Stackable modular units
  • Shoe specific storage included
  • Comes in white or taupe

What we don’t like:

  • Can take a while to put together

The bottom line:

Closet kit that includes modular shelf and drawer units that can be stacked and arranged in various configurations.

Best modular closet system
ClosetMaid Modular Storage Closet System

ClosetMaid Modular Storage Closet System

Best reach-in closet system: The Container Store Elfa Décor 8' Grey & Platinum Reach-In Closet

Weiss likes this Elfa system for the “open show” racks at the bottom which give you a place to keep your shoes neat, as well as the drawers to store things out of sight.

As well as short hanging spaces, this system boasts tons of shelves, including angled metal ones for shoe storage. The drawer fronts made from solid birch wood provide classy, concealed storage for things you’d rather not have on display. The entire system is flexible as far as finished configuration and shelving heights go, making it a great choice for a range of situations.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 102'' H x 96” W x 16'' D
  • Material: Steel and solid birch
  • Mount type: Horizontal top track is wall-mounted
  • Price on publish: $4,009

What we like:

  • Sophisticated look
  • Adjustable shelving
  • Great versatility

What we don’t like:

  • May require a professional for installation

The bottom line:

A versatile reach-in closet system with lots of adjustable shelving (including shoe shelves), short hanging spaces, and drawer storage.

Best reach-in closet system
The Container Store Elfa Décor 8' Grey & Platinum Reach-In Closet

The Container Store Elfa Décor 8' Grey & Platinum Reach-In Closet

Best wire closet system: Amazon Basics Expandable Metal Storage System

For a basic, affordable adjustable metal closet system, this one from Amazon can’t be beat. It's freestanding and adjustable so you can either set it up against a wall of your bedroom or in the closet. It includes 10 shelves, two adjustable-width hanging rods, and leveling feet for stability. The shelves work well with baskets, bins, or crates, which also help to keep things from falling off.

Each shelf holds up to 100 pounds and can be raised and lowered in one-inch increments. If you’re a renter this is an excellent solution as you don’t need to anchor it to a wall (though anchors are included if desired) and you can easily take it with you if and when you decide to move.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 72'' H x 57 to 80” W x 14'' D
  • Material: Alloy steel
  • Mount type: Freestanding
  • Price on publish: $98

What we like:

  • Free standing
  • Minimalist design
  • Can take with you to another home

What we don’t like:

  • Instructions are a bit vague

The bottom line:

Adjustable, utilitarian wire and metal closet storage solution at an extremely affordable price.

Best wire closet system
Amazon Basics Expandable Metal Hanging Storage Organizer Rack Wardrobe with Shelves, Black, 57''- 80''L x 14''W x 72''H

Amazon Basics Expandable Metal Hanging Storage Organizer Rack Wardrobe with Shelves, Black, 57''- 80''L x 14''W x 72''H

Best wood closet systems: California Closets Custom Closet

“California Closets has long been an industry staple for its variety of wood finishes and stand out designs,” said Kennedy. Each custom closet begins with a free 90 minute design consultation to discuss your specific needs.

The company offers both on and off the floor designs with quality features like dovetail constructed drawers, soft-close mechanisms, and adjustable shelves as well as a large variety of drawers, baskets, and specialized hanging racks. Wood finishes include Dove, Cinder, Deep Pond, and Natural. For a more individualized look, consider one of the textured finishes. There’s even an option for a shiny lacquered look. Whatever your aesthetic, you’ll be able to find something that suits it.

The design for your budget tool on the website helps determine what will work best for your situation.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: Custom
  • Material: Manufactured wood and wood
  • Mount type: Freestanding or wall mount
  • Price on publish: $1,000 to $11,000+ for a 6-foot space

What we like:

  • A variety of wood colors and finishes available
  • Quality construction
  • Reputable company

What we don’t like:

  • Nothing really, though they can get expensive

The bottom line:

Beautiful customized wood closet system with options for most every budget and style; the place to go if you want to design your ‘dream closet.’

Best wood closet systems
California Closets Custom Closet

California Closets Custom Closet

Best closet system for large spaces: The Container Store Elfa Décor 11’ Reach-In Closet

For a pre-designed closet system suitable for a large space check out this one from Elfa. It comes with everything you need to span a vast empty wall (and as someone who lives in a pre-war NYC apartment, I am very jealous of anyone who happens to have an available 11-foot area for a closet.)

This one includes closet rods for both long and short hanging garments, purse and accessory shelves, angled metal shoe shelves, drawers, and an Elfa mirror, all completely adjustable, meaning you have the flexibility to install it in whatever configuration you desire.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 84'' H x 132'' W x 16'' D
  • Material: Steel and solid birch
  • Mount type: Horizontal top rail is wall-mounted
  • Price on publish: $3,637.50

What we like:

  • Comes with a mirror
  • Beautiful wood finish
  • Customizable and adjustable

What we don’t like:

  • Installation is easiest with two people (not that I’m not a team player…)

The bottom line:

Sophisticated, adjustable large closet system featuring solid birch drawers and shelves for large spaces.

Best closet system for small spaces: The Container Store Elfa Décor 4’ Drawer Front Closet Graphite & Birch

With a smaller footprint than most other systems, this one from the Elfa Décor line offers a great solution for storage when you don’t have a lot of space. I like the drawers for stashing sweaters and t-shirts that can otherwise get unruly as well as the gliding rack for shoes. There are two closet rods for hanging garments plus two top shelves for infrequently worn items.

And it’s available in seven different color finish combinations to fit your personal style. My favorite is the birch and graphite because of the warm wood tones juxtaposed with sturdy dark metal. (If my personality was a closet system, this would be it.)

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 84'' H x 48'' W x 16'' D
  • Material: Steel and solid birch
  • Mount Type: Horizontal top track is wall-mounted
  • Price on publish: $1,420

What we like:

  • Comes in seven colors and finish combinations
  • Quality materials
  • Full featured for a small system

What we don’t like:

  • No room for long hanging garments

The bottom line:

Full featured, quality closet system made from solid birch and steel suitable for small spaces.

Best closet system for small spaces
The Container Store Elfa Décor 4’ Drawer Front Closet Graphite & Birch

The Container Store Elfa Décor 4’ Drawer Front Closet Graphite & Birch

Best freestanding closet system: Pottery Barn Hold Everything 8’ System

Having long been a fan of the armoire, I love the inclusion of a tall cabinet with drawers in this freestanding system from Pottery Barn. You know that experience where you find a product that you really like but when you go back to purchase more of it, you discover it’s been discontinued? This happens to me often, so much so that I sometimes think my liking of an item could be used as a barometer for its imminent demise.

Finally, though, here’s one that a brand has actually reintroduced after 30 years. Crafted from wood and metal, the Hold Everything system features modular components that can be arranged in various configurations. These include a solid cabinet, three drawer dresser, shoes shelves, regular shelves, and hanging rods, all finished in a fresh, shabby chic reminiscent white.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 88'' H x 97.5'' W x 19'' D
  • Material: Steel, solid poplar wood, and manufactured wood
  • Mount type: Freestanding
  • Price on publish: $1,747.99

What we like:

  • Includes a cabinet and drawers
  • Crisp white finish
  • Sturdy construction

What we don’t like:

  • Professional installation recommended

The bottom line:

Free standing, stylish closet system made from wood and steel featuring a cabinet, drawers, shelves, and hanging spaces.

Best freestanding closet system
Pottery Barn Hold Everything 8’ System

Pottery Barn Hold Everything 8’ System

Best closet system for apartments: Tribesigns Corner Clothes Rack

This unique L-shaped storage system offers a convenient and aesthetically pleasing storage solution for apartment dwellers. It fits into a corner and provides rod space for long hanging garments and shelf and drawer space for luggage, sweaters, t-shirts, and purses. Use the hooks on the sides (two each, four total) for a robe, umbrella, or house sweater (à la Mr. Rogers.)

If you have a room that lacks a closet, this corner unit maximizes your available space without being an eyesore. I personally love the combination of dark wood finish with black metal.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 66.92'' H x 39.57'' W x 40.55'' D
  • Material: Manufactured wood and metal
  • Mount type: Freestanding
  • Price on publish: $179.99

What we like:

  • Sturdy
  • Great value
  • Dark wood and black metal color combination

What we don’t like:

  • Assembly instructions can be a bit unclear

The bottom line:

Convenient and sturdy L-shaped corner storage solution with hanging space, shelves, and drawers.

Best closet system for apartments
Tribesigns Corner Clothes Rack

Tribesigns Corner Clothes Rack

Best closet system for entryways: The Container Store Elfa Décor 2’ Entry Closet

For narrow closets like those often found in entryways, consider Elfa’s 2-foot storage solution. It comes with three shelves (one of which is a mesh gliding shoe shelf) and one hanging rod for long and short coats. The shoe shelf accommodates four to six pairs of flats or three to four pairs of men’s shoes. The ventilated shelves feature wood trim and provide the perfect perch for winter hat, gloves, and scarf baskets.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 84” H x 28'' W x 18'' D
  • Material: Solid wood and steel
  • Mount type: Horizontal top track is wall-mounted
  • Price on publish: $620.50

What we like:

  • Fits narrow spaces
  • Includes gliding shoe shelf
  • Comes in five colors
  • Adjustable

What we don’t like:

  • Only one shoe shelf

The bottom line:

Basic storage system for narrow entryway closets featuring shelves, gliding shoe shelf, and hanging rod.

Best closet system for kids' rooms: The Container Store Elfa Classic 6’ Kid’s Closet

For kids’ rooms, Weiss likes this closet system from Elfa. “It offers many shelves to help with kids' shoe storage as well as stowing things like games in their closet,” she said.

As well as the plethora of shelves, it includes gliding mesh storage drawers and hanging space above and below. Elfa components are adjustable, making it easy to arrange and customize this system for your space. You can even rearrange as your child grows.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 84'' H x 76'' W x 16'' D
  • Material: Steel and mesh
  • Mount type: Horizontal top track is wall-mounted
  • Price on publish: $1,413

What we like:

  • Adjustable
  • Lots of shelf storage
  • Sturdy steel construction

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive

The bottom line:

Metal 6-foot wide closet system for kid’s room with an abundance of shelves and mesh storage drawers as well as hanging space.

Best closet system for kids' rooms
The Container Store Elfa Classic 6’ Kid’s Closet

The Container Store Elfa Classic 6’ Kid’s Closet

Best closet system for corners: Dotted Line Grid 30” Closet System

Install this five-shelf corner tower kit into your existing large or walk in closet to utilize that dead space in the corners. The shelves are height adjustable and the complete system hangs on a steel track which raises it up off the floor. Each eight-foot section is designed to hold up to 1200 pounds. That’s an awful lot of t-shirts and jeans.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 72'' H x 30'' W x 30'' D
  • Material: Manufactured wood
  • Mount type: Wall-mounted
  • Price on publish: $349.99

What we like:

  • Sturdy
  • Shelves can be cut to fit
  • Works well with other Dotted Line components
  • Comes in four different colors: White, Brown, Honey Blonde, and Weathered Gray

What we don’t like:

  • Instructions are lacking

The bottom line:

Well designed, sturdy corner shelf system with five shelves available in four colors.

Best closet system for corners
Dotted Line Grid 30” Closet System

Dotted Line Grid 30” Closet System

Best closet system for shoe storage: Closet & Co. 96” Closet System

This closet system from Closet & Co. comes in module form so you can arrange it in different configurations. There are 10 adjustable shelves and 4 hanging rods that fit into two separate cabinets which are then joined via screws arranged in 3 separate towers that can be installed in various configurations. It features ample shoe storage with adjustable shelves that can be positioned at your desired heights (higher for boots, lower for heels).

This system works well in medium sized bedroom closets. If you’re currently storing all your shoes in a pile at the bottom of your closet, this is the system for you. Your shoes will thank you.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 84'' H x 96'' W x 21'' D
  • Material: manufactured wood
  • Mount Type: freestanding, optional wall mount
  • Price on publish: $1,599.99

What we like:

  • Adjustable shelves
  • Available in white or brown finish
  • Each tower is a freestanding cabinet

What we don’t like:

  • On the expensive side

The bottom line:

Modular, customizable system with ample shoe storage for bedroom closets.

Best closet system for shoe storage
Closet & Co. 96” Closet System

Closet & Co. 96” Closet System

How we selected the best closet systems

To select these closet systems I drew from my own 32 years of experience working in wardrobe on films, television shows, and theatrical productions. I also consulted professional organizers for their advice, tips, and input. I took into consideration durability, flexibility, adjustability, and price to put together this guide of the best options for a variety of situations.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How much does installing a closet system cost?

“Having a company install a closet system will cost somewhere between $600 to $5,000, depending on the closet and your needs,” said Sarah Dunn, founder of Ready Set Organize in Solana Beach, California. This is obviously a pretty big range, but when it comes to closets and storage space solutions there are so many factors that determine what will work best for your space as well as those that will affect the final price tag.

Installation costs can vary depending on size and number of components as well as difficulty of installation (wall-mounted versus freestanding).

How much does a closet system cost?

Closet systems run the gamut as far as costs go but Kennedy says you should expect to start at around $500 to $600. Specialty components like drawers and shoe racks increase the overall price.

Generally, a standard, basic, epoxy-coated steel closet from The Container Store starts at around $1,200 if you install it yourself, or around $1,600 if you have them install it, Kennedy said. Higher end customized solutions range from $8,000 to $12,000 and include things like a center island, wallpaper, or lighting features.

In lieu of having the store where you purchased your system install it, you can also hire a local handyman at their hourly rate (this may or may not be cheaper depending on the difficulty of your installation.)

And, Kennedy added, remember that most major closet companies have sales of 15% to 20% off at least once a year.

What is the best closet system brand?

Dunn loves the work of Classy Closets for their attention to detail, though they are mainly located in the West and Southwest. Both The Container Store and California Closets receive high marks from organizers for their customization abilities and quality construction.

Is it cheaper to build or buy a closet system?

While it is likely cheaper to buy a closet system and install it yourself, Dunn says that if you have the money, it's likely worth having professionals do it.

“They always hold up longer than a self-install,” she said. Exceptions would of course be if you or one of your family members is skilled in such things and offers to do it for free. I grew up in a family with parents who were all about DIY solutions and tasks. Consequently, I acquired a good deal of carpentry and home improvement skills though, honestly, the older I’ve gotten, the more apt I am to hire someone else to do these kinds of tasks.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

1.1013.1955+1.62.33