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What are the Different Types of Closet Shelving?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are three basic kinds of closet shelving. These types include free-standing shelving, shelving that has been permanently installed in the closet, and shelving that hangs from one of the closet's bars. Choosing which type is best depends on the size and amount of items that will be stored in the closet, the amount of space available in the closet, and whether permanent or temporary shelving is best suited for one's needs.

Free-standing shelving is designed to fit in one area of the closet and offer shelving for items that are better stored folded then hung. The benefit of these kinds of shelves is that they may be moved around in the closet as needed if the closet is reorganized. They may also be removed from the closet completely and used elsewhere in the house or apartment if the space that they take up is needed to store a large or bulky item.

Permanently installed closet shelving is usually made out of wood or metal and lines one or more sides of the closet. Sometimes these kinds of shelves are adjustable. This can be quite useful if the contents of the closet change on a regular basis. Permanent closet shelving is either installed with an entire closet system when the closet is built or custom made for the closet space later on.

Hanging closet shelving is usually a collapsable system that creates cubes for folded clothing such as sweaters and sportswear. This kind of closet shelving either hangs with metal or plastic hooks or is attached to the closet bar by strong Velcro® flap that supports the hanging shelves. This kind of closet shelving is often the least sturdy but may be the most inexpensive. It is useful for temporary or short-term residences such as dorm rooms.

Some closet shelving simply creates a shelf for clothing while other types create drawers. Having drawers can be quite useful if smaller items such as socks and underwear are going to be stored in the closet. In fact, with sufficient closet shelving, there may be no necessity for a dresser or any other kind of clothing storage in the bedroom

The best closet shelving is a shelving system that maximizes the space within a closet and allows for easy organization and, therefore, easy access to all of the garments within. In fact, there are a number of companies that sell modular shelving systems that can be tailored to meet the needs of oddly shaped closets. Sometimes these systems use a combination of free-standing, installed, and hanging shelving, depending on the size of the closet and the needs of the person or persons using the closet.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
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Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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