A Tale of Two Closets – Creating the Man Closet

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I’ll be the first, and one of many, to tell you that I am not a very organized person. I am a big believer in chaos theory and to some extent my garage and other work spaces reflect that. I guess I believe deep down that if I leave enough random tools laying about that eventually the work will get done. I mean come on, if a butterfly flapping its wings in Mexico can cause storms in New York City then its probable that my hammer and nails will work themselves in the peg board I’ve been meaning to hang.

This theory has of course backfired on me from time to time – like when I tried to fix the lawn mower and couldn’t find a 1/4 inch socket and was forced to use a 1/4 nut driver bit and a pair of pliers (oh right, I also could not find my bit driver either). Similar events have occurred in my bedroom, as I have on occasion been known to wear the same pair of socks, accidentally, for a couple of days in a row because I couldn’t delineate between my clean pile and my dirty pile. TMI? This didn’t affect me so much as a single man, but now that I’m married it would seem that the ‘gentler sex’ frowns on that… So when I started to think about organizing I thought I’d start in the closet.

The first thing to do is figure out what clothes you have and segregate them into like articles (for some of us its easier than others). You know what I mean – dress shirts, and dress slacks, jeans, tee shirts, shoes, etc. As a side note, its probably time to throw that “team building exercise ’99” company retreat shirt out, it’s almost transparent…

Then figure out the dimensions of the closet and plan out sections for each category. Not very good at that kind of thing? That’s fine, ‘TLC Home online’ has a great article about closet organization with some great tips.

  • First, remember that the longest piece of clothing you have hanging is a sports coat or dress shirt. So unless you are nine feet tall you should be able to double rod your sections or have a series of shelves below or above your closet rod.
  • Also consider keeping everything off the floor. This allows you to run the vacuum or clean up the loose change when you hang up your previously worn jeans.
  • They also suggest storing seasonal clothing out of the way like on a top shelf or in containers somewhere else to save space.
  • Utilizing shelving or hardwood plywood to create cubbyholes and wire shelving for your design can give you an endless amount of options.

The True Man's Closet
Despite these useful suggestions, there are a few key element to a man’s closet that they seem to be missing. If you would kindly take a look at exhibit A to the right side here. I have taken the liberty of truly creating a ‘Man Closet’. As you can see, I think I covered all off the bases. It opens using the “Star Trek Doors” from an earlier post. There are two different beers on tap (personally I like Killian’s Irish Red and Sam Adams Boston Lager but I suppose the choice is yours). There is also a section for my martial arts weapons and outdoor equipment. A pullout shelf in the center to hold all essential hand tools accents the rest of the compartments. And finally the mini-fridge and snack shelf round out the piece. Oh, right, and the compartment to the right with the clothes acts as a secret door to the garage “Winning”. Of course it would be ideal if I had room for a big screen TV with all the ESPN channels , but sadly I’m out of space. I’m thinking a roll down screen and a projector in the bedroom. But I am open to suggestions (fire away in the comments below). Let us know what critical items you think are needed for the essential man closet.

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About Leroy

LeRoy was born into a long line of contractors/carpenters/missing links which maybe why he fell naturally into tools and fishing with his paws, errr, bare hands. He has since punctured, stabbed or electrocuted every appendage that can be discussed in mixed company. Given his natural fur vest, he has never been cold. In his parallel life he is a mild mannered environmental scientist where he builds, destroys and builds again. Which let’s face it is much cooler than Superman’s parallel life.

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3 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Closets – Creating the Man Closet”

  1. I agree with TLC’s tips on closet design but that drawing you posted looks more like a “Boy’s Closet” packed with pseudo-manly-esque toys, low grade machismo gimmickry, and worst of all not a very creative nor interesting layout.

    As the proprietor of a design/build company I am proud to say that we do closets too. No shameless plug but rather an advocation that men can design closets just as well as women…. actually, men can probably design “Man Closets” better than women. I have designed and built many closets and here are some better appropriate points to consider when designing a true Man Closet:

    1. Don’t share. The golden rule doesn’t apply to closets and we’re not here discussing Unisex Closets. She can have her closet and you should get yours. Your needs are after all quite different as men don’t have to worry about lengthy dresses, delicate blouses that require special hangers, lingerie, nor do men require as many seasonal changes in their wardrobe. Men do have to provide for ties, belts, and handkerchiefs.

    2. Layout should fit snug like thermal underwear. You should customize your closet to your specific needs. There’s nothing un-manly about having a lot of shoes (they say “shoes makes the man” right?) so if you have many shoes/boots then by all means design around them. You might consider having a specific section for sporting clothes and another for sport jackets. Maybe separate the work clothes from the after work clothes. Ties can be rolled in a drawer or hung from a bar. Most manly clothes (aside from coveralls and overalls) are short so you can usually get two rows of hanger bar in. Stick with drawers and shelves for your folded items and underwears. Stay away from baskets and bins. Also consider working in a hamper of some sort. I have a deal with my missus that after it goes in the hamper it’s hers to deal with until it’s rehung. That leads to the next rule.

    3. A gentleman keeps it clean. If your custom man closet is designed well and really works for you then it should be easy to keep it clean. One obvious but often overlooked way to get towards that is to first get rid of all those clothes you don’t need/never really wear. It’s okay if you only truly need one dress outfit (alright have two; one for weddings and another for funerals). Toss all those relics from your former life. Disco ain’t comin’ back so get rid of those old leisure suits. If you haven’t hunted in over a decade you might want to pass those hunting clothes on a young deer slayer. And do you really need all those concert t-shirts? really? You know you were at that concert… does everyone else need to know? Pack ’em up for posterity or sell ’em on ebay now.

    4. Be more materialistic. Some materials are more masculine than others… mahogany, oak, ash, walnut, knotty pine even are considered manly woods while maple, cherry, birch, clear pine, and painted woods are considered fem. Eastern Red Cedar (AKA aromatic cedar) is a good choice either way. Raw metal like brass, aluminum, and steel, especially chrome, stainless, or heavy iron is also a manly material. You might consider using heavy oak timbers for shelves and a length of 1″ iron pipe for a hanger bar for a tough, rustic look or mahogany and brass for a nautical feel.

    There you have it, real man’s rules to closet design. Keep the beer and nunchucks in the Man Cave where they belong and keep the bedroom wardrobe lean and clean. Consider your lifestyle (true needs vs. wants) and plan it properly so that you only have to do it once then get on to more pressing issues like what beer to stock in the Man Cave mini-bar.

    As I always say: Anything worth doing is worth doing right.


  2. You should have your better half design a similarly minded Woman’s Closet. Maybe that would help me and my better half come to a compromise on how to reorganize our closet.


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