The Evolution of the Closet


Closets are among the most important features we look for in new homes, and probably the biggest disappointment in our current homes. We want closet space, and we want a lot of it. We have “stuff” and we need a place to store it.

As our incomes and buying habits have changed, our closet needs have changed, and we have seen these storage spaces grow from a 2′x4′x6′ armoire to an entire room.


Our great-grandparents fit all their clothes in a small free-standing cupboard with a small hanging rod and perhaps a few shelves. (On many antique armoires the shelves are labeled with titles such as “undergarments” and “sundries” and may have a small rack for ties.) This system kept a tiny wardrobe neat and tidy in minimal space, but would not begin to accommodate the wardrobe of today.

Rod and Shelf

The simple rod and shelf was an expansion of the armoire, adding much needed space for clothing at a very low cost. Often built in small spaces between rooms, the closet may have had a traditional door, but the longer closet may have had one or two sets of louvered bi-fold doors. This arrangement kept clothes well within reach and offered better storage space, with shoes on the floor and handbags and sweaters on the shelf. This is the most economical closet system available, which is likely the reason for its continued popularity.


As our wardrobe and storage needs grew, manufacturers saw the opportunity to start making closet “systems”. The shelves, cubicles, rods and racks included in these systems could be arranged to suit anyone’s needs and had a simple DIY installation. They made use of all the space in the closet with rods spaced for pants and tops, which could theoretically double the amount of clothing that could be kept in a space. The advantage of these systems was that they saved space and were fully customizable. The downside was, the elaborate systems could get pricey and as wardrobe needs changed the closet system would need to change as well.


A step up from modular units in closets, custom closets are built with custom cabinetry, shelving, drawers and mirrors, and can be large enough to include a dressing area complete with furniture. Extra bedrooms can be renovated to add this luxurious space in existing homes, while new home plans often include a room-sized closet in the home in lieu of an extra bedroom. The custom versions of these closet-rooms can be quite expensive, but stock cabinetry and flea market finds can help make this type of closet more affordable for those on a budget.


About christinahammondhomes

Christina Hammond is currently a real estate agent for Keller Williams Greater Athens in Athens, Georgia. Her interests in real estate began when she was an undergraduate at Arizona State University, where she studied business and psychology. During her years at ASU, she apprenticed with one of the top producing real estate brokers in the area, learning the details of real estate sales in a large metropolitan area. This practical experience, combined with her university studies, further increased her interest in real estate as a career. Christina excels in developing close working relationships with clients that often grow into long term friendships. She has 15 years of real estate experience, the last 8 in the Athens area. As in Phoenix, she has fostered many connections with her clients and finds this part of her work more satisfying in this smaller venue. As Christina says, “It is enormously rewarding to help a client find a home that is right for them. Homes are the physical manifestation of many people’s dreams, and it is hard to express the satisfaction of helping someone find a home that they love.” Of course, selling real estate requires shrewd understanding of the market and competing forces. Such skills were honed through her academic experience, understanding legal contracts, business negotiations, market competition, etcetera. But from Christina’s perspective, real estate is fundamentally about the people, rather than just buying and selling. When she is contracted, her obligation to her client is paramount, and she will represent them as assertively as is necessary. Christina states, “You learn quickly that in a big city, as well as a smaller community, a great agent must be thorough and aggressive, so that the client can know that their interests are being managed effectively, and it allows them to relax and focus on the big picture.”
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