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It’s that time of year again! The seasons are changing and it’s time to put away the coats, hats, gloves and boots and make way for short sleeves, skirts, shorts and flip flops. But if you’re anything like me, this causes complete closet chaos!
Thanks to the onslaught of DIY decorator and home improvement tv shows airing episodes showcasing mind-blowing-closet-perfection, many companies have created modular closet organizing systems to make “dream closets” a reality.
I’m guilty of driving to my local home decorating store, and spending small fortunes on pretty baskets, durable hampers, hangers all in the same color, etc, in the hopes that I too can become a “Closet Organizing Guru.” Sadly, without a good organizing system in place, those baskets and hangers just end up adding to the clutter.
In the past, I’ve stored seasonal clothing in large bins, some labeled, some not, and stacked them on top of each other in the attic. Other seasonal items pile up at the bottom of the stairs or (if you’re lucky enough to have one) in the mud-room. But with a little time, planning, and some basic tools, you can have the organized closet of your dreams! It’s not nearly as difficult as it was several years ago.
New organizing systems can feature epoxy covered metal wire, while some other choices are wood based, with solid wood-laminate shelving. There are many innovative ideas out there. One of the easiest and most affordable systems available is the Rubbermaid Configurations Closet Organizing System Kit line. The line is affordable, and you can find the basic starter kit at around $50. The larger deluxe kit is still a ridiculously good bargain at around $95. The kits come in different sizes, pre-measured and pre-cut, along with a choice in colors between classic white or sleek titanium.
Top Closet Organization System Kits:
What to Look for In a Closet Organizing System
Versatility. That’s a key factor when looking at any closet organizing system. I wanted a system that could adjust as my wardrobe and storage needs adjusted. I needed to be able to easily find additional shelves and accessories. I wanted something strong and durable and it needed to be affordable and easy to install. I found everything I was looking for with the Rubbermaid Configurations Closet Organizing System.
When looking into a system, consider the measurement of your space, ease of installation, and cost. I chose the deluxe kit in the 4’ x 8’ size, which includes more shelving than the starter kit, and I decided to pick the basic white color. For me, the white screams “clean and simple”, but I was smitten with the “titanium” finish also.
Best Closet Organizer System Kit – Rubbermaid Configurations Custom Closet Deluxe Kit, White, 4-8 Foot (model FG3H8900WHT)
- Fits any walk-in or reach-in closet with at least one wall...
- Telescoping rods and expanding shelves adjust to add 20 feet...
- All mounting hardware included for easy installation with no...
- White Finish; Virtually maintenance-free epoxy finish
- Includes: (7) 26" Shelves, (2) 48" Shelves, (2) 48" Top...
Let’s Get Technical: The Specifications
All of the following information is for the 4’ x 8’ Deluxe system (model FG3H8900WHT) . The specs will change slightly depending on the size kit you choose to go with. Also, the clothes rods are expandable, to custom fit your closet.
- Two 48.25-inch shelves nine rod hangers
- Three 26.25-inch shelves one 48-inch inner clothes rod
- Five 47.5-inch uprights one 48-inch outer clothes rod
- 11 brackets one 26-inch inner clothes rod
- Two 48-inch hang rails one 26-inch outer clothes rod
- Four 22-inch rail covers
- All shelving is epoxy coated steel
- 48lb packaging
- Quick and easy to install strong wall anchors not included
- Affordable not made in the USA
- Different size options several reviewers complained of missing pieces
- Easily reconfigured
- Nearly dust-free open wire shelves
- Many accessory options available
- May not have enough screws or ancors depending on the structure of your wall
- Narrow shelves
After reading reviews, comparing prices, and looking at all of the details of a few systems, I chose the top-touted Rubbermaid Configurations Closet Organizing Systems Kit. I bought the Deluxe kit in basic white. I measured my space and ordered the 4’ x 8’ option.
Why did I choose this kit?
There are a lot of reasons and it wasn’t a quick decision.
First, I love that it can be customized in countless ways. I read many comments from reviewers raving about the ease of installation and everything arriving in one box. One box and my dream closet would become a reality!!
Rubbermaid offers it’s DIY organizer in 3 basic choices. There’s the Starter Kit, the Classic Kit, and the Deluxe Kit. The Classic Kit and the Deluxe Kit also comes in two different size options. Here’s the breakdown of what’s included in each of the different sets:
Keep in mind, you can add additional shelves and wall rails to any of the kits. Pieces are sold separately online and in stores. There is also a plethora of accessories available from baskets and bins, to hooks and hangers.
How Does it Work?
Here’s the beauty of this system: It’s all in one box. Everything you need, aside from some basic household tools. Rubbermaid’s easy to read instructions suggest having a hand drill (with a ⅛” and ⅜” bits), a hammer, a screwdriver, a measuring tape and a level. I personally recommend the addition of strong wall anchors after drilling the holes into your wall. I’ve already installed my closet system and I highly recommend you take this extra step. The anchors help provide strength to the installation of the rails, and keep the rails from pulling out of the wall once the system is installed, and the shelves and rods are fully loaded. Take the time to add anchors, and you’ll have peace of mind that your closet system won’t pry off of the wall if you overload a shelf or two.
The basic design of all of Rubbermaid’s Configurations systems include metal rails that are screwed the wall of the closet. The rails are slotted, and the accompanying shelving latches securely into those slots. It’s brilliantly simple and allows for immense flexibility in design.
The depth of the shelving comes in two different dimensions, one slightly different than the other. The depths are 11”, and 11 ⅝”. This allows the shelves to overlap each other, eliminating the need to cut shelving to size. The shelving is labeled “A” and “B”, to help with quick installation and does away with trial and error. If you have a large closet and need to round a corner and add more shelving to another wall, there are corner shelving pieces available so that you can have one long continuous shelf and no wasted closet space.
It’s helpful to know that the box for the 4’ x 8’ deluxe system weighs about 48 pounds, so you don’t need to be Hercules in order to get this job done, but it’s not as light as you might expect with open-wire shelving.
There are other brands making the same type of system, but none get the support of superior online reviews from actual users like the Rubbermaid system. And while I found the prices of the competitors to be a few bucks cheaper, actual owners of the closet systems didn’t seem as impressed as the Rubbermaid reviewers.
If you’re looking for a system that’s affordable, easily configured and reconfigured, fully adjustable and easy to install, then the Rubbermaid Configurations Closet Organization system is the way to go.
Cheaper Alternative – ClosetMaid 22875 ShelfTrack 5ft. to 8ft. Adjustable Closet Organizer Kit
- This all-in-one kit has approximately 132 inches of hanging...
- Configuration for 5 ft. to 8 ft. wide closets, shelving is...
- Kit includes hang track, standards, shelf brackets, closet...
- All hardware and installation template included; Some shelf,...
- Material: Vinyl coated steel; All shelving SCS Certified for...
- 132 inches of hanging space
- 216 inches of shelf space
- Includes 36 in. shoe shelf
- Configuration for 6 ft. to 8 ft. wide closets
- 12″ deep shelving
- Hardware and installation template included
- Vinyl coated steel
- Flexible design with many options strong wall anchors not included
- Affordable assembly instructions difficult to follow easily reconfigured
- Dust-free open wire shelves
- Many accessory options available
- Sturdy steel construction
- Made in the USA
- Hard to read instructions
- Step 9 in instructions specifies 1/4″ bit which is too large and should be a 3/16″
- Have to decide on layout before installing on wall
ClosetMaid is a company that is synonymous with closet organization. While the comparable product line is widely reviewed as being great, it still falls short in terms of overall satisfaction. The biggest complaint is the included instructions for installation. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if i just spent $100 on a closet system, and hope for ease of installation, it’s going to bother me if I can’t understand the basic steps.
If you purchase this, be sure to pick up a 3/16″ bit. You’ll need it for drilling the holes for the wall anchors. The specified 1/4″ bit will be too large.
Laminated Wood Alternative – ClosetMaid 24869 SuiteSymphony 25-Inch Starter Tower Kit, Pure White
- Kit includes the Tower, 3 rods and 2 adjustable shelves
- Creates up to 120 inches of shelf space and 144 inches of...
- Fits closets 7 feet to 10 feet wide; Hang rods expand from...
- Customize with add-on Accessories like drawers and doors -...
- Material: Laminated wood - TSCA Title VI Compliant
- Includes the Tower, 3 rods and 2 adjustable shelves
- 120 inches of shelf space
- 144 inches of Hanging space
- Fits closets 6 feet to 9 feet wide
- Hang rods expand from minimum 30 inches to 48 inches maximum
- Add-on Accessories like drawers and doors – sold separately
- Laminated Wood
- CARB 93120 compliant
- Modular and customizable prone to damage/chipping
- Many finishes to choose from time consuming assembly
- Rich, finished appearance
- Drawers and closed storage pieces need to be purchased individually
- Hang rods may require cutting to fit appropriate size
A popular choice in closet organization pieces also comes from ClosetMaid, although other companies such as Sauder produce the same type of cabinetry products. These pieces are geared towards DIYers who prefer a more finished look, and would like drawers and cabinets instead of open shelving.
The cost, as should be expected, is much higher than the steel wire based systems. But because this isn’t custom cabinetry. The pieces aren’t always of the highest quality. Expect to spend many hours lining up cut wood and matching pre-drilled holes, inserting connector pieces and trying to make sure drawer rails open and close smoothly and that everything fits perfectly together.
The finished look, however, is a rich appearance.
Keep in mind that these are laminated pieces, and they are notorious for chipping. Many reviewers complain of pieces damaged during shipping as well, so if you’re ordering online, I suggest checking the boxes for smashed corners before accepting delivery and opening them.
Best Value, Best Choice
After installing the system myself (which wasn’t difficult at all with a bit of measuring), and seeing what other people think about the systems covered here, the hands down best system for closet organization would have to be Rubbermaid Configurations Custom Closet Kits.
Reviewers rave about the overall strength, durability, value and ease of installation. I found all of those things to be true, in addition to the system looking extremely attractive. With the addition of available accessories, there’s no longer an excuse to have a messy closet! Spend a couple of hours, and a little money, and get yourself organized! Excuses begone!