Art of the Organized Closet

Opening a closet that looks like a Yeti ransacked it inspires a swelling desperation and disquiet. Spring is the perfect time for an overhaul—to give away the super-cute slacks that fit slightly wrong and are never worn, to reorganize that unruly gaggle of shoes, and to upheave the piles of clothes, belts, and scarves that you seldom put in their right places. —Ellee Thalheimer

California Closets

“Having an organized closet saves time and can reduce daily stress,” says Darci Fredricks, owner of California Closets (pictured above, 1235 W Burnside St, 503-885-8211), which has been in Portland since 1984 but moved from a different neighborhood to the Pearl District a couple of years ago under new management. “The Pearl is full of underutilized spaces, and we help clients by designing custom storage solutions.”

Despite its moniker, California Closets also specializes in sleek and contemporary storage solutions for every part of the home, from mudrooms to kitchen pantries.


Portland Closet Company

In the Pearl’s north end, locally based Portland Closet Company (pictured above, 1120 NW 14th Ave, 503-274-0942) also leads those with disorganized tendencies toward structure and space efficiency. “When a closet is organized, people better appreciate their wardrobes and use more of what they have because clothing isn’t shoved out of sight somewhere,” says Sara VanStelten, a designer with the company. “In a custom closet, you get to utilize all the corners and the full height of a space.”

While Portland Closet Company offers contemporary styles—for closets but also for other areas like garages and offices—it carries a wide range of more traditional options well-suited to Craftsman or other period homes.


If you’re on a tighter budget but are still closet needy, look to Storables (105 NW 13th Ave, 503-221-4500), whose staff can help you redesign storage spaces using a handy computer program. Because customers can self-install the Storables closet system, which entails installing tracks into walls, costs come down. Plus, the store offers 10 percent off closet accessories when you purchase a system. Renters appreciate the fact that Storables closet systems can be removed.

Pearl ACE Hardware

If you’re up for self-installation, stop by Pearl Ace Hardware (1621 NW Glisan St, 503-228-5135) to pick up the necessary tools. The store also carries a smattering of closet accessories—perfect if a new rod, hooks, or a storage rack is what you require to reach that elusive state of closet nirvana.


Both California Closets and Portland Closet Company offer complimentary in-home and showroom consultations that help clients begin the process of re-creating spaces. Designers can help you to personalize everything from molding and hardware to accessories, style, and finishes, and they problem-solve tricky space dilemmas. A plus for many customers, both businesses manufacture their wares locally.