Like a gorgeous , a walk-in closet was a home feature I always dreamed about. It was really more than just a place to stow clothes. Instead, it represented a certain sense of achievement. To have a would be to have that ultimate luxury: space to waste. That, and a wardrobe that was worthy of careful storage.
In my 20s, my life was decidedly not walk-in closet worthy. I lived in a tiny, overpriced studio in a brownstone that was more shabby than chic. This was then traded up for an apartment in an even older house that listed dramatically to one side, an effect that made all guests feel as if they had three martinis before visiting. Of course, that apartment didn't have a closet, either. Why would it?
And even if it did, there was no real reason to carefully store away the endless number of black t-shirts and jeans that made up my wardrobe. On a budget yet afraid to not appear stylish in the editorial settings I worked in, I apparently defaulted to the signature look of Ricky Gervais in an attempt to look casually artsy. (Instead, I was often mistaken for someone working at Sephora on multiple occasions.) But however poorly executed, the key components to this look could be shoved in a drawer with very little thought.
But then, the big move happened: I settled down with my boyfriend to a nice apartment in the deep suburbs, where the town motto should be "Eh, we might shut down at 8 PM, but look at all the space you get!" Our apartment was bigger, and had actual closets. And then we moved again, to an apartment that had the holy grail ... walk-in closets. Make that, two walk-in closets. I practically could hear the narration by Robin Leach when I made that discovery.
When we moved in, we each took a closet, fully intending to organize the space to accommodate our storage needs. Months later, they look the same, if not worse: A disaster. It was then that I realized that walk-in closets pale in comparison to other means of clothing storage. Here are just a few reasons why:
The extra space makes you hold onto things you probably shouldn't.
Some of us have a tendency to hoard, especially when it comes to clothes. I apparently can't resist buying up brightly-colored cotton shift dresses. The problem? I live in the Northeast, where it's only acceptable to wear such things maybe 4 months max during the year. Yet, looking at my wardrobe, you'd think that I was a glamorous Florida retiree. I barely have space for my own clothes, which brings me to:
You only probably wear five versions of the same outfit.
I don't even mean my ultra-minimalist previous look of black t-shirts and jeans. We all have our "default" clothes, which can be referred to euphemistically as "signature looks." There's really no need for the excess storage space that a walk-in offers, unless you're a socialite who can't repeat outfits (or are in middle school, where you can't repeat outfits without someone commenting/ruining your life).
No matter the space, a walk-in closet is never quite organized.
This is how custom closet companies stay in business, after all. A walk-in closet that's just a regular closet, only bigger, just offers you a pole or rack to hang a row garments. You end up wasting space underneath the row, or over the row. Everything else gets thrown in haphazardly.
And then you waste money on bins and other unnecessary items that aren't quite right.
For me, I convinced myself that I would neatly fold my clothes and store them in a series of matching bins. They're cute, but you can't see into them, so you don't know what's in there. Within a day of implementing this "system," all of my clothes were on the floor.
Really, you'd rather have the space for something else, wouldn't you?
Instead of technically housing a museum dedicated to your clothes, it would be so much nicer to have floor space. You can always get a bureau, chest, cabinet, or standing wardrobe. It imposes limits, which many of us sorely need to keep our fantasy selves from taking over. But you can't really make up for a lack of square footage, unless you decluttered.
Of course, some people brilliantly create customized walk-in closets that fit their needs down to a t-shirt, and also dutifully make sure to pare down their wardrobe on a seasonal basis. That's just not me, or how my loved ones live, or how many (even fashionable) people I know live. Instead, we'd be happier with a better-designed space that doesn't waste a single square inch.