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No matter how many options there may be for storing and organizing clothes these days, everything can pretty much boil down to one of two options: shelves or drawers.

Whether you’re designing a new custom closet, or just trying to pick out some new bedroom furniture, the shelves/drawers decision is one you’re likely to face during any sort of storage renovation project. This probably won’t make your decision any easier, but it is good to remember that each of these storage methods has their own sorts of advantages and disadvantages, and each of them can come in handy for different clothing storage situations.

Curious to learn more about these differences? Let’s take a look:

 

Clothing Shelves vs. Drawers – What’s the Difference?

Shelves for Clothing Storage

The biggest advantage that closet shelving (and other forms of closet storage) have over drawers is that they work best for certain types of harder-to-organize clothing. The more “open” design of closet shelving allows for easier storage of bulkier clothes, or the stuff you can’t really fit in a drawer but don’t want to try to hang off a hanger for too long. Think things like:

  • Sweaters: using shelves to store your sweaters will both protect the neckline from damage from being on a hanger too long, and stop them from getting snagged on the corners of the drawer
  • Shoes: if you have a lot of “occasional” shoes that need to go somewhere but don’t have the space for a shoe rack, the shelves in your closet can be a great place to store them until it’s date night again
  • Accessories: A fairly broad term, but shelves are great for those larger parts of an outfit that tend to not have an easy home anywhere else. Think things like larger purses, hats, that cute backpack you haven’t worn since classes ended, and the like.

Shelves offer a more open option of storage that can work great for these bulkier items, but you need to make sure you use the right size shelves for whatever you’re trying to store. Otherwise, you might end up with either too much stuff in too little of a space, or a lot of unused space that could’ve been used a bit more effectively.

 

Drawers for Clothing Storage

Now, on the other hand, drawers can come in handy for a lot of stuff that would get lost or otherwise just not work on shelves. The more ‘closed’ design of drawers, such as bedroom dressers, helps for easier organization of lighter pieces of clothing, and it helps smaller stuff from getting lost or misplaced anywhere. Think things like:

  • T-shirts: by nature, t-shirts tend to be made of lighter materials and easier to fold than heavier items like sweaters or some formal shirts. Drawers can help you keep them rolled up and organized for when you need them, without worrying about them falling off the shelf or becoming too wrinkled and loose.
  • Socks and underwear: Similarly, some items are just too small to keep on a shelf without risk of them falling behind something and never being seen again. Try to make sure you have a drawer for socks and underwear that won’t let them spill everywhere every time you open the door.
  • Pants and shorts: While there are a small number of exceptions to this, such as dress pants or parts of a suit, most pants are best kept in a drawer to keep them organized, avoid wrinkles, and free up space for the other things that might make more sense on shelves and hangers.

There you have it – drawers and shelves can both be equally helpful, even if you need to make a little better division about whatever you’re using them to store.

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