We’ve all been there: Digging through a drawer or sifting through the back of your closet, searching for that one item — whether it’s your favorite shirt or a brand-new dress — only to come up empty-handed. But navigating your wardrobe doesn’t have to be a frustrating chore if you install the right DIY closet organization kit for your needs.
Closet systems can bring order to your home, organizing your clothes and accessories to maximize storage space — and there are a lot of options to choose from, depending on your budget, your closet’s layout and your lifestyle. From wall-mounted systems that take walk-in closets to the next level to freestanding designs that can help make the most of a small closet, our home design editors teamed up with the product testing experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute to research and test DIY closet kits from top brands, evaluating them on durability, ease of installation and customization options. Consumers were even invited to weigh in, offering their take on the assembly process, overall quality and finish of the closet system.
At the bottom of this guide, find more information on how we evaluate closet systems and kits, plus everything you need to know about shopping for one. Looking for more ways to organize your home? Check out our guides to the best kitchen drawer organizers for your money and our top organizing tips of all time.
If you don’t mind the extra effort, installing a closet system yourself can be worth it, since DIY closet kits are a more budget-friendly option than hiring a professional service. They can also be easily customized to fit your specific needs. The good news is that there are a slew of closet systems across different price points. You can find systems ranging from as low as $150 up to $1,500 or more.
How we test closet systems
There’s no shortage of closet systems available to consumers right now, so our product testing pros in the Good Housekeeping Institute narrowed down the options by focusing on testing basic set-ups featuring hanging space and several shelves, as well as space for storing shoes, based on the following criteria:
✔️ Durability: Because durability matters, we dropped each closet system’s shelving from three feet in the air to see if it could withstand scratches. We also evaluated how well each system held up to stains by applying lipstick, oil, ink and soda to the surfaces (an hour was allotted to complete this portion of the test).
✔️ Ease of installation: A panel of consumers were invited to assemble each closet system onto a wall in our Labs. As the consumers completed the installation process, they freely shared feedback on their experience, construction skills and helpfulness of the manuals. Our experts also considered the number of products each system included and the ability to easily change the configuration over time.
✔️ Style and quality: Finally, our consumer testers were asked to provide their take on the each system’s visual appeal and construction quality, along with how well the pieces fit together.
What to consider when buying a closet system
There’s no shortage of closet systems to choose from right now, so here’s what to keep in mind when you’re shopping for the best option:
✔️ Budget: A disorganized closet can contribute to increased stress, which may be worth the extra money to you. But if designing a custom closet isn’t in your budget, closet organizers are the next best thing. “They can be an effective, inexpensive way to free up closet space, and make it easier to find the things you need,” says Rachel Rothman, the Good Housekeeping Institute’s chief technologist and executive technical director.
✔️ Type: Wall-mounted closet systems are screwed to the studs in the wall, and tend to be more inexpensive than floor-mounted designs that can be finished with decorative base and crown moldings for a more high-end look. Freestanding systems, as its name suggests, are not designed to be fixed to walls. They’re portable and ideal for narrow or small spaces.
✔️ Installation: Every closet system is different when it comes to the installation process. Generally, track/bracketed systems tend to be easier to install than floor-mounted systems. It’s also worth noting that some systems require at least two people to complete the assembly.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Monique Valeris has been the senior home editor at Good Housekeeping since 2020. Before GH, she reported on the world of design at ELLEDecor.com. For this story, Monique reviewed the Good Housekeeping Institute’s most recent closet system testing data, and also relied on her own experience covering closet design and organization tips (she’s written our guide to small closet organization ideas and rounded up her favorite household organizers, for example). She also served as a judge for GH’s 2022 Home Renovation Awards.
In addition to Monique’s expertise, our Good Housekeeping Institute testers evaluated closet systems under the direction of chief technologist and executive technical director Rachel Rothman, who has directed hands-on testing of all kinds of home products, from closet systems and furniture to smart home gadgets.
Monique Valeris Senior Home Editor Monique Valeris is the senior home editor for Good Housekeeping, where she oversees the brand’s home decorating coverage across print and digital.