Our house was built in 1975. The master bedroom closet is a whopping 5’ wide, and the closets in the other 2 bedrooms were each 4’. Coming from a house that had 2 walk-in closets, this was a bit of an adjustment. But we found something that works.
One of the other closets backed to the master, so we walled it off on the bedroom side and opened it on the master side, giving us an extra 4’. Then we installed upper and lower shelves with hanger bars - shirts on top, pants on the bottom in the smaller closet, and only a partial shelf on the bottom of the larger closet to accommodate my few longer garments. Then we built a 4’ closet in the corner of the bedroom that lost its closet.
I guess in '75, people didn’t have as many clothes, or they just crammed them all in. Our modifications made for more usable space.
Our house was built in 1950. All closets are exactly the same size, roughly 3x4 sq ft. We don’t really use them for anything but long-term storage. We have created storage everywhere else we can. I put up shelves everywhere, we bought a humongous bookcase storage bed, we have multiple dressers and storage bins. There’s only the two of us so it’s not that big a deal. Most of my clothes are just piled on the floor anyways.
I have a Cape Cod type house, the master bedroom has 4 closets. 3 are on the front wall, the left and right ones are smallish with a angled ceilings, you can’t stand up in them because of the descending pitch of the roof/ceiling but they are about 5’ wide by 4’ deep. The middle one is walk-in with 2 big sliding mirror doors, it has rods and shelves on both sides, and a window. It is about 6’ x 4’ with full-height ceiling. The other closet is on the back left side of the bedroom and is deep and narrow, maybe 3.5’ wide and 7’ deep.
1960 for our house, MBR closet is 5’, 2 bedrooms have 4’ and the smallest room is only 3’. All are about 2’ deep. We do have 2 coat closets but both are smallish, about 3’x 2’.
Bigger closets seems to have become a lot more common in the 70s. Keep in mind really old houses often didn’t have built-in closets in the bedrooms at all. It wasn’t until around 1900 to 1910 they really started becoming common. There was exceptions of course earlier.
It’s pretty darn big, and has a window! I don’t know how big, but I could be in there with the ironing board set up and my husband would still have enough room to come in and change clothes. It has shelves and racks and stuff too.
My house was built in 1790, but its design is somewhat earlier, as at that time this was more or less the frontier of New England, and people were conservative in their vernacular style . There is a broom closet downstairs in what was originally the “keeping room”, and front hall closet maybe 4’ wide under the front stairs. Upstairs there is a linen closet in the bathroom, under the attic stairs, another little nook under the other attic stairs (yes, two attics), and sort of a dog-leg passageway into what was once the upstairs parlor room which was converted into a small closet about 3’ wide.
There are no other closets. Back then, people had freestanding wardrobes for their church-going nice clothes and chests for their regular clothes, of which they had a couple changes.
Our bedroom was the former inhabitants’ den or something; there is shelving, cabinets, and a few drawers, across one whole wall that is clearly fairly new; we use that for clothes. We don’t have as many clothes as some people I guess.
Based on what I’d learned on guided tours of other houses from that era, I’d thought houses back then didn’t have closets at all, supposedly because property taxes back were assessed based on the number of rooms the house had, and a closet would count as another “room” and increase one’s tax bill. Although my experiences with historic homes comes mostly from the South, places Colonial Williamsburg, historic homes in New Bern, NC, and such. Maybe taxation in New England was different.
Anyway, since I’m working from home and am bored, I got a tape measure and went and measured my own closets. This is a 1973 ranch style house, 1143 square feet. The closet in the master bedroom is 7’6" wide, 2’ deep. The ones in the smaller bedrooms are both 4’ wide. The coat closet near the entryway is about the same size as the one in the master bedroom; I measured something like 7’4", but I may not have been holding the tape measure straight when I measured the MB one so that measurement might be an inch or two high. They’ve all got sliding doors, and the openenings are all the same size, I’m guessing to accomodate a standard sized set of doors.
Downstairs bedroom was remodeled. Originally had 11.5’ wide by minimum depth with three huge mirrored sliding doors. It was awful, who needs all those mirrors. After remodeling, I now have a modest walk-in, 6’ deep and about 5’ wide, with 2-tier rods and shelves on one side and one tier across the back for long garments, and hooks on the other side. Plenty of room for one person’s stuff, and small enough it encourages me not to hoard.
German bedrooms don’t normally have closets. So, we just turned one of the extra bedrooms into a walk-in closet with a huge, floor-to-ceiling mirror and wall to wall armoires & wardroes throughout. I’m not sure how big the whole thing is about 11ftx 16ft. Something like that.
New construction but teeny house. My master BR closet is a walk-in, technically - but they did it all wonky and didn’t actually think it through. When I have a few hundred dollars I can throw at it, I’m going to redo the hanging rack/shelf doohickey somehow because they gave me a single one across the back wall, maybe 5 feet across. The issue is that they made the door open INTO the closet, and you can’t just reverse it, you have to carve out whole new places for hinges and all that mess. I lose the entire inside wall worth of possible hanging/stacking space because of that silly oversight.
Oh, I guess it’s about 20 sq ft, but mostly unusable.
You could do the redo in phases. Take the door off, hang a curtain instead or folding door. build interior to liking. Then eventually you could change the door to open out. You might find the folding door an actually solution.
I considered just taking the door off entirely and shoving another spare bookcase in there (there’s already a 6 footer in there with only 2 shelves holding things like bedding and memory boxes) for shoes and such, but right now, pretty much every closet/bathroom door in the house is ALSO holding one of those tiered basket organizers. The teeny closets are literally the ONLY storage spaces in the entire 1179 sq ft house, except for the tiny vanity cabinets and the kitchen cabinets.
When we moved in here, we lost 700 sq ft of space, most of which was pure storage in the form of an attic loft in the old house. It’s also open concept save for the bedrooms = no walls to add storage furniture on! I’ve purged as much as I can, and it’s a continuing process, but downsizing is rough.
So I do think it’s going to be an all-at-once kind of deal, but you’re right! The door might just have to go and I make a smooth transition from bedroom to closet space. Perhaps a full on organization system in there for all the small doodads like fragrance bottles and deodorant and lotions that currently live on the tiered basket thingy.
I live in a 3BR ranch. One BR is a closet. I also have a very large master bedroom with good sized his and hers closets. Small hallway closet from back when one person didn’t have 20 pieces of outerwear. 3rd bedroom is now my “office”, good sized closet there, needs shelves to be an efficient use of space.