It’s a fact. Homes feel more spacious when the closets are effectively organized. This means using every storage area to its fullest potential — even the attic. Unfortunately, space in attics often goes wasted. That’s because closets with short walls and steeply slanted ceilings can be difficult to set up effectively. Yet it is important to create efficient storage in these spaces if you want to maximize the livability of your home. Learn the best techniques on how to organize a closet with a slanted ceiling. You’ll be amazed at how much room you really have!

So, you’ve already organized your bedroom closets, finished the basement, and maximized garage storage. But things are getting crowded again. How do you continue to add more storage to your home? The answer is you need to take a good, hard look at your attic. Attics can be more than a place to stick boxes of holiday decorations. They actually can make good closets. And, in many homes, they are the only spaces left where there’s room to expand. The attic is the last frontier, so to speak.

Turn Your Attic into a Closet

Attic closets come with special challenges. Slanted ceilings and low walls make them difficult to organize. But if you can stand up in your attic, even if it’s only in the center where headroom is greatest, you can organize an effective closet. You’ll want to paint and insulate the space before you start. And make sure there are heating vents and electrical outlets or a lighting system in place before you begin.

For attics with walls greater than 42-inches height:

When organizing a closet with a slanted ceiling, first look at the height of the walls where they are perpendicular to the floor. If the perpendicular wall is 42-inches-high or greater, you can install a traditional closet organizer along this wall. Follow the slope of the ceiling and stagger your closet sections so that the height follows the slope of the ceiling.

Hanging, drawers, and shelves are all possible ways to organize with this type of slanted ceiling closet. Install shelves in the tightest corner where the ceiling comes closest to the floor. Place your hanging areas where the wall height is greatest. Depending on the height you have to work with, you may or may not be able to get a double-hang or long-hang section on this wall. A medium-hang or half a double hang may be all that will fit. To hanging maximize space, consider omitting the toe kick under the hanging section of a floor-based closet system. It will add an extra three inches to your available hanging height. Drawer sections can go pretty much anywhere as long as there is enough head room so that you can stand to open them.

Closet organizers staggered to follow the line of a slanted ceiling.
This attic closet uses traditional closet organizer components at different heights to follow the slope of the ceiling.

For attics with walls shorter than 42-inches height:

If the perpendicular wall height is less than 42-inches, however, you will need to suspend the closet rod from the slanted ceiling. Position the rods so that there is enough room for the hangers to swing freely and for your longest garment to clear the floor. The exact position will depend on the slope of your ceiling. Use a pencil to mark the location where the rod should go on the ceiling, but do not screw the rod bracket into the ceiling yet.

Always suspend clothing rods that are hung on a slanted ceiling from a cleat that is securely tied to the studs or rafters of the sloped ceiling. The cleat can be any long piece of lumber mounted to the ceiling, but the screws that secure it must bite securely into the studs. That means that if you are using a standard 2×4 as your cleat, you will need a screw at least 3-inches long in order for it to pass through the cleat and drywall with enough thread left over to bite into the stud. It is possible to use a cleat that is only 3/4-inches high and a shorter screw.

Don’t worry if there seems to be a lot of space behind the location of your clothes rod. Use that space to install deep shelving to hold boxes and shoes in your slanted ceiling closet.

Clothes rod mounted to a closet with a slanted ceiling.
Example of how to organize a closet with a slanted ceiling: This attic closet system suspends the hanging rod from the ceiling in a position so that clothes don’t drag on the floor. This means there will be space behind the rod and clothes. That space is not left to waste. Built-in shelves provide storage for boxes and shoes behind the clothes.

Suspending a clothes rod from a slanted ceiling:

Use rod suspension brackets to mount the clothes rod to the cleat. Many manufacturers make brackets specifically for this purpose that match the style and color of the rod. Not only do they support the rod, but they ensure the proper distance between the rod and ceiling is maintained. That way it is easy to remove a hanger. One bracket every 30-inches is necessary. This will support the weight of the average person’s clothes and prevent sagging of the clothes rod. You don’t have to worry about the brackets pulling away from the ceiling because they are supported by the cleat that you have already tied to the studs.

Brackets for clothing rod used on a closet with a slanted ceiling.
A selection of three different styles of rod brackets in different finishes for installing closet rods on a slanted ceiling.

Ready to organize your closet with a slanted ceiling?

Spaces with a slanted ceiling can be difficult to organize and get right. You need to plan ahead. Always measure carefully. Keep the tips on this page in mind while you lay out your new closet. If you are having trouble turning your attic or other difficult space into a closet, seek assistance from a professional designer. This help is usually free and can ensure that every inch of your space is used to its maximum potential. What have you got to lose?

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