December 1, 2023
December 1, 2023

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Trend Alert: The Costco Closet

Shepsi, inventory manager.

Recently a client was showing me her garage with the intention of reorganizing it. I encouraged her to tell me how she dreamed it could look. Without hesitating, she said it would have a “Costco closet.”

Are you wondering what a Costco closet is and if it is something that must be bought in Costco? Surprisingly, when I searched the internet, I did not find much, but here’s what I found. The internet newsletter from “Strickland’s Home,”a North Carolina home décor company, reported, “A Costco Closet is a large pantry or closet that can easily store and display our bulk purchases and typically contains extra shelving and deeper storage for easy access.” Strickland’s Home also stated the term was coined by realtors.

I am wondering why Costco was fortunate enough to have this closet carry their name. Why isn’t it known as the BJ’s closet or the Sam’s Club closet? Costco closets owe their emergence to the shortages, specifically the toilet paper shortage, experienced during the pandemic and the resulting lockdown. In an effort to allay any chance of running low on essential (and non-essential) non-perishable items, people created space in their homes for very large storage areas to stow their “back stock.” It is interesting to note that “A Fresh Space,” an organizing team from Nashville, Tennessee claims to have coined this phrase in response to their own clients who have busy families and like to buy in bulk, but did not mention Costco closets as a response to Covid-19 shortages. That said, I am convinced U.S. realtors named this trend.

In addition to the living area of a home, the Costco closet may be found in a garage or in an attic or basement using built-in cubbies or under-stair storage. I hesitate to recommend creating a large storage area in an attic that may have extreme temperature, unusual ceiling heights, may be visited by pests, and may not be a place household members frequent. Rather, if there is no room within the living area of a home, I would select a garage or basement to locate a Costco closet, where the ceilings are more likely to be uniform and are usually more easily accessible than an attic. True, basement and garage temperatures can fluctuate and may attract pests but those issues can be dealt with. For instance, install a permanent heater in a basement, connect a dehumidifier and hire a good exterminator.

If a Costco closet can be designed to hold a families’ entire collection of bulk items in all categories, it is superior to a set-up where different items are stored piecemeal in various parts of the home. It is important to note that not all homes have enough space for such an undertaking. This is why realtors say that a Costco closet adds value. Juliet Krumholtz of Legendary Realty, LLC in Edison, New Jersey, a realtor with 20 plus years of experience stated: “Costco closets definitely add value to a home. When I am showing a buyer a house, I am often asked ‘where is my Costco closet?’ Sometimes it already exists in a home and sometimes we have to figure out a way to create it within the space constraints of the home.”

When I googled photos of Costco closets, I saw large items neatly grouped together and easy to see on pristine white shelves. One model even offered glamorous, see-through glass doors. Perhaps you do not have a house built during the pandemic or soon after sporting such an amenity, but you may want to create one. If you struggle with small closets and poorly planned shelves, you could call in a professional designer who will help you use your space more wisely.

Alternatively, if you are a DIYer, you could revamp an existing closet. One objective is to gain space from the ceiling downward. Ask yourself how many feet there are from the top shelf of your closet to the ceiling. Perhaps you can add another shelf. Take the dimensions of the tallest and widest items you buy. Keep these measurements in mind as you decide on the height between shelves. Some items will stand on their own, while other items may be best placed in deep, clear containers. Place items you don’t often need on the higher shelves. Make sure that the items you need most are the easiest to access. Under no circumstances should you leave large items on the floor outside the closet, blocking the walkway. It may indicate you are buying too much or too often.

I saw some impressive Tik Tok videos demonstrating how a Costco closet can make life easier. This vlogger (video blogger) is also an expert digital couponer. (Think coupon clipping from a decade ago, but on steroids.) She invited her viewers to accompany her through the steps of planning a shopping trip in multiple stores, creating her grocery list including all products on sale, clipping digital coupons, and noting quantity limits. After she filled two carts and showed us how much she saved, she took us for a complete tour of her huge, built-in Costco closet. As she unpacked and put everything away in labeled spaces, she wisely tossed expired products from her shelves. What she didn’t have room for was donated. In her closet, as in the ideal Costco closets, everything is clearly in view and labeled for all to see.

Trend alert: The Costco door. It is a mini door in the wall that leads from the garage to the pantry to save time carrying in and unpacking groceries. Be the first one on your block …

If you would like to create a Costco closet in your home or declutter what you have, I am prepared to help. Please give me a call for a free 30-minute phone consultation.

Ellen Smith is Central Jersey’s kosher organizer and tzniut wardrobe stylist. For over 14 years, Ellen has helped people restore order and create calm in their homes and souls. Ellen believes “Clutter clogs, but harmony heals.” See Ellen’s work on Instagram @ideclutterbyEllen. Contact Ellen for a complimentary phone consultation at [email protected].

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