Tip #78: Remove the closet doors, hang a curtain instead.
It’s been my experience in rental apartments that doors that have been added to closets are typically of the cheap variety. Installed as a nod to privacy and decorum, the hollowed out shells are usually more trouble than they’re worth. If they open out into a room they take up precious floor space, and if the landlord was thoughtful enough to install the sliding, hanging variety, they’re almost certainly hanging all wonky on the tracks. To say nothing of the fact that sliding doors obscure fully half of the closet at any given time.
Enter the curtain and the tension rod. It took me a full two years to make a curtain that actually fit correctly in the space (a cut-up linen shower curtain served in the interim) but there’s no reason you should wait as long.
Here’s how I managed sans sewing machine: Last week I had to trek to the fabric store for a different project, so I took the opportunity to buy some extra yardage. I kept the selvage ends of a 54″-wide swath of fabric and lopped off the bottom with a pair of scissors. To make the curtain rod pocket, I folded the top edge as straightly as I could manage, pinned it up, and sewed by hand. The whole thing took me about an hour and I earned Laura Ingalls Wilder points to boot. We have a super simple white tension rod that we picked up a the hardware store down the street (it’s like this one); but if you want to get fancy, this one looks nice, too.
I’d ask your landlord for permission on this one (ours is storing the sliding door in the basement for now), but don’t delay. A simple linen curtain looks worlds better than the cheap wooden alternative, and makes access to an over-stuffed closet much more manageable.