With spring cleaning just around the corner, you may be vowing to straighten out your messy closets. Plenty of do-it-yourself kits promise to provide the rods, shelves, and drawers you need to turn chaos into order. Consumer Reports tested 5 closet organizers, priced from under $100 to more than $500. Building Ikea's $170 Algot system proved maddening. It took almost three hours to build, partly because the measurements in the instructions were off by half an inch. And it didn't come with the 39 screws it calls for to put the system together! There was no mention that you might need anchors to fasten it to sheetrock. Consumer Reports experts say that If you put the system up with just screws and then put a load on it, it might come right off of the wall. The best closet system Consumer Reports tested is the Elfa Platinum Reach-in system, from The Container Store for $475. It took just 35 minutes to build, and the drawers glide smoothly. Not looking to pay top dollar? The Rubbermaid HomeFree from Lowe's cost $156 and took just over an hour to build. But some of the edges are unfinished, and there's a gap where the bottom of the drawer should meet the front. A bit sloppy but not fatal flaws if you want to straighten out your mess for less. Consumer Reports says no matter which closet organizer system you choose, there's a key step to installation — determine where the studs are in your closet wall before you start working, so the shelves can be firmly attached.
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