Need to make sense of your belt organization? Check out these belt storage ideas.
If you’re like most guys, your belt storage game is a little lacking. Wadded up and thrown on top of your dresser doesn’t count as storage. Instead, you need a belt storage method that works for you, your lifestyle, and your wardrobe.
Let’s start with the obvious: Quality belts aren’t cheap. The good news is that a belt can last almost a lifetime if it’s taken care of properly.
Leather belts need cleaning and conditioning, but they take on a remarkable patina that looks outstanding when paired with the right outfit. To enjoy that patina for years to come, you need to take care of your belt.
Other materials, including canvas and webbing-style belts, can last a long time as well. To get the longest usable lifespan out of your belt, however, you need bone-up on how to store belts the right way.
The following are some helpful tips on how to store belts properly.
How to Store Belts in a Closet
Your closet is a great place to store your belts. Closets tend to have relatively low humidity levels, and they’re also out of the way from harmful sunlight. These are the perfect conditions for storing belts, leather or otherwise.
There are a few ways to store belts in a closet. Depending on the size of the closet you have (or, more importantly, how crowded your closet is), one of these methods may work better than others.
Use a Belt Rack
One excellent way to store belts safely and neatly is to use a belt rack. A belt rack is just a set of hooks on a metal bar or wooden board that attaches to a flat surface.
Belts can hang by their buckles on the hooks with their tails left to dangle. This helps preserve the leather or other materials, and when installed inside of a closet, keeps your prized belts out of the sun.
There are two perfect places for installing a belt rack; on the back wall of your closet or on the back of your closet door.
If you have the room to slide clothes aside, the back wall of the closet is ideal. You rack will take up little to no space at all, and you’ll only notice it when you need to hang up a belt or find one that matches your outfit.
The downside is that your belts can be challenging to get to if you pack your wardrobe in tightly.
The back of a closet door is also a great spot, as the belts won’t take up much valuable space at all. It’s actually an ideal place for a belt rack if you’re working with a small closet.
The issue you’ll find with a rack on the closet door is that belts may swing as you close the door. This can cause them to get trapped in the door jamb.
Use a Belt Organizer
There are several tie and belt organizers available that do a great job of keeping your belts and ties from collecting at the bottom of your closet. They hang on your closet rod and can hold eight or more belts and ties securely.
Usually built from plastic, these hangers have slots that receive the belts, hanging them by their buckles.
If you have the room on your closet rod, tie and belt organizers are an excellent way to go. They unhook from the rod easily and allow you to get a look at all of your belts at one time.
Just slide the belt you want out, or replace the one you no longer need by sliding it through one of the slots. Simply place the organizer back on the rod when you’re finished.
The issue with belt organizers is they require quite a bit of space. Some take up the equivalent of four or five shirts that could be properly hung on the rod.
Try a Sliding Belt Rack
If you keep your clothes in an armoire, or your closet contains cabinetry, a sliding belt rack is an excellent space-saving solution.
Sliding belt racks work similarly to the slides attached to your kitchen drawers. You can install them on the side of a cabinet, inside of your armoire, or even inside of a basic closet provided you have room on either side of the door.
Sliding belt racks use ball-bearings so that their sections slide freely over the top of each other, minimizing the amount of space required to hang your belts.
You simply hang your belts’ buckles on the hooks and slide them away until you need one again. They’re neat and orderly, and most of the time, you can’t even see them.
Sliding belt racks aren’t much more expensive to purchase than the other organizers we mentioned. The drawback is that they require the right mounting location to work to their fullest potential. If your closet is small, it’s unlikely a sliding rack will work for you at all.
How to Roll and Store a Belt
One of the simplest ways to store your belts is to roll them, as it allows you to store several belts in one compact space.
To roll a belt, start at the buckle end and roll towards the tail end. Be sure to keep the roll tight and even as you go. Rolling from the buckle end prevents the roll from being too tight, which will damage or deform your belt.
It’s worth noting you shouldn’t roll certain belts. Leather belts, in particular, are susceptible to cracking, both while stored or when being unrolled. Even for the most casual utility-style belt, cracks are a sign that the end is near.
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If you must roll your leather belts, be sure to keep them cleaned and conditioned. This will help them to last longer and take on a proper patina.
If a neatly-rolled belt with a loose tail really irks you, you can use wool thread to lightly wrap your belt and tie it in its rolled form.
A neat bow knot will hold just fine. For even more organization, wrapping a coordinating NATO or Zulu watch strap around the belt makes your belt drawer a one-stop-shop for matching casual accessories.
Once you’ve rolled your belts, you’ll need an easy way to keep them organized. You should be looking for an option that keeps belts away from harmful conditions like humidity and sunlight. It also should be easy to sort through when you’re looking for a specific belt.
There are better ways than shoving your gold-toes aside and jamming your belts into your sock drawer. Commandeering an entire drawer may be the only way to store a large collection of belts. You might also consider a separate box altogether.
Here are a few great ideas on how to store rolled belts:
How to Store Belts in a Drawer
Storing belts side-by-side in a drawer is a sure way to keep them neatly organized. Sandwiched together, they’re unlikely to unravel.
If they’re kept in a single layer, they’re easy to inventory and sort through during a morning rush.
If you can only take over half of a drawer, you might need to stack your belts to get them all to fit. You can store at least twice as many belts in one space.
This belt storage method has a major drawback, however: You’re unlikely to remember which belts you placed on the bottom. You’re also likely to mess up the other belts if the one you want is underneath several neatly-rolled belts.
Also, it’s important to note that a leather belt with a heavy dye placed next to a raw leather belt can have some unwanted side effects. The dye can bleed into the raw belt and cause staining and discoloration on both of them.
Try Using a Draw Organizer
A better option for drawer storage is to use a draw organization kit. These kits contain adjustable dividing walls that use tension to hold their position.
They create individual cubbies or pockets for each belt, keeping them safe, neat, and organized.
For the best results, set your organizer up to hold your rolled belts on end instead of laying them flat.
This is best for two reasons; you can store more belts in a given space, and you’ll have an easier time finding the belt you’re looking for. If you run out of belts, you can store watches, pocket knives, cufflinks, or ties in the other cubbies.
Use a Belt Storage Box
A classy alternative to a sock drawer, belt storage boxes keep your belts orderly. They’re also a nice touch for a gentleman’s bedroom.
Similar to a drawer organizer, belt storage boxes use individual cubbies to store your rolled-up belts. Like a watch display box, many belt boxes have glass lids that display your belt collection, provided you have a fashionable shelf or dresser to place it on.
It’s best to keep these storage boxes out of direct sunlight. A glass top can amplify the sun’s effect on leather belts, but it can also discolor a fabric belt just as easily.
DIY Alternatives for Storing Belts
There are really only two options for storing belts; hanging or rolling. Working within those very tight parameters, a handy gentleman can most likely come up with his own method for storing belts. This doesn’t include half-driven framing nails on a splintered 2×4.
The following are a couple of ideas to get your wheels turning.
Make a Hanger-Based Belt Rack for Your Closet Rod
You can create a perfectly functional belt rack with small cup hooks and a wooden hanger.
Working from the hanger’s underside, use a small drill bit to create pilot holes every inch or so. Screw the cup hooks into these holes. You can hang up to eight belts easily in a tiny amount of space.
This rack can hang on the closet rod or from the back of your closet door with an over-the-door hook. Just remember to position the cup hooks so that belts won’t fall off every time the hanger swings.
Create Your Own Drawer or Storage Box Dividers
If you have some confidence in your finish carpentry skills, you might consider building your own drawer-divider system. Using 1/4-inch wood, wood glue, and finish nails, you can create a drop-in system that’s entirely customizable for your exact needs.
The best wood species for a home-built divider system is cedar. It smells incredible, insects hate it, and it won’t damage your belts.
You can finish it with a natural oil like neatsfoot or boiled linseed oil for longevity. Just be sure it’s dry before you start loading it up. Otherwise, you might transfer oils onto your belts. This can be a really classy touch to a repurposed humidor.
The Choice Is Yours
Whichever method you decide on to store your belts, you can create a functional system for keeping these important accessories in good condition and order.
Whether it be hanging from the back wall of your closet or rolled neatly in a display box, maintaining your belts with regular cleaning and conditioning will ensure you can use your belt and the chosen storage for years to come.