You probably think of a closet as a little room where you hang up your clothes. But for much of its history, the closet has served a completely different purpose entirely. In the Middle Ages having a bedroom was a privilege. Most common folks slept either on the floor of the great hall of the manor where they lived or in the single room that served as kitchen, living room, dining room, and bedroom all in one.
Only the very wealthy people had bedrooms, and they used their bedrooms not just for sleeping but also for working and entertaining important guests. The bedroom, at this time, was not a very private place. So where did you go if you wanted a little time alone? Enter the closet.
At the end of the medieval period, well-to-do homeowners began adding closets adjoining their bedrooms. The closet was a place to store treasured possessions but it was also a place for prayer, reading, and quiet contemplation. It was by far the most private place in the house, and to this day the word “closet” can carry a meaning of secrecy and privacy. If two people retreat to a secluded spot to have a conversation they can be said to have closeted together. A “closet racist” is someone who hides their views from the world (perhaps where the phrase “coming out of the closet” is derived from).
In Europe, the closet eventually disappeared as houses grew larger and other rooms afforded opportunities for privacy. But the Puritans took the idea of a closet with them to the New World, although it had become by then simply a place to store things. Of course, closets are not nearly as prevalent in older houses. There might not even be one in every bedroom, because people then had a lot less clothing, and they were a lot more likely to store their clothes in a chest or armoire than hang them up in a closet.
Today the closet is enjoying a bit of a reprise, owing to the fact that many modern Americans own simply enormous amounts of clothes, shoes, and accessories. That mania for luxury closets has even led to closets outfitted with sofas, vanities, or desks, making them a sort of retiring room/boudoir in addition to storage space. This means that these closets have, in fact, come completely full circle.
If you are looking to update or completely change the storage situation in your home, consider hiring a professional closet company in Doylestown to help outfit your home with proper closets and storage that you need. At Closets For Less, we have been updating closets and other storage areas in the Bucks Country for years. We take into consideration your needs and what your storage is lacking and we create storage that fits with the structure of your home and suits your family’s needs.