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- Closets, Closets, Closets
This year brought me lots of closet projects and I couldn't have been more excited to glam up everyone's spaces. But my clients are not the only people faced with challenges when it comes to their closet. I know you do too. The biggest issue is that closets have doors and when the door is closed it's easy to ignore. Out of sight, out of mind. As a closet becomes overstuffed, it becomes harder and harder to reclaim the space. As with any organization project, the best first step is to empty it out. Completely. Odds are you have a lot more in your closet than clothes, shoes and accessories. I have seen sports equipment, tools, forgotten holiday gifts (that were stashed but never delivered), sooo much luggage, kids toys, etc. Those items need to find a new home where it makes sense (garage, playroom, basement) or donate them. Until you empty out the closet, it will not look like there is much space to work with. Only when it is empty will you see the potential and boundaries. The next step is to sort through all the clothes to get rid of what you don't wear and figure out what stays. It is important not to rush this step. You have been harboring clothes from the '80s and '90s. If you didn't look good in the then you definitely will not now. Pitch them. My husband was hanging on to work shirts with collars that were so starched they made his neck bleed. It took some major coddling and cajoling, but I finally got him to donate those shirts that he abandoned for years. (Bless the poor human whose neck is now bleeding because of my husband's donation efforts.) When you are down to the clothes that fit and flatter, it is time to pick a standardized slim hanger (if you are going to do all this work, it may as well look amazing and better fit the space). Hang them in categories that make it easier for you to find clothes and create outfits. Usually I group by major category: jackets shirts pants dresses Then by subcategory: shirts are subdivided by sleeve length dresses by sleeve length, season or occasion (casual, formal) The goal is to: easily find and replace items (read: put away laundry more quickly) reduce decision fatigue stop buying duplicates because you forgot what you owned shop your own closet Organizing spaces is emotionally and physically exhausting but it is so worth the effort. You deserve a space that is reflective of where you are going, not where you have been. Reclaim your closet and you will be surprised how much lighter and energetic you feel when you start your day.
- Closet Design Starts with Inspiration
Everyone needs inspiration and this gorgeous pantry inspired my client to make a change. Vision is an important first step to start a design plan. If you struggle with a vision but know what you don't want, that helps too. In this picture my client pointed out she liked the open shelves, use of space and combo of natural and black colored bins. After years of using mobile shelving for her pantry, my client was ready for a change and this bright white, open shelf pantry got her motivated. In her current pantry, the shelves were too deep causing her and her family to "lose items". How do you lose items that are sitting at arms length? They were out of sight and there wasn't a good system in place to keep items visible. The most important goal of the new pantry was to store all small appliances and Tupperware in a closed cabinet. This allows easy access but it isn't visible in the pantry. My client fell in love with a piece from Wayfair so we are making it our focal point and building the shelves around it. We also painted the walls with a fresh coat of bright white paint. The pale yellow color is pretty in an office or bedroom, but it makes a pantry feel less inviting. The light bulbs in the ceiling fixture were also changed out to a bright white from a warm white. The ceiling is high so it is easier to find what you are looking for and brightens the small room. The next goal of the custom build was to increase the storage capacity on the shelves while providing the most surface space for access. We are using 14 inch shelves on the side walls and 16 inch shelves on the back wall. These shelf depths also created more space in the center of pantry, compared to the cramped area the had with the shelving units. After pulling out the shelving units and getting the storage cabinet delivered, we started designing the shelving layout around the cabinet, water cooler, outlets and recycling bin that the family relied on to manage empty boxes. With the design complete, we were ready to order the shelves and brackets. A trip to the Container Store was also a fun next step. We knew the surface area but wanted to try some different combinations to make sure to cover all types of food management systems for cans, boxes, decanted items, etc. My first challenge was getting the shelves and brackets delivered. This project launched just before the holidays and the pandemic and billions of holiday deliveries were messing with my pantry materials. The Container Store experienced equal issues. The shelves were bare and the staff didn't have time to restock before all the product was gone again. I ended up having to place my order in store and had to wait a week for the baskets. They were in the store, but had to be sorted and prepared for curbside pick up. (I was learning patience the hard way.) The good news is that the shelves were going up while I was waiting on the baskets and bins. It was exciting to watch it come together. To add to the excitement, I found some great jars at the Family Dollar and tested out some bins, baskets, and turntables to start playing around with the layout. A few weeks later, the project is complete! It turned out 1000 times better than I had expected. Needless to say, the client was thrilled. Who knew a pantry could inspire so much awe?! The pantry is stocked and there's room for growth. The top shelf manages the back stock and the baskets on the floor manage items that don't need to be mixed with the food such as dog treats and extra cleaning supplies. All the bins are designed to keep the pantry looking tidy while being easy to manage. #Pantry #rainbowjellybeans #jellybellycandyco #thecontainerstore #wayfair #homegoods #FamilyDollar #idesign #idlivesimply #lisamaloneproorganizer
- Organizing Always Starts With The PURGE!
The professional organizing process follows a standard formula with EVERY project. No matter what room or area, the key to success is the same -- empty the space, purge (via trash and donations) or rehome items not meant for the space, sort remaining items in groups, contain each group where appropriate, and label the areas or containers so items can be easily found and returned. The critical part of this process is purging. Why? Because the biggest problem in any cluttered space is that it has too much stuff in it. Depending on how many items you have crammed into the space, you may have to purge up to 50-60% to end up with a livable, manageable, calm area. If you started hyperventilating at the thought of purging over 50% of your clutter, do not panic! Statistics show 80% of the time, people use (or wear) only 20% of items they own. You determine what is designated for the trash, donation, or relocation to a different area of your home but it doesn't need to cause analysis paralysis. To get items moving out the door, ask yourself these questions: Did I remember I owned it? If not, move it out. This isn't the time for rediscovering treasures. Have I used it in a year? If not, move it out. Holding on to "what if" items (read: what if I need it one day?) will keep you in a forever state of clutter. Did I buy more than 2 of the same thing because I couldn't find the original? Keep one, move the rest out. Your local community-in-need will benefit from your over purchasing. Is it broken? If yes, Move it out. If you haven't fixed it yet, it isn't going to happen and adding duct tape never made anything look better. Not ever. Note: Goodwill doesn't want your broken items. Please put it in the trash or recycle bin. The hardest work is done once you know what will remain in the designated area. From there, comes the fun part...sorting, containing and labeling which will leave you with amazing results. But for now, let's just focus on the purge. Bring in outside help, if you have a hard time getting started. An outsider has no emotional connection with your stuff. They will help you stay focused, guide you on decision making and can either haul off your stuff or coordinate a donation and trash pick up. They will also guide and teach you along the way to make you self-sufficient. Sometimes all it may take is one or two days working with a professional. From there, you will be motivated to tackle additional projects on your own. I know you can do it!! A junk drawer is the perfect place to start.