Monday, June 10, 2013

Seven Tricks to Cheat Space out of your Closet

Seven tricks to "cheat" more space out of your closet.

Here in southeast Florida where the square footages of the "great" room spaces are what sell a home, and whatever is left over for closets is "what you get", the cheating of every bit of space out of a closet is key!

Some of these closet organizing tricks go against your "natural instinct", but if you give them a try, I promise that you will find the extra space worth the change in habit.

1.  Reverse your pants with your shirts in your double hang sections and add a shelf.  Hanging pants/shorts/skirts on the upper rod gives the closet a more roomy, spacious feel. Those items hang much shallower than shirts. Hanging them at shoulder/eye level opens the closet up. It also allows for better visibility of both upper and lower hanging sections, and it brings the extra space at the floor to a more functional/usable height.  You gain an extra shelf below the hanging pants.  It is easier to reach up high with a hanger in one hand than to hold something with both hands and try to place it on a shelf up high. Place upper hanging rods up high and the upper shelf, instead, between the upper and lower hanging for easier access.

2.  Nest your shoes - one front facing and one rear facing to cheat one more pair to a shelf, or to make full pairs of shoes fit on a shelf not optimized for shoe widths.

(Women's shoes are generally 6-1/2" to 7-1/5" wide. An 8" design space per pair is the optimal. 24" widths accommodating 3 pairs each shelf is common. This also allows for baskets, roll-out shoe shelves or other industry standard components to be easily added within the same shelving tower.  Men's shoes are generally 8-1/2" to 9-1/5" wide. A 10" design space per pair is the standard. 30" widths accommodating 3 pairs each shelf is the most common. This is also a great width for a His-Her shared closet as 30" widths accommodate 4 pairs of women's or 3 pair of men's shoes each shelf, while still allowing industry standard components to be added.)

3.  In a narrow walk-in closet, keep the hanging to one side and on the back wall.  A walk-in closet needs to have a back wall width of at least 75" to accommodate hanging clothes on both side walls. This allows for a minimal 24" wide walk space down the center of the closet. If your closet is narrow, or feels crowded, have  only shelving and/or drawers on one side.

4.  Use acrylic dividers to keep pocket books straight up and organized.  Purses and pocket books can be a mess in your closet, taking up valuable space with their disorganized mess.  Keep them neat tidy and taking up less space by using acrylic dividers.  They also work great for tall boots that like to fall over.

5.  Consider baskets or cubbies for flip-flops, beach, or yard shoes.  Have a lot of shoes?  Instead of taking up valuable shelf space, consider placing your ultra casual (not worried about scuffing) shoes in a pull-out basket or bin, or in cubbies.  In the same 24" or 30" wide x 6" tall shelf space that you would fit 3 or 4 pairs of shoes, you could fit one basket that would hold 6-10 pairs of shoes.  This works great in kids' closets, too!

6. If you can't build out, build up!  Many luxury homes, as I spoke of above, are left with pitifully small closets in comparison to their living spaces.  One nice aspect of luxury homes is their tall ceilings.  If you have a standard 96" height closet system and as little as 11' ceilings, consider adding an additional 36" height (or more, if possible) closet system above.  You would have additional shelving storage, and even with 11' ceilings and a 96" height system, if you removed the very top shelf of a standard double hang section to utilize the additional shelf space, you could have triple hang.  Add a wardrobe pull-down (need to have 45" of clearance in front of the section) for easier access.

7.   MAWA® Super Grippy Ultra-Thin Hangers.  These hangers are very thin and have a really short neck for increased storage capacity.  More clothes in less space.  They make triple hang in a 96" height system possible.

There you have it, seven quick cheats to more space in your closet.  Some may take some getting used to, but in the end if you can walk into your closet and say "Ahh" and not EEK!, isn't it all worth it?!

Happy Organizing!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

3 Steps to Organized

If it were only just that easy!

First must come the desire to organize. (Sometimes it is not the desire, but the NEED to organize). And then, overcome the overwhelming dread of the task before any organizing can begin.

Let’s break this down into smaller more manageable steps…

A. Designate an area for the items you plan on keeping.
i. Choose an area that can be occupied for as long as needed to complete the task. Choose a location that will not be adding to the stress that this temporary disorganization will undoubtedly cause.
ii. Do not be tempted to leave items in their existing location. This space needs to be completely cleared.
iii. This step is important in determining how much space each sorted group of items will need, in order to properly organize and divide the space.

B. Designate an area for the items you plan on throwing away.
i. After a final review of items to throw away, immediately bag items for disposal.
ii. Take bags to location for disposal.
iii. Do not go back into disposal bags.

C. Designate an area for the items you plan on selling or donating.
i. Have separate areas for family, friends, neighbors, consignment and charity.
ii. Immediately bag or box items up and get them into your car for drop off.
iii. Do not go back into the selling and donating bags.

A. Group all like items together.
i. Sub-categorize the frequently and infrequently used items.
1. Frequently used items will be store where they are accessible.
2. Infrequently used items will be stored out of the way.
ii. Make sure that all items are appropriately stored.
1. Items to hang, should be on hangers (of the same size and shape).
2. Items to fold, should be folded.
3. Items to be boxed, should be boxed (in clean, damage free boxes).
4. Loose items, should be loose.
a. Sorting these items will help determine the best storage accessory.
b. Avoid putting items in this category; it is counter-productive to organization (to a certain extent).

B. Determine each category’s required amount of space and best location.
i. Defined by the area.
1. Closets = linear feet (and hang height) per frequency of use for clothing and accessories.
2. Garages = size, shape and frequency of use for automotive supplies, sporting equipment (large and small), lawn maintenance equipment, work bench and tools, etc.
3. Offices = size and frequency of use for assorted supplies, incoming and outgoing paperwork, office equipment, data storage, etc.
4. Laundry = the goal is to optimize productivity and ease of use for clean and soiled clothing, appliances, cleaning supplies, etc.

C. Determine best storage accessory for loose items.
i. Defined by the user.
1. Open functional storage for the “I need to see it” person.
2. Closed and labeled storage for the“hide-it-away” person.
ii. Best left for last.
1. After organizing and planning for categorized storage, ideas for compartmentalizing and locating loose storage usually materializes.
2. If attempted beforehand, time and effort is usually wasted locating and relocating loose items while trying to find an appropriate spot.


A. Install a new system or repurpose an existing system (or a combination of both).
i. The KEY to organization is “A place for everything; and everything in its place”!
ii. Start with the big components and work your way to the smaller components and accessories.

B. Put items away in their designed location
i. Don’t be discouraged if the 3-dimensional reality of the designed space, in comparison to what was planned on paper (or in your head), needs to be tweaked.
ii. Spatial thought takes practice. Smaller, shallower items shouldn’t be stored below or behind larger, deeper items – they will get lost and forgotten, and your space won’t function optimally.
            C. Enjoy! 

It is a big process. Plan for plenty of time and for a time of day when you are most energetic. Play stimulating music in the background. Stay nourished and hydrated! Enlist the help of an encouraging friend or family member (not someone that will slow you down with distractions or frivolity – at least not until afterwards). You will reach your goal!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Getting Started on an Organizing Project

So many of us are overwhelmed with just the task of "thinking" about getting one of our spaces organized.  The process of making a list of goals to accomplish towards completing a task can be mentally draining.  The key really is to break the task up into do-able phases.  And you should break the entire job up into phases of time or tasks that you are comfortable with, not what you think you should be doing.  The amount of time spent on each phase is completely individual.  I have had clients that could only handle 1/2 hour a day focused on an organizing task.  They really were overwhelmed with the scope of the project and found it difficult to focus on the small phases and accomplishments.  That is where enlisting the help of a professional organizer can be a life saver.  In addition to a solid plan that is developed for your personal circumstances and a professional that keeps you on task and completing items in a logical order - encouragement and validation along the way can be incredible morale booster.  Some people may ask a friend or family member for assistance, but if that person is not naturally organized or of an "organizing mind", they may find it more discouraging because typically they both are going in different directions, and neither is getting much done.  That can feel like another failure, another road block in trying again to get their project done.
A professional organizer will help you with laying out a project list that is within your mental and physical capabilities.  They will keep you focused and on the tasks at hand, and not let you get distracted by the magnitude of the project.  Your organizer will encourage you and point out your accomplishments along the way.  Your organizer will be side by side with you through to completion, and rejoice in your success!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Great Book

The very best book that I ever read was Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People".   The title is sounds manipulative.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  I even had my kids read the book; it includes very important "life lessons".

The 5 Principles of the Book:

1.  Be genuinely interested in the person you are speaking to.  (Everyone wants to feel that their thoughts and opinions are valid.)

2.  SMILE  (You appear as though you are a pleasant person and happy.)

3.  Use the name of the person you are talking to during conversation ("Nothing is so sweet to one's ears as the sound of one's own name")

4.  Learn more about the person you are speaking to than they know about you (ask and listen more than you speak)

5.  Make the person you are speaking to feel important.  (Impart to them that you recognize their opnions, talents and skills.  Be genuine with your compliments; ulterior motives will be transparent.)