12.30.2009

Oh! The Storage!

Oh the drama! Small houses have small closets, and while I can't complain about the size of our closets in comparison to some of the closets in the 100+ houses we looked at, ours are still small.

Storagegate started when I purchased a Pax Hemnes wardrobe from Ikea. My intention is to flank the guest room window with two of the floor-to-ceiling storage havens. Unfortunately the units are packaged in huge, heavy boxes. Soooo, I enlisted the help of my mom and her Jeep to purchase one of the two units. Enter the issue of getting the box up the stairs...my parents were gone, I was weak from the flu and couldn't lift my side of the box safely. S lift one end of the box and oh! the drama! All of a sudden we're reevaluating the entire supplemental storage plan. Oy! Stay tuned for the final decision.

With the wardrobe on the back-burner we quickly attacked the master bedroom closet, which would be for S's clothes, just as it had been in FL. He had a simple request for the layout: two rows of hanging, no shelves, no long hanging. Note that S wears a full-length flight suit 5 days a week. No long hanging? Realizing that S intended to hang his flight suits off the back of his closet door, a total dis-organization solution, I added 20" of long hanging to his closet, which also accommodates a much needed hanging sweater shelf. It's apparent to me now that S only thought of his favorite Brooks Bros. shirts when "designing" his closet.

My closet, the guest room closet, was significantly less straight-forward than S's. The space is nearly six feet wide, but only as deep as the width of a hanger and only has a single two foot wide door. While it seems like a large closet by old house standards, it's completely useless when full of clothing: you can only see the clothing directly in front of the door since everything to the right and left is blocked by the first hanging shirt/pants/dress. Tears. Lots of tears. Container Store to the rescue! Did you know they offer free design services for their elfa storage system? Neither did I. Did you know the elfa system is nearly identical to Rubbermaid Selectrack, which is available at Home Depot (where we had gift cards)? I do now!

I entered dimensions and storage requirements on the Container Store site, 24 hours later I received a call from a design rep and then 20 minutes later she emailed me a plan and a shopping list.
I made a few quick changes by swapping the drawers for shelves and added a second long shelf above the short shelves. With shopping and cutting list in hand we were off! Because we had Home Depot gift cards we decided to shop there instead of the Container Store, but we will check them out for the next closet. 

Within a couple of hours the economy was stimulated and we were back in the guest room. S had less than two hours before his uncle was scheduled to pick him up to go to a Red Skins game. Fortunately, the closet was assembled and ready for organizing despite the time crunch, and an unplanned quick run to the local hardware store for longer drywall screws (5 minutes round trip, including shopping time; I LOVE our new location!).

After S left for the game I installed some Ikea Dioder lighting:

lined the shelves:
and got to work figuring out how to get all of this:
into the still-small space.

No matter how fabulous the bare solution looked, the limitations of the closet depth still posed a problem. Rather than organizing by sleeve length, then color, I organized by frequency worn, then sleeve length, then color. I also packed away all non-layering summer clothes and some sweaters not yet ready for goodwill, but not likely to be worn this winter. As a result my closet doesn't look like a perfect rainbow of stair-stepped sleeve length, but it's much more practical.
Unfortunately for storagegate the finished closets do not eliminate the need for more wardrobe storage: I have yet to tackle the shoes, yarn, scarves, or fabric.

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