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Closet OS 2019 Top Shelf Winners

Closet OS has earned numerous Top Shelf Design Awards over the past 11 years since its beginning. This year the team at Closet Organizing Systems proudly earned their 14th award at the Top Shelf Closet Design Awards during the 2019 Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo in Charlotte, NC.

This year’s Best of Show was awarded to Donna Siben, Closet Organizing Systems. Siben also took home the award in the Closet: Laminate Over 18 linear feet category for “Revitalize, Revamp and Reorganize Master Closet” and the honorable mention Specialty award for the project “The Dirt Stops Here.” The Top Shelf Closet Design Awards are given annually to honor designers for their creative closet and home organizational designs. Each entry is judged based on the following criteria: 50 percent appearance/design (emphasizing design creativity) and 50 percent functionality and quality of construction/materials.

“We are pleased to be selected a 14th time for this award, it further demonstrates our commitment to offering the most well thought and creative design solutions to our local customer market of Chicago,” says Bill Curran, owner of Closet Organizing Systems.

Donna Siben's - Revitalize, Revamp and Reorganize Master Closet Donna Siben's - The Dirt Stops Here

Closets From a New Angle

Closets From A New AngleLots of home remodeling projects are inspired by the need for more storage and better functioning space. Many involve “an addition”. If that’s true for you, you’re likely planning to “blow out a wall” or takeover some attic space and make it more usable.

Often this can be for a master bedroom suite or that much needed storage.

The challenge with going into attic spaces is often the angled walls. Most people aren’t sure what to do with them and frequently think they can get much better function from them than is realistic.

Since we’ve worked on lots of projects with angles, we’ve got some “tried and true” approaches to making the most of any wall that’s challenging your design.

Expert top tips:

1. Custom-fitting cabinetry into angled, back wall space requires a significant financial investment. Angles have to be measured and taken into account for accessibility. This often requires creating templates so the cabinetry fits. That adds to the cost of the project as well. So don’t overplan and don’t over expect. Keep in mind that it’s likely you have larger storage bins that can be slid into those spaces, a much more effective option.

2. If you’re working with a solid substrate (like wood or melamine), those materials need to be able to be attached to walls and/or floors. Yes, we do work with “Hanging systems” where the panels are shorter. However, we’re able to attach those to the wall and secure them into studs. In situations where we’re working with angles, we have to use walls and floors for structural rigidity.

Custom Fitting Cabinetry Into Angled Space

3. Keep in mind what you’re trying to store in the space and make sure it will fit. For short hanging garments, the rod should be approximately 40 - 42” from the floor and at least 11” from the back wall. This allows enough space for the garments themselves to fit.

4. If you’re thinking about shelving as a solution - don’t go super deep. You’re just adding structure to the same problem you currently have. And shelves should have backing (or be built as cabinets) so items don’t fall behind the open shelves.

5. Less structure often nets the best solutions. If you need hanging space, add rods and leave the back area open. Slide your bins and big boxes there.

And if you think you need help getting the most from your space, give us a call. We can help get the most function from it and would be delighted to work with you on your project.





Small Closet With Big Solutions

Small Closet with Structural SupportHow to Make Your Small Closet Feel Big

Not all of us are lucky enough to have large walk in closets. You know, the ones you sometimes see on HGTV or “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”.

So if you’re amongst the millions with too little closet space - we’re here to help.

Here are some tips on doing your own “closet re-org” that makes the most out of your current closet space.

The Process

It begins with a process. You really do need to drag everything out into the open and start putting the things you never wear or use into a box or bag to donate.

Don’t get hung up or delayed with the idea that you’re going to take things to a resale shop or see if any of your friends want the item. It doesn’t move you closer to the goal of having organized spaces where you can see and access everything.

If you insist that “you paid good money for this”, then take a pic, post it on Facebook and see if anyone wants it. Otherwise, out it goes.

The next step takes honesty and discipline. Look at each item and give it a rating from 1-10. Ten means you love it and wear it often with confidence and joy. Anything below a 7 should no longer have a home in your closet. It’s not doing you any favors and not serving your current lifestyle and goals.

When you’re doing this evaluating – ask yourself how you want people to perceive you TODAY – in current time. Are you looking to get promoted? Are you looking for love? Pick three to five adjectives that you resonate with and make sure each item you keep honors and conveys these characteristics.

Put the pieces that have sentimental value in a box – and then store that box somewhere besides the main closet you use to get dressed.

Apply the 80-20 rule, since we really do wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. If you have things you just can’t bear to let go of – move them to the back of another closet or storage space. If another 6 months or year goes by and you still have not worn them – let them go without even re-evaluating. Trust that they have served their purpose and will now serve someone else’s purpose.

Make another pile for anything that needs to be tailored, sewn or mended and write down what needs to be done to fix the piece. Then take them to the seamstress at the dry cleaners or your tailor – within 72 hours – and get the problems fixed so you can move forward and wear them with confidence.

Make A Small Closet Feel BiggerStructural Support

If you’re not up for having your closet designed by a professional, then go to a DIY store and purchase some items to help get more things stored in the same amount of space.

Consider installing an additional rod so you get “Double Hang”. These can often just be attached to an existing rod. Just make sure to measure vertical distance, height of existing rod and then how much space you need for the garments. And by space we mean vertically, not the width (left to right).

Attached a cloth “cubbie” section for either shoes or folded items. These also attach to rods and can really leverage vertical space efficiently.

Now start putting things back into your closet. The things you use the most should be the easiest to access. The goal is to be able to open (and close) the closet door – access what you need – and move on with your day.

Good luck and happy organizing!

And if you need to add some structure to your closet – set up an appointment with one of our fabulous design team members. They can double your storage capacity in no time flat and make your newly organized life so much easier to live.







Combining Colors for Creative Closet Designs

textured custom storage unitMixing colors and materials in a “mix and match” design solution continues to gain popularity.  We’ve seen the look featured in kitchens the last year or so and now it’s moving full steam ahead and going beyond changing the color of the island.

What’s trending now is being bold in the mix and match approach. We’re seeing things like brown drawers and white doors or a pop of one bright color incorporated into a more subdued overall theme.

We’re even seeing the mixing and matching of hardware, with a pull for the doors and and knob for the drawers. And not of the same style, but totally going outside the lines and incorporating something different.

So if you’re looking to add your own personality to your closet design, or any custom storage design solution in your home, color is a great tool to incorporate.

Material selections have expanded tremendously. And that’s been driven by technology that allows for more latitude in not only color, but texture being incorporated. And we’ve got lots of options for both.

This project shows the combination of two different colors, both in a textured melamine. The drawer and door pulls harmonize with the darker tone material and add a bit of dramatic effect for the overall storage design.

Another way to bring in contrasting color is going dark for the masculine/His side of a closet, and white for the feminine/Her side of a closet.

custom storage color combinationsOr you can bring in the color on just one area, perhaps a kitchen or closet island or a bank of drawers, as show in this project. The client just wanted to create some dramatic affect and the color achieves that goal.

Or you can be really bold and pull together two colors that are furthest apart on the color spectrum - black and white. Here we’ve “framed” this TV wall unit with black and surrounded the television in white with just a tight black frame around it.

We’ve also incorporated glass, lighting and closed storage for a result that’s really beautiful and exactly what the client wanted.

And we’d love to do the same for you. Our experienced design team is always happy to discuss creative storage solutions with you. Just give us a call and we’ll set up a convenient time to meet with you and start creating the project of your dreams.





We’re Solving Your Garage Storage Issues

organized garage with workspaceQuick question for you - if you have a garage - are you able to park any of your cars in there?

Because statistically, one in four home owners say their garage is too cluttered to park their car in.

So, if you can relate to that, here’s how to remedy the situation and get your car back in to your garage.

Let’s start with addressing this “Big One”. It may feel daunting and your neighbors may think you’re a total junk-a-holic (while secretly seeing themselves in your mess). But follow these time tested, effective steps.

  • 1) Remove EVERYTHING that’s inside the garage. Take it all out so you have an empty garage.

  • 2) Categorize things as you’re emptying the space. Put similar things in the same area so you can see where you duplicates and what’s past its prime. What’s 95% used up and should be tossed. Toss it. And put your other gear in groups so things are all related - lawn things together, sports things together, household cleaning and chemicals together.

  • 3) Create a pile of things you don’t really need anymore, but could still be useful to someone else. Donate all of these items. Don’t bog yourself into thinking you’re going to sell it on ebay. Just release it. Gift it to another who could really benefit from it right now.

  • 4) Invest in some good organizational systems so you create a place for everything and don’t end up in the same mess you’re in now. That can be a professionally designed garage with work benches and drawers and cabinets with locks. Or it can be your own system of plastic bins and metal shelving.

Now let’s look at the “small stuff”. Parts and tools are small and get tossed all over the place. Give these items a dedicated space so you can always grab them when you need them. Drawers with dividers are a fantastic solution.

categorized garage items

Tinker Time - Most men (and many women) want a space in the garage to “do their thing”. To work on projects or fix a broken toy or household item. The key solution here is to create a space for a dedicated workbench. Workbenches are great with butcher block tops because they can take a lot of abuse.

Free Up The Floor - Since you’ve got everything out of the garage, make sure that when you’re putting it back, you don’t put anything on the floor. It just gets in the way and prevents safe walking and car parking. Consider a professionally installed epoxy or polyurethane floor coating system. You’ll be amazed at the great look and function of these floor systems.

Another way you can free up the floor is to use the walls. Investigate systems and devices that allow you to hang bikes and garden tools, mops and brooms, as well as sporting equipment on the walls. It makes things visible and easily accessible.

And if you need additional help with freeing yourself from your garage messes and want to get those cars parked back in the garage - give us a call. We’ve got experts on hand ready to help.



Transform Your Ordinary Closet Into an Extraordinary Closet

master closet lighting and hardwareOn some level, we all want a well-organized closet that makes it easier to get dressed each day. And if beauty can be incorporated, that’s all the better.

Here are some ideas to help you get closer to closet nirvana:

Start with the hardware.

The handles on any of your bedroom furniture should be something that feels good to the touch, is easy to grab and open and makes you smile when you see it. Builders put in basic hardware for most homes.

Take the initiative on your own to search for great hardware and change out boring and blah for blingy and beautiful.

There are endless websites to search, lots of “Big Box” stores to visit and even our own website for some selection options (

Add Simple Lighting.

Adding lighting to your closets no longer requires an electrician and a home renovation.

There are lots of options that are LED lighting that operate from battery power. You can often stick them to different surfaces and/or secure with a screw or two and Wa-La - you can now easily see your navy tops, brown tops and black tops.

Go Beyond a Rod and Shelf (or wire shelving).

Statistically, most homes in America have closets with one closet rod and one shelf (so don’t feel bad if this is you, you’re in the majority). Newer homes often include the builders “upgrade” to wire shelving systems.

We want you to see and feel the benefits of a custom designed closet system made from solid surfaces. And we want that for you because:

walk in closet with wood shelves

- It will be professionally designed and organized so everything has a place and is easier to find.

- Your clothing won’t get “wire marks” from sitting on the shelving.

- You’ll have adjust-ability and flexibility, so as you buy new boots or add three more pair of flip flops to your collection, you can make the system work so it stores them
- It will increase the value of your home.

- You’ll save time because you’ll be able to easily see and access your entire wardrobe.

- You’ll double, if not triple, the amount of storage you have.

- You’ll feel a sense of pride when it comes to your closets instead of a sense of shame because you’ve shoved everything into them with no thought or plan.

- You’ll save time because you’ll be able to easily see and access your entire wardrobe.

So give us a call to see how we can help you. We’ve got a dedicated, sincere, expert team of award-winning design experts ready to help you.

Beyond The Mancave

man closetWatch any show on HGTV that features a walk in closet and the joke will be that the huge space is good for fitting all of “her” stuff, but what about “his”?

Where’s the man of the house suppose to keep his wardrobe?

Well we know just what to do with “his” space.

Here’s our top picks and must know items/insights:

An average pair of men’s shoes is wider than an average pair of women’s shoes. Allow 9” of space for each pair of men’s shoes (so an 18” wide shelf will hold two pair of shoes). And this dimensions also allows for hampers and baskets that will fit into a section this size.

Closet rod alert - make sure there’s enough vertical distance between upper and lower rods to allow for shirt/jacket length. Men’s shirts are typically longer than women’s tops. And tall men require longer jacket lengths. You want to make sure to measure from the top of the hanger to the bottom of the garment so you have enough clearance to allow the clothing items to fit without dragging on the floor or the lower level of garments.

Simplicity rules. Most men are very visual creatures. That translates to wanting to easily see and access what they have. Drawers with lots of specific compartments and things behind doors seem to be second priorities for the male contingency.

Incorporate hooks - whether they’re for baseball hats, sweatpants or robes, hooks are an easy organizing solution.

Ottomans are another great addition from both a design and function perspective. We all need a place to sit to put on and take off our shoes. Styles for ottomans can be very masculine and stylish.

So if you want to do something life changing for one of the men in your life (or you just want them to be more organized) give us a call or hit reply. We’d be delighted to set up a personal consultation to see how we can help.

masculine closet with ottoman

Angie's List and Houzz Awards for 2017-2018

Closet Organizing Systems is proud to announce that it has maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews in both the Angie’s List and Houzz communities for 2017-2018 among our customers.

Accumulating 18 awards in total over the past 6 years in the categories of Closet and Organization and Home and Garage, along with being so highly valued for our industry knowledge and consumer recommended by these communities is a testament of our cumulative efforts.

Closet Organizing Systems has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award (SSA) for 2017. We have been listed on Angie’s list since 2008 and have proudly earned this award 10 years running from the Angie's List community.

The Houzz community awarded Closet OS the Best of Houzz Award for both Design and Client Satisfaction for 2018. The Houzz Design Award is earned when a professional's portfolio is voted most popular by the Houzz community. The Houzz Client Satisfaction award is earned when a professional is rated at the highest level for client satisfaction. Since ClosetOS has joined the Houzz community in 2013 we have received several awards and recognition's throughout their community. This includes consecutive Best of Houzz Awards for Design from 2013-2018, the Best of Houzz Award for Client Satisfaction from 2014-2018, Star Houzzer, Houzz Influencer, and Recommended on Houzz acknowledgements.

A Walk Through Closet With Amazing Storage

walk-in closet leading to bathroomIt’s not uncommon to have a “walk through” closet that leads to a bathroom. This floor plan shows up in both city and suburban housing.

And this closet project was exactly that, with a client that had definite ideas and knew exactly what they wanted, says designer Marcia Spinosa and I prefer that. They’re decisive. They provide guidance. They were specific about what their needs were and what they like. They were familiar with their space and how they wanted to do this - how they wanted it to look. They knew how they used the space so it’s very efficient and maximizes the space.

So Marcia was in charge of translating their needs and visions into an actual closet space in good working order.

Their priorities included:

  • • Having enough space for their boot collection
  • • Glass display area for her shoes and purses
  • • Bench seating for putting on their shoes
  • • Mirror to help make the space look bigger
  • • Good overall lighting
  • • Vanity space for jewelry and perfume

This long, narrow space has a window that we needed to work with. The clients wanted one side of the closet system to go to the ceiling and other side they wanted at 84” high so they could add their own storage boxes on the top shelf.

On the side of the closet that they wanted to take all the way to the ceiling, we only did that with three areas - the bench area at the end - the left side above drawers and right side where the glass shoe/purse cabinet is.

We put the shelves for the cowboy boots in front of this window. They’re extra long and reinforced. They’re also stationary, while most of our closet systems are adjustable. We made it work with cleats supporting the back of the shelves so there won’t be any warping or bowing.

For a smaller size space, we made this one work both efficiently and beautifully and we can help you do the same with your closet space. Just give us a call.

A Home Office That Works

A Home Office That WorksIn our current “work from everywhere” world, it’s even more important to have a home office that is set up to really work FOR you.

Determining things like what you easily need access to, what kind of lighting will allow you to best see your documents, how much storage you need for files or equipment, and what ergonomic and functional use layout works best for the space are all important factors.

And our design team loves working with people to help determine those things and then designing a working space around those needs.

In this home office, some of the project parameters included:

  • • Horizontal work surface space for two people

  • • Closed Storage to hide things. Client’s previous system was open shelving and she felt it always looked messy.

  • • Lots of space to spread out items while working on multiple projects at the same time.

  • • All wires hidden and out of sight

  • • Task and ambient lighting

  • • Space for a very large printer

  • • Tack board for pinning calendars and reminders

  • • Lots of file storage, with two of the drawers having key locks so personal items could be secured

  • • A desk orientation that allowed for a view out the window

  • • And last, but certainly not least, the client wanted this home office to be beautiful.

home office corner desk

And while these project photos demonstrate visually how we accomplished that, here are some additional elements:

  • • Textured melamine - chosen for the interest that a textured material conveys as well as for the mid-tone wood color that harmonizes with the rest of the house.

  • • Five Piece Shaker Style doors because adding a 5-piece, profile door to a project amps up the style factor.

  • • Lighting that worked via a touch sensor for ease of use and connect-ability

  • • Cubbies in the corner because that space is typically difficult to access so by putting the cubbies there, it gave the client a “vertical” way to stay organized and keep her files within reach.

  • • Granite counter-tops for a high end finished look

  • • Framed Tack Board for posting key notes and reminders

  • • Base and Crown Molding trim to further customize the cabinetry.

And the end result - both stunning and organized. It’s a project we love that was designed by team member Jamie Wilson.

If you’re inspired to organize your office space - give us a call. We’d be delighted to schedule a complimentary in home consultation to see how we can help.