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Most Demanding Entryway Ever

Long Narrow Entryway Storage

If you live in a rural setting, odds are that you enter your house via the garage.

And that's how this family lives. Before we consulted with them, the space was cluttered, unorganized and not well engineered to be “storage friendly”.So we did a thorough assessment, listened to their wish list, moved some things around and created one of the most effective and aesthetically pleasing spaces yet.

The Top 10 Items On Their Wish List:

  1. Shoe Storage
  2. Coat Hanging
  3. Charging/Storing Electronic Devices
  4. Mail Station
  5. Laundry including a laundry shoot from upstairs and a sink
  6. Cleaning Supply Storage
  7. Hide Clutter
  8. Store Vacuum Cleaner, Drying Racks and Laundry Baskets
  9. Locker Storage for Adults and Children
  10. Briefcase Storage

vertical charging station

The space is long and narrow, which is always a challenge in terms of balancing how things work, how things look and how things feel.

Cabinetry had to line up with the second floor laundry shoot, yet not waste precious inches.

And after designer Donna Siben spent significant time measuring and space planning, we ended up removing a closet in order to make the space work better (shocking, right?)

In terms of material selections, Siben chose Raised-panel, Ivory melamine with a walnut glaze. She also took the cabinets to the ceiling for maximum storage and added crown and base moldings.  She mixed up the coat storage between closed and open to add more interest to the design. But the most popular part of this project is the vertical charging station space that really provides for the ability of lots of electronics to be charged without taking up a lot of space (so 21stcentury!).

The project also involves very detailed planning for removal of the closet we mentioned, the building of a new false wall that had to be insulated in order to house the plumbing for the new washer and dryer location and the allocation of space for a “slop sink” that had to be smaller than standard size in order to make the design work.

stacked washer and dryer storage

In this case, pictures truly do paint a thousand words, so take a look at the images from the project. Perhaps it will start your own wheels turning on ways to maximize the storage in your home.

As with most Designers, my goal is always quite simple…Turn the Client’s Dream into a Reality.

hallway vacuum cleaning supply storage

All cabinets on that rear wall were made 28” Deep for the Stackables and to house more laundry. Detergents and Laundry Items are stored on Pull Outs below. The sink cabinet had to be narrower than most drop sink requirements but the clients were able to find the perfect smaller version to enhance the decor (“Gotta love the Internet!”) and provide the ability for the occasional hand washables with a rod above for drip drying. The addition of a beautiful piece of Granite and upper LED Light Box further enhanced the appeal of that wall. A glass tile backsplash will be installed above the sink but not available at the time of the photographs.

Covering the clutter was another achieved goal. Custom Lucite shoe inserts were used in some of the lower extra large drawers on the long wall. Shoes are stored perpendicular and the custom slots were engineered to meet this family’s needs. Vacuum cleaners, Laundry Baskets and Drying Racks were carefully measured to find their home in their own cabinet. Lockers for the Children and for the Adults (including briefcase storage) are concealed with doors allowing one Open Locker with Glazed Beadboard backing for Guests and to break up the monotony. A matching Granite Top and LED Lighting adds to the appeal of the Open Locker and provide an additional texture to this wall. Working closely with the Contractor (her Dad), new electricals were carefully marked and drawn to the room.

hallway pull-out shoe storage

What is the most unusual aspect or outstanding characteristic of this project? There were so many extremely specific details that needed to be engineered perfectly and most are mentioned above, but I believe the addition of a perpendicular Charging Station with mail/paperwork slots, plenty of room for cell phones, I-Pods, I-Pads plus the children’s electronic gadgets, bins for paraphernalia and related attachments is a sure sign of this Century.

This project was a “Team Effort” of everyone involved (including the receptive clients) and definitely my Engineering Department and Installer! The Clients are thrilled with the outcome!

“'10 Inspiring Closet Designs', our closet design has been featured on Zillow

“Our closet has been featured on Zillow Blog's '10 Inspiring Closet Designs'! Check it out here:

ClosetOS Zillow Digs - Inspiring Contemporary Closet Design for HerClosetOS Zillow Digs - Inspiring Contemporary Closet Design

... this closet is like the she-shed most women only imagine in their dreams. The contemporary space includes a vanity, cubbies for every purse, racks for shoes, rods and cupboards. The millwork takes full advantage of the vaulted ceiling and caps with classic crown molding.

How To Make Kid's Space Rock

bright white and colored playroomDesigning and building storage space for kid's can be a challenge.  On one hand, you want to have everything “uber organized”, with a specific place for every toy and clothing item.

On the other, you know things change and evolve and you want your storage solutions to do the same.

And let's not forget that you want to love the look. 

Here are some suggestions on getting the most out of your storage solutions so that everyone is excited to use the new space organization.

textured drawer fronts with led lighting

Color is one of your best tools. You can incorporate it into the designed systems, or you can add it through things like paint and carpeting or baskets and bins.

Mix materials – another way to incorporate color into your design is to mix colors for a more personalized affect. For example, door and drawer fronts could be done in a bright or textured melamine with the bulk of the system being in white.

Paint is another great tool for personalization. If you want to use paint, consider painting the back wall a color you really love. It has a dramatic impact on the look of a simple system and saves you on the resources required for painting an entire room. Chalkboard paint is a fun option that kids love and perhaps you'll get lucky enough to incorporate some organization on the chalkboard.

kids blue and white craft room

Flooring can be another way to really spice up your design. Consider carpeting floor tiles from a place like FLOR. You can make different patterns and they are easily changed. And they can be cut to size, which is another great feature.

Wheels on bins and benches serve another great purpose. You can move things around with ease. Benches serve as storage, seating and step stools to access out of reach items.

So put on your thinking cap, take a look at photos online of things you like and consult with a good design pro who can guide you through the process of creating functional and beautiful storage space for your kid's.

Just for Shoes

While making sure you have a place to hang your garments is the top priority (logically) for most closet designers, having a place to put shoes is the top priority for most clients.

These treasured wardrobe staples are often the most near and dear to clients hearts and they want a dedicated space to assure they can store them and access them easily.

Here are the top five options for shoe storage:

Shoe Fences:

These decorative items are the equivalent of a nice frame around a photograph. Their functional purpose is that they go across the front of angled shoe shelves to keep them from sliding off the shelves. You can get them in different metal finishes so they match the rest of your closet (like chrome or oil rubbed bronze).


Cubbies are probably the most requested thing in a closet design. They seem to lend themselves to easy organization and display because there is specific, allocated space. The size of the opening can be for shoes or for boots. The downside is that there isn't much else you can use this storage space for except shoes because it's such a specific solution.

shoe fence shoe cubbies

Shoe Carousels:

These high end devices go into the corner of a walk in closet and they spin. This means you can “twirl” your shoes around to decide which pair you'd like to wear. It's a fun way to display your shoe collection, with the exception of your flip flops.

The Carrie Bradshaw Effect:

This shoe storage solution came into consciousness with the original “Sex and City” movie during the final scenes of the beautiful closet Big had designed for Carrie. It consists of specific horizontal rods that span the width of a section. There are two. The back of the shoe heel goes on the back rod and the front of the shoe rests on the front rod. These look really great but function much better for heels than for flat shoes.

shoe carousel Carrie Bradshaw Style Shoe Closet

Open Shelving:

This seemingly boring solution is actually the most functional and easiest to access when putting on and taking off shoes. It's basically flat shelving that is adjustable. So if you have lots of boots, you space the shelves further apart. If you have lots of flat shoes, they can go closer together. And they can be adjusted at at time, so if your shoe collection changes, so can your shoe storage solution.

Open Shelving Shoe Closet

Big Storage Ideas For Small Home Offices

2 sided work surface

We're hard working Americans. And the more mobile we become with options to be connected via our “devices”, the more we tend to be “on the clock”.

And the higher the expectation of productivity from our bosses (whether our boss is someone else or ourselves).

So setting up your workspace so it's effective can save you lots of time and make you more productive.

Here are some great tips to help you do that:

Go Vertical – Lots of professionals prefer “horizontal” organization (you know, the stacks of paper that are piled up according to projects that are laying all over the desk). We're suggesting you think about going vertical, meaning utilizing wall space as part of your organization system. Think about shelving, hooks, bulletin boards, dry erase board or chalk boards to help you “see” what you're working on and making it easy to access. You can also attach light fixtures with movable arms to wall space so you don't give up any desk surface by having a lamp sitting on your desk top. 

Pull-Out Shelves – Pull-Out shelves can be built into desks or wall units. The beauty of these is that they can be pulled out when you need additional work space and pushed back when you don't need them, so they don't occupy permanent space in your room.

Dual-Sided Work Surfaces – If you're not the only family member who works a lot, then designing your space so that you have a horizontal surface that's deep enough for two people to work opposite each other works great. If space allows, then a counter or desk top surface that is 30” or more allows for the space of two laptops, files and room to work. Just be sure you have enough space for a good office chair and maneuverability when doing the layout and design of the room.

Shelves Below –  When designing closet space, we don't recommend putting shelving below hanging because the hanging is typically deeper than the items you put on the shelves, so access becomes a challenge and things get lost. However, in a desk scenario, where most office supplies are small, we love the idea of having some shelving below your desk surface (as long as you still have space for your knees). You can keep extra supplies or books that you don't need on a daily basis in this hidden storage area.

Have Some Fun With Your Tools – There are more colors and styles and options on the market than ever before, so we did some searching and curated a few top options that we consider the coolest desk accessories available. And not only are they cool, but they're functional. We're always thinking double duty.

usb fishtank and desk traffic light rotary style cellphone holders and thunder bolt power strip

And if you need some double duty design help, please give us a call to book your own personalized consultation to see how we can help improve the functionality and design of your work life (or your homework life).

Closetos Launches New Website Design

Closet Organizing Systems Website Re-design SceenshotCloset Organizing Systems is excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website. now features an updated layout which is compatible with all electronic devices. One of the most noticeable changes on our refreshed site is its navigation and newly designed homepage, which boasts a new slideshow and thumbnail graphics that highlight our gallery pages. Our revamped gallery pages also feature an easy to use format that showcase our latest designs.

The ClosetOS team has worked collaboratively to update our website to be used as a valuable resource just for you. We look forward to hearing any feedback from you.

If you have any questions or comments about the new site, please contact us at


Under The Stairs

under the stairs unused space staircase space ideas

Any multi-level house has stairs. And most people want to utilize this ready-made storage space as well as they can. As closet and storage designers, we discuss this space with our clients frequently.

Sometimes they want to put a desk in the space. Another really popular request is to add as much shelving as possible so they can store treasured “stuff”, because, let's face it, if you're storing it underneath stairs, you're likely not using the items very often.

If you're open to going beyond expected storage solutions for this space, here are some additional ideas:

-Bike storage. You can get hooks to hold the bikes that can be installed either on the angled upper area or on the side wall. It makes for very easy access for people who ride bikes frequently but don't want them blocking the path to the door.

desk under staircase-Bookshelves. This build out can be a bit more complicated if you're really going for a “built-in” look. A simple approach is to buy some bookshelves or, better yet, be open to your designers perspective in conjunction with your budget. Don't try filling in all of the space.

-Bar cart. This is a great nook space to stash something on wheels that you don't use on a daily basis, and a bar cart often fits that bill. You entertaining tools will be at the ready for when you're entertaining, but out of the way otherwise.

-Bathroom. This takes a contractor and things like plumbing and electrical, but it's a really good use of this space.

-Guest sleeping nook. With the right build out and an abundance of cushions and pillows, a sleeping (or nap taking) nook can be a really awesome way to utilize this space.

But you want to know the EASIEST use of this space?

Keep it open or put in one or two shelves (max) and store things like holiday decorations. These are often in big boxes, they're only accessed once a year and can be stacked and blocked because you don't need to get at them on a daily basis.

desk built into side of staircase staircase cabinetry

Top Shelf Awards 2015 Closet OS Winners

This year Closet Organizing Systems earned 3 honorable mentions in the Closets and Home Office categories and 1 Top Shelf Award in the Garage category. We now have 11 Top Shelf Awards and 8 honorable mentions on our record which is quite an accomplishment in a period of 7 years since these events started.

In the Garage over 600 square feet category, Bill Curran Jr. of Closet Organizing Systems took the win with his "Garage Bunker" design.

Garage Bunker

In the Closet: Laminate more than 18 linear feet category, two Honorable Mention awards went to Closet Organizing Systems. Donna Siben, for her “Master Closet Geometry Puzzle,” and Bill Curran, Jr. for his "Snow White Master" design.

Master Closet Geometry Puzzle Snow White Master Closet

In the Home Office: under150 square feet category, Donna Siben earned another Honorable Mention award, for her “Making a Home Office Devine,” design.

Making a Home Office Devine 

Top closet and storage designers and custom woodworkers were celebrated at the 2015 Cabinets & Closets Gala Awards reception, held April 15 at the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center.

Top Shelf and Design Portfolio awards are given to honor designers for their creative organizational solutions and for their outstanding design, craftsmanship and execution. Each category is intended to highlight functionality and originality, as well as design.

5 in 1 Mudroom

Located right inside the garage door this 5 in 1 mudroom wears many hats to support busy professionals and their growing family. The space was needed to manage a mountain of shoes/coats, technical devices, paperwork and mail, housecleaning supplies and equipment in addition to the inevitable daily pile of dirty laundry.

angled mudroom cabinetscomputer, tablet, mobile phone custom charging station

The long and narrow existing Laundry Room/Mudroom space included a standard washer and dryer on the long wall and a reach-in closet that did nothing to organize the clutter. Making matters worse, this space is off the garage and the first view after a hectic day. They wanted their first glimpse of “home” to be a sigh of relief along with the traditional feel of the décor of the rest of their home.

Keeping the narrow space open drove us to the use of lighter materials (Glazed Ivory Melamine with Raised Panel Faces) and using the height to our advantage (9’ Ceilings).  We chose Upper Cabinets to the Ceiling with Glazed Extra Large Crown Molding and Extra Large Continuous Base Trim to provide a visual balance. Venetian Bronze Hardware and Oil Rubbed Bronze rods, hooks, etc. complement the Walnut Glazing.

vacuum storage mudroomlaundry room with hidden laundry chute in cabinets

Removing the closet to enlarge the space and moving the Washer and Dryer to the back wall were approved by the clients.  Since the laundry originates primarily on the second floor and the area above this space was acceptable to a Laundry Shoot, careful placement of the cabinets allows the flow of laundry into a center cabinet on the back wall with a stationary top door and special clasp on the operable door to avoid stray unmentionables from escaping.

All cabinets on that rear wall were made 28” Deep for the Stackables and to house more laundry. Detergents and Laundry Items are stored on Pull Outs below. The sink cabinet provided the ability for the occasional hand washables with a rod above for drip drying.

cabinet drawer shoe storage

Custom Lucite shoe inserts were used in some of the lower extra large drawers on the long wall. Shoes are stored perpendicular and the custom slots were engineered to meet this family’s needs. Vacuum cleaners, Laundry Baskets and Drying Racks were carefully measured to find their home in their own cabinet.  Lockers for the Children and for the Adults (including briefcase storage) are concealed with doors allowing one Open Locker with Glazed Beadboard backing to break up the monotony.

A family charging Station with mail/paperwork slots, plenty of room for cell phones, I-Pods, I-Pads plus the children’s electronic gadgets was added to as an end cabinet.

The Clients are thrilled with the outcome!

Closet OS Earns Angie’s List Super Service Award for 4th Year

Angies List 2014 Super Serivce AwardAward reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Closet Organizing Systems has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2014.

"We are pleased to receive our 2014 Super Service award from the Angie’s List community a fourth year running for the company," said Bill Curran President of Closet Organizing Systems. "We place high value on customer reviews and recognize consumers are doing their due diligence before selecting just any closet company. Other customer testimonials and experiences help the consumer validate their selection and purchasing process," Bill Curran added.

“Only about 5 percent of the Custom Closets, Design, and Organizing Systems for Home and Office companies in the Chicagoland Area have performed consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2014 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2014 Super Service Certification logo next to company names in search results on


To learn more about Closet Organizing Systems visit us on the web at
or to speak to one of our design professionals, please call toll free 1-800-521-4267.


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