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The Most Important Questions to Ask Your Closet Designer

Important Questions To Ask Your Closet DesignerCloset storage space is some of the most valuable space in your home.

It’s also the space where you can hide things from view, whether you don’t like seeing the clutter or you want to keep others from seeing it.

If  you’re investing in organizing this space so you get the most from it, you’re sure to want a terrific experience with an experienced designer. In order to help you achieve that goal, we took it upon ourselves to share some of the best questions you can ask your closet designer to be assured you’ll be happy with the results.

Here are those questions:

- How much experience does the designer have and has she/he worked on projects like yours before?

- What are the best elements of the company they work with? What differentiates their design solutions and products from those of other local closet companies?

- Do they have a favorite “go to” solution that they’ve seen work effectively time and again?

- Do they specialize in a certain style?

- Can they deliver what you want within your budget and timeline (this means that, as the client, you need to know both of these pieces of information and communicate about them with your designer early on).

- What’s their customer service/satisfaction process?

- Have they worked in your neighborhood (perhaps you know a neighbor and could see the work completed and ask the neighbor about their experience working with the company).

- Have them tell you about their installation team. Ours is awesome, loves their jobs and take great care in making sure home items are protected while we install your project.

- If you have a specific design/storage challenge - can they solve the problem as their normal scope of work. Sometimes the storage solution you want is more involved than a simple closet system with panels and shelves.

Having a discussion about specifics early on can save the issues that arise from miscommunication later on.

And just to ease your mind for a moment and tout the wonders of our own team - we are among the best in the country. Our design team has won more Top Shelf Design Awards than any other company. We’ve got extensive, excellent shop capabilities and love combining the two to get awesome results for your projects.

Blended Design

Closet Organizing Systems and Denise Butchko recently collaborated on a project titled "Channeling Frank Lloyd Wright." The objective of the project was to blend modern cabinetry elements into a Chicago Craftsman home. This led to transforming a traditional vacant dining room into a multi-functional library space that could be used more frequently.

Wright believed in designing structures that needed to be in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture.

This custom built cabinetry is unique in that it uses two different textured melamine wood tones. Autumn Leaves was used for the primary cabinets and shelving structure and Winter Cherry for the visible backing areas. The three piece door construction combined Winter Cherry as the center panel and Autumn Leaves as the edge rails. The open display areas combined Autumn Leave framed upper doors with lightly textured Chinchilla patterned glass inserts.

Using Denise’s design, Closet Organizing Systems mission was to carry that vision to reality through the cabinetry design and construction in order to fulfill the client’s expectations and be in harmony with the existing architecture. As Frank Lloyd Wright once said "The space within becomes the reality of the building."

Does This Closet Make Me Look Fat?

closet purging and organizationFace it, there are days when you feel like everything makes you look fat (we hate those days).

And then there are the “power days” when you can take a good look at what’s shoved into your closet that, honestly, makes the closet itself look fat. And you realize it’s not you. It’s the shopping choice you’ve made.

It is that time of year, and today is the day to make some new choices and actually let go of some things.

I know. You’ve heard and seen and read about closet purging and the value of being organized many times. The media covers it every change of season.

There’s a reason for that. And that reason is because it’s important.

It’s easy to shop sales and add things to your closet. It’s fun. You think it will “look cute with a pair of jeans” (most overused excuse for random purchase) or it will go well with your black suit.

As the endorphin purchasing rush fades (faster than the couple of pounds you’ve added to your hips), you’re stuck with more items in your closet than you really know what to do with.

Consider this:

If you happen to travel for business, take a good hard look at the key items you repeatedly select to travel in.

They are typically key pieces that feel great on, don’t wrinkle, can be layered and give you confidence as you wear them to meet clients or co-workers.

Then pull the garments out from the dark corners of your closet. You know, the ones you feel you need to keep “just in case”. Try them on. See how they look at feel. If the answer isn’t ‘great”, then do everyone a favor and pack them up for Goodwill.

If you don’t travel for work, take a look at the garments hanging front and center in your closet. The ones you wear to the office when you know you’ve got an important meeting. These are the “keepers”. The pieces that work for and with you and your body type and style.

Take the same approach with the “hidden in the corner” garments and let them go. Don’t think about the money you spent on them. Think about the new energy these garments are blocking because you keep holding on to something that doesn’t serve you.

We know it takes energy. But once you get started, it’s such a great process. It becomes an even bigger feeling of freedom and confidence to look at things you love (that love you back!).

And then your custom designed closet can be created so it works with the good choices you’ve made. The space that will allow your best to shine through. Isn’t that what we all want anyway?

The Benefits of Having a Closet Design Consultant During the Planning Stages of Your Project

Closet Design ConsultationIn some ways this topic reminds me of the old saying “Give a man an inch and he’ll take a mile”.

Clients start planning their home renovation project by thinking about their spaces, use of natural light, and material selections they want along with their must have things like granite and certain types of appliances, or electronics.

They want “spa like” bathrooms and open concept kitchens for entertaining, which are all terrific ideas. That’s the “mile” in terms of design.

Let’s talk about the “inch”. The “inch” standing in for where you’re going to store all your stuff. Your clothes. Your electronics. The kids toys. Sports equipment. Office supplies. Holiday decorations. The list goes on.

Bringing on a closet design consultant as part of your team in the early stages allows you to maximize the space you have.

It also lets you make the most of spaces. Closet design consultants think in terms of utilizing every inch of space. So they’ll often be able to identify nooks for special storage needs.

They’ll also be able to help you plan storage space for specific needs. Maybe you’ve got sports equipment, artist supplies, or some really over-sized trophy item from your great, great grandfather that you don’t want out in the family room, but can’t part with.

And there are the functional things like whether a door swings into a space or out of a space. As closet designers, we like to minimize the effect doors have on our designs as much as possible, mostly because if the door swings into the room, we lose that storage space.

Similar issue with light switches and location of lights. We can help you plan so that maybe the switches are in the hallways instead of inside the closets. We can guide you on making sure light fixtures don’t interfere with storage fixtures, or the lighting helps properly illuminate a given storage area.

And what about power? Do you have outlets located in spaces that don’t interfere with the structure of the storage solution? We don’t want drawers blocking outlets if we can avoid it. Yet, we don’t want to design your entire closet around where your outlets have landed. Talking with us in the early stages of construction can help you avoid those unforeseen design obstacles.

Having a closet design consultant as part of your renovation team is one of the best investments you can make. And it will net you one of the greatest returns. So give us a call, we’d love to talk with you further about ways we can help you make the most of your project.

Closet OS Earns Angie’s List Super Service Award for 7th Consecutive Year

Angie’s List 2016 Super Service AwardCloset Organizing Systems has once again earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of customer service to members of the local services marketplace.

Companies that can meet higher demands without missing a beat in their exemplary performance standards truly do stand apart from their peers. Only a fraction of the closet companies in Chicagoland and surrounding areas were able to achieve this.

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, pass a background check, and be in good standing with Angie’s List.

“Angie’s List has provided us with a 2016 Super Service Award (SSA) for being a top Closet System provider in our serving markets. This is the 9th award from Angie’s List and 7th year running. “We are honored to be recognized and acknowledged by Angie’s List and their member base for offering superior service in the closet industry.” Bill Curran, Owner of Closet Organizing Systems

Make Special Holidays Less Stressful With An Organized Gift Wrap Area

Gift Wrapping is a whole lot easier with all of your supplies within arm’s reach. Reduce clutter and stay organized this holiday season with a designated gift wrapping area. By staying orderly with your wrapping papers and packaging supplies will help make the holidays less overwhelming and let you have more time to spread holiday cheer.

gift wrapping area

Choose a designated area. Extra space or an open corner area in an office, basement, utility room or even a spare bedroom will work well. Make sure you have a sturdy and spacious desk or table top for a good working surface. A desk with drawers will provide storage for bows, ribbons, tissue paper, holiday cards and gift tags.

Maximize the cleanliness and organization of your gift wrapping area. Use wall mounted dowels to display and provide easy access to your favorite gift wrapping papers and ribbons. Additional paper storage can be provided with an umbrella stand, tall decorative basket or even a tall garbage can next to the area.

Cubbies with labels and shelving above the gift wrapping area provide a designated space for tape, scissors, bows, pens, markers greeting cards, thank you cards and decorations. Add some personality to your custom gift wrap area with colorful caddy’s or baskets for even more supplies.

wrapping station

Gift Wrap Area Extras. A Cork or Bulletin board will display invitations for upcoming events and serve as a reminder to keep track of your holiday and party invites. A wireless speaker, or radio to play the holiday tunes and get you in the holiday spirit while wrapping all those presents. A stool is also a good idea to get you off your feet while you work because we all know how much work it can be to wrap all those presents, especially if you have a big family or little ones!

Let Closet Organizing Systems get you started by designing a custom gift wrap area for you today. Give us a call, we promise you will love it! Happy Holidays!

garage custom gift wrapping area

Why A White Closet Is Always Timeless

The “color” white lives in our worlds in all kinds of ways and at all levels - from crisp linen sheets to fluffy, super soft toilet paper.

And when it comes to white, we humans tend to do things like buy white dishes so we can decorate around them with holiday napkins and floral arrangements.

We buy white towels because we can throw them all in the washing machine with a dash of bleach and we’re good to go.

But why do we also choose white for long-standing home items like cabinets and moldings?

What makes white so timeless, and as such, a smart investment?

It goes beyond just selecting white because we’re afraid of making a color mistake.

The simple color of white is clean and simple and offers a look of sophistication whether it’s traditional, contemporary or transitional.

The neutrality of white, the absence of contrast, provides a sense of calm that can help in unseen ways with our over stimulated senses.

White visually expands a space. So when we take it specifically to closets, that can be a key factor in getting the organized, peaceful, spacious feel we all long for in our closets.

So if your wardrobe is filled with the brightest stars from the runway, white serves as an excellent backdrop. It’s a great closet neutral that can show off the true colors of your wardrobe. 

And you can count on it standing the test of time. So at the risk of taking you down a scary path with a history lesson, white also represents cleanliness and good sanitation. Not romantic, to be sure, but who doesn’t want a clean closet?

Yes, we’ve moved light years beyond Henry Ford’s quote about “you can have it any color you’d like, as long as it’s white” and into such hyper personalization that we really could build you a closet with photos of your children screened onto the door panels. But really, is that who and what you want in your closet? Or would you rather have something that will serve both form and function to make your life easier for years to come (much unlike your children’s tendencies).

We thought so.

Trending Closet Materials

Material makeup has a big impact on the design and building of a closet. If you're one of the people who's always "on trend", here's the latest in closet design materials so you can incorporate the ones best suited to your own personal style.

We've moved past the days of ornate design, cumbersome cabinetry and fancy details in mouldings and rosettes.

Today it's:

  1. - Clean Lines
  2. - Uncomplicated Design
  3. - Color and Texture

And texture is dominating the landscape. It can be visual and tactile. It can be rough, linear, embossed or even smooth, depending upon the material you select.

And you can mix it up. By that we mean you can finish part of the designed space in one color/texture and another part in a solid. You frequently see this style in kitchen designs. The kitchen island will be a dark wood and the cabinets are light or white. You can also spice up your garage space or create a built-in wall unit with a combination of materials.

You can balance it out. Sometimes too much texture is just that – too much! Consider the above option to create more a more balanced, soothing feeling and incorporate neutrals. Selecting a neutral color (like off white) with a textured material is a great way to balance designs out.

Go Sideways. We're not talking about the wine-drinking kind of sideways from the movie of the same title. We're talking about grain direction here. When incorporating large doors or drawers, running the grain in a horizontal direction is absolutely on trend.

And what are some suggestions for great ways to mix and match to get your perfect closet combination?

Here are some of our favorites:

Physiological Benefits of Closet Organization

Who would have thought, it feels so good to be organized? Reducing clutter and systemizing your belongings is food for the soul. Closet organization is a great start to eliminating untidiness and benefiting both your mind and body.

Did you know removing excess clutter from the home can drastically eliminate the time spent on housework? Not overloading the walls with family photos and artwork and avoiding to clutter shelves with books and nick-knacks make for a visually appealing and cleaner home. Putting the laundry in the washer in a timely fashion, utilizing storage bins or baskets, also attribute to freeing up space in the home.

closet clear bin storage 

When everyday essentials that are used daily are in constant disarray, this can often lead to simple tasks, such as quickly putting together an outfit, to become more draining and hectic than necessary.

People often get overwhelmed on where to start when their personal items are in disorder, and this causes unnecessary psychological stress. Working with professionals can alleviate some of that stress; they can assist with prioritizing your belongings and develop personalized storage solutions. Closet Organizing Systems has a team of skilled professionals that can come to your organization rescue.

Staying on top of your organization can be especially helpful in developing a more consistent schedule, and make one more efficient. In the end, organization can free up time, and conserve your mental and physical energy, to experience the other wonders of your life that give it meaning and joy.

closet belongings organization 

Organization With A View

Why not turn the unused space in your window area into extra seating and storage? Window benches are gaining popularity in homes. This type of built-in bench located under a window in the home is also referred to as a banquette. Built-in bench style window seating can be incorporated into many areas of a home and can be custom crafted to flow with the symmetry of a window area. Bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, walk-in closets, staircase landings and foyers are a few choice locations for a window bench or banquette.

L Shaped Window Seat 

Certain window bench locations may cause a glare or added heat from it's sun exposure. Selecting window coverings, such as blinds or shades which complement the room’s surroundings can make the bench more enjoyable and comfortable. In a high traffic area like a kitchen or family room, window-seat cushions crafted with outdoor fabric will prevent sun fading and hold up to more wear and tear. Thick cushions, similar to couch cushion depth will also provide good back support.

Windows located in the corner of a room provide an excellent location for an L-shaped, straight window bench seat. This is an excellent way to add drawer storage to your window seat build. Curved bays or windows with radiators tucked beneath can call for clever solutions in which a window seat, bench or banquette would be a perfect solution.

A window bench seat across a straight wall gives instant built-in storage and can be painted to match surrounding furnishings. Adding drawers and custom cabinetry to the banquette is a great way to have your seating area multi-functional. There are many stylish and inventive ways to create a picture perfect window seat and make the most out of an ordinary window space in your home.

Walk In Closet Window Bench Seat