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Cut the Clutter

spring color blockingWe're all ready for spring to be sprung, and yet odds are good we've forgotten some of the New Year's resolutions that we made with such good intention. 

So, here are some ideas to help you “spring” back in to action and make some traction on the resolutions you made to “be more organized”, because, hey, it's time to recharge your organization resolutions and allow them to bloom in time for spring.

It's Inventory Time

Yes, it's inventory time. That means you need to stop yourself (right there inside your closet) before you go out to buy the latest spring trend. You need to get rid of some items that are no longer “on trend”.

Be honest.

Look at the pieces you've worn a lot because they were so hip and stylish, but are now looking worn or just don't feel current. Take two or three items, put them in a bag or box that's stashed in the back of your closet and leave them there. We'll add to it over time until it's full and ready to be moved from your closet to your trunk to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill or consignment shop.

Now Start Cutting Clutter in Other Parts of Your Home

linen storage bin

Start this process with a tape measure instead of a shopping trip.

People have a tendency to make a run to places like The Container Store or Target and buy some visually appealing containers and bring them home with hopes of solving their clutter issues.

It will work much more effectively if you measure the kinds of things you need to store before you go to the store. Doing this makes things more efficient and doesn't leave you with cute, half-empty containers in your closets that aren't quite the right fit for your stuff.

And if you're really looking to increase that zen-like feeling, keep your baskets and containers in the same or similar colors. Mixing colors and finishes together leads to a more cluttered look.  It's fine if you want to spice up your maple colored closet with a dark top and handles, but then make sure any accessories you add are harmonious in color and feel so it all flows seamlessly (just like you do in your life!).

Doors Aren't Just For Opening and Closing

Doors can be terrific spots for adding organization. In small spaces, you need to utilize vertical space as well as horizontal space – so - don't forget the doors. Using them to increase storage capacity is also an easy way to stay de-cluttered because the things you use frequently can be stored within easy reach.


spring 2013 colors

And as a last step, consider a little closet CPR. This term pops up every now and then in different organizing articles, and it's a good way to remember what you should do – Categorize, Purge and Rearrange.

When you're getting ready to change out your wardrobe from winter to spring, take a careful look at each item and categorize it. Is it a fabulous piece that you love wearing? If not, it gets purged (so place it in that bag or box that is in the corner of your closet). Next, take the items you still love and rearrange things. Look at things with new eyes. Consider pairing things together that you haven't worn that way before. Different color top under your favorite blazer instead of the white one you always wear. Or trendier shoes mixed with that traditional suit to spice things up just in in time to add spring into your step for the new season.

And if you need help with a new closet design after you've done all this work, give us a call. We'd be delighted to come out and give you some additional ideas on ways to maximize your storage with a newly designed closet system.

2013 Top Shelf Design Honors

For the fourth consecutive year, we are honored to have our designs selected for the annual Closets Top Shelf Design contest. We are thrilled to be acknowledged in the industry for our original closet and creative home organizational designs. 

multi-function office coat room  sleek white office storage room with island  

In the category  for "Home Office of 150 square feet or less", Tom Mayfield of Closet Organization Systems, received an honorable mention for his "Multifaceted Office Space" design. 

   mudroom docking station storage mudroom vaccumm cleaning product storage Laundry Room Mudroom Combination

Also, pictured above, Donna Siben of Closet Organizing Systems, received  an honorable mention in the "Specialty Rooms" category for her "5 in 1 Mudroom" design.

Congratulations to all the winners, especially our incredible designers. We will continue to grow and perfect the execution of our brilliant designs for closets and home storage solutions. As always, we will be working hard and looking forward to the 2013 Top Shelf Design competition. 

View our Top Shelf Design winners from previous competitions.

A Mirror For More Than A Look

Do you feel like you see yourself coming and going?

Or perhaps you can't keep up with how fast you're coming and going.

Still, you want to look good while you're “doing it all”, and well placed mirrors can make that so much easier, all while increasing functionality (that's almost better than having the prince rescue you!)

So take a moment to “look in the mirror” and see some wonderful ways that we've incorporated them into our closet designs. With any luck, you'll be inspired to do the same.

Mirrors make spaces look larger, so if you can incorporate mirrors into a walk in closet space, even if it's small, it will feel bigger. If it's already big, it will feel magnificent. Think about adding mirrors on door fronts, on the actual door to a closet, or on some wall space.

We're not suggesting you give up precious storage space in order to accommodate a mirror. We're suggesting you consider some clever ways to add them to your space without compromising a thing.

If you decide to put a mirror on the wall, make sure you will still be able to have a good line of sight and be able to see yourself once the closet is filled with your clothing. Clothing often sticks out beyond the panel structure of a closet and is deeper, so double check your viewing clearances.

And check the installation height location if it's a mirror that's not full length. If the woman who “wears” this closet is petite, make sure she can see her full face (at minimum) in the mirror. This comes in to play if you're putting mirrors on upper door cabinets.

There's also a 3-way mirror to consider. If you've got enough space in your Walk-In closet, a well-versed designer can create the space so that there is storage behind three sections that are hinged to open so they function like a 3-way mirror. Take a look at some of these pictures that illustrate the point more clearly.

And one more option, in case you just can't get enough! The closet industry offers what is known as a “Pull-Out Mirror”. It can be installed onto one of the vertical panels in your closet system and can be “pulled out” when you need it and pushed back into its' place when not in use. Again, a designer who's worth their salt can guide the design process so it's installed in a location that's functional.

Give us a call. One of our designers would be delighted to help you with that.

Angie’s List Super Service Award Three-peat Winner

Closet Organizing Systems is the proud recipient of an Angie’s List 2012 Super Service Award for a third consecutive year. We have been selected for achieving and maintaining superior service ratings by customers in both the Closets and Organization of Home and Garage categories. 

Our top priority is providing exceptional service to back our quality organizational products throughout the Chicago land area. We pride ourselves in maintaining positive customer relationships which have resulted in this honor once again. 

Less than 5% of thousands of businesses earn this award which honors excellence among service. Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have to meet strict eligibility requirements, including earning a minimum number of reports, a pristine rating from their customers and following Angie’s List operational guidelines. 

We would like to thank all of our customers for your continued support and feedback. As our promise to you we will continue to learn from our experiences together and push forward with customer satisfaction and superior service.
Angie's List Super Service Award for Closets Angie's List Home and Garage Organization Award

2012 Top Shelf Design Winners!!!!

Closet Organizing Systems (COS) was selected for two Top Shelf Design Awards to be announced at the 2012 Closet and Home Organizing Expo at the Austin Convention Center on February 15th in Austin, TX.  COS was selected for a melamine office system design and solid/wood veneer closet system. This is the 9th time that COS has been awarded a Top Shelf Design award by Closet Magazine over the last 7 years since its inception.

In the home office category Carey Ekstrom received a Top Shelf Award for her unique office solutions for a sitting/sun room adjacent to the client’s kitchen and living room. The client worked from home and required a functional, yet attractive workspace that blends with the family entertainment activities and compliments the visibility from both the kitchen and living room areas. Transforming a dated, non-functional area into an attractive, warm and inviting multi-purpose area in the home in which the family now looks forward to spending time together.  

In the Wood Veneer category Bill Curran received a Top Shelf Award a cherry stained master closet system simulated leather inserts in the door panels, thicker vertical side panels, full backing, and matching top and bottom moulding throughout the room. The closet was designed with a peninsula island cabinet with his/hers hampers, jewelry drawers, viewing mirror, and granite countertop which doubled for folding and packing clothes. The space also included a window seat bench with drawer storage and an upper lighting valance which is flanked by more hanging storage.

Awards were presented by TV personality Amanda LeBlanc of The Style Networks show “The Amada’s” at the 2012 Top Shelf Design Awards in Austin Texas.

Closet Organizing Systems Earns Angie’s List Super Service Award Again!

Angie's List Super Service Award 2011Closet Organizing Systems has been awarded the prestigious 2011 Angie’s List Super Service Award. Closet Organizing Systems won the same award in 2010, making this our second year receiving this honor, which is bestowed annually to approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated on the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.

“Our Super Service Award winners are the cream of the crop when it comes to providing consistently high quality customer service, as judged by the customers who hired them,” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List.

Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have met strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their customers and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines. Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List, but members can find the 2011 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on

Angie’s List collects consumer reviews on local contractors and doctors in more than 500 service categories. Currently, more than 1 million consumers across the U.S. rely on Angie’s List to help them make the best hiring decisions. Members get unlimited access to local ratings via Internet or phone, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List magazine and help from the Angie’s List complaint resolution service. Take a quick tour of Angie’s List and view the latest Angie’s List news.

Sometimes Simple is Stunning with Your Closet Design

Yes – it's true - sometimes simple solutions really make us happy.White Melamine Closet

And simple in the closet world often equates to utilizing white melamine to build the closet systems.

White melamine also happens to be the most popular kind of closet system installed in the U.S. (to the tune of about 75%).

Popular US Closet Option-MelamineThat's not to say that colored melamine or wood aren't great options – they are.  But take a look at the beauty that can result from doing white right.

It's the finishing touches and attention to detail, along with terrific closet design work by Donna Siben of our closet design team, that makes this closet work so well.

There are specific spots for shoes and for bags and for boots, along with drawer storage, shelving behind doors and plenty of hanging space.

White Melamine Closet bring beauty and sophisticationThe system is floor based to add to the built-in look.  Granite tops on the island and dresser really upgrade the look without adding lots of cost and then there's the crown and base moldings.

Moldings in any room really add to the beauty and sophistication. And they are a finishing detail that really White Melamine Closet Optionsgive a custom look and feel. There are an almost endless amount of choices if you're looking to add a base or crown molding to your project. They come in many sizes and can look contemporary to traditional and almost anything in between.

So if you're ready to solve your storage solutions challenges and want a sophisticated closet solution, give us a call or Request a Free Design Consultation and we'll guide you through the design maze and help you define the details that truly make it your own.

Incorporating Feng Shui Into Millwork

These very balanced and beautiful spaces started with just stark drywall and a concept of architecturally tying together an existing kitchen with new living and working spaces.   

The client has a strong affinity to living life in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui (in Chinese thought) is a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (chi), and whose effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.

So that thinking was woven into every design element.  We made sure we had clear pathways and balanced elements.

We also designed a two-sided fireplace, so that this powerful symbolic element could be enjoyed from both the living room and the home office.

Fireplaces are often the center of attention for any room, and this is not just because our ties to the fire element go back to the beginning of time.  Fire energy adds a strong presence to any room and is beautiful in its’ coloring and changing shapes.

Not only do fireplaces radiate heat, they blanket an atmosphere with feelings of stillness and comfort and the crackling sounds are peaceful and relaxing.

The wood on the walls that surround this feature is Sapele.  Sapele, which comes from a large, African tree, has a reddish-brown nature color.

One of the most remarkable features of Sapele is that the grain is interlocked and changes direction in frequent, irregular intervals. You could consider it very harmonious with a fire element because fire changes shape as an inherent property of what it is.

The praying Buddha was added by the client with the intention of serving as a symbolic reminder to practice meditation so it’s easier to live a life of balance and harmony.

Buddha literally translates to “enlightened one” and the higher off the ground a Buddha statue is placed, the more reverence it holds in the life of the owner.


10 Characteristics of Traditional Design

It’s common to find traditionally built homes in many Chicago suburbs.

And that often means traditional décor – closets included.

What elements make up “traditional” style?

Here’s a great list. Keep in mind, the more you find appealing on this list, the more likely you favor this popular style.

1. Nothing is extreme. Not color, not shape, not size. It’s more middle-of-the road.

2. It is a mix of straight and curved lines and the wood grains and coloring are mid-range to dark tones.

3. Accessories play a significant role as features with this décor. This shows up in trims, moldings and clear glass. It also shows up as accessories of all types being displayed.

4. The display features show up in pairs in an understated, not too heavy, kind of way.

5. This style feels comfortable to almost any age. Think timeless.

6. Corner cabinets and chair rails show up often in traditionally styled homes.

7. White ceilings are the most common color.

8. Reproductions of historically original pieces are a mainstay (another, more common term for these items is “knock off”). Maybe it’s a replica of a desk Thomas Jefferson used or an architectural element that dates back hundreds of years. It’s recreated to mimic the original piece and incorporated into today’s homes.

9. Things match. So not only do they come in pairs – they go together!

10. No surprises. There’s predictability to traditional style that yields a very positive element. The ride is typically smooth.

So if you feel yourself nodding in agreement, not only with most of the items on this traditional list, but wanting your closet or home office to look like the ones we’ve created, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you discover a custom storage solution with your style in mind.

Contemporary Design Elements

Contemporary Design Elements

 A custom closet can take on any look and feel a client wants.  It depends   not only on the budget and space available, but the personal style preferences of the homeowner and the style of the home itself.

Many basic closet systems fall into a somewhat contemporary feel because of the simple lines. And lines are the most obvious characteristic of contemporary design.  But here are some additional aspects to think about if you’re considering creating something contemporary:

-As much as we might overuse the term in the Chicago area, less really is more when it comes to contemporary design. It’s not about having lots of detail or décor elements.  It’s about editing so that there are only a few, key elements that really stand out.  Sometimes even just one element that stands out.  So think less about “stuff” and more about “statement”.

-Subtle sophistication is a true component of this style.  This is often interpreted through a neutral color base that is punched up with a shot of color in one or two places.

-Existing architectural elements can really serve contemporary design execution if they include things like exposed brick, which provides a natural texture, or high ceilings, which are a common component of contemporary design style.

-Geometry also comes in to play in contemporary design.  The shapes that show up in homes that are contemporary are typically angular or straight, versus the curves often associated with more traditional design.

If these elements appeal to your style sensibilities, you’re likely a fan of contemporary design.


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