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Closet Organizing Systems Blog

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!

How To Organize a Shared Closet


his hers shared closetThe “His” and “Her” sections of a closet ( or His/His or Hers/Hers) come up frequently in a design consultation. Honestly, it's often a 2/3 Her and 1/3 His division.

But once you get past that, what about getting a handle on all the items you're hoping to store in this shared walk in closet?

Here are some ideas for creating harmonious space (and maybe even a better love connection).

If you're a husband and wife ensemble, you need to go through your “ensembles” together.

neatly organized shared closetsYour colorful fashion doesn't always allow enough space or access for his fundamental function. So, try on the clothing in question and get that second opinion. And be open. If your spouse hates the sorority/fraternity party shirt that looks like it  came from the movie Flash Dance, you should toss it. Same goes for his version of that.

Here's the upside of going down that path. It facilitates communication between the two of you. You can be honest with each other and avoid future arguments as you're ready to walk out the door. It also might shed some new insights on what your partner thinks is “hot”. How cool could that be (or hot?)?

As for specifics, focus on one person at a time. Allow a certain number of veto votes for those items you just love so much you can't dream of parting with them.

shared closet storage ideasAlso, put some “storage structure” into the closet. If you have a column of shelves for shoes and it allows a total of 24 pair until it's maxed out, then you now have a set number of shoes that are allowed in the wardrobe. If you buy a new pair, an old one needs to go.

Also, if you have double hang rods, consider having the top rod be “his” and the bottom rod be “hers”. The taller the person, the easier it is for them to reach the upper rod.

And be respectful. Don't just throw things on the floor that your partner has to step over when they enter the space. Either install some hooks somewhere or make it a point to either put things back on the hanger, folded back on a shelf or tossed into the laundry bin. The floor is no longer a choice!

By incorporating these strategies and putting in a few hours of time, you'll not only save yourself a ton of time over the long haul, but you'll likely improve your relationship. Sounds like a win/win!

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.

How a Disorganized Closet Can Cost You Money


Many of us would like to have closets that are better organized and dream of someday having a custom closet. But can a disorganized closet cost you money? In a way, it can.

A recent study conducted by Cooperative Insurance found that "3,000 women were surveyed and the results found that the average lady has 11 pairs of shoes worth nearly $660 sitting in our closets that have rarely or never been worn," according to Yahoo Shine.

So, what does this have to do with closet organization? It's simple - if your closet isn't organized you likely don't know how many pairs of shoes you actually own. If your shoes are buried at the bottom of your closet instead of arranged on a shelf in a custom closet, you may forget about a pair or two or twelve.

A custom closet solution will allow you to see all your shoes - making it more likely that you will wear the shoes you have more and less likely you will spend money to purchase shoes you don't really need.

Although, that may only be part of the problem. According to the study and Yahoo,
  • 37% of women buy shoes to cheer them up
  • 52% buy shoes specifically to go with a new outfit
  • 18% buy shoes to keep up with a trend
  • 10% buy shoes because they're plain old obsessed
  • 31% have knowingly bought shoes in the wrong size because they liked them
  • 22% have shoes all over the house and even in their car
  • 21% never get rid of old shoes
While an organized closet or custom closet solution may not help with all of the above, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

Make A Grand Entrance with a Closet Storage System


Whenever you’re entering a space – whether it’s a room, a building or even a town – the initial impression has a big impact on your experience.

So don’t let piles of keys, phones, gym shoes and wallets make you feel unorganized when you enter your home.

Incorporate a closet organization system and these ideas to make it look and feel better:

1) Consider a closet storage system with doors and drawers. Then you can hide all the things people dump when company calls closet storage systemsimply by closing things up. And if you plan wisely (or get lucky) you’ll have an accessible electric outlet so those gadgets can be plugged in and charging while in hiding.


But if that’s not an option, try a recharging pad. Duracell, Philips and Powermat offer options.

2) Incorporate space for hooks – preferably staggered at two different heights. It’s the easiest way to get family members to stop throwing things on the floor.

3) Build in shelves for shoes. Shoes are notorious clutter bugs. Shelves provide an easy space to stash them and make life less stressful.

4) Reflect Beautifully! Adding a wall mirror – or some mirrored doors to your closet storage system – can be a nice touch of elegance and give you that “last look” as you dash out the door to face the day ahead.

In Honor of Earth Day, Why Not Clean Out Your Closet?


Spring is officially here, and with it comes all sorts of reminders of things we should all be doing on a regular basis - there's a reason they call it "spring cleaning," after all. But reducing clutter and getting organized isn't just good for your home and a great way to start off the season; it can also benefit the Earth and local nonprofits.

How? According to Goodwill Industries, "when you donate to Goodwill, you are also helping to keep materials out of the waste stream.  At Goodwill, we make a positive impact on the environment by being proponents and practitioners of re-use. Every year, Goodwill demonstrates social and environmental leadership by implementing strategies that decrease our collective carbon footprint, create jobs for people who need them most, and provide environmentally responsible solutions for businesses and government.

We accept donations of many gently used items that can be reused as intended or in new, creative ways. Earth Day is a reason to clean out closets and get rid of things you don’t need or want any longer. Donate the clean, saleable items to Goodwill, and our stores will sell the merchandise to eco-friendly shoppers who are also passionate about reusing items and diverting them from landfills.”

In honor of Earth Day, why not spend some time today or this weekend clearing out the clutter? Your closet, your local Goodwill and Mother Earth will thank you.

And as a reward for a job well-done, why not look into having a custom closet designed to make sure that you stay organized?

Reduce Clutter and Unclog Your Closet


We are going to provide 3 tips on how to reduce clutter and unclog your closet. If you are like most of us, you probably haven’t even looked at all the stuff clogging and cluttering up your closet lately. Now is a great time to prioritize and de-clutter.

Do you have more than four pair of jeans in your closet right now?

How about black high shoes and black dresses? How many of those do you have?

And what about flip-flops? How many pair of those are flapping around in the corner somewhere?

Probably too many – and they are clogging your closet.

Yuck.

Who wants a clogged anything –let alone a clogged closet.

Implement these Drano like tips and your life will be flowing more smoothly before you can say “this doesn’t fit me anymore”:

1) Be Realistic – Think in Terms of Cost Per Wearing

A special occasion dress you wear once that costs $250 = a $250 cost per wearing.

A $100 pair of jeans that you wear twice a week for a year = a $1.00 cost per wearing.

Don’t let money just hang in your closet like a bad wire hanger. Make sure the money you spend on garments goes in and out of the closet frequently.

2) Get Baskin Robbins Out Of Your Closet

Sometimes it’s chocolate – sometimes it’s mint chip – but it’s still ice cream.

How that translates to your closet is that eight to ten pair of black high heels still boils down to black high heels.

It’s understood that you have different moods and different occasions and different pant lengths – but ten flavors of the same thing is a closet clogger.

3) Function and Beauty Go In The Closet – Just Beauty Goes On Your Walls As Art

Buying something because you appreciate its’ beauty is a wonderful thing. But if you never wear it – and it’s in your closet – it’s a waste of money.

If you’re a city dweller – you know not to purchase a painting or sculpture without a place to display it. Apply the same principle to your closet.

Don’t put things in your closet that aren’t going to work for you. See an example below of a recent closet de-clog that we helped perform for a client.

Cluttered Closet        Reduced Clutter Closet
Before                                                                            After

Does Your Chicago Closet Contain Useless Stuff?


Truth be told – we all do – in varying degrees.

It could be an old letter sweater or favorite college t-shirt.
Chicago closet organization tips
It could be some gorgeous shoes that are comfortable for about a tenth of a nano-second (but look smokin’ hot!) so you never make it out the door with them on - you bury them in your Chicago closet.

It could even be a wedding dress or other sentimental item.

Not only do these items take up very important space that could be utilized more effectively, they also take up mental energy every time you see them and think about how they’re just sitting there – taking up space in your Chicago closet.

A study was conducted by The Daily Mail that professes that every woman has at least 22 items in her closet she never wears but refuses to throw out. If you run a total on that it comes to over 500 million items that will never be worn.

Impulse buys are the main reason for the unworn clothing “pile-up” according to almost half the women polled. And get this – only one in eight regularly do a closet purge and one in fifty delay the task for at least ten years!


Statistically, the most common unworn items are jeans (you know- the ones you’re going to fit back in to when you lose 10 pounds).
Chicago closet organization
The second biggest culprit is shoes, with about 20% of women stashing up to six pairs of shoes that they will never wear.

But wait!

Men are affected by this too! In fact, men tend to have an average of 19 items lurking in their closets that they will never wear again – most of which were impulse, sale items.

So what’s the “take away” of all these fun stats?

The take away is that you need to take those unused items AWAY! Get them out of your Chicago closet.

It will give you more room to move, more space to think, and more options to look and feel better – and isn’t that what every great Chicago closet should do?

Two Fail Proof Ways to Get Out of Your Custom Closet Looking Great in 2011!


custom closet built in Chicago by Closet OSHaving an organized custom closet is a beautiful thing and makes your daily dressing ritual so much easier when everything has a space and is it in the right place.

But a custom closet doesn’t solve every dressing dilemma you are often faced with – like what to wear to the company holiday party or a corporate networking event with the business owners. Once outside the “dress code” comfort zone, how do you know what is appropriate?

“Dressing for business these days has evolved into “situational dressing”, defined more by tasks, audience, position and industry than anything else,” says Jill Bremer, Bremer Communications, Chicago Illinois.

Here are two tips that will help you always look your best – no matter the situation.

Don’t under dress.

It’s usually better to exceed expectations. Showing up a little overdressed probably won’t hurt you, but dressing too casually can be a career-staller, if not a career-killer altogether.

“There will always be someone in your department or company that is pushing the dress code envelope – and not in a good way. Just because they’re getting away with dress code murder doesn’t mean it’s okay. Remember the old adage – 'Dress for where you’re going.' It will make getting there all the easier.” advises Bremer.

Think “crisp”.

What’s crisp? It’s a look comprised of fabrics that stand away from the body instead of conform to it. It means shirts with a collar instead of knit shirts, T’s or sweaters. It means pants that hold a crease rather than jeans or sweats, according to Bremer. A custom closet can provide appropriate storage for those items to ensure that they maintain their "crisp" appearance between wears.

Structured fabrics convey professionalism and respect. Soft, unstructured fabrics can look mushy and put a spotlight on curves and bulges.

“My recommendation is to wear crisp fabrics instead of or on top of soft or stretchy fabrics. If you plan to wear only a top and a bottom, make the top item a shirt instead of a knit top,” says Bremer. And she adds – “If you want to wear a knit top, simply add a jacket. Leave your body’s curves to the imagination and you’ll help others see you as the serious professional you are.”

Great tips for getting yourself out of your closet and into your life with success and ease.

You can find more tips from executive coach Jill Bremer at http://www.jillbremer.com.

Keep Your Closet Organization Resolution – 5 Tips


Chances are, if you are like most Americans, you made a New Year’s Resolution on the first of the year. One of the most popular resolutions is to get organized – closet organization, home office organization, etc. But if you’re going to stick to your organization resolution, you’re going to need a plan.

In fact, according to Bill Curran, president of Closet Organizing Systems™, your project could be doomed before you even start. “With the holidays behind us and our new resolutions upon us there is a sense among many of being disorganized. [We know we need to get organized] but too often it is without a real plan to make it happen. A written down organization plan with a set of priorities is a must these days; otherwise, the task is daunting for many. New projects with a custom home organization system can be taken in steps as well in order to be done economically.”

Here are five tips to help you get - and stay - organized in 2011:

1. Assess – Before you can organize the things you own, you need to figure out exactly how much that is. We all have things buried at the back of closets or in the bottom or drawers that we forgot we had. If it’s been forgotten for over six months, you don’t need it. Ditto anything that doesn’t fit or is in poor condition.

2. Group – Now that you have weeded out items that you no longer need, it is time to separate the things you do need so that they are easy to store and locate in the future.

3. Invest – You’ve gone through your things and organized them, it’s time to invest in home office organization and/or closet organization systems. This is the most important tip, and it can make or break your resolution. With a custom closet or home office organization system, everything will have its place, making it effortless to keep your home office and closet organization resolutions.

4. Organize – Whether you do it yourself or opt for professional assistance, this is the step where you literally “get organized.”

5. Reassess – As with most resolutions, organization is an ongoing process. Resolve to go through your closet organization and home office organization systems every once in a while. Weed out things that are old or no longer serve a purpose. Revise systems that aren’t working as well as they should. Reorganize items by season. You get the idea.

Getting your home office organization or closet organization project underway doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and it doesn’t have to be “just a resolution.” If you follow the above steps, you can easily stick to your resolution and finally get organized in 2011. There are a variety of closet organization systems and home office organization systems available that can help you realize your dreams of “getting organized” – and staying that way through 2011 and beyond.



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