man’s clothes closet: before + after

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This client just moved into this rental and wanted a quick inexpensive fix to his clothes closet. Here’s what I did:

Suits, sport coats, and dress shirts are on the left (facing right) with casual shirts and jackets on the right (facing left). An over-door shoe rack was mounted to the door to get shoes and small items off the floor and within easy reach. We left room for the missing shoes we’ll eventually find once he’s totally unpacked.

For a much needed additional upper shelf, I connected two small shelves to a long shelf using L brackets. It’s an easy cheap solution for a rental apartment that anyone can do. It’s connected to the back wall with an L-bracket to keep it stable.

 

 

man’s elfa closet

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I know, wire hangers??  Most men will not bother to switch out their dress shirts from dry cleaner hangers since they can only get one wear out of them before washing, so it’s all good. For shirts that won’t be worn a lot like tuxedo shirts, I suggest switching them out so they’re not on the wire hangers for extended periods of time.

In this rental apt, the closet had an Elfa system so I moved things around a bit, adding more upper shelves and an additional hanging bar to best suit this client’s needs. That is one benefit of Elfa, it can be reconfigured easily.

Because of the sliding doors I hung the shoe rack on the side wall of the closet with Ook Hooks using the existing holes. I secured it to the wall in the corners and in the middle with Ook Hook nails. If you don’t secure it to the wall, it moves around which can be annoying. I do that even if I’m hanging it on the door (just note if you do this and are in a rental it will leave holes that you will have to fill).

Nerd note: as shown in the last pic, the hanging bar is too long and I’ve since cut it down…

more cosmo pics

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I just received the rest of the shots from Cosmo shoot from April and couldn’t wait to share with you.

It was such a great experience overall but my favorite part was when photographer Jessica Antola was setting up and she asked me how I normally have my closets shot. I told her I take my Canon PowerShot and try to angle it to get the most in the picture… I’ve never had my work professional photographed and I was so happy to have Jessica be the first. Click on her name to see more of her work.

All images courtesy of Cosmopolitan Magazine, shot by Jessica Antola.

walk-in closet

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I helped this client get settled into her previous apt and I was happy when she called me again for this move. She didn’t want to spend too much time or money to make the closet more functional (a couple upper shelves and rod don’t make for a crazy functional or fabulous closet), so here’s what I did….

We wanted all the clothes in the this closet without the need for a separate dresser so I added this tall bookcase that provides tons of easy storage. Muji bins keep the open shelves neat, holding bras, socks, underwear, bathing suits, etc. Since she doesn’t have a lot of shoes we kept the often worn pairs out with the fancier pairs kept in their original boxes, with off-season (boots) on the upper shelf. She’s amazingly tall so having things on the upper shelves is not a problem. Thank goodness they had a ladder for me!! 

The clothes, going from left to right are categorized: least worn special occasion dresses, jackets/blazers, top and blouses, skirts then dresses. Instead of having everything facing the same way, I prefer everything face YOU which means everything facing  center. I hate it when clothes have their back to you….  For this closet, the skirts and dresses face left and the rest facing right. 

The leaning mirror fit along the left wall with an inch to spare, making it more of a dressing room than closet. I suggested adding a small area rug and even switching out the overhead light but she’s working with an interior designer and didn’t want to get anything until they spoke.

 

 

 

 

off-season storage

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4548718428854muji soft box

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If you live in an area with change of seasons I recommend storing your off-season clothes and accessories for the following reasons:

  • to give you more room in your closets + drawers
  • to take the time clean all clothes and storage 
  • to reacquaint yourself with what you have
  • so you’re not distracted by clothes you cannot wear now

DO’S 

  • go thru small batches of things at a time. start with hanging clothing, then the folded items on upper shelves, then to the drawers…
  • pull out only those pieces to be stored for the off-season
  • make labeled piles: store, clean, to try on
  • vacuum as much as you can. in the closet: walls, shelves, corners, baseboards, and oh yeah, the floors. in drawers: pull out the drawers if you can, and vacuum out the frame of the dresser, then the drawers themselves; inside and outside. then wipe everything down with gentle cleaner.

DON’T

  • pull everything out of the closet, it’s too overwhelming, worst advice ever!!
  • just stand there staring, glancing over the rack and piles. be methodical.
  • edit too much of the past season’s clothing. people tend to get rid of too much when it’s not the current season. 
  • follow the rule: if you haven’t worn it in X amount of time, get rid of it. more irrational and crappy advice. if you haven’t worn it, it’s more important WHY you haven’t worn it. try it on. maybe it just needs to be altered or you just don’t know HOW to wear it. if that’s the case, trying pairing it with something you haven’t before; like if it’s a top or jacket you’ve only worn with nice pants, try with jeans.
  • think too hard. if you’re unsure if you’d wear it for the next few months, leave it where it is.

If you plan on traveling at least once in a different climate, still pull those pieces but create a ‘resort’ box to make packing that much easier. Don’t think about it too much, just put things in you may wear, then edit when packing. If you travel often in different climates it may make sense not do the switch, but still go thru the motions; cleaning your closet and drawers, and clean those pieces you haven’t in a while.


STORAGE OPTIONS

Knits can be folded and stored in breathable boxes or zippered bags. Delicate pieces or those you’d like to keep from getting wrinkled and can be hung in a breathable garment bag (not dry cleaner plastic).

Store your off-season in a cool dry area. Moths like moisture. They love when you store your clothes without cleaning them first. Especially those pieces you’ve only worn once or twice and you don’t think are ‘dirty’. We leave skin cells, body oils, and hair on everything we wear and that’s what moths feed off of.  If you have a silverfish issue, wrap your storage in nylon netting so they can’t get thru. Plastic storage containers trap moisture, use breathable zippered bag/boxes from The Laundress or Muji instead.

Color can be transferred onto leather so I suggest storing pieces individually in bags. I’ve reused large shoe or handbag dust bags for this very purpose, clean white cotton pillowcase, or hang them in their own cotton garment bag.

winter coat storage

Could it be true? Is spring here in NYC?? It’s not officially spring until you get at least 5 days straight of 50+ degree weather so yes, it’s here!!

Now the question is how to store your winter coats. You have a few options:
  • keep them hanging in the coat closet. I keep all my coats in the closet year round. If you have the room, there’s no reason to move them, BUT I do recommend cleaning them now..and hats, gloves, scarves!
  • send them to the dry cleaner to be cleaned + stored for the season. Most dry cleaners offer free storage if you pay for the cleaning.
  • hang them in another area/closet in breathable garment bags.
  • if none of these are viable options, clean then store in a large breathable bag under the bed. You want a large enough bag so they can be laid in rather than folded to keep their shape, plus they’re heavy so you may not want to lift them to a high shelf. I love these bags by The Laundress, even though they take 5-6 weeks to get (I know, but they’re made in the USA and are totally worth it!!)

thanks cosmo!

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Thanks to Joyce Chang, the executive editor at Cosmopolitan Magazine for featuring my work in the April issue. I revamped Joyce’s personal closets, not only making everything more accessible and visible, but made the storage as chic as her wardrobe.

She has two small reach-in closets and a large freestanding closet from California Closets, but having the storage doesn’t mean you know how to use it. Thankfully she called me!! The article explains what we did and I included my drawing to give you a better idea of the layout.

 

entry: before + after

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his amazingly huge hall was quite sad when I first arrived. These clients just moved in, and the 2 large bookcases were left by the previous tenant. Since this apartment doesn’t have a coat closet I treated the space like a large walk-in closet. 

To keep it simple, we installed four 7-peg wood racks and reused the existing bookcases; the wider one is at the end (not pictured) holding hats, gloves, scarves, etc, and the skinny bookcase is now on it’s side along the floor under the hooks to hold shoes and water bottles on delivery day.

The finishing touch is the art above. These pieces didn’t work anywhere else in the apartment and are perfect in here.

 

a discreet shoe cabinet

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I love it when I walk into a space and see immediate solutions to problems. This client was looking for help with her tightly packed clothes closet. The first thing I suggested was my favorite, the high gloss white Besta cabinet  to get her shoes out of her tight bedroom closet.
 
It fills the space seamlessly and holds all her shoes and a few evening handbags. At first she was worried it would be too big and bulky for the space but is now so happy she listened to me….