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.

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.

 

shoe cabinet + elfa closet: before + after

The first day with this new client we did a much needed edit and rearrangement of her clothes closet.

The original shoe shelves were killing her nice little walk-in closet making it a pain to access the back left hanging area. I personally think these hanging shoe shelves are the worst. Shoes always fall off, you can’t put low heal or flats on them and they come out so far from the wall. I designated the freestanding cabinet (that may or may not be switched out for a larger unit), for shoes and jewelry. Both the cabinet and the closet are sooo much nicer now; in looks and in functionality.

On the left wall we’re going to hang an oversized bulletin board for inspiration pics, notes and her many many beautiful necklaces. These are progress shots. I’ll keep you posted as we go….

time for the closet switch

It’s time to switch out the spring/summer wardrobe for the fall/winter. For most of us, 60% of our wardrobe is considered all year round and don’t need to be put away, but there’s no reason for your white linen skirts and thin cotton sweaters to sit in your closet untouched for the next 8 months.

Reasons to do the switch are most importantly:
– clearing room so your clothes aren’t stuffed in the closet making it
impossible to see what you have
– clean your clothes and the closet itself (wiping down the shelves, cleaning the floor, vacuuming the baseboards and molding) to keep moths away
– to re-acquaint yourself with the clothes you have

Someone recently said she’d rather spend time with her kids than spending the hour or two switching out her closet. While I understand the sentiment (I hear it often), I think it’s important to take the time to set up your things, whether it’s your clothes or your kitchen, so the experience of doing everyday things is as easy and enjoyable as possible. Not only for your own sanity, but to show your children that taking care of your things is important.

It’s a lesson I remember my father teaching me, and though I’m not terribly sentimental, I still have the shoe shine box he used to show me how to polish my shoes when I was young. Though I will say thank goodness that not every parent teaches their kids to do this or I wouldn’t have a job ;O)

q + a: open closet = moths?

Danielle asks: ” I used to store my garments on a rack, which was beautiful and very convenient, but then I started to find holes in my clothes! I’ve been told these were definitely caused by silverfish or moths (my home is very clean! I just like fresh air and keep my windows open most of the time). From that point on, I stored my clothes in cheap wardrobes and it’s quite ugly. My question is how do you cope with moths and such? I would be too afraid to ever store my garments outside of the closet without closed doors…”

First, are they holes or tears? Natural fibers tend to break, to tell, grip the fabric to try to ‘close’ the hole by bringing the fabric together. If there’s a piece missing that’s a hole and you may have moths, but you may not. I have tears in several of my pieces but I’ve never had moths. Clothing moths usually create several holes next to each other and you’ll see the cocoons or dead moths that look like sawdust near the holes. Did you see any dead moths or casings on your clothes?

Clothing moths are not like other moths that are attracted to light; they like dark, closed, humid spaces and are attracted to what we leave behind on natural fiber clothing such as our oils, hairs, and skin cells. They love it when we wear something once or twice then put it back in the closet or drawer not to be touched for a while.

Do you have wall to wall carpet? I had a client who’s home was also very clean but had moths living in the carpet. They tend to be near the baseboards where you don’t spend too much time really vacuuming (corner of closets, behind furniture). Another client has a reoccurring problem and we suspect someone in a nearby apartment is infested and they’re coming into her space.

The point is that having your clothes out is not the problem. Keeping your space and clothes clean is the only solution. If you really think you have clothes moths you need to have ALL your clothes cleaned; dry cleaned or laundered as needed. I’m assuming you didn’t clean ALL your clothes when you suspected you had moths. I assume this because most people don’t because it’s annoying and expensive but it’s the only way.

Edit out the pieces you don’t love and wear and make sure you regularly clean the clothes you do have. For most I generally don’t recommend cleaning clothes after every wear, but definitely at the end of the season even if you’ve only worn it once. But for those who have had moths in the past, regular cleaning is a must.

But you may not have moths. People see a hole and they immediately think it’s moths (silverfish leave stains not necessarily holes). Not sure what clothes you have but that can make a difference. My wool and cashmere get tears because I don’t have a lot of clothes so things get worn a lot. Vintage clothing can tear because over time fibers break down. And if you tend towards fast-fashion (like from H&M, Target, Forever 21) the inexpensive synthetic clothing breaks down much faster, usually after a few wearings.

Let me know what you think Danielle, I hope this helps!!

making the most of your ikea pax wardrobe


The previous tenant left this wardrobe for my new clients which is perfect for the husband to have his own closet.

He’s tall so I reinstalled the hanging bar as far up as it could go with casual clothes to the left and work clothes to the right. A hook on the door holds his tie rack. It’s on the right so it doesn’t push against the suit jackets when the door is closed. Two additional drawers hold the rest of his casual clothes. His shoes are in the hall closet.

The key here is separating out the casual vs work clothes and within those categories, grouping like things together; all shorts together, all work-out together (middle drawer), t-shirts, etc.

UPDATE: Yes nessabirdie, it wasn’t so bad to begin with but now everything is much more accessible. This unit is 24″D which makes the shelves (as you can see in the before pic) double deep. The pieces in the back of the top shelf are hard to get without having to move everything in the front. And he didn’t want to sit on the floor to get his things on the bottom. The inexpensive drawers make it easy to reach everything and keep it neat and categorized. A picture doesn’t show how it is to actually use something and all the details that bother someone like how his ties annoyed him hanging on the bar; it took up too much room and it was hard to see them. Thanks for your comment!