Breaking Point- A Closet Story



About once a week we get an inquiry about closet designs.  Do we design closets, how much does a custom closet cost, how quickly can we meet to start the process.  The answers…yes we do, we can work with any budget and we will talk when you have your closet cleaned out.  Wait….”I have to clean out my closet first?”  Not what most expect to hear and not what all custom closet companies suggest as a first step.

Let’s review what happens when any of us start thinking about how a closet might transform our lives.

  • We see ads online, in magazines and on TV about walk in closets that are built out to use every inch of space.  For these prices, these closets surely must come with a valet as well or, at the very least, guarantee to change all of “our” habits.
  • The displays often show an owner who has 3 pairs of pants, 6 shirts, 1 handbag, all high heel shoes, magnificent jewelry and a potted plant that lives in a room with no window.  Yep, that’s me!
  • Before we even talk to any one, we start to see dollar signs and start justifying why we must have this closet.

Dream Closets.png

By no means are we saying that custom closet companies are a no no.  In fact, we refer to some of the best people we know in the industry to create spaces that indeed do transform our clients day-to-day routine.  However, we are going to stick to our philosophy that cleaning out, purging, and editing first makes all the difference.  Why spend any money on a new system until you do the sweat labor and get real about your wardrobe?  Sit down with 10 people and 9 will say they need to clean out their closet!

Yet it takes an act of God, or a failure of drywall to get us motivated to clean out our closets.

Collapsed Closet Rods
via d streeter
collapsed closet rod
via d streeter

So unless your aim is to create a really comfy pet bed, you probably need to get serious about sorting your stuff!   There are endless “how to” and “what to do” suggestions out there from so many sources.  It can be daunting.  When we are hired to “help” clients we use the 3 star system we developed to make decisions easier.

* * *

  • Take items from one section of your closet, using the top of your bed and sort by stars.   Bring items out one at a time and each item has to go in on of the 3 categories below.
  • 1 Star – Items that you are sure are leaving home, going somewhere.  Trash, donation centers, friends or family.  Place on the right side of the bed.
  • 2 Star – Items you are not sure of yet. You are on the fence.  If it still fits, is in style (classic or otherwise), not stained or torn and just can’t decide.  Place at the foot of the bed.
  • 3 Star – Items you are 100% sure these are keepers.  You love the way they make you feel, look and are a snap to care for.  You don’t have to think twice about reaching for them because they are so versatile.  These are often the items you “replace” when they get shabby.   Place on the left side of the bed.

Do this till the bed is full.  Then box and bag the 1 star giveaways.  Set an immediate date to get these out of the house…like yesterday!   Place the 3 star keepers back in the closet.  You don’t have to sort or organize the keepers now.  Just get them back in the closet.  Organizing the keepers can come later. BEFORE you bring out the next round from the closet, sort the number 2 stars. They have to now become a 1 (bye bye) or 3, back in the closet.  You will have new confidence to toss or save at this point.  Still having trouble deciding?  I ask clients this.  Is this item wearable with at least 2 other items?  That usually does the trick.  At the very least, it leaves only a small amount of one time wear clothes. Repeat the clearing of your 1 and 3 stars and the bed will be completely clear and  ready for the next round.

Now, here is where most wardrobe organizer specialist and we differ.  This does not have to happen all at once.  Sometimes it is too stressful, even traumatic to go through your entire life of clothing at once. Because we all have to sleep at night, we suggest using the bed as your sorting zone.  It’s a little boost each time it’s cleared off!  Set a schedule that works for you.  Once a day, once a week, once a month, once a quarter, and annually after you become a pro!  When you are ready to design a closet that works from now to eternity, within your budget, you are ready to call us for a digital design consultation for closets.

The Digital Design Closet Process

We start with some back and forth convesations to learn more about what the goals are for a closet remake.  The more info you share, the better we can prepare a plan that will be successful.  These “talks” can be via phone call, or email.  We may both we working late night in our pj’s to plan your new closet.

kathy o closet

 Remember all those ads on TV that warn not to try this at home?  What you see above is real….we did not change anything to protect the innocent. (any one remember Dragnet?) Our virtual design client shared her “disaster” of drywall failure with us.  While we hope you don’t wait till this happens to rethink your closet system, we will be here for an emergency closet plan when you need it!  Below, let’s look at the process of virtual interior design and what we suggested for a closet remake.

Working Virtually On A Closet Design

These Are Photos Of The Walls That Did Not Collapse

Kathy's closet with ceiling access and light .jpg

 We Ask For A Quick Hand Sketch With Measurements

Odom Closet Renovation Concept Floor Plan 7.18.17.jpg

We Prepare A Floor Plan With Elevations of Each Wall

See Below

Odom Closet Wall A Elevation 7.18.17.jpg

Wall A

Odom Closet Wall B Elevation 7.18.17.jpg

Wall B

Odom Closet Wall C Elevation 7.18.17

Wall C

We Suggest Components For The New Design

Odom Closet 7.20.17-3 (dragged).jpg

Odom Closet 7.20.17-3 (dragged) 2.jpgOdom Closet 7.20.17-3 (dragged) 1.jpg

Included in this plan is an email that includes links for all items suggested.   This plan uses components that are available quickly from local home improvement retailers and a few online purchases.  Additionally, she has decided to upgrade her hangers to be more consistent and work better for specific clothing types.   Our client will orchestrate the installation and send us after photos to post.  This project is a perfect example of a DIY project with a little help from a friend! (designer)

What If I Don’t Have A Walk In Closet?


Many of us have standard closets that are 60″-72′ wide.   A good design will make any size closet work to it’s best.  When I allow myself to be realistic about what clothing items I truly enjoy wearing on a regular basis, a smaller closet is all I need.  Our blogger friend at minimal-lol ,who uses a wardrobe so efficiently, would probably chuckle at we American’s longing for bigger closets.

Ready To Talk With Us About Your Closet?

Learn More About Our Digital Design Service

Have A Specifc Question?

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5 thoughts on “Breaking Point- A Closet Story”

  1. These tips are really good and I have nearly the same system that works since a long time for me 🙂 I think it is a pity when a closet is such a mess like you show here with some examples …
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    1. For all of us there is a system that works and sometimes we have to have a “natural disaster” (like a rod collapsing!) to get serious about making a change for something that is not working for us. It feels so good to accomplish an create a good habit that makes our life more simple too!

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