Park City Home: Weekend Warrior tackles closet rehab
An almost sure way to give your spirits a boost, or depress them, is to consider the state of your bedroom closet. If depression wins out, perhaps because two pairs of high heels are sticking out of your underwear drawer, spend a weekend giving your closet a clearly needed upgrade.
Sure, it can be hard to let go of things. The jeans that might fit again, someday. The collection of ties from your former career in banking. But the first step to organizing any wardrobe is getting rid of everything that’s just taking up space. If you can’t remember when you last wore something, or if you can remember, and it was in the 90’s, you’re probably safe tossing it. Use the classic three-pile system: Keep, Discard, Donate. Put every item to that test, and by the time you are done you may discover that your bedroom closet has all the upgrade it needs.
Bedroom closets often have some kind of shelving/cabinet system. If yours doesn’t, consider starting your closet rehab by installing one. Those at the luxe end can be custom built by professional carpenters, allowing you to choose everything from the finish of the drawer faces to the style of hardware. Others come in standard configurations (so measure carefully before buying) or start with a basic prefabricated unit that the manufacturer can have installed for you and adjusted to any layout you wish. And some, from such companies as Wayfair, Ikea, and The Container Store, can be easily assembled at home by anyone with basic DIY skills. The best systems are adjustable, so that you can alter them to match your changing storage needs.
Baskets, bins, and lidded boxes serve well for folded clothes, blankets, handbags, and the like. But if they are stacked on a high shelf it may be hard to tell what’s inside. One solution is labeling. To give the labels a touch of personality, create your own through online sites such as inmyownstyle.com and theorganizeddream.com. A better alternative, though, may be to use drop-front boxes with clear fronts. They are especially helpful for seasonal items that spend most of their life at the back of the closet. To avoid burying yourself in an avalanche of apparel, never stack them more than two high.
If hanger space is limited, consider expanding it with a double-rod arrangement. Mount one rod about 40 inches above the floor and a second about 40 inches above that one. An even simpler space-saver (and a quality upgrade) is to replace standard metal and plastic hangers with ultra-slim, velvet-sheathed, non-slip hangers. Or if space isn’t an issue, consider classic wooden hangers, which help give a luxury look to any closet and can last long enough to be treated as family heirlooms. Supplement these with satin padded hangers, ideal for light sweaters and other delicates.
Just about every closet could benefit from additional lighting. But the potential fire risk makes it wise for the installation to be done by an electrician, who will no doubt advise you to replace any incandescent bulbs with cooler-burning LED or fluorescent types. What you can do yourself is periodically check to make sure nothing in the closet is shoved up against a bulb.
If you have the room, a full-length mirror can be a helpful addition to any clothes closet. Typically, it is hung on the back of the closet door. But for the look of a boutique dressing room, consider a three-panel folding mirror, which can take up less room than you might imagine. For mounting, often on one end of a shelving unit, you’ll need a front-to-back vertical space about 14-inches deep and a minimum of eight inches wide. The mirrors are attached to a frame that slides out of the space and folds open to whatever position makes you feel like you are on Rodeo Drive.
Although a storage island is a walk-in closet dream accessory, it is normally practical only if the closet is a minimum of about 10’ x 10’, allowing for 36” of clearance on all four sides. With enough clearance, if you are converting a small bedroom to a closet, say, you might even want to add a bench, with shoe storage under, at one end of the island. If you are fortunate enough to have that much room, the island options are not unlike those of a closet shelving and cabinet system, including self-assembled units you could put together in a weekend. When an island approaches the size of a continent, though, consider it a sign that you may still have too much stuff. So start by taking another stab at that wardrobe cleanse.
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