Every client I work with is a dream, every space a unique challenge. Don’t think for a second I take for granted the fact they hired me, are fun to work with and trust me to solve their dilemmas. More often than not, when our work together is complete, we become friends. Organizing is an intimate job so this is bound to happen. Sometimes, however, an e-mail or text arrives that totally blows away my neatly stacked papers. One that makes me stop and say, “Really?!.”.
Alli Webb, founder of DryBar, was making a move to a new home and needed help organizing her master closet and bathroom. When she called (and after collecting myself), we had a great conversation about where she needed help. Moving in and of itself is one of the biggest stressors you’ll experience in a lifetime. Add to this the additional challenges of making your new spaces as functional as possible, figuring out a layout for 2 separate closets and a busy entrepreneur that frequently travels and needs access to clothing for all seasons. She’s also a dedicated mom and wife. Did I mention, stunning too?
I couldn’t wait to get to work and make even a small part of her move a little less stressful. And I’d love to do the same for you! If you have an upcoming move, I’m sharing some of my pro tips for organizing your own new-to-you closet. Oh, and a lot of drool-worthy images from her dream space.
Moves are a great time to purge. Purge before and while you’re packing. Ask yourself the tough questions like, “If I was shopping right now, would I purchase this?”. This leaves you will only the items you love, less to unpack in your new home and, if you’re paying for movers, less money to move items you don’t plan on keeping anyway.
If you have the time and money, consider installing new closet systems before the move. People generally think about painting their interior before a move, but I suggest they take a closer look at their closet systems as well. Completing this project before a move can save a lot of money and headaches down the road. If the old systems need to be demo’d, most painters take care of that part anyway – including the patching. So you’ll already have your blank slate ready for a new system. Even if it’s a temporary one, get something in there that will work harder for you.
Custom closets generally have a lead time of 6-8 weeks. If you need it sooner, The Container Store has great options (that go on sale 2x per year) or check out The Home Depot’s closet section. Most of these systems hang off just one bar secured to wall studs. Anyone can do it!
I don’t organize the same way in every closet. Instead I work with what my client owns, their habits and the space provided. For example, in Alli’s closet, she has a few drawers but a lot of hanging / shelves. I spent time figuring out what made the most sense in those drawers. On this end of the closet, I organized all of her shirts and folded them upright so she could see every one of them. Besides being drop-dead gorgeous, she has the most incredible taste! I don’t want her to miss one item when she’s picking out something to wear.
Of course, I had to add in touches of her buttercup yellow on the landing spot above those drawers!
Where I see client’s struggle in closets most often is with how to organize their hanging items. By color? By sleeve length? By overall garment length? What color should I start and end with? It’s enough to give you a full-blown panic attack. No need to worry – honestly, go with a system that makes sense to you. And one that allows you to see and remember what you own.
I’m not a product-pushy organizer, so you’d be hard pressed to find shoes in boxes or fancy, expensive stands in a closet I’ve organized. Of course, if my client wants that look, they’ll have it. In Alli’s case, she has a stunning custom closet with plenty of slanted shelves for shoes. I love the way her boots, heels and flats are displayed to be seen, admired…and worn!
Personally, she ignited a (very long overdue) love of shoes in me. Yes, the girl who owns like 8 pairs of shoes…all boots and flip flops. Look at those fun, classic heels, wedges and booties! She has a knack for choosing smart items that mix with almost anything. Since I work in a lot of closets, I have a good eye in on what works and doesn’t in the wardrobe dept. Those who truly love their closets and have less to purge are investing in classic pieces…and then throwing in a few trendy items. Those trendy items are donated in a short amount of time while those classics are around for years and years.
Pants and jeans are bulky and tend to work better when displayed on a shelf, instead of tucked into a drawer or wasting hanging space (unless they are dress pants that can’t be folded). Whenever possible, I keep pants folded neatly in stacks by color and length. If you can see it – you’ll wear it!
Closets get dusty (have you seen those shoes you never wear?) so whenever you can contain your not-often-worn items, it’s a good idea. When you’re designing a closet system – no matter the scale – plan out some space for glass doors, cabinet doors or simple container boxes to keep things dust-free. Doesn’t have to cost a fortune!…in my own master closet I re-use plain shoe boxes to keep items dust-free. It works!
In all of the spaces I work in, using every inch of vertical space is a must. And a closet is a space when you absolutely want to maximize each wall and every inch. This closet was built out to ultimate efficiency with floor to ceiling storage. Remember when you’re adding a system to bring it up as high as possible to make the most of the upper space, while still giving you tons of space on the floor. You’ll never regret having too much space!
Hope you enjoyed my tips and a small tour of Alli’s gorgeous space. So grateful to have the opportunity to help her and look forward to heading back there soon to wrap up some loose ends. Want to read more? Alli was kind enough to share some of my tips on the DryBar blog too! Read it here. #andpinchme
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