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New Year’s Resolutions!

2015 resolutionsNew Year’s Resolutions. I’ve never really been a big fan. Sure, it’s great to have goals, but why wait until a new year begins to do things that will improve your life? And, why make your goals some grand – and many times unattainable – gesture? What starts out as a well-intentioned resolution becomes a source of great disappointment when the goal is not met.

Here’s the main problem, as I see it. People decide on a resolution. This year I’m going to lose 20 pounds. This year I’m going to really use that treadmill for exercise, rather than as another place to drape the clothes I don’t feel like hanging up. This year I’m going to save enough money to buy my dream home. The list goes on and on like this, depending on the individual’s desires.

The goals are great. But, there always seems to be one very important step that’s missing. Ask that same person HOW they are planning on attaining their goals, and 9 times out of 10 you will be met with a blank stare. The failure in meeting resolutions is that many times there’s no plan on how to reach that goal. If mere desire was all that was necessary, we would all be absolutely 100% perfect individuals.

I thought I would share with you one of my goals that did come to fruition for me this year, and how I was able to attain it. Perhaps it will help you as well. This year I was going to organize my closets, and keep them organized…but, where to begin? It just always seemed like a daunting and overwhelming task for me.

closet-1The closets in my house have always been a disaster. I have always blamed my inability to organize my rooms on a lack of closet space. No matter how many times I cleaned out the closets, within a day or two of straightening them, they were a mess again – a major source of frustration for me. It took me entirely too long to discover that trying to use the same space in the same way over and over again would never solve my problem. I believe it was Albert Einstein who defined “Insanity” as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, that is exactly what I was doing, and I wasn’t going to do it any longer.

I discovered that my problem wasn’t a lack of space, but rather an inefficient use of the space. What to do, though? Hiring a closet company to design and install more efficient closet space was not exactly in the budget, so I was going to have to figure out how to do it myself. There were three main closets in my home that really needed work: the closet in my daughter’s room, the closet in my son’s room, and my master closet. Each closet was shaped a little differently, and each person needed different functionality from their respective closets. I began by taking inventory of what was needed in each closet and how to most efficiently organize each space to accommodate those needs. The result of my efforts were closets that utilized their space much more effectively, much more organized lives for my whole family, and a pride in realizing that I was able to create these great spaces with my own hands.

Below are examples of what worked for me. Perhaps, they will help spur some ideas for you too!

I started with my daughter’s closet. She has a medium sized, square, walk-in closet. Let’s just suffice it to say that, before I made the changes, it couldn’t technically be called a “walk-in”. It was more of a “climb-over”, if you know what I mean. The first thing I did was to take everything out of the closet and measure. There was one bar along the left side, one along the right side, and one across the back. There was a shelf across the top of each bar. I had a dresser in the closet that was not very functional because half the drawers were blocked by hanging clothes. On the top shelves were a multitude of items that I seemed to have collected over the years, had long since exhausted their usefulness, and were literally just taking up space.

I did some research and found that ClosetMaid makes a great corner shelf unit. It doesn’t take up a lot of space because of its “wave” design, but it holds a lot. I discovered that this corner unit (I stacked 2 of them so she would have 6 deep shelves), along with 2 bars on the right side of the closet and a top shelf above, would give her more than sufficient space for her clothes and accessories. I did hang one bar across the back of the closet, as well, but she didn’t need it. So, what to do with the rest of the “found” space? Why not make it a comfy place for her to hide out, read a good book…her own personal little place? I hung a sheer purple drape on the bar along the back wall, and added an apple green throw rug on the pink carpet, a pink bean bag chair, and a mirror on the inside of the closet door. I even had an electrician (I thought it best to hire a professional for the electric J) install a double outlet so she could charge her iPod, maybe add a little lamp at some point, and plug her blow dryer in so she could do her hair in there. The transformation of this closet that was once an obstacle course to be entered into at one’s own risk, to this organized room with multiple amenities was truly amazing!

Now, onto my son’s closet. His closet is not a walk-in, but stretches along one of the walls of his room, with sliding doors. He originally had one bar that spanned the length of the closet, and a single shelf that sat above the bar. I put together a shelf unit for him, in which I installed one deep drawer in the middle of the tall unit of shelves and a basket on the bottom of the unit for his shoes. I installed the unit about 18” from the left side of the closet, and I installed one bar to the left of the unit for hanging clothes. To the right side of the unit, I installed two long bars, hanging his jeans/pants on the bottom bar and his shirts on the top bar. I also put a shelf above the top bar for extra storage. It is incredible how much more space you can get with just a little redesign.

Finally, onto the master closet. This was my real challenge. It is a nice-sized walk-in closet, but prior to the redesign, you would have never known that. It had one bar along the left side, one along the right, and one along the back wall. At the two back corners the bars overlapped, creating about 12” of completely useless space in either corner. There were also three shelves above each of the bars, but over time, these shelves began to slant a bit downward from the weight of everything I stored on them. I had multiple sweatshirts and t-shirts on these shelves, but it got to the point that every time my husband or I would grab a sweatshirt, there would be an avalanche. I also had to store many things on the floor of the closet, because I had nowhere else to put them. You can imagine the frustration.

Where I put white shelving in my kids’ closets, I decided on cherry for the master. I installed hardwoods on the master closet floor, and felt the cherry would give it a little more elegance. The first thing I knew I would need to do was to make use out of the wasted space in the two corners. I bought the cherry version of the corner unit I used in my daughter’s closet, and stacked two units in each corner…one 6-shelf unit for my husband in the left corner, and one 6-shelf unit for me in the right corner. Now, instead of one bar along each wall, I installed two bars along each wall and doubled the hanging space. No more trying to squeeze everything together. I put a shoe rack on the back of the door, and even found room to install hardware to hold my ironing board and iron. I know this probably sounds crazy, but I love to iron and typically do my ironing in my room while watching television. So, finding room to store my iron and board in the closet was ideal for me. No longer does anything fall from above, and now everything is up off the floor. My closet is now truly a “walk-in”.

I would love to hear some of your success stories or answer any questions you may have, as I now consider myself a closet “expert”. Just shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!