Closet Cleanup

Tips from the pros at California Closets.

Since opening their first California Closets Michigan (californiaclosets.com/michigan) showroom 35 years ago, Ray and Sheilah Markham have not only grown their business — they’ve grown their family.

Sheilah started out as a salesperson with California Closets Connecticut, while Ray, who had a background in sales, played pro hockey with the New York Rangers. When presented with the opportunity to open a franchise in Michigan, they embarked on new careers with the high-quality personalized storage solutions company. 

Adding to their locations in Troy and Birmingham, the couple recently opened a 30,000-square-foot flagship showroom and design studio in Wixom, which also houses a production facility with a dedicated team of engineers.

With the newest launch, the next generation of the family is taking the reins of the legacy their parents built: Siblings Ray Markham, Jr., and Jenna Wittbrodt bring backgrounds in finance and sales and design, respectively, to the family business. Below, meet the newest members of the family — who offer their takes on getting organized.

BIRMINGHAM CITY LIFESTYLE: Tell us about yourselves.

JENNA WITTBRODT: I’m married and live in Milford with 2-year-old and 3-month-old kids and a golden retriever. I have a background in marketing and film production and have worked my way through the business to become an award-winning designer and salesperson. I now oversee sales and marketing.

Ray, Jr., is married, lives in Milford with his first baby due in May! He is a CPA first with Deloitte then with a property management company. We've both helped in the business over the years. I started full-time in 2014 and Ray in in 2021.

BCL: What services do you offer?

JW: We actually are in more areas of the home than most people are aware: mudroom, pantry, home office, media center, library, garage, laundry rooms, wine bar and more. But we offer much more than a product — we ensure that our clients have an exceptional experience from start to finish, each time.

BCL: Tell me about your own home?

JW: I live in a classic country farmhouse with a wraparound porch. I like neutral with a pop of color in unique wall art and rugs. We just remodeled our mudroom with lockers and a bench — in white with black hardware. We also updated the floor to blue and antiqued white tile with star patterns.

BCL: What does your dream closet include?

JW: Lots of shoe storage and an island!

BCL: What are must-have trends right now?  

JW: Mirrored and aluminum-frame doors and illuminated shelves are all hot right now. Lighting makes all the difference when it comes to making a design ‘pop.’


Tips from the pros.

1 Plan ahead. Set aside time in your schedule to get your cleaning/decluttering projects done — uninterrupted. You'll work faster and get more done.

2 Decide where to donate. You'll inevitably unearth unwanted items, so decide in advance to whom you'll donate and schedule drop-off dates in your calendar.

3 Categorize/toss/relocate. Create a centralized space to collect and categorize the items you plan to keep. Toss or recycle items that no longer serve a purpose and relocate saved items to their rightful place in your home.

4 Create and label storage bins/boxes. Gather bins or boxes to store items you plan to keep; labeling them ensures your whole family knows where items are stored (and where to put them back!).

5 Maximize space. Use hard-to-reach areas to store items you don't use frequently.

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