If You're In the Closet

Make It a Good One

I’m sick of my closet. It’s too small.

I tried to complain to my kids about it, because it’s healthy to talk about our issues, but they’ll had none of it. One even went so far as to suggest I throw out some clothes. To which I wanted to reply, “I’m putting gnats in your dinner.” But I didn’t because he kind of had a point and I wanted to focus my energy on shopping instead of children.

The fact is, my home has been built for about 90 years now and has never magically gotten any bigger to accommodate a larger closet. I’m stuck with the space I have, so I needed someone clever to maximize space.

On a friend’s recommendation I contacted organization/closet design expert Nataliya Bryksa. She and her husband, Nazar, own Closet Factory which custom-designs everything from bedroom closets to garage cabinetry and kitchen pantries. Which I’d also like help with, but I care more about clothes than driveway de-greaser and whatever else we’ve piled up in there over the years.

Nataliya designs all sorts of custom closets, including the gorgeous kind with carpeting, upholstered seating, designer fabrics and crystal knobs. You know-the kind in which you can spend an entire day and not get bored.

But beneath the fancy knobs and enviable jewelry cases are Nataliya’s five closet must-haves:

  1. Proper organizational system to keep the space from becoming a total mess (items piled up on the floor, etc)
  2. A storage system deep enough so folded clothes don’t hang over the shelves
  3. Shelves at the proper space to store items but not so high that stackable items pile up
  4. Hanging bars high enough so that clothes don’t end up on the floor
  5. Storage space for specific items to avoid having to jam them into a shelf

If you want a fabulous new closet, Nataliya can work with you to personalize shelving and storage in addition to decorating. You’ll end up with something from the Beverly Hills Real Housewives if you want it.

However, her site also contains DIY organizing tricks*, which I found helpful, even though my eyes kept wandering to a nearby blog entry, “5 Steps to Building a Mini-bar.” Puh.

Fold or Hang? Storing Clothes to Maintain Longevity:

  • Shirts and blouses made of linen, rayon, or 100% cotton should be hung and will remain almost wrinkle-free.
  • Silks and satin, as well as delicate fabrics that crush easily such as velvet, raw silk, chiffon, and taffeta, should be hung on padded hangers.
  • Knitwear, including sweaters, tops, pants, skirts, and dresses, should usually be folded.
  • Garments made from stretchy materials like nylon or spandex should also be folded to help maintain their shape.

What You Should Fold

  • Sweaters (especially heavy sweaters)
  • T-shirts
  • Sweats/Athletic wear
  • Undergarments
  • Knitwear

What You Should Hang

  • Pants
  • Dresses
  • Suits
  • Skirts
  • Button-down shirts and blouses
  • Blazers
  • Formal wear
  • Overcoats/Outerwear

Color Code Your Wardrobe:

Color coding makes it simple to find the clothes you’re looking for, coordinate your outfits, and create an order to your hanging and folded clothing that is deeply pleasing to the eye.

There’s also another great reason to color code your closet: to find out if you need another black skirt.

Without your clothing sorted by type and color, you can’t effectively see the black skirts you own, so you probably think “yes” and go buy a new one. However, if all eight of your black skirts are placed together, you might think again. In fact, colored coded wardrobe storage tends to save people money by easily seeing what is in their closet and how it can be paired with other items.

No Wire Hangers!

Wire hangers can really damage your clothes. They are flimsy and can stretch the clothes, leaving marks on the shoulders. They also collapse/bow under the weight of heavier garments causing the clothes to hang at funny angles.

Storing Purses:

The best place for purses is flat shelves. You don’t want the shelves too deep as the space behind the bags will be wasted. The shelves for the bags should be customized to the size of the different bags for easy reach and viewing. Also consider adding a door to prevent the bags from getting dusty. Another recommendation is to put dividers between bags so they stay separated and can’t fall to the side.

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