This is the third closet I have designed for myself and I think I’m really getting the hang of it—no pun intended . . . .
In this closet, space was at a bit of premium. It is large by most closet standards, but I definitely had to spend time planning how to allocate the space to accommodate the many items I needed to have readily accessible. I initially had planned to work with KraftMaid cabinetry, as I had used them in my last house, but as we got to the planning stage, it became clear that I would have much better use of space and aesthetic control by building custom than by trying to work with factory-built cabinets. I also wanted to be able to paint the cabinets, and that was not an option with factory-built cabinets. In the end, the cost difference was not significant enough to sacrifice functionality.
My first step was to make a list of exactly how many I have of each item—for example. shoes, jeans, sweaters, shawls (a big one for me), sports clothes, belts, underwear, sleepwear, random favorite items that defy description, hats, bags, suitcases. You get the idea.
So, in making the list, I actually counted all my shoes, boots, and sneakers. Then I took measurements of how much linear space the average pair took up, and I came up with an overall total for how many linear feet of footwear storage that I would need.
Next I counted my shawls and struggled with how best to display them. I originally wanted to have them all hanging on a waterfall effect of closet rods, until I started to draw on paper how many of these waterfalls I would need—WAY TOO MANY. Regrouping, I decided I was going to have to store them folded. I have arranged them by color family—blues, pinks, neutrals, etc. This helps me quickly identity the shawl that I want for any particular outfit.
This is the entry to the closet. Two units of shoes on the left and hanging space for long items directly in front. The packing table is located in the middle of the space. There is a suitcase-storage cubby located behind the packing table that I get to from the right side of the long hanging area.
Here is the view from the other side of the closet. The packing table was a requirement that I was not willing to compromise on. I travel all the time, and even with a great closet, I kept having to lay out all my clothes on my bed before putting them in my suitcase. And since my dogs sleep on the bed, it is usually covered with dog hair! The packing table helps to, among other things, minimize my time with the lint roller. I upholstered the top of the packing table with a thin layer of foam and a cream-colored leather.
Here you see my short hanging area. The top is for shirts and the bottom is for skirts, pants, and longer tops. To the right are my folded items, mostly sweaters and knit shirts that don’t do well on a hanger. I like to keep my shirts sorted by color, and, as you can see, I wear mostly white shirts!
As you move to the right you see the second window, my cubbies for jeans and T-shirts, followed by the drawer wall. Note that I cut a piece of Homasote to size and covered it first with batting and then with an apricot dupioni silk that worked nicely with the glass chandelier. I use the board to pin various keepsakes, invites etc.
Above you can see what is in each drawer. This came about from my taking stock of all the items that needed a home in the closet.
My jewelry has never been so organized! Thanks to a few specialty pieces from Wayfair.
Organizing the belts with these handy, sizable, snap-off dividers from the Container Store keeps them uncluttered and easy to find.
Here you see the same snap-to-size dividers used in the bra drawer, and some handy-dandy, flexible, diagonal diamond dividers, also from the Container Store. These dividers keeps small items like socks and undies tidy and easily visible. No digging for the right thing!
Here’s the packing table in action. I gather what I want/need for a trip, lay it out, and tweak until I get the correct assortment of shoes and shawls, basics and bottoms, toiletries and hanging items. Then I pack it all up and am ready to roll.
There are six drawers in the packing island. They contain, sleepwear (two drawers) exercise clothes (two drawers), travel drawer (see below) and an alternate/seasonal drawer.
The bottom drawer of the packing island is my travel drawer. This keeps all the items that are used only when I travel handy to the packing table—passport, electrical converters for various countries, camera, earphones, extra cell phone and iPad chargers, travel-sized toiletries, packable sun hat, travel exercise bands, inflatable neck pillow, and last but not least, my extra bag (by mcmeekin). I tend to come home with more than I left with, particularly if I am traveling overseas, so I have learned to add a duffel that zips to 8″ x 12″ and expands to accommodate my fabulous finds. It is so much easier than racing around on your last day to find an extra bag to fly home with! Another key item is a handheld suitcase scale. I am an overpacker—shoes are usually the problem—so I need to keep my bag under the airlines’ 50-pound weight limit.
Above the entire closet there is a ledge that holds all my handbags and totes. I have an IKEA stool that I pull out to grab or put away a bag. Finally, I added picture lights to offset the shadows that are created from ceiling lights. They also make the objects seem more special, like paintings in a museum.