Tag Archives: closets

Think Ahead

Life is about stages, isn’t it. This is not a question. It’s a statement. At each stage our interests are piqued and driven by events around us. What was a focus at 25 is likely not a focus at 50. Sometimes we give something up to make room for more pressing issues and then come back to it years later. Sometimes we never come back to it at all. Maybe it was a trend or perhaps we just lost interest. For me, sewing is a good example. At one point, I sewed clothing and pajamas for my children because I found nothing warm and cozy about flame retardant fabrics regardless of what the ads said. My head is in a different place now. I rarely sew anything of consequence. I’m more of a mender. The machine is there, just not up front and center.

This is why adding flexibility to your storage system is so important. It’s also an example of why a good designer can add value to your design process. Their exposure to the various stages of life through their own customer base is invaluable. They can envision how the space may be used years later and guide you to making choices that will add longevity to it’s value.

I will never sew as I did. My children are gone and I don’t have the time at home anymore but my sewing area still functions for gift-wrapping and craft projects that engage me so much more now. I’m glad I didn’t build a sewing center that was so dedicated to the one hobby that it limited my use later. May the projects begin!

Storage Designer Certification

final_acsp_color_logo2After years of discussion and months of preparation, the certification of designers of storage systems is about to be a reality. You can’t imagine the complexity of bringing this to fruition. So many decisions needed to be made to create an exam, a method of administering the exam, scoring, and licensing. Certification achieves several goals. It has become imperative to give the consumer a barometer for gauging the skill of the designer they hire. Certified designers will have credentials they can carry from employer to employer and a career, not just a job. With three levels of certification, employers know what skill level a job candidate has. For that matter, for the first time, the industry will be creating an identifiable labor pool. The industry has become so much more complex in the last 10 years. At one time, laying out a simple closet did not demand a broad background. However, this is no longer true. Designers need to be versed in cabinetry moldings, lighting, body mechanics and spatial concepts. A little life experience doesn’t hurt either. Designer certification is launching at the Closet Expo taking place in Charlotte, NC on February 23rd.

January is National Organizing Month

2012-GO-month-logoThere seems to be a real uptick in organizing early this year. It doesn’t seem to matter that it’s cold and snowy outside. We have been swamped with calls for remodeling projects; pantries, home office and master bedroom. The store has been exceptionally busy with small do-it-yourself projects too like jewelry drawer and kitchen organizers. Perhaps cabin fever is making people crave an uncluttered home? We’re sort of feeling like that ourselves. New displays are being installed this week and the main showroom is being overhauled. Nothing beats changing everything up and looking fresh and new. I highly recommend it!

What were they thinking?

I prepared three estimates this week for properties worth over a million dollars with the worst closets ever. Small, angular and the cheapest material for closet rods on the planet. I am at a loss for words as to why a contractor would offer this and why the home owner would accept it. Can I fix it? Sure. Should I have to? No. Many builders do not place value on what happens in the closet. It’s a small ticket relative to the overall cost of the house. I once was told that the closets are only important to me. Wrong. For many men, it may be more likely to be low on the totem pole of wants to begin with. The reality, however, is that often a woman picks the house and women LOVE closet systems. My advice to you, the builder: woo your customer by offering a closet she just can’t resist. My advice to you, the home buyer: read the fine print and negotiate up front for a closet that suits your needs and suits the house. You have a lot of leverage before you sign the contract so tell them you want the closet of your dreams so you won’t be facing a nightmare.

What to do when you have no closet

So often our customers need additional closet space in a small bedroom or attic. Building out a closet can be upwards of $1500 and then you still need an organizer to maximize the space. Why not build a wall unit? Behind the doors, short hanging, shoe shelves and long hanging abound. Deep drawers often are divided for socks and underwear, t-shirts or jewelry. Units can be relocated if you move making this investment, priceless.

Top Ten Tips for Starting College Dorm Life

luggage stuffingWe won’t pretend to know what it’s like to be in college anymore, but we do know what it’s like to be a parent packing a kid off to college.

Here’s our best advice: Portability is the word!

1. It will be your inclination to buy inexpensive items that you won’t have to feel bad about if they break or disappear. That’s a fine perspective for some items but when it comes to storage, especially storage furniture, it would be helpful if you can easily take it apart and put it together time and time again like, for four years. Look for sturdy connecting hardware and quality material. When dorm days are done, it will move to his/her first apartment.

2. Buy items that are compact when they break down, so they can easily fit in the family wagon -along with everything else you’ll have to transport. Laundry hampers can be collapsible, for instance.

3. Watch the weight! It can be a long walk to the dorm room from the car; be aware of how heavy things are.

4. Don’t over pack. Life on campus is casual and storage space is very limited. Pack like you are taking a trip. Pack for seasons and switch clothes out when they return home for the holidays. Choose clothes that are multi-purpose and match well. Taking a sweater that goes with only one pair of pants is probably not the best decision here.

5. Most schools have very strict guidelines for use of appliances in the room. Read these carefully so you don’t wind up owning an extra toaster.

6. Shoes…watch your teen’s current habits. They might own 30 pair but are only wearing 5. There is little room for a big shoe wardrobe in a dorm. There are many shoe storage options to fit your space needs. A shoe rack that collapses or expands will be the best bet here. Consider a hanging shoe bag that holds up to 10 pairs or an under-bed shoe bag that holds 12. If your teen is like ours, you may want to consider a basket that they can just toss everything into. The easier, the better for a teen.

7. Nearly all the clothes they take will be short hanging. Buy a closet doubler that requires no tools to install to instantly increase the available hanging space.

8. Because portability is the word, items like cups and silverware may disappear so don’t spend much money here. Choose cups and bowls that stack and nest tightly. Not only will they be easier to store, they’ll pack better. Melamine is lightweight and indestructible but often can’t be put in the microwave. Read the back. A product like Corelle would be a better choice.

9. If your teen will be in an apartment or quad that allows cooking, look for multipurpose tools and cooking implements that collapse. We have put a focus on those products in our kitchen category.

10. And finally, remember that college is an adventure. It’s tough to know EVERYTHING they may need. That’s why we have our online store and Fedex! So relax and enjoy the trip!

What Kind Of Closet System Should You Buy?

If you are thinking about purchasing a closet organizer, how do you choose from the myriad of options? There are non-adjustable wire systems, adjustable track systems and what we call, full board systems (systems that are all melamine with partition panels that are drilled for adjustability). Here are some tips to help you choose:

1) Wire shelving is durable and inexpensive. It’s a good solution for rarely used closets or very basic plans. If installed to stud, it will support up to 75 pounds per foot. It’s readily available and can add extra space to any closet. Here’s the pitfall- the bottom garment on a wire shelf will always pick up the pattern of the grid. In a pantry, any appliance that has feet may get tangled beteween the wires. Lastly, wire is very hard on the binding of books. In some areas, adjustability may be worth paying for making the inexpensive appeal of this product, less attractive.

2) Track systems come with wire or wood shelves. Completely adjustable, these systems deliver a lot of function and are the easiest to install for the do-it-yourselfer. They are very weight tolerant as long as you don’t place your tracks more than 36″ apart. The pitfall- it has no partitions which can leave you feeling like things might fall off the sides of the shelves. These systems are particularly cost effective when you are creating wide sections of hanging. The Schulte Freedom Rail track system we sell at Creative Storage has drawer and shoe boxes that hang off the adjustable track, increasing it’s effectiveness. This system will manage more shoes in less space that a wire system. One of the best features of a track systems is that the shelving is pushed off the wall by 1 1/4″ allowing you to span a window or access panel with your system.

 3) Full board systems are more expensive than the other products but they have the most features too- adjustability, solid surface for small items, partitions that create cubbies and the unique ability to look like furniture, not just shelving. Once you have determined function, a board system goes a long way towards making your closet pretty with the addition of crown moldings and decorative drawer fronts and doors for example. These systems will be the most efficient at storing large quantities of shoes and have the most flexibility when it comes to adapting to the style of your home whether it’s contemporary or traditional. In a pantry, the partitions that are part of a board system allow you to store cleaning products next to noodles with comfort. The pitfall- these systems must sit flush to the wall so any existing cleat or wall defect must be dealt with prior to installation. Also, of all the systems, this can be the most difficult to install as it is very parts intensive and must be completely level to look good. Lastly, be aware that the expense is indicative of the time it takes to deliver a well-designed, well-built and well installed system. A bargain when purchasing this usually translates to less product, less features or less customization, none of which may be obvious when comparing drawings. Ask a lot of questions when comparing features.

So there you have it. Hopefully, when you go shopping for your closet, you will have a better idea of what you want.