Life is like underwear. Change is good. But why does it always creep up on you? In March I was completely focused on getting ready to sell my house so every free minute was devoted to organizing, cleaning, painting, and primping the old girl for her market debut. Outside of a massive rainstorm that would have sent Noah scurrying to his tool shed on the day it hit the market, things went well. So well in fact that I overlooked the next phase of the moving process–packing.
If you’ve been in the same house for 28 years, packing is a humbling experience. Questionable fashion choices emerge from the depths of a closet, dusty layers of I-might-need-this-later supplies resemble an archeology dig as they are unearthed from a corner in the basement, and an alarming amount of chachkas see daylight for the first time in a decade or two. Where did this stuff come from, and more importantly, where the heck is it going?
In my next house I’m going to try to up my organizational game with the theory that if I know where it is, I’ll be more likely to use it, and if I don’t use it, it’s bye-bye time. I’ve usually found that if my closet is organized the rest of the house has a better chance of being organized too. Just a chance mind you, but I’ll take what I can get. So, the first place I’m starting is the closets, and I wanted to share some information on closet organization systems.
My house was built in the 30’s, so my closets are pretty basic affairs. A rod for clothes, a shelf right above that, and some floor space. For upgrading your reach-in closet, my top pick is the Elfa closet system from the Container Store. It’s four feet wide, the layout is great, and it maximizes space using rods, shelves and metal mesh drawers. The Container Store also offers free closet consultations, so they can also offer alternative Elfa designs if you would like a more custom approach. The entire system is $906.
A less expensive approach that still does a very good job is the Rubbermaid Configuration Deluxe Closet Kit that installs in a three to six food closet space. It’s easy to install and change the layout to fit your space, plus Rubbermaid has dozens of add-ons so you can customize it to your needs. $125 on Amazon.
Both the Elfa a Rubbermaid systems are hanging systems that mount into the studs on your wall and hang above the floor. If you are looking for a good freestanding system, check out Ikea’s PAX wardrobe systems. Ranging from $350 to $1,315 the systems are good looking, versatile and easy to install. The downside is they are popular and Ikea is having difficulty keeping them in stock right now.
For walk-in closets, if you are handy and can do your own installation, check out the Closet Evolution corner closet kit available at Home Depot. At 84 inches by 115 inches, it comes with three drawers and provides plenty of shelf and hanging space. Installation will take about 8 hours, and it can be used in smaller spaces, but that will involve cutting some boards and metal rods to make it fit. The end result looks great, and it can be customized with other Closet Evolution products. When you’re cursing the directions, remind yourself that you are getting a similar closet to what the custom closet companies provide, but you’re saving around $2,000 by installing it yourself. Available through Home Depot for $1,171.
Want the perfect closet, but don’t have time to do it yourself? Get professional help from companies that do the measuring, design, and installation work for you. For a walk in closet installation of roughly 6 x 8 feet expect to pay between $3,000 to $4,000 depending on the options. Trusted installers include The Closet Factory (additional discount available for Costco members), California Closets and the Container Store.
And finally, if you want a truly custom job, put some plans together and hire a finish carpenter. This approach is usually the most expensive, but will generally give you the most solid, long lasting cabinetry. If you’re looking for a recommendation, touch base.