Stow Away

Get organized and turn your closet into a space worthy of being seen.



California Closets

CLOSETS TEND TO be hiding places (or dumping grounds) for whatever we don’t want others to see—piles of laundry, stacks of papers, forgotten trinkets. But, as the saying goes, it’s possible to have a place for everything, and everything in its place. The trick is getting started. Two space-saving experts, Marnie Van der Burgt, a designer with California Closets, and Sasha Stankovsky, sales leader at The Container Store across from The Mall at Millenia, share their strategies for organizing spaces of every size and functionality.

“The first thing to ask yourself is, ‘What do I have to put away?’ ” says Van der Burgt. “When I’m considering this for a client, I count shoes, measure the length of garments; I look at everything they intend on putting in the specific space before I start deciding what goes where.” Stankovsky suggests setting some parameters: “If you haven’t worn something in two years, get rid of it. The most important thing is to maximize space in your closet,” she says. “Whether you have a small linen closet, a reach-in closet or a large walk-in, you want to make the most of your hanger and shelf space.”

When looking at what items will go back into the closet, frequency of use is one of Van der Burgt’s primary considerations. “We’ll put drawers closer to the front of the closet and evening gowns [or other items that typically don’t get regular use] further back.” However, every closet is different, so the placement of items varies from one space to the next, she adds.

Van der Burgt consults with her clients about their ideas, items they use daily, and then “we mutually decide on what will work best. Our design consultation is a collaborative process.” California Closets’ designers work on projects of all sizes, from pantries and wine bars to garages and home offices, as well as closets. “Everything is adjustable and able to be customized, so as our clients’ needs change, so can our system.”

The Elfa closet organization system, available at The Container Store, is a good option for fully adjustable, modular storage. Its versatile components can accommodate a small reach-in closet to a full walk-in closet with items like rolling shoe shelves, jewelry drawers and dividers, and belt and tie racks.

Stankovsky says: “We ask our clients questions to get them thinking about their situation and what kind of items are important to them to keep in their space. Then they can make informed decisions about what will work for them.”

Ready to get organized? Plan on an investment of $500 to $5,000 depending on the amount of work that will go into the space. 

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