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By Eils Latozo - Philadelphia InquirerSeptember 14th 2007
Contemplating a closet revamp? Here are some things to consider:
Purge your current holdings. "Ideally, before you have a new closet designed, you need to get rid of things you are not really wearing," says Barry Izsak, Immediate Past President of the National Association of Professional Organizers. His company, Arranging It All, designs and installs Elfa® custom closets in Austin, Texas."The closet designer is going to have a misconception if you have 100 pairs of shoes but you know you need to get rid of 50,” says this closet organizing expert.
"Get rid of anything you have not worn in a year or two, and anything in disrepair," says Izsak. "You shouldn't be holding on to those size 4s if you're now a 14. And how many pairs of black pants or ties do you really need?"
Look for a company with a long track record. If you're going the custom route, this is critical, says Mike Carson, president of the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals. And always ask for referrals.
Also key, Carson says, is finding a company that employs its own installers. "You want someone who is invested in the company, not a subcontractor who may be doing this between painting jobs."
Any closet designer who comes to your house should ask lots of questions, he says. "They need to ask the customer what they are trying to achieve, what do they hate and what do they love about their current system. Are they just looking to maximize storage and easy accessibility, or also looking for aesthetics?"
Is a closet redo even necessary? "A lot of the time, I tell people, 'You don't need a new closet at all. Maybe your existing closet would work fine if you look at it differently,' " says Izsak, a well-known closet organizer in the central Texas area.
Short on hanging space? Fold those polo shirts and jeans and put them in a drawer, Izsak says.
Is your long-hang space largely wasted? Turn it into a double-hang area with a clothes rod that can hang under your existing rod, this closet organization specialist says.
Lacking shelves for folded items? Izsak suggests bringing in a chest of drawers or a spare bookcase, if you have the room. Or buy wire or canvas hanging shelves that attach to a clothes rod.
And create space by rotating clothes out seasonally, stowing them in boxes on upper shelves or in under-bed storage, he says. Rolling under-bed boxes can be a good place to park a surfeit of shoes, as can over-the-door shoe racks.
Overwhelmed by a messy closet? Izsak suggests hiring a professional organizer. "Spending the money on four to eight hours of an organizer's time is a lot less expensive than putting in a new closet."
The Arranging it AllSM team is mentored and trained by a Certified Professional Organizer.
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