Busy as a Bee: Lessons Learned

Work with the client.
Initially he wanted me to come in while he was working. This doesn't work with a space as personal as a closet. I found out just how often he does wear all those t-shirts and that he loves his collection of hats. I also discovered how committed he is to running and a dedicated sports closet is the end result. I also discovered the frequency that he uses things from ski wear to flannel wear.
Work with what the client has.
Dry cleaning Hangers. He uses dry cleaners more than most so I used his dry cleaning hangers for the things that get dry cleaned. All button downs went on metal because, let's face it, when's the last time you switched hangers after picking up your button downs. His golf shirts got the plastic hangers because they go in the washer and weigh more than a tee. T-Shirts got metal hangers because they are light weight and we had a million of them. Suits got heavy duty hangers. Pants were a mix of D/C hangers with cardboard overlay and clip hangers. Extra hangers went in every closet afterwards. Excess hangers were hung from the bottom shelf in the linen closet.
Don't create work where none is necessary.
The closet shelves stayed where they were hung. The laundry closet was functional and organized; we only utilized the free space that was already there.
Buy only what you need up front.
In all, he bought one closet bracket because he saw the guest room closet wasn't braced at one end.
Buy what you think would improve the situation after you know what the situation is.
In the end, I had two BUY recommendations. First, a covered plastic box for odd-and-ends for the linen closet. Second, a set of deep drawers to store running shorts in the athletic use closet. We discovered a need for these after the organization was finished.

Busy as a Bee, Part 6

At last the final closet.
This is the second closet in the master suite. The doors fold onto a small hallway.


This closet houses the nicer shirts. Golf Shirts hang at the left. Short sleeve button downs are in the middle with long sleeve button downs at the right. Solid blue and white button downs are across the hall in the walk in closet with the suits.

The nicer shoes are in this closet because that's where the room is. The top shelf has a fabric steamer and three boxes of ties.
Now that the closets are organized, it's time for the ties. Working around the space used, we're left with the insides of the doors in the guest room and the office for the ties. Ties racks hung on the inside of these large doors will work great.

Busy as a Bee, Part 5

And now for the Master Suite closets.
Two closets, one walk in and one with folding doors line a hall connecting the master bedroom with the master bathroom.
The walk-in gave us the most problems. The closet lay out came from the previous home owners and opting to save time and money, we decided to make no changes. This caused some switching in the end that cost us time, but we managed to make it work.


This became the formal wear closet.

The awkward L shape and shelves that overlapped layers was worked around.
On the top were the suit jackets. One the bottom were slacks and very nice shorts (golf wear, etc). The areas where shelves overlapped provided storage for extra hangers.

The shoe boxes at top left are empty. Shoe boxes always come in handy; keep a few if you've got the room. On the far right top shelf, there are small boxes for bow ties and silk handkerchiefs. A very nice suit coat for tuxedo and black tie occasions hangs at the extreme right near the formal wear. The length of the coat and the limited use with formal wear dictated that it was placed in the corner of the formal wear closet.

Busy as a Bee, Part 4

The closet in the guest room.
Forget about sharing closet space with the guests here. After all, guests only stay a night or two. These clothes are staying!


The hat collection is now in one closet. We had an overabundance of cup hooks and these worked perfectly. Just the week before he had asked why the previous homeowner needed cup hooks under every kitchen shelf. We found a great use for them.

Seldom worn ski wear and boots found a place at the far end of the closet. Turning the boots sideways, we had room for 2 pairs side-by-side, two deep.

A mirror from a recent bathroom remodel no longer had a home, so we put it against the back of the closet wall. Mirrors can be expensive so he wanted to keep it for future remodeling.
This closet became to spot for casual shoes.
The clothes in this closet are seldom worn or off season.

Busy as a Bee, Part 3

The linen closet

Sometimes you don't need a big change. Don't create work unnecessarily.

Space was found for a vacuum cleaner. Collapsible travel bags for weekenders were placed on a lower shelf. The larger luggage went into the attic for those once-a-year week long vacations.

In the end, we had a cardboard box of oddballs like socks he didn't want to get rid of. I recommended that he buy a plastic box with lid that will fit on the empty shelf for the odds-and-ends.

We actually redid the coat closet downstairs, but no pictures are available. It was very necessary in the end because the upstairs closets had overcoats and outer jackets mixed in. When we took the outerwear downstairs, we discovered dry cleaning mixed in. We took five minutes to clear out the odds-and-ends which found a home upstairs in one of the other 6 closets. Coats were organized for temperature and gloves and knit caps were stacked on the shelf. It was a quick redo which left no room for future dry cleaning.
Only one coat remains upstairs. Worn only for black tie winter occasions, it made more sense to stay in the bow tie and formal suits closet.

Busy as a Bee, Part 2

The is an upstairs hall closet that needed to be redone. It went from housing military uniforms to athletic wear. Now retired, uniforms went into the attic for permanent storage.


The top shelf holds shorts and running braces on the far right. Hanging from L-R are Long pants, shirts, and then jackets to the right.

If it isn't broke, don't fix it. The laundry basket works well for him. Tossing in a lightly soiled set of running togs for a second or third run, the basket is the perfect drop spot. This is an example of a habit that works. Previously, he kept the basket in another closet next to regular clothes. In creating a sports closet, the basket became our starting point.

The oodles of shoes must be better controlled. See RECOMMENDATIONS below.

Our goal was to work with what we had. However, in the near future a set of plastic drawers with 2 DEEP drawers should be placed on the floor to the right of the laundry basket. The shorts from the top shelf should be moved into the new drawers and the majority of shoes should be put on the top shelf. (First, line the shelf. Cardboard will do fine.) The shorts folded on the top shelf won't stay neat for long. Drawers that thin running shorts will be tossed into are ideal. Keep 2 pairs (max.) of shoes in the floor with shoe inserts.
TIP: For shoes that are seldom worn, stuff newspaper inside. It works in so many ways. The paper helps the shoes retain their shape, and it absorbs dampness and odors. No cobwebs either!

Busy as a Bee

7 closets 5 hours
Let's Start with the best closet redo.

The client had a box filled, cluttered study with a closet that needed a redo. I snapped the before pictures of the closet and then took off to explore all the other closets. I came back later to discover the room was also on the list. Apparently a lot of the clothes that needed to be in the closet were everywhere in the room and in other closets too. If I had known, I would have shot pictures of the room before.

Trust me, the room was full when we started.
And now for the closet AFTER

When the client said he loved t-shirts he wasn't kidding. To the far left are events shirts from road races, distinguished by hanging on plastic hangers. The bulk of the shirts hanging are his usual t-shirts. The belt loop with 30+ belts works for him so it's hanging next to seldom worn pants or out-of-season pants. This is what he calls his primary overflow closet. It's mostly for casual wear.

The top shelf came in handy because he had little drawer space (One dresser with 5 drawers.) Bulky jeans are folded and placed in two stacks to the left. The middle stack are work pants for painting and working around the house. The two stacks at the far right are "too small" shorts waiting for the day those few inches disappear and then the shorts will move into the limited drawer space.

The stairs angle beneath the closet so there's a strange little bump into the closet floor. Idea: Rest shoes at an angle.
The storage bins in the floor also contain t-shirts. He doesn't wear them, but doesn't want to part with them.
To the left of the storage bins, extra pictures are stored. Out of sight, they are safe from breakage.