Home organization it all starts in the closet

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Home organization it all starts in the closet

Living in a decluttered home not only helps you to retrieve things with ease, but it also helps to clear your mind. The popularity of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo speaks volumes.

For some people, home organization is a methodical ritual, lovingly practiced. For others it’s a constant battle, bobbing above the waves of mounting stuff. Finding space for everything can be a problem, but it might have to do more with the way that your house, and closets, are designed.

Don’t touch it yet

When we first visit a client’s home, we ask them not to tidy up in advance. We want to see how they live, and what their house looks like when they aren’t expecting company. No one likes this request. Embarrassed glances are exchanged between the homeowners, and apologies are mumbled for the perceived mess.

It’s uncomfortable, but in order to fix it, it’s important to see how people use their space and what the issues are.

Come up with a plan

After a review of the house, we need to assess where their storage is located, how it’s used, and whether we can improve on what already exists. Post-war homes that were built between 1945 and 1965 typically had three types of closets – a linen closet with shelves, as well as an entry closet and a closet in the bedrooms with a horizontal hanging bar under a shelf. A broom closet was also common.

As designs modernized, and reflected the homeowner’s requests, we started to see pantries off the kitchen, a separate laundry/ mudroom, as well as larger closets in the bedrooms or small walk-in closets. Today, house plans maximize storage areas, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll feel organized.


Find unused space

Good design is the result of good planning. Therefore, every inch matters in a closet, or in a room that’s built for storage. When dealing with a closet, the designer will review which items that you wear most often, as well as whether you collect hats, scarves, jewellery, shoes, handbags, and the like. Some of these items will require different storage solutions. If you don’t wear dresses, perhaps you can get rid of the high rod, and double your space with two rods for shirts, jackets and pants. Rod heights can be assessed based on your clothing items and the length of your pants when folded.

Light it up

If you can’t see what it’s in your closet, then it becomes the no-go zone. Older homes didn’t incorporate wiring for lighting, but there are other options. Think of a brightly lit store and how easy it is to view the items. In my book, lighting is the number one solution for storage organization.

I like to install strip LED lighting under shelves. This way you can see everything without pulling it out. Recessed, daylight-coloured, LED bulbs in the ceiling help you to see the true colours of an outfit. And, in walk-in closets, I like adding a gorgeous pendant light or a chandelier for a bit of glamour.

Drawers for your drawers

Drawers in closets are very accommodating, and help to eliminate extra furniture in your bedroom. Within the drawers, it’s helpful to have organizational trays and separations for your socks, knickers and other intimates, so that you can see everything when you open it.

The same rules apply to the pantry, the broom closet, the laundry room and mudroom. Personalize your shelving and space requirements to accommodate all that you need and use. Do canned goods and spices have a dedicated place? Is there a space for the vacuum cleaner? Are there enough shelves in your rooms for books, toys and decor?

Happiness quotient When factoring in all that you need, add some creative design to the equation so that you achieve organizational bliss. Happiness = space for all of your stuff.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality. Jane Lockhart Interior Design janelockhart.com


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