Most garages in America are the home for lots of “stuff” rather than the “ultimate garage” of our dreams. Sometimes, when we’re lucky with our garage design and organization, they’re also the home for our cars (when we’re not driving them).
Some of our cars are large, swanky SUV’s, and some are hybrids. But most are popular, well-rated and dependable autos that we use in very utilitarian and functional ways to get us from point “A” to point “B”.
So when we were asked to do a large “ultimate garage” design for a local vintage car collector, we were thrilled. The client wanted to achieve a very clean, showroom look but also wanted to have ample storage with garage cabinets for his normal garage items, car service parts, as well as his collection of car memorabilia.
Excellent. A garage design opportunity at its’ finest – an “ultimate garage.”
We worked very closely with the client to coordinate the “ultimate garage” project details. And details there were. We had to plan the garage design taking into consideration:
The installation spacing of cars
A car lift system
Coordinating the plumbing for the urinal garage cabinet area (yes ladies and gentlemen, you read correctly, this garage has its’ own urinal), which included a waterproof interior liner
Investigating and testing the special Linex™ coating over with an MDF core for the countertop
Designing the garage cabinets and spacing around the need of an air compressor
Existing toolbox sizing
Air and water hoses
An already located slop sink area
The garage cabinets were made out of a brushed aluminum melamine and a special Linex™ coated countertop. We developed an approach for a new, durable and liquid resistant countertop surface for the workbench area all while making sure all storage was behind doors so we could achieve that “ultimate garage” showroom look.
There are great reasons to invest in garage cabinets, build garage shelving and figure out how to organize your garage. And while making room for your car - especially in the Chicago area where parking is at a premium due to the severe blizzard that hit at the beginning of the month - is a good reason, there are many more.
Your garage space is some of the least expensive “real estate” to improve considering that is already part of your housing expense. Plus, you would be surprised how many people still spend money to rent a separate storage space or still park their car outside the garage rather than improving the form and functions on one's own garage. This can be easily achieved with building garage shelving or adding garage cabinets. Figuring out how to organize your garage will not only improve your psyche but will also enhance the investment in your home right out of the gate.
With garage clutter - you’re constantly reminded of all the “stuff” that needs to be organized, put away, thrown away or donated. Just seeing all the things we have accumulated over the year can often drain your energy in a negative way. It’s a place where people tend to carelessly just dump things and rarely clean up. And there’s usually no organized, dedicated home like garage cabinets for the stuff that gets dropped, so it all turns in to big piles that are incredibly difficult to tackle. So you don’t, and your stuff just sits there for years.
Cleaning up and getting organized will have a positive impact on both your state of mind and your way of life – whether you add any organizational system or not.
Adding some sort of system will have the added benefit of making it much easier to stay organized over the long term. Building garage shelving or adding a garage cabinet here and there can go a long way when considering how to organize your garage.
You plan what needs to be stored and you create a storage solution for those items. Some are very specific – like roller blade equipment, or baskets for gardening tools, or a hook for a ladder.
Other solutions involve building garage shelving, drawers and garage cabinets with doors (and locks) to keep chemicals and solvents out of children’s reach. Just having things behind doors helps the out of sight out of mind principle.
So if you’re looking for a long term investment with a good rate of return and an improved state of being – getting your garage organized should top the list.
Having an organized custom closet is a beautiful thing and makes your daily dressing ritual so much easier when everything has a space and is it in the right place.
But a custom closet doesn’t solve every dressing dilemma you are often faced with – like what to wear to the company holiday party or a corporate networking event with the business owners. Once outside the “dress code” comfort zone, how do you know what is appropriate?
“Dressing for business these days has evolved into “situational dressing”, defined more by tasks, audience, position and industry than anything else,” says Jill Bremer, Bremer Communications, Chicago Illinois.
Here are two tips that will help you always look your best – no matter the situation.
Don’t under dress.
It’s usually better to exceed expectations. Showing up a little overdressed probably won’t hurt you, but dressing too casually can be a career-staller, if not a career-killer altogether.
“There will always be someone in your department or company that is pushing the dress code envelope – and not in a good way. Just because they’re getting away with dress code murder doesn’t mean it’s okay. Remember the old adage – 'Dress for where you’re going.' It will make getting there all the easier.” advises Bremer.
What’s crisp? It’s a look comprised of fabrics that stand away from the body instead of conform to it. It means shirts with a collar instead of knit shirts, T’s or sweaters. It means pants that hold a crease rather than jeans or sweats, according to Bremer. A custom closet can provide appropriate storage for those items to ensure that they maintain their "crisp" appearance between wears.
Structured fabrics convey professionalism and respect. Soft, unstructured fabrics can look mushy and put a spotlight on curves and bulges.
“My recommendation is to wear crisp fabrics instead of or on top of soft or stretchy fabrics. If you plan to wear only a top and a bottom, make the top item a shirt instead of a knit top,” says Bremer. And she adds – “If you want to wear a knit top, simply add a jacket. Leave your body’s curves to the imagination and you’ll help others see you as the serious professional you are.”
Great tips for getting yourself out of your closet and into your life with success and ease.
Chances are, if you are like most Americans, you made a New Year’s Resolution on the first of the year. One of the most popular resolutions is to get organized – closet organization, home office organization, etc. But if you’re going to stick to your organization resolution, you’re going to need a plan.
In fact, according to Bill Curran, president of Closet Organizing Systems™, your project could be doomed before you even start. “With the holidays behind us and our new resolutions upon us there is a sense among many of being disorganized. [We know we need to get organized] but too often it is without a real plan to make it happen. A written down organization plan with a set of priorities is a must these days; otherwise, the task is daunting for many. New projects with a custom home organization system can be taken in steps as well in order to be done economically.”
Here are five tips to help you get - and stay - organized in 2011:
1. Assess – Before you can organize the things you own, you need to figure out exactly how much that is. We all have things buried at the back of closets or in the bottom or drawers that we forgot we had. If it’s been forgotten for over six months, you don’t need it. Ditto anything that doesn’t fit or is in poor condition.
2. Group – Now that you have weeded out items that you no longer need, it is time to separate the things you do need so that they are easy to store and locate in the future.
3. Invest – You’ve gone through your things and organized them, it’s time to invest in home office organization and/or closet organization systems. This is the most important tip, and it can make or break your resolution. With a custom closet or home office organization system, everything will have its place, making it effortless to keep your home office and closet organization resolutions.
4. Organize – Whether you do it yourself or opt for professional assistance, this is the step where you literally “get organized.”
5. Reassess – As with most resolutions, organization is an ongoing process. Resolve to go through your closet organization and home office organization systems every once in a while. Weed out things that are old or no longer serve a purpose. Revise systems that aren’t working as well as they should. Reorganize items by season. You get the idea.
Getting your home office organization or closet organization project underway doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and it doesn’t have to be “just a resolution.” If you follow the above steps, you can easily stick to your resolution and finally get organized in 2011. There are a variety of closet organization systems and home office organization systems available that can help you realize your dreams of “getting organized” – and staying that way through 2011 and beyond.
Many people wonder how to organize closets most effectively. The easiest way is with a custom closet system, but where do you begin? If you’re lucky enough to be putting in a custom closet system, here are the top five favorite “must have” features that you should definitely include:
Most people aren’t sure what these are prior to having a custom closet system installed. But once you’ve experienced the convenience and functionality of a valet rail – you’ll never want to live life without one. These handy devices mount on the side of a vertical panel/section divider and they telescope in and out. So when you’re bringing home dry cleaning, packing for a trip or planning tomorrow’s outfit – you can easily pull the rail out to use – and push it back out of the way when you’re done.
Having easy access to your belts makes it much more likely you’ll actually wear them – especially the really fashionable ones that you just “had to have”. Belt racks can be telescoping or wall mounted. Telescoping belt racks mount on the side of a vertical panel in a long or medium hang section so the belts have room to move when you slide them in and out for access. Wall mounted belt racks are great to use in spaces that aren’t functional for hanging or shelves.
Truly a thing to behold (in addition to being a thing that “holds” your favorite accessories), and often overlooked when thinking about how to organize closets. They can be velvet or acrylic. And they can be specific in their function (ring holders or small earring holders) or just have lots of organizational slots that allow you the flexibility to store small, medium or large pieces of bling.
Who can live without hooks? They much better for a “quick drop” than the floor and they come in all shapes and sizes. They can really spruce up the look and feel of your closet space and are one of the most functional items on the planet when figuring out how to organize closets. Make sure you select ones that are larger in size so they’re easy to toss things onto and not have them still end up on the floor.
How about two baskets – one for laundry – one for dry cleaning? No more stashing your “dry cleanables” behind the door and then trying to remember to drop them off. Baskets come in a variety of heights and finishes. They also can come with removable canvas inserts so you can easily gather and transport the contents. Now all that’s left is the “remembering” part!!
Closet Organizing Systems has been awarded the prestigious 2010 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor bestowed annually on approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated on the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.
“Our Super Service Award winners are the cream of the crop when it comes to providing consistently high quality customer service, as judged by the customers who hired them,” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List.
“We are very pleased to have received 2 Super Service Awards this year from Angie’s List in the categories of Closet and Home and Garage Organization” says Bill Curran President of COS. Curran adds “It’s great to be recognized by independent consumer review resources as they are a true testament of our commitment to quality of product/service in the areas of Custom Closet and Cabinetry systems” Curran adds.
Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have met strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their customers and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List, but members can find the 2010 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on AngiesList.com.
Angie’s List collects consumer reviews on local contractors and doctors in more than 500 service categories. Currently, more than 1 million consumers across the U.S. rely on Angie’s List to help them make the best hiring decisions. Members get unlimited access to local ratings via Internet or phone, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List magazine and help from the Angie’s List complaint resolution service. Take a quick tour of Angie’s List and view the latest Angie’s List news.
Most Walk in Closets are shaped like a square or rectangle – but not this one! Not only does this closet have ten walls – but also it needed to serve almost as many functions. The clients wanted everything behind doors. And they wanted the space to serve as a dressing area and a laundry/pressing area. All designed to be in harmony with the rest of their décor. In order to make this happen – we had to involve engineering aspects hand-in-hand with design aspects. Everything needed to flow just as much as it needed to function.
As a result, we used several blind corner units. We also provided cedar backing, which was attached to the walls. Then we installed the structure of the closet without the doors and drawer fronts. And we did this so we could be certain that everything fit perfectly. We also scribed this closet to the ceiling and installed base molding for a true built-in look.
You see, we utilized some very high-end materials including walnut with burl inlays, patterned glass and mirrored doors. A mistake of even an eighth of an inch would mean the door/drawer didn't fit properly – and then didn't function properly. And no one wanted that – so patience was an important aspect to this project. We located the pants presser and the laundry in a niche near the back of the space. There’s also a three way mirror (with storage behind it) that serves double duty in its’ function and in making the space appear larger.
A chandelier further enhances these gorgeous materials, shedding light on one of the most beautiful custom storage solutions that we have created so far. And our industry colleagues concur, because this project won a Top Shelf Design Award.
So what if you’re one of the people who haven’t yet achieved the nirvana of your own boutique size walk in closet?
How do you get all of your stuff inside and organized so you can find it when you need it?
Start with these tried and true organizing tips:
1) Start by taking everything out. Some items will go in the trash or Goodwill pile immediately. Trust me – you’ll find things you don’t even remember having, along with some that you’ve been looking for a very long time.
2) Evaluate with honesty and discipline. Look at each item and give it a rating
from 1-10. Ten means you love it and wear it often with confidence and joy. Anything below a 7 should no longer have a home in your closet. It’s not doing you any favors and not serving your current lifestyle and goals.
3) When you’re doing this evaluating – ask yourself how you want people to perceive you TODAY – in current time. Are you looking to get promoted? Are you looking for love? Pick three to five adjectives that you resonate with and make sure each item you keep honors and conveys these characteristics.
4) Put the pieces that have sentimental value in a box – and then store that box somewhere besides the main closet you use to get dressed.
5) Apply the 80-20 rule. We really do wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. If you have things you just can’t bear to let go of – move them to the back of another closet or storage space. If another 6 months or year goes by and you still have worn them – let them go without even re-evaluating. Trust that they have served their purpose.
6) Make another pile for anything that needs to be tailored, sewn or mended and write down what needs to be done to fix the piece. Then take them to the seamstress at the dry cleaners or your tailor – within 72 hours – and get the problems fixed so you can move forward and wear them with confidence.
7) Now start putting things back into your closet. The things you use the most should be the easiest to access. The goal is to be able to open (and close) the closet door – access what you need – and move on with your day.
Good luck and happy organizing!
And if you need to add some structure to your closet – set up an appointment with one of our fabulous design team members. They can double your storage capacity in no time flat and make your newly organized life so much easier to live.