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Our Design Team Wins Top Industry Awards for Three Years Running

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Once each year closet designers really come out of the closet for the Top Shelf Awards at the annual Closets & Home Organization Expo and conference.

And members of our design team have brought home “the gold” every year that we submit entries – which we’re really quite proud of. The contest is called the Top Shelf Design Awards and independent judges evaluate and rank the entries. Then the team at Vance Publishing tallies the results and announces the winners during a celebration at the conference.

One of our first winners is this cherry blossom melamine walk in closet created for a client who wanted a masculine look with a high degree of functionality. This dressing room features traditional, raised-panel fronts and combines open and closed storage at varying depths. Changing the depths of sections not only maximizes the storage, but also adds interest. The elegant crown and base molding take it to the highest level of luxury.

Another project that was recognized is this home office design. By mixing melamine and wood, we were able to get a really high-end look for fewer dollars. The lower pullouts for electronics add to the functionality. The bulletin board keeps things right in front of the owner for easy organization and accessibility and the glass doors lighten the whole feel.

We’re also fortunate enough to have the custom capabilities that allow us to do solid wood projects in almost any species you can think of. This award winner is done in walnut and features decorative burl inlays, patterned glass and ample lighting both inside and under the cabinetry. The space also incorporates a pants presser, an adjacent laundry area and extra storage behind a three-way mirror.

So if you’d like your life to feel more “award winning” – give us a call and we’ll have one of our award winning designers consult with you on your own custom storage solution.

Office Design Award Winner  Office Design Award Winner

Master Closet Design Award Winner Master Closet Design Award Winner

Master Closet Design Award Winner  Master Closet Design Award Winner

Home Office Harmony

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
With each 9-5 workday that goes by – more people join the ranks of those who work at home.
And even if you have a dedicated space to do your work – and a door to close behind you when you do not want to be disturbed – keeping it all organized can be challenge.

So we asked a professional organizer who specializes in this area.

Elaine Quinn of Space Craft Organizing in Chicago says, “When you’re working from home, make things easy on yourself. Don’t waste time and energy searching for what you need in a cluttered and disorganized work space. A few small steps can make a big difference in how well your home office works for you.”

Try a couple of the following tips to make things run smoother –

1. Assign a logical and convenient place to keep every item.
Decide the most logical and convenient place to keep each item and always put it there. Keep like things together and store items closest to the place you will use them. If you use some types of items in more than one place, have duplicates.

2. Put each item away as soon as you are finished using it.
Avoid the habit of putting something here “for now.” All too often, it stays there “for ever.” Eventually you’ll have an unruly stack of stuff to sort through. It’s your choice: a moment now, or hours later.

3. Regularly dispose of items you don’t use.
Clear out things you no longer use so that it’s easier to find what you have. Give them to someone else, donate to a charity, re-purpose, recycle, or just admit they’re junk and throw them away.

4. Only buy items that you need, like, and have space for.
It’s a waste of time, money and space to buy something you won’t use, don’t enjoy, can’t see or is too much trouble to get to.

Elaine advises, “Like any new habit, staying organized may not come naturally at first, but it will save you time (and money!) in the long run.” Learn more by signing up for her newsletter at http://SpaceCraftOrganizing.com.

And if you need support in building the structure of your home office space – give us a call and we’ll set you up with a member of our design team to help you figure things out.

Home Office - Before  Home Office - After
                       Before                                                         After

Home Office - Before  Home Office - AFTER
                      Before                                                         After

Tips for Taking Care of your Most Prized Possessions - the Clothing Items Inside your Closet!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Women all over the world would agree that some of their most treasured possessions are actually housed inside their closets – with shoe collections topping the list.

So how do you take care of these investments in self-expression and style?

One of the first things to do is to let them breathe. Natural fibers and fabrics need air. So don’t keep your dry cleaning in the plastic bags that you bring the items home in. Not only do the bags not allow the fabrics to breathe – but they keep the cleaning chemicals “locked in” – which makes the clothing deteriorate more quickly.

And speaking of plastic, don’t keep your shoes in plastic boxes either for the same reasons.

And don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day – day in and day out. Your feet sweat and the leather absorbs that. As a minimum, give them 24 hours to “breathe out” the smells. At best, put them in cedar shoetrees that absorb the sweat and help maintain the shape.

Another tip that will save you money and time is to actually have your clothing dry cleaned less frequently. Unless the garments are next to your skin and become stained from food or sweat – you really only need to dry clean garments once or twice per season.

And since you don’t want the pants/skirt of a matching suit to ever be darker than your jacket, you should dry-clean both garments at the same time. It’s very common for garments to change color shades when dry-cleaned.

And if you’re interested in more time and money saving tips – sign up to follow our blog and we’ll keep you in the know.

11 Tips for Getting Your Mudroom to Serve as the Master Organizer

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

If you don’t live in a city apartment – it’s likely you’ve got a house with a mudroom. Sports Mudroom

And I would define “mudroom” as being the first open space you enter as you come in – probably via the garage. It often has hooks for hanging coats and gear.

But it can be so much more with some thoughtful planning.

Following are some tips and questions to ask yourself if you’re trying to organize your mudroom:

1) Define your storage needs. How many people are going to need storage space within this space? Will each one have his/her own “locker” space?

2) Define which coats and outerwear are for casual, everyday wear and which are more formal. Store formal coats in the front coat closet if space in the mudroom is tight.
Sports Themed Mudroom
3) Some closed storage is essential if you’re trying to maintain some semblance of order. Consider an armoire or built-ins that can have open and closed options that are designed to accommodate your specific family needs.

4) Determine how you want to keep all the hats, gloves and scarves accessible yet organized. Pullout baskets are often the best solution because they allow air circulation in case items are damp.

5) Hooks. It’s not a mudroom without hooks. Inside lockers, divided into sections, along the wall (and above the heating vent), plan on space for hooks.

6) Incorporate seating for taking off and putting on shoes. Design it so there are a couple of shelves underneath for convenient shoe storage.

7) Mirrors add a nice touch and allow for a quick last look on the way out the door.

8) If this becomes the home for the recycle center, make sure it’s organized, easy and not completely open.

9) Consider a laundry basket/tilt hamper for items you know need to make it to the washing machine.

10) If you’re building new space or remodeling, incorporating a heating vent in this space will help dry wet mittens and coats.

11) If you’re really doggin’ it, have a “hose down” area to clean off the family pet after a rainy day walk.

Mudrooms are often referred to as “drop zones” for good reason. If yours deserves this title make sure you incorporate lots of hooks for backpacks, jackets and gear. Find a space for seating so you can sit down when taking your shoes on and off and have accessible spaces to store those shoes – like shelving beneath your bench.

So Shoe Me! Shoe Closet Organization Project a Success

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Shoe storage and shoe closet organization are two of the three most requested thing for women’s closets – no surprise, right? And it seems almost too simple to think that flat, adjustable shelving is the most practical for maxCustom Shoe Closet and Shoe Organizationing out storage capacity.

But let’s not forget “the pretty” – because we all really want the pretty – those shoe storage solutions that get shoes not only out of the box – but front and center on display.

And one of our award winning closet designers, Carey Ekstrom, had the pleasure of designing a closet that (per the clients request) was “just for shoes”.

Carey worked closely with the client to assess her shoe “inventory” so we could maximize the under stairs storage space and overall shoe closet organization strategy. Then they focused on the aesthetics (aka – the pretty).

The client wanted great lighting and a look to make the shoes look like they we floating in the air. We a used brushed aluminum melamine with matching shoe rails (for the airiness feel). And to make it all even more vibrant – we used gray tone mirrors as backing material for a softer reflection that wouldn’t be too overpowering in the space.

Overhead ighting in the ceiling was already in place and we didn’t want to lose any of its’ effectiveness, so we installed a framed glass upper shelf in each section so the light could filter through. Kudos to both Carey and the engineering department for coming up with such a brilliant, custom storage solution for the client who wanted a closet “just for shoes”!
 

A Vanity Affair

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Ever wished you had a private space where you could sit and put on your make up and jewelry (ladies – I’m talking toCustom Makeup Vanity you on this one)? A spot that was comfy, functional, well organized and well lit? You know, so you’d be able to get a good look at how good you look.

Good news – you can! In our continual quest at being award winning design specialists of truly custom storage solutions – we’ve been fortunate to create two such customized spaces for our clients – making their vanity dreams come true.

One solution flips and one reflects from underneath.

The one that flips is actually hidden under a countertop that hinges at the back side and has a lighted mirror attached.Custom Makeup Vanity 2 There’s space below the countertop that doubles as a desk storage area when the top is not in use and flipped down.

And the one that lights from underneath illuminates the frosted glass top so you can get great, even lighting without shadows for putting on makeup. We created a desk surface with a light box underneath, which from the front, this looks like a drawer. And the back wall is mirrored with two side hinge mirrors for 3-way viewing.

Pretty cool, huh?

So which one would you choose if you could include it in your dream closet? And are there any other features you’d incorporate to make it uniquely yours?

How to get the most out of your home storage project

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The decision to have a custom storage solution designed and built in your home can bring you long lasting results and satisfaction.

It can also be a daunting process because you’re working with someone to “create a one of a kind original from nothing”, so to speak.

You’ve got the designated space where you want this storage solution to “live” – and you likely have an idea of the kinds of things you need stored there (files, books, clothes, electronic equipment, etc.).

Now you need a design/build professional to work with to make this all happen.

The most important variables to consider as you’re working on this project are form, fit and function.

Form

This is the “look” and “feel” you want your project to have. 

Do you want it to blend in with the rest of your décor, or stand out and make a dramatic statement?

Do you like a rustic, knotted wood or a smooth, high-gloss, lacquered finish?

Do you want open storage, closed storage, or both?

And what about shelves, drawers and doors?

An experienced design consultant can guide you through this part and will be sure to ask you all the questions that you didn’t even know you had to answer!

Fit

Making sure a built-in fits the space is crucial – otherwise – it’s no longer a built in – it’s a mistake.

All obstacles need to be considered in terms of allowing access and making sure the pieces are manufactured so they work and fit correctly.  This includes outlets and vents as well as sprinkler heads and anything else that resides in that space.

Any special AV or office equipment that will be stored within the units need to be measured and incorporated into the design – so there’s no such thing as “it’s just a standard printer” or “40” flat screen” when communicating with your designer.  We need to know the precise measurements of any special equipment that you plan to incorporate into the design.

Function

Function is the place where a skilled designer can really take your project to the next level.  Any woodworker can make a box and add shelves or drawers.  It takes experience to know that 24” deep shelves aren’t good for much in a closet space unless they pull out.  And that shallow shelving as well as deep shelving increase functionality in areas like pantries and home offices.  And that corner shelves in lower cabinets end up becoming “big, black holes”.

Having an experienced design consultant, like one of the team members at Closet Organizing Systems, that can work with you to make your dreams come true – is – well – quite frankly – a dream come true.

So how can we make your dreams come true?


     
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