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Closet Organizing Systems Blog

Pantry Puzzle

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
pantry items organizedFrom food to fluff to tools you use to “buff and puff” (or clean, as more practical people like to call it), the pantry space in your home houses a plethora of items.

In fact, it's often a bit of a “catch all” for everything that doesn't seem to fit in the kitchen cabinets.

Face it, it's a crucial space that, when designed and organized well, really can make cooking, cleaning and even eating a whole lot easier.

So when you think “pantry storage” - think “accessibility”.  This concept is key. You want to be able to not only see, but reach, all the items that are in your pantry.

That often translates to “mixing it up”. And just what do we mean by “mixing it up”? We mean a variety of shelving depths (small items on shallow shelves, bigger items on deeper shelves, loose items in baskets of varying heights).

Don't just settle for putting one depth shelving in the entire space when you can have it be so much more.

Here are some strategy tips to think through as you're working with your custom storage designer to maximize this space:

shallow and deep closet shelving-Put shallow shelves for food items near the entrance and put them close together vertically. Think about it. Soup cans and pasta boxes aren't that big so you can get a lot out of the vertical space by spacing your shelves close together. Plus, our systems are fully adjustable every 32 millimeters (or approximately every 1 1/4”) so you can stock up on that macaroni and cheese that the kids can't get enough of.

-Locate deeper shelves towards the back of the space. Deeper shelves often store items that we don't use on a daily basis. It could be specialty appliances, bowls and serving items that you use for entertaining, that kind of thing. These shelves will be spaced a bit further apart to accommodate the larger items.

-Divide and conquer. What we mean by that is that shelf span should not be so wide that it will bow or warp over time. We all have a tendency to put as much as will fit into whatever space we're using for storage. Dividing the space into sections that are less than 24” (in width) gives additional structural support to allow the system to remain stable over the long haul.

pantry with wire baskets-Adding baskets is a terrific option for items that “need to be gathered”. Think bags of chips or snacks for the kids or potatoes and onions. Their packaging is often loose and soft. They don't have the built in structure of a box or can, so “boxing” them in with a basket is a terrific solution.

-Hooks behind the door. If your pantry has a door and that door swings “in” to the space, utilize the small space behind the door for hooks. You can hang aprons there as well as your grocery/shopping bags and even mops, brooms and other tall cleaning tools.

So when you really think about the storage capacity of your pantry space, you can see it is a lot like a puzzle that, when pieced together, really works well. And our design team is always up for a good puzzle challenge, so let us know how we can help.

Cables Cables Everywhere

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How To Hide Wire and Cables - The Fine Art of Designing So Wires Are Hidden

Wire management.

It's a term that people don't always consider when working on home improvement projects, but it's something designers MUST think about in advance.

electrical cord clutter  office cabinet pull out drawer

Otherwise, we risk the dreaded client call and subsequent appointment where we are standing side-by-side as collaborators on the creation, staring at the designed solution and contemplating ways to hide the variety of wires that have “suddenly shown up” from the lighting, the computer, the charging stations, the printer, etc.

And nothing can ruin a beautiful design quicker than unattractive wires dangling from upper and lower cabinets.

So we plan ahead.

We make sure we get the information from you that involves things like:

  • The exact size of your printer including the depth of the connector cords that stick out from the printer when plugged in
  • How many electronic gadgets (like phones and Ipods and cameras) need to be plugged in
  • How many USB and traditional outlets are necessary to keep the space functional
  • Where the electricity on the wall is to make sure we can reach it easily or have an electrician move things prior to installation
  • If we can use items like rechargeable LED lighting that doesn't require hard wiring
  • Whether you want things hard wired by an electrician (so lights come on when you flip the wall switch)  or whether puck lights that go on and off when you touch them are preferred
  • If items need to be pulled in and out on a shelf
white custom usb charging station  kitchen electrical cord storage  

We also consider accessibility issues. Most people don't want to have to crawl around under their desks to get things unplugged, so reach is an important design issue to consider.

And so is the factor of how much you want to “see” and “be seen”. Some products can be hidden by having the ability to “pop” up and out of a counter top, while others are always in open view.

 

Then we look at available products to design which best match your requirements in terms of technology, style and budget. The choices continue to expand since technology changes everyday.

In fact, there are options that allow you to have lighting in places like drawers and inside cabinets that are rechargeable. That means there are no wires required, they can be re-charged via USB plug-in and have motion sensors, so they turn on and off automatically.

rechargeable usb lighting fixtures  usb led light in closet  

It's a rather exciting time to be creating a home office or some other space where you can incorporate the technology that makes your life better.

And the one thing we DON'T want to see when trying to camouflage wires (even though we love it) – DUCT TAPE!

So if you're wanting some storage space that allows you to maximize the functionality of your electronic world, give us a call. We have a team of experts ready to help you make the most of things.

Cut the Clutter

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

spring color blockingWe're all ready for spring to be sprung, and yet odds are good we've forgotten some of the New Year's resolutions that we made with such good intention. 

So, here are some ideas to help you “spring” back in to action and make some traction on the resolutions you made to “be more organized”, because, hey, it's time to recharge your organization resolutions and allow them to bloom in time for spring.

It's Inventory Time

Yes, it's inventory time. That means you need to stop yourself (right there inside your closet) before you go out to buy the latest spring trend. You need to get rid of some items that are no longer “on trend”.

Be honest.

Look at the pieces you've worn a lot because they were so hip and stylish, but are now looking worn or just don't feel current. Take two or three items, put them in a bag or box that's stashed in the back of your closet and leave them there. We'll add to it over time until it's full and ready to be moved from your closet to your trunk to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill or consignment shop.

Now Start Cutting Clutter in Other Parts of Your Home

linen storage bin

Start this process with a tape measure instead of a shopping trip.

People have a tendency to make a run to places like The Container Store or Target and buy some visually appealing containers and bring them home with hopes of solving their clutter issues.

It will work much more effectively if you measure the kinds of things you need to store before you go to the store. Doing this makes things more efficient and doesn't leave you with cute, half-empty containers in your closets that aren't quite the right fit for your stuff.

And if you're really looking to increase that zen-like feeling, keep your baskets and containers in the same or similar colors. Mixing colors and finishes together leads to a more cluttered look.  It's fine if you want to spice up your maple colored closet with a dark top and handles, but then make sure any accessories you add are harmonious in color and feel so it all flows seamlessly (just like you do in your life!).

Doors Aren't Just For Opening and Closing

Doors can be terrific spots for adding organization. In small spaces, you need to utilize vertical space as well as horizontal space – so - don't forget the doors. Using them to increase storage capacity is also an easy way to stay de-cluttered because the things you use frequently can be stored within easy reach.

Do CPR

spring 2013 colors

And as a last step, consider a little closet CPR. This term pops up every now and then in different organizing articles, and it's a good way to remember what you should do – Categorize, Purge and Rearrange.

When you're getting ready to change out your wardrobe from winter to spring, take a careful look at each item and categorize it. Is it a fabulous piece that you love wearing? If not, it gets purged (so place it in that bag or box that is in the corner of your closet). Next, take the items you still love and rearrange things. Look at things with new eyes. Consider pairing things together that you haven't worn that way before. Different color top under your favorite blazer instead of the white one you always wear. Or trendier shoes mixed with that traditional suit to spice things up just in in time to add spring into your step for the new season.

And if you need help with a new closet design after you've done all this work, give us a call. We'd be delighted to come out and give you some additional ideas on ways to maximize your storage with a newly designed closet system.

2013 Top Shelf Design Honors

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
For the fourth consecutive year, we are honored to have our designs selected for the annual Closets Top Shelf Design contest. We are thrilled to be acknowledged in the industry for our original closet and creative home organizational designs. 

multi-function office coat room  sleek white office storage room with island  

In the category  for "Home Office of 150 square feet or less", Tom Mayfield of Closet Organization Systems, received an honorable mention for his "Multifaceted Office Space" design. 

   mudroom docking station storage mudroom vaccumm cleaning product storage Laundry Room Mudroom Combination

Also, pictured above, Donna Siben of Closet Organizing Systems, received  an honorable mention in the "Specialty Rooms" category for her "5 in 1 Mudroom" design.

Congratulations to all the winners, especially our incredible designers. We will continue to grow and perfect the execution of our brilliant designs for closets and home storage solutions. As always, we will be working hard and looking forward to the 2013 Top Shelf Design competition. 

View our Top Shelf Design winners from previous competitions.

A Mirror For More Than A Look

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Do you feel like you see yourself coming and going?

Or perhaps you can't keep up with how fast you're coming and going.

Still, you want to look good while you're “doing it all”, and well placed mirrors can make that so much easier, all while increasing functionality (that's almost better than having the prince rescue you!)

So take a moment to “look in the mirror” and see some wonderful ways that we've incorporated them into our closet designs. With any luck, you'll be inspired to do the same.

Mirrors make spaces look larger, so if you can incorporate mirrors into a walk in closet space, even if it's small, it will feel bigger. If it's already big, it will feel magnificent. Think about adding mirrors on door fronts, on the actual door to a closet, or on some wall space.

We're not suggesting you give up precious storage space in order to accommodate a mirror. We're suggesting you consider some clever ways to add them to your space without compromising a thing.

If you decide to put a mirror on the wall, make sure you will still be able to have a good line of sight and be able to see yourself once the closet is filled with your clothing. Clothing often sticks out beyond the panel structure of a closet and is deeper, so double check your viewing clearances.

And check the installation height location if it's a mirror that's not full length. If the woman who “wears” this closet is petite, make sure she can see her full face (at minimum) in the mirror. This comes in to play if you're putting mirrors on upper door cabinets.

There's also a 3-way mirror to consider. If you've got enough space in your Walk-In closet, a well-versed designer can create the space so that there is storage behind three sections that are hinged to open so they function like a 3-way mirror. Take a look at some of these pictures that illustrate the point more clearly.

And one more option, in case you just can't get enough! The closet industry offers what is known as a “Pull-Out Mirror”. It can be installed onto one of the vertical panels in your closet system and can be “pulled out” when you need it and pushed back into its' place when not in use. Again, a designer who's worth their salt can guide the design process so it's installed in a location that's functional.

Give us a call. One of our designers would be delighted to help you with that.




Angie’s List Super Service Award Three-peat Winner

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Closet Organizing Systems is the proud recipient of an Angie’s List 2012 Super Service Award for a third consecutive year. We have been selected for achieving and maintaining superior service ratings by customers in both the Closets and Organization of Home and Garage categories. 

Our top priority is providing exceptional service to back our quality organizational products throughout the Chicago land area. We pride ourselves in maintaining positive customer relationships which have resulted in this honor once again. 

Less than 5% of thousands of businesses earn this award which honors excellence among service. Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have to meet strict eligibility requirements, including earning a minimum number of reports, a pristine rating from their customers and following Angie’s List operational guidelines. 

We would like to thank all of our customers for your continued support and feedback. As our promise to you we will continue to learn from our experiences together and push forward with customer satisfaction and superior service.
 
Angie's List Super Service Award for Closets Angie's List Home and Garage Organization Award

2012 Top Shelf Design Winners!!!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Closet Organizing Systems (COS) was selected for two Top Shelf Design Awards to be announced at the 2012 Closet and Home Organizing Expo at the Austin Convention Center on February 15th in Austin, TX.  COS was selected for a melamine office system design and solid/wood veneer closet system. This is the 9th time that COS has been awarded a Top Shelf Design award by Closet Magazine over the last 7 years since its inception.

In the home office category Carey Ekstrom received a Top Shelf Award for her unique office solutions for a sitting/sun room adjacent to the client’s kitchen and living room. The client worked from home and required a functional, yet attractive workspace that blends with the family entertainment activities and compliments the visibility from both the kitchen and living room areas. Transforming a dated, non-functional area into an attractive, warm and inviting multi-purpose area in the home in which the family now looks forward to spending time together.  

In the Wood Veneer category Bill Curran received a Top Shelf Award a cherry stained master closet system simulated leather inserts in the door panels, thicker vertical side panels, full backing, and matching top and bottom moulding throughout the room. The closet was designed with a peninsula island cabinet with his/hers hampers, jewelry drawers, viewing mirror, and granite countertop which doubled for folding and packing clothes. The space also included a window seat bench with drawer storage and an upper lighting valance which is flanked by more hanging storage.

Awards were presented by TV personality Amanda LeBlanc of The Style Networks show “The Amada’s” at the 2012 Top Shelf Design Awards in Austin Texas.

Closet Organizing Systems Earns Angie’s List Super Service Award Again!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Angie's List Super Service Award 2011Closet Organizing Systems has been awarded the prestigious 2011 Angie’s List Super Service Award. Closet Organizing Systems won the same award in 2010, making this our second year receiving this honor, which is bestowed annually to 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.

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 2011 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.

Sometimes Simple is Stunning with Your Closet Design

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Yes – it's true - sometimes simple solutions really make us happy.White Melamine Closet

And simple in the closet world often equates to utilizing white melamine to build the closet systems.

White melamine also happens to be the most popular kind of closet system installed in the U.S. (to the tune of about 75%).

Popular US Closet Option-MelamineThat's not to say that colored melamine or wood aren't great options – they are.  But take a look at the beauty that can result from doing white right.

It's the finishing touches and attention to detail, along with terrific closet design work by Donna Siben of our closet design team, that makes this closet work so well.

There are specific spots for shoes and for bags and for boots, along with drawer storage, shelving behind doors and plenty of hanging space.

White Melamine Closet bring beauty and sophisticationThe system is floor based to add to the built-in look.  Granite tops on the island and dresser really upgrade the look without adding lots of cost and then there's the crown and base moldings.

Moldings in any room really add to the beauty and sophistication. And they are a finishing detail that really White Melamine Closet Optionsgive a custom look and feel. There are an almost endless amount of choices if you're looking to add a base or crown molding to your project. They come in many sizes and can look contemporary to traditional and almost anything in between.

So if you're ready to solve your storage solutions challenges and want a sophisticated closet solution, give us a call or Request a Free Design Consultation and we'll guide you through the design maze and help you define the details that truly make it your own.

Incorporating Feng Shui Into Millwork

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

These very balanced and beautiful spaces started with just stark drywall and a concept of architecturally tying together an existing kitchen with new living and working spaces.   

The client has a strong affinity to living life in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui (in Chinese thought) is a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (chi), and whose effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.

So that thinking was woven into every design element.  We made sure we had clear pathways and balanced elements.

We also designed a two-sided fireplace, so that this powerful symbolic element could be enjoyed from both the living room and the home office.

Fireplaces are often the center of attention for any room, and this is not just because our ties to the fire element go back to the beginning of time.  Fire energy adds a strong presence to any room and is beautiful in its’ coloring and changing shapes.

Not only do fireplaces radiate heat, they blanket an atmosphere with feelings of stillness and comfort and the crackling sounds are peaceful and relaxing.

The wood on the walls that surround this feature is Sapele.  Sapele, which comes from a large, African tree, has a reddish-brown nature color.

One of the most remarkable features of Sapele is that the grain is interlocked and changes direction in frequent, irregular intervals. You could consider it very harmonious with a fire element because fire changes shape as an inherent property of what it is.

The praying Buddha was added by the client with the intention of serving as a symbolic reminder to practice meditation so it’s easier to live a life of balance and harmony.

Buddha literally translates to “enlightened one” and the higher off the ground a Buddha statue is placed, the more reverence it holds in the life of the owner.

 


     
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