The saga of “sad little city closets and how to maximize space in them” continues 😂
You guys remember a couple weeks back when I shared our Master Bedroom closet re-do, right? Well, today I’m excited to share part two: NEAL’s closet re-do. Keep reading for before photos, and lot’s of pictures of the new makeover, and our favorite features about it!
We are so fortunate to have had the help of The Container Store for this undertaking–we certainly could NOT have done it alone!
Right now, they’re running a 30% off the Elfa systems (including installation, too!) used here and in my master bedroom closet! They aren’t just for closets either–pantry, garage, laundry room (er, laundry closet in our case) and more. I can’t recommend these closet systems enough!
Oh–and the best part–unlike other closet systems, you can easily add, remove and reposition drawers, shelves, and everything else as your needs change, or if you move! Yes–this is a rental friendly closet organization system!
If you’re interested in getting organized in the new year, definitely make it a priority to get into The Container Store before the sale ends on February 26th!
Our closet situation:
So, before we jump into the big reveal, I wanted to give you a refresh of the storage situation in the Loftus household.
To give you the lay of the land: in our condo, we have three bedrooms with three very small closets. While there are so many amazing things we love about our space, the storage situation is not one of them. When we decided to buy this place, we knew going in that we were going to have to be very intentional about how much we owned/acquired and that organization was going to be key.
Fast forward three years…and the LAST word anyone would ever use to describe this place is “organized.” It was a disaster. Neal had clothes spread out over three different closets (our master bedroom, his office, and the guest room) and it was finally decided that I would get the entire master closet (because he gets the whole dresser in our bedroom and he has his own office, with an office closet) so therefore, we would move his main closet to his office.
So–once again, just like our master closet before photos, this is something else to file under the “I can’t believe I’m sharing this photo on the internet category”–but here’s a before photo of Neal’s closet–which previously just housed a lot of overflow crap and a handful of his shirts 😂(?)
Office Closet Before:
Neal’s Closet After:
Ready for the after reveal!?
Like HOW is that the same space!? I really had no clue how terrible the old closet layout was. (Laughing to myself as I’m remembering reading the listing on our condo before we bought it–“professionally designed custom closets!” 🙄Psh. YEAH RIGHT.)
So–what does the process look like exactly? I touched in this in my first post, but in case you missed it, I’ll share again!
Customizing your closet with The Container Store–what the process looks like:
Kick off with a Contained Home Specialist
This is absolutely not a required first step–but definitely on that I would recommend if you aren’t good at spacing, or um, organizing. 😂
I may have mentioned this before…but honestly, nobody should trust me as far as they can throw me with ANYTHING that requires spacial awareness or measuring. I was really nervous about this element and was so relieved to find that The Container Store has “Contained Home” specialists– local professional organizers that they pair you up with to assist with your project.
Honestly, I cannot TELLLLLLL you how big of a difference this will make. I got paired up with the FABULOUS Shellie and Hannah from Chicago Organized Home (Shellie actually happened to read my blog already. SO COOL!) and we had a little face time consultation to kick things off. I showed them the closets (the master bedroom and Neal’s closet) and they made so many suggestions that I never would’ve thought of.
(If you live in Chicago I HIGHLY recommend hiring Chicago Organized Home on to help with any of your organization needs! They are phenomenal!)
They helped me come up with a list of features (many of which I would’ve never dreamed to think of) to discuss at my appointment with my in-store designer. This brings us to the next step:
Customize your closet with an in-store designer:
After chatting with Shellie and Hannah, I went into my local store and met with an Elfa designer named Paul, who was wonderful. We walked through all the design options, I provided him the specs/measurements, as well as what I had discussed with Shellie and Hannah. (Hannah also happened to be in the store too, so she popped over into our meeting and it was super helpful!)
I was really adamant about having drawers in both closets, which is really tricky given the tight space and how much hanging room we needed, but Paul found a way to make it happen! He also placed the whole order for me right there (so I didn’t have to deal with it!) and you can schedule an installation at that point as well. It’s so fast–usually in just a couple of days! Here are some photos I snapped of the process–it was so cool to be apart of!
Shop for finishing items:
After our meeting with Paul, Hannah and I perused the store for other essentials I needed that weren’t part of the Elfa closet–like these baskets that we used for Neal’s closet (and a bunch of other stuff for my own closet). I would’ve been so overwhelmed without her–I can’t stress enough how easy they made the decision-making process. She basically made recommendations of what we needed and I just had to choose the design style I liked.
Then came installation day–where they took care of ripping out my old crappy closet shelving, and installed the new shelving. It only took a couple of hours. Obviously I had to get everything out of the closets, so Neal and I used this as an opportunity to go through everything we owned and purge as MUCH as humanly possible. (This helped a lot ).
The following day, Shellie and Hannah came over and went to town putting everything back into the closets–they even taught me how to fold my clothes the Kon-mari way which totally prevents me from messing up an entire drawer of shirts trying to find what I’m looking for. They taught us that using velvet hangers instead of Neal’s previous wooden hangers can help you fit twice as much stuff in your closet! (I was so shocked they could fit ALL his suits in the closet!)
The Finished Product:
I’ll let the photos speak for themselves
Our favorite features:
Elfa accessory drawer for catch-all items + pocket squares:
It seems to be a common pet peeve of ALL wives that their husbands come home, leave their watch on the dresser, empty out their pockets of change, collar stays, dry cleaning receipts, and lot’s of other little loose ends that you are always constantly having to look at because they never seem to have a home. This is why THIS DRAWER IS A GAME-CHANGER. How there is a place for the “end of the work day” clutter and you don’t ever have to see it ever again. 😂
Neal probably wears suits as much as he wears casual clothes (he always has to wear them for work) so he has a lot of pocket squares and ties that previously were just thrown loosely in a drawer–which obviously was not ideal. I love that the other side of the “end of the workday clutter” drawer has a divider specifically for things like pocket squares, cuff links, etc–they could also be used for watches, jewelry, and other small items! (I have a similar drawer for my jewelry in my closet!)
Budget-friendly alternative: If custom closets aren’t an option, you can re-create this idea with this valet that holds his loose ends, watches, and more! Creating one designated “spot” will definitely help reduce tabletop clutter!
Elfa drawer for ties:
Like I said, the man had an ENTIRE large dresser drawer full of ties loosely thrown all over the place. Not only was this a bad waste of space (that drawer can fit SO much more clothing than just ties). But who wants to look at a drawer full of a bunch of messy ties? His new closet tie drawer is the perfect depth (you don’t need a super tall drawer for ties, so it’s a much better use of space!) Now he see every tie he owns at one time!
Budget-friendly alternative: I’d definitely recommend organizing ties this way for any guy–you can get drawer dividers to do this with your existing drawers if Elfa customizations aren’t in your budget right now!
Gliding pant rack:
This pant rack not only minimizes space, but it makes it super easy for him to to see everything in one place, and keep his suit pants neat and not wrinkled! It pulls out for easy hanging, too!
Shelving for bulkier sweaters and out of season items:
One advantage we do have is taller ceilings, so adding shelves above the hanging racks provided extra storage for out of season items and things he doesn’t use every day, but that would normally take up quite a bit of space!
That’s it! Ta da! What do you think? So much better, right!?
Inspired to re-organize YOUR closet? Remember, all Elfa systems are 30% off right now at The Container Store!
HUGE huge thank you to The Container Store for partnering together on this post, and helping us get our lives in order 😉Hopefully this is just the beginning of more organization to come in 2019!