Our New Closet & {organization}!

A few months ago we had California Closets come and re-work our closet. It was a dream of mine to someday have a professional closet company make something new from an existing space. While I'm up for a DIY project any day, we knew this was something we needed a second professional opinion on. We wanted to absolutely maximize this space; not just for resale value but also for our sanity. 

We love everything about our home (granite counters, stainless steel appliances, good layout, fairly large bedrooms, double vanities, separate tub/shower, square footage) and the list could literally go on. But the second we saw the master closet on our new house walkthrough it was a total letdown.

My exact thoughts? Oh hey! How in the WORLD are we going to manage to fit TWO people's clothes on 3 wire shelves?

It's smaller than any other bedroom closet in this house. It's considered a walk in, but it's really a step in. You can literally take 1 step in, but even then you won't be able to close the door. It came complete with 16in lovely wire shelving (sense my sarcasm?). The closet experts told us they were surprised that the builders chose 16inch wire shelves since that takes up more space than traditional 12in. Whatever the problem, it wasn't working.

The main problem was that I use a dresser (that's located in our master) and Josh doesn't. So all my stuff that doesn't hang (shorts, pants, workout clothes, swimsuits, underwear, socks, etc.) goes in there. He didn't have a place for that. So we utilized bins and baskets and a mis-mash of organizational bins found around the house.
It was so terrible that this was the best before I could find. I couldn't even reach the bins on the top shelf. These are 9 foot ceilings.

First we had to make the decision whether to do this ourselves or hire out. We are typically pretty ambitious but this layout had us stumped. We couldn't figure out another way to arrange it. And even after browsing Lowes and HD (and Pinterest of course) and their storage systems we still couldn't figure out what we actually wanted (or needed). We even contemplated reworking to door to somehow make it less awkward. We considered the option of a pocket door but that would only be possible to the left of the closet and our sinks in the master bath back up to that wall. I also thought of a sliding barn type door but it would have knocked into the door to our bedroom. Even 2 small doors that open in the center (kind of like Emberly's closet- seen in the 3rd picture there) wouldn't work because we don't have the space to open them out. Taking the door off was discussed but I just couldn't get past the look of a college dorm room (although heck- my college dorm closet was HUGE).

We decided to get 2 quotes from local closet companies: California Closets and Closets by Design. I had never heard of CbyD, but we got a flyer in the mail from them with a coupon attached so we decided to get 2 quotes done in the same week.

Ironically, both companies gave us the same layout (which eased our mind that this was the direction we were headed). But California Closets blew the competition out of the water. CC did the whole mock up right in front of us on her computer. We were able to visualize it by seeing the image 3D and we could manipulate it with the mouse. CbyD only did a 2D drawing on grid paper. Also CbyD could only guarantee their work for 7 years, and their original quote ended up being over $1,000. Then with the coupon it brought it down to $850. We felt like they purposely elevated their prices to them bring them down- whereas California Closets was just the lower price all along. Also CC guarantees their work for the life of the system and the warranty stays with the closet even when we sell (a perk whenever we move). They also generously knocked off 5% for a military discount brining the total to $700! The $700 and $850 would have been the EXACT same closet- same material, color, number of shelves, etc. just so you know I'm comparing apples to apples. We would have had to give up the finishes we wanted and a few shelves to beat the CC price. So we hired California Closets and 2 weeks later ONE MAN was here to install! We didn't pay for them to demolish the old closet. That also saved us about $100. We took the shelving down ourselves and then I went through and spackled the walls and touched up the paint the weekend before they arrived.

Here were our 2 design decisions. The first design put the shelves on the far wall. (left picture). The photo on the right is from an angle you can't really get to because of the wall/door. But the suits hanging in the right photo would be directly to the right when you walk in the closet.
 The second design put the shelves on the wall to the right and clothes all along the back wall. 
I even posted on Facebook asking for help deciding. What I like about California Closets is they can take any shelf and create a drawer from it. So if we ever decide to upgrade- they are more than happy to accommodate. For now, it pushed the price too far up but I love the versatility. With that in mind, we opted for the shelves to go on the right wall (the second design), since you'd have to close the door to open a drawer on the far wall. That seemed like too much hassle.

I was really impressed that one man got the job done. We had a hiccup with delivery (his van broke down) but he was here in less than 2 hours and then finished the project super fast (less than 2 hours).
We love that they staggered the heights of the poles to accommodate dresses and suits. And what you may notice is that space at the very top has enough room to store 3 large rubbermaid bins. We knew we'd never be able to hang summer and winter clothes at the same time, but it sure makes it easier to keep it all in the closet instead of in one of the kid's rooms or having to trek up to the attic.
We opted to add a bar where the hamper is. This isn't so much for us, but when we move (and if the closet is empty) it won't look like dead space. It actually allows enough space to hang my skirts which was an added bonus.
I love that since my shirts are shorter than Josh's that it gives a little room for folded sweaters and some jewelry. I could also put more baskets for accessories if needed. I love that our iron can sit there too since we don't have much room in our laundry room.

So far Josh loves the shelves. They fit all his stuff with room to spare. It's much easier to reach all his stuff and even I can put his laundry away. #confession #istilldontputhisclothesaway

Oh and do you recognize these baskets? Yep I repurposed from our old laundry room. I had painted them key lime and used them to store extra laundry supplies on top of our cabinet. Well the key lime wasn't jivving with this new house, so thankfully spray paint isn't too permanent! 

We haven't found a permanent solution for his ties and belts. We could have included that in the price of the closet, but they were around $90 a pop when I can find a much more budget friendly solution elsewhere. We plan to put them on this wall behind the closet door (when it's actually closed). 
My best advice? If you plan to hire out something like this let them know UP FRONT that you have a budget that you want to stick to. We did tell our rep that we were getting multiple opinions/prices but that it was going to come down to the best quality for our $ not necessary the cheapest. By letting her know that upfront she didn't even tempt up with bigger and better. Also anything they add on is going to cost more. So things like tie racks and hampers seem easy to throw in when you're already spending a good chunk of change, but it just doesn't make budget sense. By saving on the tie rack, belt rack and demoing the old closet ourself we saved about $300 (that's the difference between a $1k and a $700 closet!) and we repurposed the old wire shelves in our garage. 

As soon as the closet was complete I knew we needed some sort of labels on the shelves. I wanted something pretty sophisticated, while still being fairly simple (and cheap)- Hello we just spent a good bit on a custom closet!
I ordered these scrapbook bookplates on Amazon. I bought packs for this project. 

Since the pre made labels weren't fitting for our space, I simply flipped them over...
and covered them wish some washi tape!
I made a few extras in case we ever decide to switch them out to say something else. 
And making sure that I used clear tape in the label maker- voila!
My original plan was to put the plates on the front of the baskets. But they didn't stick. Womp. They have adhesive on the back of the metal and I didn't take into account how bumpy the baskets were. But I quickly changed my plans and tried it on the shelves and they fit perfectly.

I mainly put two labels per shelf, but at the very top where we keep our linens I just needed one.
and the minimalist in me loves that this basket is empty!

I also made sure that the baskets didn't pop the labels off when I pulled them out. They perfectly clear the top of the shelf. 
And a lovely after! 
So glad this project is DONE! Now if I could only get some inspiration for the rest of our master bedroom!
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