How to Tackle Your Organization Resolutions in Westchester

A local expert shares her tips for creating an orderly and stylish home.

At the start of any new year, most of us make resolutions. We’re going to exercise more, watch what we eat, get organized, etc.

We can’t help with diet and workout routines in this section of the magazine, but we can help with the organization of your closets. Brenda MacLeish, design consultant at California Closets in Hawthorne, shares her tips for getting your closets organized and keeping them that way.

The first step, according to MacLeish, is to think long and hard about what you want to keep and what will be stored in your closet. “Prioritize what one wants to store and what’s most important to keep in the closet, no matter the size,” she says. “Any size closet can be designed efficiently if thought goes into needs/wants, and above all, practicality.”

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Next, she says to consider what the closet is being used for. Is it for storing clothes, accessories, or all the above? “If it’s for clothing, I usually prioritize hanging, and suggest drawers for items that do not fold neatly or easily: underwear, lingerie, workout wear, swimwear, scarves, jewelry,” she says. “Shelves for items that fold easily: sweaters, jeans, T-shirts. Accessories just add to that extra-special use. Belt, tie, and scarf racks, as well as a valet rod, take a closet from basic use to best use.”

Accessories can be a bit trickier to store. MacLeish suggests storing items like bags, shoes, and other accessories based on quantity. “Angled, lit shoe shelves are the most beautiful way to store shoes, but it all depends on the available space and quantity,” she adds. “Bags are best displayed on illuminated glass shelves but can be stored on regular open shelves with shelf dividers for practical purposes too.”

For smaller bags and clutches, she suggests storing them in a drawer, and for scarves and pashminas, she often uses a slide-out “pant hang.”

She says the main thing is to not overload or over design your closet. “It’s sometimes difficult to give up on a dream even if it’s impractical,” she says. “Jamming a closet with everything one owns leads to chaos, mess, and claustrophobia.”

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If you’re organizing closets for children, she adds that hanging heights and different types of hanging are essential. “Long hang, ¾ hang, and short or double hang are the number one element to consider,” she says.

Measuring is also key when it comes to the planning stage. She says to make sure any obstructions are noted such as light switches, outlets, heating elements, soffits, the ceiling angle, etc.

“Any size closet can be designed efficiently if thought goes into needs/wants, and above all, practicality.”
—Brenda MacLeish

And don’t forget to add a bit of style and glam. MacLeish suggests adding glass and mirrored doors, illuminated shelves, leather or back-painted glass door, drawer faces, and lights. And if you use thicker materials, that will contribute to a luxurious space.

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