Storage & Organization
Alternative Closet Company
657 E. Main St.
Shoe cubbies, tie and belt racks, wire baskets and hampers, handbag and accessory compartments, velvet-lined jewelry drawers, pull-down wardrobe bars, drawers and dividers, valet garment racksâ€¦.in our next lives, this isn’t only standard in our walk-in closets, but they’re filled with desginer duds, too. If this is your idea of heaven, consider Alternative Closet a guardian angel, because these elements of possession organization are available today in the here and now. Wall units, home offices, mudrooms, and entertainment centers are all part of the company’s repertoire.
16 Saw Mill River Rd.
Fashionable function, a place for everything, and easy elegance are hallmarks of designs by California Closets in Hawthorne.
California Closets was founded in 1978 by an 18-year-old college student who turned his innovative way of maximizing dorm-room closet space into a thriving
2291 Fairfield Ave.
As if it’s not hard enough to find motivation to separate the colors from the whites, we had a laundry room with no shelves, no cabinets, and no room for, well, anything. Then Closet Factory sent in its designers and created a space where doing laundry is a cinch—attractive cabinets hold detergent and cleaners above the washer/dryer, the ironing board is neatly tucked away, and there’s even a pantry for extras. No wonder the company, which creates systems for any room, has been ranked the number-one franchise in closet systems by Entrepreneur magazine. We’re thrilled with our laundry room, but still would prefer hubby took over the task.
Closets by Design
606 Franklin Ave.
If you’ve ever been put off by perceived closet-organization costs, Closets by Design, which offers three distinct systems, most likely has a product that’s right up your alley. Its basic-yet-useful Everyday Collection provides an easy answer to closet clutter at the most affordable price, while the Classic Collection combines simplicity and style with its essential storage systems and features a soft-edge treatment and half-overlay doors and drawers. The Regency, with its one-and-one-eighth-inch panels and three-quarter-inch shelves, soft-edge treatment, and half-overlay doors and drawers, is its most high-end collection. Talk to the pros at Closets by Design about home offices, garage cabinets, pantries, laundry rooms, and hobby centers.
141 Tompkins Ave.
These space-planning specialists have been called on by the big boys, so naturally, we plan to give them a try, too? Closets Plus owner Joe Schneider was the supplier of choice for the closets (complete with wood-grained shelves, center islands, lockable jewelry drawers, ironing boards, hampers, and special shelves for recharging cell phones) at Bedford’s Stone Manors on Twin Lakes, an enclave of 17 luxury homes selling for $4.25 million and up. Closets Plus was also called in to work its magic at Donald Trump’s luxury facilities in New Rochelle and White Plains, creating superior storage spaces for the most demanding boss of all. If the most discerning of clients have them on speed dial, why shouldn’t we?
92 Central Park Ave.
111 High Ridge Rd.
With a showroom in Hartsdale’s Today’s Kitchens (and another in the Stamford sister store), Poliform brings Ã¼ber style to sophisticated Westchester residents who want to continue their home’s sleek modern aesthetic in their private spaces. A veritable institution in the Italian furniture industry, Poliform USA brings 60 years of experience—and haute couture for the home—to closets and wardrobes stateside. Now if they could only fill them with Prada and Versace.
The Royal Closet
6-B Muller Park
We’ve long worried about opening our closet door for fear of impending doom as shoeboxes come tumbling down. But The Royal Closet has our backs (and heads) with its custom-designed closets and systems, offering options from stained wood systems to those of white or almond melamine, matching dovetail drawers to fully adjustable shelves and poles. A variety of accessories are also available.
20 Jones St.
When it comes to creating order out of chaos, Transform ranks right up there with your yoga instructor and beleaguered accountant. The company scoffs at the pre-fab, one-size-fits-all approach to closet organization. Instead, it relies on its designers to consider your taste, lifestyle, and needs and create a custom storage solution that situates everything just where it needs to be, putting your mind—and your wayward stuff—in a good place.
The Auto Room
If the garage is the final frontier in personal home organization, Auto Room owner Jerry Burns is one savvy pioneer, taking a garage “read” to determine the homeowner’s personality and interests (sports? do-it-yourself home improvement? gardening?) and organizing accordingly. He also takes on basements, laundry rooms, sheds, boathouses, and stables.
GarageTek of Connecticut/GarageTek of Westchester
Marc Shuman literally launched a new home-improvement market when he established his company in 2000, becoming the first national firm to offer a custom-installed garage organization and storage system. His patented wall-panel system works with removable accessories, as well as cabinets and shelves, and the company offers locking, highly durable floor tile that can withstand the wear and tear of a garage. The first step is figuring out what type of garage makeover is for you. Have you got kids—and by extension, acres of paraphernalia? Are you an empty nester with golf equipment for two and twin sedans that need their own place? An avid gardener who requires a place to stow the hoe and mower? Garagetek’s solutions can create a space that fits your stuff—not your neighbors’.
Cross County Shopping Center
Route 87 and
275 Main St., White Plains
Gladiator GarageWorks from Whirlpool Corporation can help take your garage from cluttered to clean with its rugged yet sleek modular components that work together to maximize wall and floor space. Last fall, the company launched its new Gladiator Premier Jumbo GearBox cabinets, which, at 72-by-36-by-24 inches, are large enough to store your mulch for the season (or whatever else you may have that takes up a lot of room). The company also recently introduced color floor tile so your garage will not only look neat, but spiffy as well.
200 Executive Blvd.
PremierGarage, locally based in Ossining, outfitted this garage with sleek stainless-steel cabinets and quarter-inch Desert PremierOne flooring to help streamline its storage capacity, create a new workshop area, and gain more work space.
The choice is yours: organize the garage or buy a smaller car. Before running to the dealer, check out PremierGarage, a company that can provide you with a variety of custom space-saving solutions. PremierGarage integrates the cabinetry with a garage floor-coating system engineered for easy cleaning with a slip-resistant sealant that prevents stains and peeling. Its grid wall organizers secure everything from saws to sports equipment.
Pamela Brunderman Organized For Life
31 Mamaroneck Ave., Studio 402
Ask Pamela Brunderman, founder of Organized For Life (OFL for short), how long she’s been organizing and she’ll quip, “Since third grade!” Actually, she’s been a professional in the organization field for 10 years, but Brunderman brings more than 20 years of design and decorating experience to her business and her client’s projects. With an auspicious background—she earned a bachelor’s degree in interior design and an associate’s degree in counseling—Brunderman believes that design and organization go hand-in-hand, a fact that’s rather obvious in her fashionable and functional designs.
Debbie Harwin I Need My Space, Inc.
Westchester Magazine’s Best of Westchester pick in 2007 for Best Closet Organizer, I Need My Space has gained a reputation for coming into chaos and leaving order, much to the satisfied sighs of the company’s clients, who deem Debbie Harwin and her team’s services “life-altering.” (If you’ve ever looked for insurance papers half an hour before a critical doctor’s appointment, you know what they mean.) A non-practicing attorney, Harwin and her “life-altering” services have been featured on Inside Edition, The View (she helped busy Westchester mom Meredith Vieira take charge of her house), Open House NYC, and local publications such as ours. She’s also a member of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization, a study for which we’d like to volunteer.
Alicia Leibowitz The Dotted i
4 Lisa Ct.
When Alicia Leibowitz used to ask her grandmother what present she would like for the holidays, she would reply, “Don’t give me anything I need to clean or dust.” Today, Leibowitz, founder of The Dotted i, is finding that more and more people are giving her services as gifts; not only are they much needed and even more appreciated, but they fit her grandma’s specs perfectly. Leibowitz helps families and small businesses de-clutter and get organized. She’ll organize kids’ rooms and help new parents put their homes—and their lives—in order before the little ones take over. We’ll take that over another onesie any day.
400 King St.
125 Elm St.
New Canaan, Connecticut
Picture this: you come home from a busy day at the office. Your laundry is washed and folded, your grocery shopping and errands are done, and the smell of a home-cooked dinner wafts from the kitchen. The kids have been bathed, the dog groomed, and the house tidied. It’s the time of day when you silently utter a prayer of thanks for LifeWorx, a company founded by Bal Agrawal that provides a whole host of services to make your life easier, including care for children, senior family members, and pets; cleaning and housekeeping services; and chef services. LifeWorx can even provide an organizer or personal assistant. It’s the next best thing to your own wife.
Catherine Lisi, Lisi Solutions
According to a study conducted for Newsweek, the average American wastes roughly 12 weeks a year looking for things they know they own but can’t find. Lisi is determined to help you reclaim those weeks (not to mention your stuff) with her personal organizing services, including coaching, estate organization, home-office organization, and help with moving and relocation as well as paper and electronic filing. A graduate of Corporate Coach University (CCU), a leading global provider of business and corporate-coach training programs and services, Lisi has worked as a professional coach and consultant to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and individuals for a decade.
Robert Mizrahi Chaos Commandos
If you can’t see the forest for the trees—and can’t find your desk under all that paper—Chaos Commandos Professional Organizing may be just the service to let into your enemy territory. Head commando Robert Mizrahi, who points out that “Our plates are the largest they’ve ever been, and they’re still full”—specializes in helping people take control of their lives and environments. The self-described chaos coach, who spent more than 20 years mastering the art of advertising and graphic design in high-level creative positions with Dannon, Nokia, and AT&T, is the author of Organizing the College Artist, which focuses on the importance of bringing order to the creative process.
Linda Samuels Oh, So Organized!
If you ask clients the most important things Linda Samuels brings to her work, it’s enthusiasm and humor (a welcome attitude, since we always thought our office-management mayhem was no laughing matter). In January 1993, Samuels merged her visual-arts experience, her business background, her love of working with people, and her organizational skills to create Oh, So Organized!, which evaluates organizing roadblocks and implements customized solutions. A member of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD), Samuels completed NSGCD’s Level III certification, becoming Westchester’s first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization, a disorder for which we’ve long needed help.
Gayle Shaffer GSProfessional Organizer, LLC
Before becoming a professional organizer, Gayle Shaffer worked for a major corporation as an engineer and financial executive, which provided a solid foundation for the logical thinking required to run a sound organizational business. After leaving the corporate world, she started a direct-mail catalog business and a property-management business, which gave her hands-on experience as a small business owner and insight into the day-to-day issues faced by entrepreneurs and working mothers alike. Having moved four times in 15 years, Shaffer also has personal experience in handling household moves, both downsizing and upsizing, and offers services in home organization and home staging.
A young retiree from IBM Corporation, where her responsibilities included administration and human-resource management, Carmela Sirico now specializes in business organization. As she puts it, “I don’t do closets,” focusing instead on big jobs such as office moves and relocation, where her corporate background comes in very handy.
Marcia Sloman Under Control
Sloman’s mission is to ease the burden our possessions place on us when they wildly spin out of control. Since 1992, Sloman has been offering what she calls “positive solutions through practical applications.” She specializes in setting up various paper-management systems for those losing the never-ending battle when it comes to home-office or business organization and helps clients organize their space, manage their time, and set their goals.
Phyllis Zahnd, PhD
An organizer and time-management consultant, Phyllis Zahnd has a PhD in school psychology, training called upon when dealing with those of us who pout when our beloved-but-useless toys are taken away. She can help set up a home office or small business filing system; create space for toys, schoolwork, and equipment; and show clients how to handle mail, newspapers, and magazines. Zahnd, who teaches organizing and time-management skills in adult-ed classes, also runs workshops and support groups for seniors who are downsizing their homes and possessions. She also helps students develop the time-management and organizational skills necessary for academic success. Phone appointments to coach and reinforce newly acquired organizing and time-management skills are all part of the plan.
Six No-Brainers for an Organized Home Office
When you rarely can find vital documents or you’re staring at a pile of paper as intimidating as Mount Everest, it doesn’t matter whether your home office is the size of small basketball court or wedged into the corner of your kitchen. You’re still guilty of disorganized crime and the penalty is high. Try these tips to climb out from under.
Purge the pile.
Give it a few days, and those pieces of mail, invitations, and flyers can seem insurmountable. Get into the habit of going through papers daily, throwing away unneeded ones, shredding those with personal or financial information, answering invitations, and noting dates on the calendar. Remove yourself from unwanted mailing lists. “I always tell clients to ask themselves, â€˜Do I really need this piece of paper? Is there a duplicate somewhere?” says Debbie Harwin of I Need My Space in Larchmont. “If you do, act on it and file it away in the appropriate place so you can find it again.” If you’re not certain how long to keep specific financial documents, ask your accountant. “Even if you do need to keep a document, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in your office filing cabinet. Papers that need to be saved several years for archival purposes can be boxed away, clearly labeled, and put in an attic or on a high closet shelf.”
Keep what you use most close at hand.
Supplies you use every day, papers that need immediate action, and reference books you regularly turn to should all be in, on, or near your desk. Other items, such as extra office supplies or books you occasionally flip through, can be placed further away. Keeping extra staples or enough pencils to supply an elementary school in your desk usually makes it impossible to find items you truly need. Get rid of office supplies you haven’t used in the last year—either return them for store credit or donate them.
Create a viable filing system
Harwin suggests creating two separate filing systems, one that needs to be acted on and the other for papers you may need for future reference, such as credit-card and banking statements or medical records. For clients, she routinely sets up action files, such as bills that need to be paid, upcoming trips or events, or items requiring follow-up phone calls, in a vertical step file right on their desks, where they’re more li