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Room for Shoes
You may believe that shoe bag hanging over your door or the TV-advertised hangers that promise more space will do the trick. While those may work — it might just be that your closet is too cluttered.

Carolyn Davis found she had that problem.

“Though I had a custom home, my closets were anything but custom,’’ Davis said.
“With the exception of two built-in drawer systems, the master bedroom closet consisted of standard, white wire shelving with space below to hang clothes and a couple of wire shoe racks. Everything stored on the shelves were stacked about two feet high,’’ Davis said. “There was a lot of wasted hanging space because the rods were all hung at the same level. I put shoes on top of each other to make them fit. I had to move many things to find whatever I needed on a given day.’’

Donna Clark found a way to solve her shoe problem. Clark’s hobby is Shoes, with a captial ‘‘S’’.

Her new closet allows room for at least 600 pairs of shoes — all collected since Hurricane Ivan took her house and her belongings.

“I have been busy collecting the most favorite thing in the world for me to buy — shoes,’’ Clark said. “These are all after Ivan, as I lost our home and all we owned. I had a similar closet in my other home. The closet was a project of my husband, Bill, and myself. The shoes are all color coordinated and by casual to dress pumps.”

Clark’s shoe closet, with its short shelves stacked with shoes to the ceiling, is only a portion of her storage system.

“I have clothes to match every pair I have, and then some, when it comes to clothing. My grandmother always told me, ‘Granddaughter, as long as your skirt and blouse or dress is pressed and looks great on, the next thing that should be great is the shoe.’ Shoes can make or break an outfit,’’ Clark said.

She always has room for more, too. As chairperson for the Divas Closet for the Opera, she cleans a few out twice a year.

“Once a shoe is gone, I remember it no more, but as long as it is in my care, I know what is where with my shoes, and what I have on hand at all times. I am like an elephant in that regard,’’ she said.

Looking for Space
A number of closets have no drawer space, and that’s important, Halsall said.
“The most requested accessory for closets is drawers, and that makes good sense. One best practice, for ease and efficiency of dressing, is to have everything together: shirts, pants, underwear, socks and jewelry,’’ Halsall said. “By maximizing the space in your existing closet, you can add drawers, general storage shelves, and fulfill your hanging requirements.”

Frankly, it sounds so easy just writing the inspiring and motivating words.
But look in your closet, and you get a bolt of reality, right between the eyes. The idea of calling an expert may seem foreign to you at first, but it makes good sense.
“I am often told, I have a million sizes in my closet … so I have put into action a simple solution,’’ Halsall said. “Only one size really fits you, and that is the size you are today. So let’s celebrate, by giving the other sizes a rest. If they are on a hanger, they are getting hanger marks, dusty and stretched out. Label a container with a size number, put that size in the box. Same goes for the other sizes. As you do this, keep a laundry basket and a trash can close at hand. And you know the drill: keepers, trash and can’t believe the tags are still on this. Honestly, though, if I ever get to be a size 5 again, I do not plan on wearing any old clothes.”

And yet, old clothes seem to go full circle and become stylish again. Just look at the new fall fashions ... many with those broad shoulder pads. Where, oh where, did you hang that red blazer you loved with the football shoulders?

No matter how good a closet designer may be, ultimately, the decision is yours, and sometimes you have to be strong.

Halsall said she likes to “improve what isn’t working.”
For Davis, her closet took on a new meaning.

“I never dreamed so much could be fitted in so little space with such accessibility. I feel like I could almost live in my closet.”

Remember that charity can start in your closet with a contribution to Favor House, the Opera’s Diva’s Closet, St. Vincent DePaul, or other non-profit groups. Also, resale shops are a great place for your clothes, and you might even make a bit of change from the effort — then you can use it to buy new clothes.

HALSALL’S 4 Most Important Closet Fixes:
1. Identify the items most used every day, and make them easily accessible.
2. Create a place for your belongings that is natural or ergonomic for your use: Shoes with socks, belts near the pants, shirts with ties, formal dresses, formal shoes and purses together.
3. If you can see it, you can find it. More shallow shelves might be the ticket. Hooks are another option.
4. Create spaces that naturally keep you organized and signal when you accumulate too much.
– Tips from Leslie Halsall of Alpha Closets.

Why You Should Get Orginized:
• Life is simplified when you become more organized.
• Organized people are more successful people.
• A well-crafted spatial design allows you to see and enjoy the “treasures” that you have worked so hard for.
• Frustrations and anxiety from chaos and clutter will be alleviated, allowing your day to be more productive.
• As your needs change, California Closet solutions are designed so that you can easily rearrange the elements to reconfigure your space.
• A recent NAHB survey states that storage is the third-most important attribute for home buyers.
– Tips from Amy Patrick of California Closets.

Closet Clean Out:

From Wire Services
Given changing fashion trends and seasons, closets can be some of the most cluttered spaces in the home.

“Fashion is meant to change, so embrace it,” said Katie Baker Jones, instructor at The Art Institutes International, Kansas City. “This makes that crucial decision of what to wear immensely easier.’’
• If you are still using wire hangers, use plastic ones, instead, as they are better for your clothes. The soft curves of plastic hangers “ensure better draping of your garments.” Using plastic hangers also gives your clothes some room to breathe, thus reducing wrinkles and making your garments easier to find.
• Tired at the end of a long day? While flipping your shoes off may seem convenient, don’t. “Adding a shoe rack to a door or the floor of a closet is another cheap way to utilize closet space, while at the same time protecting your shoe investment,” Baker Jones said.

Maximize Space:
Design leader Lynette Jennings, who launched her own show on The Discovery Channel, suggests several guidelines for maximizing closet space:
• Group apparel and accessories by activity. “This is a simple time-saver for today’s multi-faceted lives,” Jennings said. “Place workout clothes in one section and casual Friday office outfits in another.” Once items are categorized, it’s easier to determine if extra organizers — such as belt racks or sock dividers — are needed.
• Expand vertically and horizontally. “Add storage units and racks to under-utilized areas for a dramatic increase in shelf and hanging space.”
• Create a centralized dressing area by moving dressers and mirrors close to the closet. This saves time when you’re putting on and putting away clothes.
• If blankets, quilts, boots, luggage and your child’s unused stuffed animals are sitting in your bedroom closet, store them in the attic — one of the most underutilized spaces in the American home.
• Opt for visibility. Arranging items by color within each category-from power suits to lingerie-makes it easier to dress for a meeting or pack for a trip. Open shelves, clear containers and double hung racks for shirts and slacks keep choices in plain view for quick retrieval.