"The Distinctive Life" presented by the Distinctive Collection

32 33 bhgrecollection.com | | THE DISTINCTIVE LIFE® Volume 10 LIFE & LEISURE PRIORITIZE ORGANIZATION AND DECLUTTERING Experts stress that the one closet organization tip that applies to nearly everyone is prioritizing decluttering before a single bin, hook, cabinet, or dresser island is installed. Pull everything out of your existing closet, cedar chests, and dressers. Honestly assess whether or not you will ever wear that dress, necklace, scarf, or pair of boots again. The old rule used to be that if you haven’t worn an item in 12 months, it might be time to donate it. Given the changes in work-fromhome and socializing routines over the last couple of years, you may want to hold on to some items (like corporate office attire or cocktail dresses) a bit longer. However, for most clothing items, you should feel free to organize your closet items into keep, donate, toss, or consider piles. CHOOSE A CLOSET ORGANIZATION SYSTEM Your dream closet should be highly personalized. Whether you commission a custom-build from scratch or pay a craftsperson to tailor an existing system, your closet organization system should fit your personality and needs. How do you want the space to feel? Should it be modular so that it can be moved and expanded without changing any original architectural details (like molding)? What are your storage requirements? Do you want only to use eco-friendly materials? If you are a visual person, you may prefer to have most of your clothing items on a hanging rod or open shelf rather than tucked away in drawers or placed in decorative bins. That means that when designing your new closet, you should focus on adding double rods, slanted shelving, or open shelving to increase daily functionality. Sustainable Paulownia wood bins are gorgeous, but if you forget what is in them the minute they are placed on an overhead shelf, they aren’t as useful as stacking folded items on an open shelf or in a cubby that is at eye level. Southern Living's design experts advise those designing a new space to maximize the space’s utility. According to the magazine’s organization experts, “items should be stored by frequency of use” so that you don’t find yourself wading through seasonal items or accessories that only get used once or twice a year when looking for your go-to handbag. Another closet organization tip that their experts favor is to design your closet as if it were a house; “the eye-level racks, rods and shelves are where your everyday life occurs,” while “upper shelves all the way to the ceiling act as your ‘attic’ where you should keep infrequently used pieces and mementos.” BUILD DEDICATED DRAWERS Deep drawers inside a stylish built-in unit or freestanding island win favor with the experts at Better Homes & Gardens. The magazine offers this tip: “Deep drawers are ideal for bulky pajamas, sportswear, and items that don’t always get neatly folded. They also leave room in a walk-in closet for more attractive items to be on display.” When Martha Stewart converted her spare room into a stunning closet, she commissioned “a two-sided bureau topped with marble” that referenced a similar marble on her kitchen’s famous pastrycounter because she loved the elegance of it, and it helped tie the new construction to the rest of her home’s style. As she revealed in Martha Stewart Living: The marble was “carved by a local stonecutter, and offers ample space for an antique jewelry box and mirror and a clothes-folding station.” Each drawer in her closet offers peak organization, with spaces dedicated (and built) to house specific items, from delicates to cashmere wraps, from socks to sequined pants. DISPLAY PURSES AND SHOES One of the closet organization tips that all experts can agree on is that you should display your handbags and shoes like the works of art they are. Purses can be arranged on shelves or in custom-designed cubbies with clear covers that still offer easy access while also protecting against dust. Keep the ones you often use at eye level while displaying occasional bags overhead. Building a personalized shoe display within your walk-in closet or new dressing space offers sublime organization potential. Better Homes & Gardens' designers love the idea of crafting “slanted shelves that hold heels and sandals in place while flip-flops are tossed together in a braided basket.” If you are reconfiguring existing shelving, move some shelves up to allow your boots to stand, and insert boot supports to keep them upright and the material from creasing or cracking. However, before you put a single Louboutin onto your new shelves, the experts at Better Homes & Gardens offer this pro-level closet organization tip: “Group by type! Storing similar items together is more important than grouping by color, particularly when you need to get ready quickly.” DESIGN PROTECTIVE STORAGE If you have beautiful sweaters, you want to protect them frommoths and UV rays throughout the year, and you want them to be easily accessible when you need them. Take a closet organization tip from Martha Stewart’s renovation: “Plush pullovers are folded and arranged in a tall cabinet customized with restoration-glass panels that match the windows in the rest of the house,” and sweaters are protected with cedar balls that are arranged within the stacks in the cabinet. Do you have exquisite and sentimental jewelry items that are prone to being