Denise, a Community Volunteer

For this project, organizing was a surprise Christmas gift! This client’s husband is a very neat person who likes everything to be in order. His long military career definitely contributed to this preference. I could easily see evidence of order all around the house. But there was one area that needed a lot of improvement, and efforts to organize it themselves hadn’t yet achieved the desired results.

The master bedroom closet is small, so the client keeps most of her clothing in another bedroom closet. The husband’s dressy clothing for work and casual clothing was stored in the master closet and in an armoire in the bedroom, but they were sometimes in the same spaces, which made it more difficult to get ready for work. While there was some order to the overall arrangement, several aspects were bothersome. The current shoe rack was too small and too difficult to use. Most of the shoes ended up in a pile in the floor. Some clothing was kept on the top shelf of the closet, but it was very difficult to pull down or replace the clothing without them getting them in a mess. The location of the client’s and husband’s t-shirts was working, but they were in a constant state of disorder. Another challenge was finding the correct color of socks because they were all mixed in together.

We started by brainstorming how to solve all of the specific problems, how to make better use of space, and how to make the clothing look better while also being easy to maintain. I took measurements to guide me in purchasing a few organizing supplies before we did the actual organizing (baskets to separate socks, 2 shoe racks, wire baskets for the top shelf). Before the session, the client hired someone to create an extra shelf in the armoire.

The client and I had to complete all of the work in one day to pull off the surprise. The client’s husband headed to work, I arrived with supplies, and we split up the tasks and got to work. Although some of the decisions were easy (removing shoes from the floor and the small shoe rack and loading into 2 cubby style shoe racks), many required trial and error. We were fortunate to find 3 small baskets that fit perfectly into the sock drawer, allowing us to divide the socks into 3 categories. Clothes were taken off hangers so that they were all in hanging in the same direction. Many articles of clothing were folded in a way that allowed them all to be seen when opening the drawer (Marie Kondo style) instead of in stacks in the drawers. The additional shelf in the armoire made the stacks of t-shirts much shorter, which should help with upkeep. We were able to rearrange so that the closet contained only work clothing, while the armoire contained only casual clothing. Wire baskets on the top closet shelf will enable clothing to be easily seen and to be removed and replaced without making a mess.

When the client’s husband returned from work, she told him that she had one more Christmas gift for him. Upon seeing his closet, his first reaction was, “What did you do with all of my clothes?!” He was convinced that she had gotten rid of a lot of clothes, but we had only removed one t-shirt that had a hole in it. He was so impressed that he started taking pictures and kept going back into the bedroom so that he could look around again. It was fun to be a part of this surprise Christmas gift!