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11 Dumb Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Custom Closet System

Updated September 7, 2020

How many custom closets have you designed in your life?

How many custom closets has your builder or remodeler designed in the history of their business?

If your answer to these questions is zero, nada, none, nient – you’re not alone (no matter what language you say it in).

Closet design is a niche business. It’s not something the average homeowner (or production builder or remodeler) does daily (or ever).

The challenge with this is IF you want/need a custom closet for your master bedroom, a guest room or vacation home and you or your builder ‘wing-it,’ your design could be plagued by problems and dumb mistakes (most likely these will become apparent after it’s too late and you’ve moved in).

Not sure what these problems could be? Here’s a few ‘gems’ (sarcasm intended) you could be stuck with.  

  • You don’t have enough room for your shoes. The average woman has 31 pairs and the average man has 8 (BTW have you ever seen an ‘average woman or average man before?).

 

  • Your closet system won’t be designed specifically to fit your clothes (or how your mix of clothing changes as styles come and go).

 

  • You won’t know if your closet has too much unused room, or is too cramped, because you never saw a 3D picture to give a ‘feeling’ of how it would live on a day to day basis.

 

  • You’ll have folded clothes which look sloppy and hang over the edge of shelves which were designed too shallow.

 

  • You won’t be able to get completely ready in the closet (and will have to use your already cramped dresser) because there are no drawers in the closet for your socks, underwear and ties.

 

  • You have NO IDEA how much a custom closet system costs and you assume it’ll be too expensive. 

When you invest a good deal of money in a custom walk in closet for your suburban home, or wardrobe closet for your loft, you need the space to not only look good, but to work. You need to end your frustration finding things (which is a key reason, in the first place, you wanted a custom closet and a new or remodeled home).

We all need to spend money wisely.  Learn these 11 dumb closet design mistakes so you won’t have to live with them (and I’ve even thrown in a brand new bonus mistake #12 you don’t want to miss – unless your ‘made of money’ as your Dad NEVER said!). So, let’s look at smarter strategies so your closet works flawlessly (and doesn’t end up costing an arm and a leg).

Let’s look at these 11 dumb mistakes (and bonus 12th mistake)– and smarter design strategies to eliminate them.

Closet design mistake #1 – You have dead space above the top shelf

If you asked me the #1 mistake I see in ‘so-called’ custom closets, it’s dead space above the top shelf. I’ve seen this mistake repeated even in million-dollar homes. When I see top shelves 24” or more from the ceiling of the closet you’ll undoubtedly experience dead space. Sure, you can put boxes up there and folded clothes, but once you get beyond 12” of stackable materials – piles start to lean or are hard to access. There is a simple fix for this.

Dead Space in a Custom Closet | Innovate Home Org  | Columbus, Ohio | #DeadSpace #UnusedSpace #CustomClosetMistake

Solution to closet design mistake #1

It’s best to design the top shelf 12” from the ceiling. This will give you enough space for suitcases, a moderate sized stack of clothing or shoe boxes. As The 3 Little Closet Design Pigs (not sure they’ve made it to prime-time quite yet) might say, the amount of storage space above the top shelf will be ‘just right.’

Custom Closet without Dead Space | Innovate Home Org | #CustomCloset #MaximizingSpace #ClosedCabinets

Closet design mistake #2 – Your builder or remodeler doesn’t use an adjustable system

If you walk into a closet system made of wood, or multi-density fiberboard (MDF) which is painted, and they have a mix of shelves and double hanging space you may think (at first) – this will work fine. However, what you may not consider is the fact that you’re 5’2” tall and your husband is 6’1”. You may not think about where you’re going to put your longer dresses. You may not know (yet) your husband suit coats are going to be curled at the bottom.

You not only have your own unique mix of clothing, but this mix can/will change over time. Can you relate to working in suits and dresses early in your career and now ‘Casual Fridays’ are every day?

Styles change. Your closet (and clothing) needs to change with them.

If your closet rods are at all one level (and can’t be move) your custom closet (no matter how sharp it looks) isn’t ready for the prime-time (or the long-term). Here’s the easy fix.

Shleves which don't adjust in a custom closet | Innovate Home Org | #ShelvingStorage #AdjustableShelving #CustomClosetShelving

Solution to closet design mistake #2

It won’t take a brain surgeon (or an astrophysicist – if I can even spell that) to solve this problem. Make sure your custom closet system has side support rails with ‘increment’ holes. These are tiny holes on the side allow you to adjust rods, shelves and drawers up and down.

They make a ‘flexible’ vs. fixed closet.

Solution adjustable shelves in a custom closet design | Innovate Home Org | #AdjustableShelves #CustomShelving #ShelvingStorage #CustomCloset

Closet design mistake #3 – Your shelves aren’t deep enough

This is a ‘hidden’ problem many people don’t see unless they compare their closet to a professionally designed unit.

The problem is your shelves are too shallow.

Since it’s cheapest to make 12” shelving some closet manufacturers only use this system. It’s simple for them. The manufacturers take a 4’ wood or laminate board and cuts it into 4 equal pieces. Or to really drive costs down they use cheap 12” deep wire shelves which leave their ‘lovely’ (sarcasm intended) lines along the bottom of your favorite sweaters.

While 12” shelving will work OK if you have small shoes, when you stack bigger t-shirts and longer shoes your things will hang out.

When things hang over the edge, they look sloppy.

Messy closet with 12 inch wire shelving | Innovate Home Org | #WireShelving #MessyCloset #OranizationsCloset

This is a no-brainer to fix. Read on.

Solution to closet design mistake #3

The fix for this problem is a breeze. Use 14” (or deeper shelving). It’s not hard to find 14” deep shelving from custom closet companies. Companies knee-deep in this niche know 12” shelves work poorly. The companies who do skimp with 12” shelving save 14% on materials (many rarely tell customers they are doing this – so their bid seems lower). Don’t get fooled again (as The Who would say). Use shelving which is the right depth.

14 inch deep shelving in a custom closet | Innovate Home Org | #DeepShelving #CustomClosetDesign #DreamClosetIdeas

Closet design mistake #4 – Getting dressed in a closet which is darker than you’d like

 The idea of a custom closet which is as well light as the shoe department at Nordstrom’s sounds cool in theory, but there’s 2 reasons this likely won’t make sense for you:

  • You may have no electrical outlets in your walk-in closet.
  • You don’t have the bucks to spend like Nordstrom’s

Although it may not be practical to have a ‘Nordstrum-esque’ closet, getting ready in a window-less closet with your husband who is colorblind isn’t easy for either of you.

Although you don’t want to spend a ton of money with a custom lighting system, there are options to brighten up and improve functionality. See below.

Solution to closet design mistake #4

The simple – cost-effective – solution to your lighting problem is to use rechargeable LED motion-activated lights. These units cost about $65 installed and will make dark spots light again.

Rechargeable LED lighting in a custom closet | Innovate Home Org | #LEDLighting #RechargableLighting #ClosetLight

Don’t rely on one lonely overhead light (where all the bulbs have to be burned out – usually- before they are changed – this is SOOOOO true in my house, and I’m the guy who is supposed to change the bulbs). Rechargeable LEDs are low-cost. They can do the job and you only need to plug them in like a cell phone to charge them back up.  

Closet design mistake #5 – Designing your shoe storage for luxury, when you need efficiency

Angled or raised shoe shelves reminiscent of fancy closets on Pinterest or in glamour magazine are lovely. They’re perfect for people with tons of space. Or Khloe Kardashian who has a closet for tennis shoes only.

Raised shoe shelves when you need efficiency for closet | Innovate Home Org | #RaisedShoeShelf #ShoeShelving #CustomCloset

If you’re like most ‘normal people’ (I’m not sure I’m normal, but I’m going with it here), this is not the world you live in. You’ve got 30+ pairs of shoes and boots. Your collection is growing. You love your shoes, but don’t have room to store them all well.

When a closet designer comes in and recommends the luxurious raised (or angled) shoes shelves it was like ‘shoe love’ for you. You thought, now that’s an idea with soul (OK –bad shoe pun intended).

The problem with using raised shoe shelves is they create dead space (because of the angle in the back). You can’t afford wasted inches in your closet when you have a lot of shoes and limited space.

Fortunately, the solution below will not only help you store more pairs but will cost less also. That’s a BOGO special.

Solution to closet design mistake #5

You’ll be able to store more shoes and save money using flat, adjustable shoes shelves. These shelves can either be made of durable ¾” thick laminate (so they won’t bow) or be designed with .060 steel to kick up more pairs in the same vertical space.

Flat shoe shelving in a custom closet | Innovate Home Org | #FlatShoeShelf #ShoeShelving #CustomShoeShelf

Go flat. Max your storage. Buy more shoes. If you need to, hide them from your spouse. It will be our little secret (BTW, did you know 15% of the people in the United States hide shoe purchases from their significant other? That’s a funny stat!).  

Closet design mistake #6 – You have a builder or trim carpenter site-build a wood or painted MDF (medium density fiberboard) closet

At first glance a wood or painted MDF closet cut on site and installed by your trim carpenter and finished by the painting crew looks beautiful. However, there are several problems with this approach. Here’s 3 things you won’t like:

  • 1) There are no increment holes (see mistake #2). You can’t adjust rods and shelves as your storage needs change.

 

  • 2) The painted or wood surfaces get nicked and need to be repainted.

 

  • 3) Your trim carpenter is (after all) a trim carpenter. He/she will likely be guilty of more dumb design mistakes than a professional closet designer (who does this work daily).

Painted MDF custom closet | Innovate Home Org | #CustomCloset #PaintedShelving #NonAdjustableShelved

Solution to closet design mistake #6

You can get the wood look without the maintenance, but with the adjustability, you’ll need. The way to do this happen is using a laminate closet system. New textured laminates feel like wood without the need to repaint or refinish. Sounds like the best of both worlds to me.

Wood grain textures in custom closet design | Innovate Home Org | #CustomCloset #FloorMountedCloset #DreamClosetDesign

Closet design mistake #7 – You design the new closet like the old closet (without drawers)

Let’s say your partner is a light sleeper and you have the ‘pleasure’ (sarcasm intended) of waking up at 5:30 AM for work. In your morning process you have to turn on the light by the bedroom dresser to find your socks and underwear. She wakes up. You get a dirty look.

Is there a way around this bad cycle?

Solution to closet design mistake #7

If you don’t realize it, this morning wake-up problem has a simple solution. It’s to add drawers to your walk-in closet. With drawers in the closet (a place for your socks, underwear, ties etc.) you can get ‘fully-ready’ without using the dresser at all.

Solution drawers in a closet | Innovate Home Org | #ClosetDrawers #WhiteClosetDesign #CustomClosetDesign

Thoughtful closet planning makes a happier wife and a happier life.

Closet design mistake #8 – You don’t insist on seeing a 3D closet design before you buy

If you’re like most people seeing a 2D floor plan is confusing. Even seeing (as architects call it) an ‘elevation’ view (like you’re facing the wall) doesn’t give you depth perception. You need to know how your space will live. 2D doesn’t cut it.

This dilemma is also true with custom closets.

You need to see/feel how the closet works when there are hanging clothes which jut out 21” from the wall. Will you have enough room to get around your partner when his drawers (no, not that kind of drawers) are fully extended? Will you be able to reach the top rod? How far is the top shelf from the ground? You need another ‘viewpoint’ than 2D.

Solution to closet design mistake #8

Fortunately, technology has allowed closet design to help you ‘live the experience’ BEFORE shelling out the bucks to pay for it.

This technology is a 3D closet design. You’ll be able to feel the space. Is it roomy enough? Can you use deeper cabinetry on a feature wall? Will the doorway be open and inviting? Will you feel like you’re entering a jungle, needing to push through your clothes?  

You need to see a 3D design before you buy.

3D Design of custom closet design | Innovate Home Org | #CustomCloset #FreeConsultation #3DDesign #CustomClosetDesign

 Closet design mistake #9 – Forgetting (or not knowing how) to use the wall behind an in-swing door

 In-swing doors are as evil to closets as the Mueller investigation is to Donald Trump. They’re an unwanted obstruction (even if there aren’t any Russians lurking around).

You can’t put shelves or clothes on this wall because your door will bang into them.

However, what you likely don’t realize is this wall doesn’t to have zero value to you. Check out this solution.

Solution to closet design mistake #9

First, adopt the ‘no-closet-wall-left-behind’ design philosophy. Refuse to accept you can’t have a storage system on this wall.

Then consider using a simple product like a hook board. It’s perfect for hats, scarves or ties which are thin and can store against a wall.

Hookboard to get better usage out of a thin closet wall | Innovate Home Org | Dublin, Ohio 43017 | #HookBoards #entryway #CustomStorageSolutions

Closet design mistake #10 – Fighting through a ‘field of clothes’ as you enter your closet

If you have a narrow closet do you feel like you’re pushing your way through a jungle (or a field of clothes) as you enter? Are your hanging clothes so confining you push through them like a corn maze at your favorite farm on a crisp Fall day?

With a simple design change, this field of clothes can be eliminated.

Solution to closet design mistake #10

If hanging clothes (on one or two sides of the entry to your closet) are suffocating, simply replace them with shelving. The most logical shelving to use is shoe shelving (which extends 12” to 14” from the wall). Since shoes are put on and taken off by the closet door, installing them in the front of the closet is logical location.

Flat adjustable shoe shelves when you enter a narrow closet | Innovate Home Org | #FlatShoeShelving #AdjustableShelving #ShoeShelving

Since these shelves are 12-14” deep vs. the 21” depth of hanging clothes, you won’t be ‘fighting your way’ into your closet.

Closet design mistake #11 – Not bringing beauty into your closet system

Whether you like it or not (today), using your closet 2 to 3 times a day is a necessity.

Sure, it’s messy. Yes, it’s cluttered. It causes frustration and time-loss when you can’t find things. Yes, it’s the ugly-stepsister next to your glamorous remodeled master bathroom. You want to shout out ‘shut that door NOW, before anyone sees in!”

Closets don’t have to be ugly. Closets can go beyond being strictly an efficient storage place. Closets can become wardrobe rooms with a sense of beauty. They can be a place you want to use, not a place you dread. However, you’ll need a game-plan to make your closet an ‘experience,’ not a chore.

Solution to closet design mistake #11

One cure for an ugly closet is to create a dramatic feature wall. A focal point which says you’re entering a cool space. The space welcomes you.  

Focal wall in a custom closet design | Innovate Home Org | Columbus, Ohio | #CustomCloset #OrganizationTips #FocalWall #AccentWall

Not sure how to make a fun closet feature wall? Here’s 3 ideas:

  • 1) Add drawers to the design. Drawers not only look sharp, but you can store 2 to 3 times more clothes than the same items put on hangers.

 

  • 2) Vary the height and depth of your cabinetry. If you have a 9’ tall closet, consider a center closet section which is 8’ tall and deeper than the cabinetry on the left and right sides. You’ll create a cool look – and get more storage simultaneously.

 

  • 3) Use decorative back wall panels or a piece of artwork. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Show your fun side with a piece of art in your closet. Dress up the focal wall with a wood feature wall or a high gloss laminated back panel.

Don’t accept a boring, lifeless closet.

Closet design mistake #12 – You don’t work on ANY designs, because you assume you can’t afford a custom closet

Oh, is sooooo unfortunate when your grand visions of a custom closet came face to face with the reality of your smaller-than-you’d-like budget! But, you’ve got to face your fears about custom closet budgets sometime, and now is as good a time as any. But the challenge is, how can you get your arms around cost when it seems NO closet companies (that would be zero, nada etc.) share information about cost on their sites? Well – I’m here to break this stereotype for you. 

Solution to closet design mistake #12

There are a lot of variables which impact the cost of a custom closet design. How big the system is. Is it floor based, wall hung, or a combination of both? How deep are the sections and drawers (if you’re planning to use them)? If you’ve found it impossible to find custom closet costs, I’ve got a present for you (but because I’m not as thoughtful as my wife you won’t get this present wrapped up in a nice bow with fancy paper). But here’s the present. It’s an article titled How Much Does an Installed  Custom Walk in Closet CostIt will give you a realistic budget of what you can expect to pay depending on how ‘fancy vs. functional’ you want your closet to be. And if you like my present a real lot, I’ll share my birthday is in February and your gifts are most welcome (just kidding!). 

How much does an installed custom walk in closet cost| Innovate Home Org

Conclusion

If you’ve felt your closet is hopeless, I’m here to encourage you to not give up.

Sure – there are a lot of dumb closet mistakes which are repeated over and over (isn’t that redundant?). However, if you get help from an experienced closet designer you won’t be the one fighting a bad design for years down the road.

If you live in Columbus, New Albany, Upper Arlington, Worthington, Westerville (or anywhere in Central Ohio) and need help with a closet design we’d love to help. Call us at the numbers below or click here to get your Free 3D storage design. What do you have to lose (except the mess and your frustration)?

Do you want more help from me or my team?

For assistance with a reach in or walk in closet in Columbus or Cleveland Ohio call Innovate Home Org at 614-545-6888 or 216-658-1290.

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For more information on organization products or remodeling (with a bit of wacky humor thrown in) follow me on Twitter @Mike_Foti or our companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.


Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

Comments (102)

  • Avatar

    Jayden

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    What a cringey way to put your politics into an article about closet organizing 🤦‍♀️ I’m embarrassed for you. Get a grip, man.

    Reply

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      Mike Foti

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      Jayden – thanks for expressing your point of view. What’s so nice about this country is we’re all free to express our thoughts and feelings (which can, and do, change over time). Even if you don’t like my humor (or where I lean politically) I hope you got information from the article about closet organization which was of value to you – after all, that’s really what the main point of this article is. Mike

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        Christina

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        Loved the article and got a kick out of the political reference. I am a political scientist and I could not tell anything about your political preferences- not that I care. What I do care about is the trend now to condemn all things political – politics is how we maintain our freedom – shutting down political speech is antithetical to our way of life – there’s a reason we have freedom of speech in the Constitution- so we can maintain our freedom. We should all resist this anti-American trend.

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        Mike Foti

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        Christina – I’m glad you like the article. Yes – they say never talk about religion or politics so I generally try to steer-clear of those, but sometimes in just ‘being me’ I will share some of my thoughts in posts (but I try to do it in a humorous way). Let me know if you need any more input on a closet or home organization design. Mike

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        Roxy

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        Thank you for a great article. About to do our closet, and we feel well inrmed. Political joke….loved it. We take things to serious, lighten up people.

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        Mike Foti

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        Roxy – I’m glad you enjoyed this article. My goal is to educate people about custom closets, garage, pantry and entryway storage – as I’m learning (which is ALWAYS!). I also agree with your comment about lightening up. The world’s too stressful to be too serious! Mike

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      N

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      Don’t be so uptight Jayden, it’s a great article with valuable info, and tongue and cheek author sprinkled some funny comments along the way, it’s not a head transplant dissertation.

      Reply

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      Kathy

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      I also cringed reading your political “joke”. It’s arrogant to assume others share your politics, especially where business is concerned.

      Reply

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        Mike Foti

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        Kathy – thanks for expressing your opinion. Here’s what I’d be glad to mention to you. I write these articles first and foremost to provide some insights about closets and design. If you got educational value out of this article about this subject – then no matter what you think of my humor I’m happy.

        Secondly, when I write, I try to do it like I am in real life. I like to joke around. I like to have fun. I don’t take myself too seriously (that may be a reason I’ve been married so long). If I offended you, I apologize, however I’ll have to continue being me…because I don’t know anyone else I can be. I do some stuff right, I do some stuff wrong – but I’m unique (whether I – or anyone else – likes it). Keep on expressing yourself, it’s one of the great liberties we enjoy from living in the United States!

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      Rachel

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      Awesome info. I could not tell your political views. Does everyone that had a problem with the jokes here and there also hate watching SNL and haven’t watched it since the 90s because it makes fun of politics? I don’t understand why like two jokes were so invasive to you. It’s just something to bitch about and pick apart because your moms name is Karen and thats what you are becoming is another Karen. I bet you also call the cops on African Americans that are birdwatching in the park.

      Reply

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        Mike Foti

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        Rachel – I’m glad you like the information here. I’m not really sure what you mean by the last 2 lines in this comment – but I appreciate you taking the time to read and get value from these closet tips – Mike

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      Nancy

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      Great, informative and helpful article! Humor is good. Seriously people, lighten up and try not to dig for offense where none is intended. I will be asking more as I am closer to remodel.

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        Mike Foti

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        Nancy – thanks for the encouraging words. I’m glad you like the article AND the humor (although obviously the main goal of the article is to inform and help others). Let me know if you need help as time goes on. Even if you’re not in my service area, in many cases I can find you a good referral from my friends in the industry. Have a good week – Mike

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    Larry Schweitzer

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    Proof people have too much STUFF! 30 pr. shoes!
    I’ve traveled to many countries and all over the USA. Lived in London & Japan. It seems like people in the USA waste more than any other place I’ve been. My degree was in Architecture. My business, architectural woodworking and store fixtures. Have seen so much bad design, wasting $ & materials. Bigger isn’t better!

    Reply

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      Mike Foti

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      Larry – what you’re saying is so true. Almost everyone in this country has too much stuff. I remember when I got into the organizing business the first thing I did is tackle my own closet. I took 6 bags of clothes out – which I never miss to this day! Now – when I buy something I donate something so I don’t add any more clothes (or shoes) to my closet. It’s a simple system but it works. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! Mike

      Reply

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    Bambi Mayer

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    I have to agree with Jayden. There is a time and place for everything and when you are trying to appeal to a broad audience, snark, sarcasm and politics are out of place. You have to be the only game in town to get away with that and you are not the only game in town.

    Reply

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      Mike Foti

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      Bambi – thanks for your point of view also. My personality is I like to joke around, and I can understand how not everyone would like it. I wish you the best with your project – and if I can help you – please don’t hesitate to call – Mike

      Reply

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    Lucy Ann

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    I really appreciate this article, having to live now with the master closet our contractor failed to design well, despite my many expressed concerns that there was not adequate space nor forethought being given to the project. We were really frustrated with his cavalier approach which resisted the clear fact that design and efficient knowledgeable use of space is EVERYTHING with master closets. You do have to know what you are doing and be humble and willing to find out if you don’t. This article would have been a great help to us if it had been published last year when we were building. Thanks for publishing! —and please circulate widely!
    PS —I appreciated the humor and gentle ribbing and didn’t notice any offensive “politics” at all.

    Reply

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      Mike Foti

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      Lucy Ann – thanks for your comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the article…even though it sounds like it would have been better if you’d seen it before your closet was built. If (or a member of my team) can be of assistance to you – or any friends of yours – feel free to call me on the cell below. I’m glad you liked the humor – I like to laugh A LOT – and not take myself too seriously. Have a great day! Mike

      Reply

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    Joanna

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    Great article. I’m in the middle of “thinking” doing a closet design for my master bedroom. You’ve mentioned many things that I have considered but with more details and directions! I’m glad to have come across your article!

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      Mike Foti

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      Joanna – I’m glad you’d found more details and directions about closet design you can use. If you have additional questions don’t hesitate to reach out! Mike

      Reply

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    Wendy

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    Great article, both informative and entertaining. I’ll be sure to tune in more often!
    Ps… my average client has 60pairs!

    Reply

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      Mike Foti

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      Wow – Wendy – that’s a lot! I would guess our clients would be closer to the 40 to 50 pairs. Mike

      Reply

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    Adrienne

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    Sounds like a bunch of millenials. Calm down. Its an article about closets. People take offense to EVERYTHING these days. There are more important things in life than complaining about an article written about closets. I found it very informative.

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      Mike Foti

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      Adrienne – I’m glad you found the article informative. That is (after all) the purpose of writing it. Do you have any lingering questions I can ‘fill in the blanks’ about? Mike

      Reply

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    Lisa

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    Great suggestions! Our addition is almost done and I am gathering closet organizing ideas. You information offers welcome insight! Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed the humor. I’m sorry for those that take it all too seriously. Sign of the times I guess. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Reply

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      Mike Foti

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      Lisa – I’m glad you enjoy the information (and the humor). In my writing it’s my goal to be myself. Sometimes I’m informative, and sometimes (as my family and friends will tell you), I’m wacky. I like to embrace both! Thanks for reading – and please feel free to share. If I can be of additional assistance please reach out at 614-565-5888. Mike

      Reply

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    Vincent A Jacobs

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    Thanks for a great article! Please ignore the smarmy comments and keep up the excellent work.

    Reply

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      Mike Foti

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      Vincent – I’m glad you like the article. My goal is to provide sound closet advice, but with a little of my personality thrown in. Keep reading and sharing if you like them! Mike

      Reply

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    Janet LaValle Aurora

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    As a designer who is about to remodel her Master Bath into a Master Bath/Dressing Room, I found this incredibly helpful. All the points you made are items that I have considered. Thank you for this much needed article.

    Reply

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      Mike Foti

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      Janet – I appreciate your comments and I’m glad this article has been helpful for you. If we can help further feel free to call at 614-545-6888. Mike

      Reply

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    Heidi

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    What a great article! Happened upon this via Pinterest. I’ve been thinking about maximizing closet space in our master bedroom and this is so helpful. Too bad you’re not in the nyc area.

    Reply

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      Mike Foti

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      Heidi – thanks for your nice comments. If you have problems finding a good company in the New York City area feel free to reach out and I’ll put out some feelers for connections in that area. Mike

      Reply

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        Valerie

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        Great article. Wish you were in Georgia for a redo!

      • Avatar

        Mike Foti

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        Valerie – glad you like the article. Although we’re not in Georgia I do potentially have a referral for you in that state for a closet or home organization system. Let me know where you live and I’ll put the right company name/info in the comments – Mike

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    Shelly

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    Thanks for the helpful information! We are building a home and I’m really happy to have found this article.

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      Mike Foti

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      Shelly – I’m glad this article has been of value to you. Feel free to share it as well. Mike

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    Philton

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    Very helpful article. If I have my fairy tales straight, I think you mean 3 Bears though, not 3 Pigs 🙂

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      Mike Foti

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      Philton – I could very well be wrong. My kids are older now, so I don’t think I’ll be reading my 24, 20 and 17 year old kids fairy tales any time soon – ha! ha! Mike

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    CSA

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    Good tips but I have to disagree with your take on shoes. I personally don’t understand why most closets in the catalogs are 80% shoes and very little hanging space and drawers. Do shoes just look good in photos? Why would anybody have more shoes than clothes? I have a ton of hanging clothes, and a ton of clothes that goes in drawers. And not that many shoes. Plus other than a few pair I wear all the time, most of the shoes only get worn occasionally. I certainly don’t forgot what shoes I have, so I would I need to see them front and center? At the bottom is perfect. (Not to mention sometimes they are dirty… do I want dirt front and center?) Every time I inherit a closet I end up filling the shoe shelves with folded clothes, which doesn’t work well. So stop pushing the tall shelves of shoes!

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      CSA

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      Note that even in the photos above, the shoes are totally spread out. That number of shoes could be placed in 1/3 the space. Closets are not showrooms.

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        Mike Foti

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        Cindi – like you, I believe function should come first in a closet. Make sure its designed to ‘work’ (i.e. be able to find what you need time-effectively). However, with that being said, it’s fun to make it stylish – especially if the budget permits. Mike

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      Mike Foti

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      Cindi – the key to a closet system is to fit the products to the people using the space. I’ve heard statistics that the average woman has 31 pairs of shoes and average man has 8 (which actually is pretty close to true for my wife and I). I’ve also seen closets with close to 100 pairs of shoes – and people who don’t store any of their shoes in their closet (some put them in the garage or entryway closet). I think the key is to design around you and your needs, but to use ‘adjustable’ sections so if I new owner needs more hanging (and less space for shoes), the shelves can be removed in place of rods. Thanks for your input! Mike

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    Deborah paul

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    Loved your article and am saving it for when I purchase a home In New York Loved your “ political” comment . It was funny and people need to calm down
    Wish you were in New York
    Last house I built I made all the mistakes you mentioned in your article however; thanks to you I won’t be making them again

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      Mike Foti

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      Deborah – thanks for your nice comments. The funny thing about the ‘political comment’ is in reality I don’t have many public conversations about politics, but I do like to joke around – A LOT! The older I get, the more I want to laugh (and it’s even OK for me to laugh at me!). Thanks for reading. If you need a referral in New York for your project I could network with some of my ‘closet buds’ around the country and likely come up with someone to guide you through. Mike

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    Frank Licsko

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    Great article and timely for me as I re-do my hall closet. I detect a slight political bias, and I love that you had the courage to speak your mind.

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      Mike Foti

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      Joanne – thanks for your comments. I’m glad the article will be helpful to you with your hall closet. The goal of my writing – quite frankly – is not AT ALL to be political, but it is to be me (and I like to joke around – A LOT – just ask my coworkers and family). If I offend a few people along the way, I need to be OK with that. However, if I’d helping people who read the article to get a more effective design – then it’s all been worthwhile. Have a great day! Mike

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    Andrea Kostoff Sarina

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    As an agent that sells homes, both new an resale, I thought your article was full of great information. Loved the “tongue in cheek” humor. BTW I’ve had clients with twice as many shoes and as a shoe lover myself I have 150+ pair of footwear and 50+ handbags from more than 25+ years of buying quality (I love a good cobbler and shoe polish is my friend). I don’t have a huge closet but with good organization my clothes, shoes and handbags fit (however, my husband and I don’t share a closet – it’s better for our marriage that way). My closet also has drawers, which I love!

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      Mike Foti

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      Andrea – I’m glad you enjoy your shoes – and enjoy your personal closet (so you can stay married – ha! ha!). I do share a walk in closet with my wife – but like most husbands she occupies about 75% of it! I’m glad you like the information in the article and also the humor. I like to laugh (a lot) – and the older I get – the more I like to joke around. Keep enjoying those shoes and your closet. If you think my article will help one of your clients please pass it on! Mike

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    Scott Bengtson

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    Mike-Loved the comment about bringing beauty into the closet. Never thought about this before. In my (previous) view closets were only & ever just utilitarian. Great contribution!

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      Mike Foti

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      Scott – I’m glad you enjoy the insights. Yes – some people LOVE their closets. There is even a company I know in another market who organizes parties inside their luxury closets after the project is done – ha! ha! I’m not sure most of us are ready for a party in our closet, but I guess it’s something to strive for. Let us know if we can be of any further assistance to you. Mike

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    Robert Chapple

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    Mike:
    We’re in Ontario, Canada and own a center townhome. Our walk in closet is 4′ x 8′ x 8′ high and I wish to re-do myself. We need to incorporate 3 or 4 laundry hampers, plus a safe. I installed oak hardwood flooring 5 years ago and hope to hang everything from the ceiling, except maybe one leg for the weight of the safe. I liked your top shelf spacing , width and adjustable. Thanks.

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      Mike Foti

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      Thanks Robert – I’m glad the article was of value to you. I would recommend you have the safe portion of the system to be ‘floor based’ – since most safes are heavy. Good luck in your project – Mike

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    Ballgyrl

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    Thank you very much for shedding light on many issues I’d not considered and will definitely incorporate into my design.

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      Mike Foti

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      I’m glad this article was of value to you – Mike

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    Fanny

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    Great article and you made me laugh with your sense of humor 🙂

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      Mike Foti

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      Fanny – thanks for your nice comments. The older I get, the more I realize the importance to laugh more. I’m glad my article got you smiling! Mike

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    Alan

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    Mike,
    Glad I happened upon your article in Pinterest. It must be the military and me that keeps my house very organized. USAF 21 years. My new girlfriend who just went through a partial home remodel left the bedrooms, to include closets to me. First thing is convincing her to purge some old clothes.
    My theory is if you haven’t worn it in a year Goodwill or good friends will take it. Unfortunately her semi walk-in closet is only 4 feet wide and about 8 feet long!
    To make things worse I’m dealing with the dreaded swing in closet door.
    I’ve got my work cut out for me but your article Will help a lot.
    thank you
    As far as your humor, people need to lighten up. If we can’t laugh at ourselves who the hell can we laugh at?

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      Mike Foti

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      Alan – yes you’re right about getting rid of the clutter first. Then the challenge is to not let more clutter ‘creep up’ on us (my rule is when I buy something, I donate something else). I also wrote an article on how to get more out of a narrow closet and have included a link to this article below – maybe it’ll give you a few more ideas. And I agree about the ‘laugh at yourself comment.’ I figure I might as well laugh at myself first and beat others to the punch! The best of success with your closet project and let me know if I can help with a referral or more insights – now here’s the narrow closet link:

      https://innovatehomeorg.com/blog/2018/08/7-narrow-walk-in-closet-design-ideas-columbus/ (narrow closet organization tips)

      Reply

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    Nan

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    What a helpful article! Loved your easy to read format with clearly defined issues and remedies. I’m getting ready to remodel a master closet and this will be a tremendous help as a checklist. And yes, I’ll definitely use a closet professional (wish I lived in your area) after reading this.
    You made a tedious, if not downright boring, topic interesting, concise and even entertaining. Fun, invaluable read. Thank you!!’

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      Mike Foti

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      Nan – thanks for your nice comments. Although I’m not in your area if you tell me where you are I may have a ‘closet organization’ buddy in your town to refer you to – Mike

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    Kizzi

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    Mike,
    Thanks for the great article! I am getting ready to convert a small bedroom into a closet for my husband and I to share. It will be a much smoother design process using the solutions from the article. Thanks for #11, I worked in a clothing store with beautiful dressing rooms and told myself I would have a lovely closet one day and that day has arrived. Loved the humor too!

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      Mike Foti

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      Kizzi – I’m so glad the info in the article is of value to you (and you were able to laugh along the way) – I love to hear that. If I (or my team) can help further, feel free to contact us.

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    Beverly Rinehart

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    This is the best information I have found in my search for closet design. We will be building soon and after years of cramped closets I will finally have a master closet! Your mistake guide will be heeded as I make decisions.

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      Mike Foti

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      Beverly – thanks so much for your thoughtful comments! I’m glad it’s been of value to you. If you need more assistance don’t hesitate to reach out – Mike

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    Celena

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    Thank you for the great ideas! My husband and I just bought a house in Maryland with his and hers walk in closets. However, the closets are both L-shaped. I want to design our closet to avoid being too crowded. I too have a lot of shoes and clothes (even after I donated). Therefore, I hope I am able to take advantage of most of the space without it looking too cluttered. Any design suggestions?

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      Mike Foti

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      Celena – thanks for your nice comments. Here’s a few things I’d recommend:

      – Put your shoes at the entry on shelves – this won’t make it feel crowded when you walk in.
      – Put any drawers you may want to use at the end of the L shaped closet (you want to give enough room for the drawers to open).
      – Make sure (if you already don’t do this) to ‘fold over’ your pants on hangers – this will give you more space than having your pants hang ‘long.’
      – Use double hanging sections – this ‘doubles your space’
      – Put your ‘pants on the top’ and ‘shirts on the bottom.’ Since the folded over pants are smaller you’ll be able to use the shelf underneath them for shoes or sweaters or something else.

      I’ve also included below a link to an article I wrote about narrow closets which will have some of the same points above – and more. if you need a recommendation in your local area let me know and I’ll see if I have a ‘friend in the closet industry’ in your town who can help – Mike. Now here’s the link – https://innovatehomeorg.com/blog/2018/08/7-narrow-walk-in-closet-design-ideas-columbus/

      Reply

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    Geri

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    Great article. I’m starting to think about a closet redo as we have many of the issues that you described.

    Loved the humor of the article….made it an easy read and kept my attention the entire article.

    Thanks!

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      Mike Foti

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      Geri – thanks for your comments – I’m glad the article has been helpful and it also made you laugh. If you need help with a project let me know. Even if it’s not in my local area, I may have a friend across the country to help you. Mike

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    Shelley

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    Great tips, I think you would be amazed at my current closet situation. A closet built outside a closet. I don’t know how else to describe it other than to say it does not function well.

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      Mike Foti

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      Shelley – we’re seen some weird closets out there – but there’s always a few new ‘curveballs.’ We do install ‘wardrobe closets’ (which are closets in the room) and they can be attractive (but I’m guessing your’s doesn’t qualify quite yet – ha! ha!). If you need any assistance let me know. Even if you’re not in my area, I may have a friend in the closet business in your area. Have a great weekend! Mike

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    Heidi

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    In solutions to problems #5 and #11 you have some storage on very high shelves. Do you carve out a designated space to park the inevitably needed step-stool? Also in #5, those flat shoes at the top would be more visible if the shelves were of a transparent material like lucite. I’m Pinning this helpful article for future reference. Thanks.

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      Mike Foti

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      Heidi – I’m glad you like the article. Your idea of translucent shoe shelves is an excellent one. It’s fun to add lighting to a section with see-through shelves also. And yes – a small stool can often be a welcome addition to a custom closet Heidi! Mike

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    JOY TAYLOR

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    Soooo glad I saw your article. Made me think in more detail about my closet update.. Agree with reader comment about shoes. Perhaps low, pull out shelves for most efficient shoe storage. Like the pull out and down hanging rods that use hard to access high closet area but are they very heavy to pull down? Why don’t you contract to provide the closet design which customer would have their local contractor install?

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      Mike Foti

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      Joy – thanks for your nice comments. I’m glad the article was helpful. It would be possible for us to help with a design that your contractor could install. Feel free to reach out. Mike

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    Susie

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    I hadn’t given a lot of thought to designing the master. My husband and I did a little planning on our last one and he built it very well. We are going to have a separate shoe closet for our next master closet. His shoes stink. He has a massive amount of shoes. I am tired of them making my clothes stink. Loved your problems and solutions. We will be much happier closet owners if we take your article to heart.

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      Mike Foti

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      Susie – I’m glad the article has been helpful to you. You may want to use some cedar in the shoe closet to help the smell. Let me – or my team know if we can help you further. Mike

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    Kimberly

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    So glad I came across this article…we’re almost finished with our master bedroom and bathroom home addition. This was really helpful and definitely convinced me to go with the deeper shelving option. Also, I enjoyed your little piece of political humor, people are too uptight. Thank you!!

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      Mike Foti

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      Kimberly – I’m glad the article helped in your closet and shelving design. I’m also happy the humor was something you enjoyed. I like to have ‘fun’ with my writing. The reality is some people will like my humor and some won’t – which is OK. Have a great week! Mike

      Reply

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    Interior Designer Blake Riley

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    Thanks for not only pointing out the mistakes but also showing the solutions. You rock Mike for sharing such helpful post.

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      Mike Foti

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      Thanks Blake – I’m glad you found the solutions to these closet problems helpful. Mike

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    Charyl

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    Great article. I utilize the storage area above the hanging clothes with baskets, but it still looks messy. Closed cabinets would fix that. Didn’t really think about adjustable shelving, but that is the only way to go.

    Really kind of amazed how some wanted to take point on an analogy. Keep being you.

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      Mike Foti

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      Charyl – I’m glad you found the article helpful to you. Also thanks for your words of encouragement. I can only be me – and I try not to take myself too serious….since others don’t anyway – ha! ha! Mike

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    Loni

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    Super helpful article! We are building a custom home and I’ve been really uncertain about what to do with the closets. Our master closet is super weird shaped, it’s like a Y, so these tips really helped. So thank you! And I also loved your sense of humor. 🙂

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      Mike Foti

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      Loni – thanks for reading. I’m glad you got some practical closet design tips – and maybe a laugh or two along the way! Mike

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    Zachary

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    My wife sent me this article. Do you think she is hinting? Anyway, this is good information and a lot of information I never considered. We have a small walk-in and not enough space. I know my wife needs something more functional. Too bad you are not in Texas!

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      Mike Foti

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      Zachary – yes, I do think your wife is hinting (ever-so-gently) you need a new closet. I’m glad you found some value in this article – that is my goal. If you need a referral in Texas I may be able to help you. I have a person in Texas who may be able to help. Feel free to reach out if I can help further. Mike

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    Donna P

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    Hello Mike, I think it’s great that you choose to have a sense of humor in this crazy time we are living in. We all need a laugh and some need to re-learn how to laugh. I loved your review of mistakes and found it very informative. I am in the process of renovating my master closet. It’s a small walk in of about 6.5′ x 6.5′. I would love to connect with one of your associates to discuss my closet design. I am in the Tampa, FL area.

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      Mike Foti

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      Donna – thanks for your nice comments. I think the best remedy for a stressful life (and a stressful world we live in now) is laughter. Some people are too doggone serious – which can be dangerous to your health – literally! There is a company in Hollywood Florida one of my friends told me about called The Closet Center. They told me to have you reach out to Nissim Menasof (you can say through both Clarissa Montoya and Mike Foti). I’ve included a link to their FB page – good luck on the project – Mike. Now here’s the link – https://www.facebook.com/TheClosetCenterInc/?hc_location=ufi

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    Wendy

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    This was a helpful article I found while browsing Pinterest. We are in the process of designing a modest custom home and I’m looking forward to his & hers separate walk-in closets. I’d really like to get it right when we design it, but we’re not near you. Do you have any recommendations for the Central Florida area?

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      Mike Foti

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      Wendy – there is a closet company in Orlando who is a member of our professional association and I’ve included a link to their facebook page here called New Concept Design. I hope this helps you ! Mike . https://www.facebook.com/ncd.orlando/

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    Betty

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    I loved this article! My husband and I have been in the process of adding a walk in closet to our master suite for quite some time. I have been insisting we hire someone to capitalize on our space and feel I found this article at the perfect time now that construction is under way. Do you have any referrals in North San Diego area of California?

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      Mike Foti

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      Betty – I’m glad you loved the article! I did one Facebook post to my industry association about a referral in San Diego California for your walk in closet but there aren’t any members I could come up with in San Diego. At this point I would just search ‘custom closets San Diego’ to get started. Let me know if I can help you further – Mike

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    Lorraine

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    Thank you! Really enjoyed your article and have been thinking about a system for my (small) walk in closet. This article gave me much to think about and made me much better informed than I had been!

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    Alana

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    Hi Mike,
    Amazing article! We are currently in the middle of a master bedroom reno including new closet! I was going to just have our contractor build into it, but now after reading your article, you’ve brought to light so many things that I hadn’t considered and convinced me to work with people who “do closets”. I wish you were in New York! Do you have any recommendations for folks who can help me near Westchester, Rockland, Duchess, or Putnum Counties? Thanks for your insight and help!

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      Mike Foti

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      Alana – thanks SO MUCH for your nice comments about the article. I’m glad it helped you to learn more about closet design and why a professional closet designer can help you get a better finished project. I did survey my closet association group and one member recommended http://www.transformhome.com – I haven’t met the owners of the business yet, but I do know some very knowledgeable people in the industry who know them. Good luck and if I get other recommendations I’ll pass them along – Mike

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    kk

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    Great article! I just wish you were in St Augustine, Florida. 🙂

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      Mike Foti

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      KK – I just sent an email out to my industry association to see if I can find you a referral. Mike

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      Mike Foti

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      KK – thanks for your comment – I really appreciate you like my articles. I did reach out to my industry association and you can contact Orlando Eugene at New Concept Designs in Florida. Their URL is http://www.ncd-florida.com. They are also in the custom closet business and a member of our professional association. I hope this help – Mike

      Reply

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    Carolsue haas

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    Thanks for the humorous article , loved it!! Also learned a lot. Wish u were in Southern California. I’d definitely use your services.
    Thanks again

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      Mike Foti

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      Carolsue – thanks. That’s so nice of you to say! I’m glad you enjoyed the article – please feel free to share it and if you need a referral I can see if I can find a friend in my industry association to help you. Mike

      Reply

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