The New Closet is Revealed

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Two weeks ago, I shared some photos of our super-crammed, over-crowded closet. The tiny alcove was so squeezed, our hangers regularly broke and our clothes seemed permanently squashed and creased. (The “before” photos are here.)

The first wave of renovations are complete, and I’ve learned some important lessons along the way.

Here are 5 things I wish I knew before the closet renovation.

Even with this plastic curtain, everything was covered in a thick layer of dust.
Even with this plastic curtain, everything was covered in a thick layer of dust.

1. Everything in the apartment will be covered in dust. This was my first major home improvement project EVER, so I was completely unprepared for the amount of debris that sprayed across the apartment — despite having a top-notch demolition crew and plenty of plastic sheeting to protect the apartment’s floors and knickknacks.

For example, I kept my most prized shoes on display on a bookshelf  near the project– and foolishly, I thought the plastic sheeting would be ample protection. Instead, the snakeskin and suede pumps were dull with dust, and I spent a lot of extra time cleaning them.

TIP: Place anything valuable in cloth shoe bags or large Ziplocs. Then zip everything up in a duffel or suitcase FAR away from the demolition crew.

The blank canvas.
The blank canvas.

2. You may want to skip painting the closet interior. But don’t skip this step. Once the old closet was gutted, I was chagrined when I noticed the scuffed walls and uneven patches of spackle. I quickly decided we needed a fresh coat of paint to make the space look neater and tidier.

TIP: If you’re in a hurry, pick a color from the Benjamin Moore Aura collection. It is opaque after just one coat, dries within a couple hours and doesn’t smell at all.

We chose Benjamin Moore paint in Wasabi.
We chose Benjamin Moore paint in Wasabi.

3. The beautiful paint job will be invisible once the closet is loaded with your stuff. Whoops!

TIP: I just hope the paint job ups the re-sell value.

Left: Before | Right: After
Left: Before | Right: After

4. Organizing your new closet is like a marathon game of Tetris. The suitcases that were on the floor wound up on the tip shelf. Skirts, blouses and suits were shuffled from rack to shelf (and back to rack) until the everything found its rightful home.

TIP: Keep a stepladder handy — you’re gonna need it.

Still crowded, but a vast improvement.
Still crowded, but a vast improvement.

5. You’ll never have enough room. The good news? The new closet looks way better than the old. The bad news? We’re still incredibly squeezed for space — which is exactly why we’re kicking off 2015 with another project. This time, we’re focused on a floor-to-ceiling storage unit that will fit everything from shoes to laundry supplies.

TIP: Don’t give up. Redemption is just a down payment away.