My Closet

20 Jan 2011
Our DesignersOur ProjectsOur Stories posted by Sara Tofanelli-Barroso

“Purge”, “Spring Clean”, “Organizing”.  Whatever you want to call it, that’s what I’ve been doing lately.  It all started one day when I went clothes shopping.  I bought too much.  But I really needed everything that I purchased!  At least that’s what I told my husband who couldn’t believe I spent that much on clothes just for myself!  As I was putting away my freshly washed, new clothes, I realized that I had run out of closet space.  No more hangers, no room to hang anyways, sweaters all unfolded and in a bunch and, frankly, just old.  It was then that I began “in with the new, out with the old”. 

This is not my closet but it might as well be for all the organization it had!

I only had a few minutes before I had to make dinner, but I was determined.  I got to work quickly and very efficiently, I might add.  If I hadn’t worn the item in a few years, it was on the floor, in a pile.  I didn’t allow myself to think about it…I just threw things down.  Soon, my pile was rather large.  But I didn’t stop there.  I went through my shoes and my jackets (in another closet).  Ahhh…it felt nice, very nice.  I then put everything in kitchen garbage bags and ended up with 3 large, full bags when I was done.  My bags went into the dining room until I was to take them to good will. 

Not too many people have beautiful closets/rooms for their clothing. What I wouldn’t give for something like…

The Living Space Closet - HIS modern closet


Presidio Heights Residence traditional closet


Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly Bedroom 11 modern bedroom
modern bedroom design by new york kitchen and bath Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc.

But most of us have to be content with the closets God gave us and make do with organizing them to the best of our abilities!

Designs by Shoshana eclectic closet




Invest in all the same size and style hanger. When everything is on an even plane, it is easier to keep things straightened and organized.

Purchase these really inexpensive foam hanging strips to adhere to the tops of your hanger. For pennies you can keep your clothes from sliding off its hanger (thereby reducing visual clutter) and ending up on the floor.

Take your necklaces and bracelets out of a drawer and hang on a rack or hooks on a wall in your closet (or on the door). That way you see everything you have and will wear it more (or toss, when you realize that you never wear it). It also will free up another drawer for your use.

Designs by Shoshana eclectic bedroom

eclectic bedroom design by philadelphia interior designer Designs by Shoshana


Purchase inexpensive plastic, zippered bags to store sweaters in (during  the summer) and shorts and swimsuits in (during  the winter) Or use nice fabric covered boxes, which will take up more room but look great. Store them up high, or down low when they are out of season and save the easy to reach spaces for things you use now.

Closet Storage Idea eclectic closet

Organize your clothes by type and color. All of the tops go on a top bar and should be color coordinated. All of the pants and skirts go on a bottom bar, also by color. Make sure your closet has two rows of bars. You will probably only need a small space for hanging full length dresses and coats. If you can find dividers like these (used in clothing stores to separate sizes) they are good to separate colors or styles (i.e.short sleeves from long sleeves)

If you have the luxury of starting fresh and actually planning your closet, make sure that you draw out the space, measure your clothes lengths and how much rod space you need for them and also measure the size and depth for your shoes and how many pairs you have ( or want to have!)

Stonebreaker Builders & Remodelers traditional laundry room
traditional laundry room design by chicago general contractor Stonebreaker Builders & Remodelers

We all collect things.  Some collect more than others.  But the fact of the matter is, we all have too much stuff.  To purge feels good and remember: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasures”.

Oh…and after much nagging, I finally got my husband to go through his side of the closet.  He ended up with 3 big bags too! 



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January Pipe Dreams

04 Jan 2011
Our Favorite PlacesOur DesignersOur Stories posted by Sara Tofanelli-Barroso

As the Holiday Season draws to a close, we are all left with that feeling of “what’s next”. What do I do to fill the gaps left after all of the holiday parties, visits with families and friends, and the overabundance of desserts and drinks? Do I want to start exercising, dieting, cleaning out my closets, rearranging the furniture, taking a college class or two or writing in a diary (from the time I was 9 or 10 until my mid teens, I always asked for a diary for Christmas. I would usually get one and write

long paragraphs for the first two week of the year. Sometimes I would pick it up and write again in the summer when I was bored but more than likely, I would never write in it again. Oh, how I wish I had a full year of adolescent thoughts to look back on now!)

No, what I really start thinking of is; why didn’t I plan for a vacation in a warm place in January? I usually have good intentions. Somewhere around the middle of October I think about making plans.. I get all excited looking at websites of various locations. I get on VRBO and look at beautiful homes right smack on the beach. I might even post a few inquiries about availabilities....

but that’s usually where I end it. Then I get caught up in clients’ orders, the end of our Home Sale, getting Christmas décor out in the showroom and that’s it…until January, when the rain or the fog or the cold knocks the idea back in my head and it is too late to make any plans. It doesn’t matter that I have hundreds of thousands of “free” air miles. Just try to get a reservation to any tropical beach location in January. Actually from now until after spring break, those destinations are pretty much pipe dreams.

Okay, now is the time to make the plans for next year. But plan a YEAR in advance? Who am I kidding? I’m spontaneous, I’d rather stay up all night working the internet trying to get two seats together to La Grande Playa and feel that I have actually worked for this vacation! 

Now I just need to find a pet sitter….

- Nan

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Stuck in a Blizzard

01 Jan 2011
Our DesignersOur Stories posted by Sara Tofanelli-Barroso

We are the Bowman's and we are stuck in New York.  It sounds fun, even a bit  exciting.  But it's not. 
When we left for Christmas in New York, all I could think about was how fun it would be if we had a white Christmas.  We left Chico with the weather report showing a 20% chance of snow.  Oh well...we would have fun anyways.  I mean, Christmas in New York...who doesn't want that?!

We spent a few wonderful days in Manhattan.  We saw the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, we visited the Bloomingdales and Macy's windows, we played at FAO Schwartz and the American Girl Doll store, we awed at the Rockefeller Christmas tree, we slept at a hip and expensive, mid town hotel (thanks to Priceline!).  We did it all...we were happy Christmas tourists. 

After our New York adventure, we envisioned a fun, relaxing ride on the Long Island Railroad to visit my husbands family in Long Island...


However, it was not what we had imagined.  Cramped, with luggage stacked up high, no room to sit, relax, or yet alone, read. 

But we got to Long Island and to be with the family for the holidays.  Christmas Eve was a party, Christmas Day was another one.  Then the news broke that night that there was to be a blizzard.  When we went to sleep that night, we had high hopes to wake up to fresh snow.  We woke up but with no snow in sight. We figured the weather report was wrong, which, I am told, happens often around here.  Then it hit.  And it hit big. 

In the morning, we made our way to visit my husband’s aunt but didn't get too far.  With the snow falling and without four-wheel drive we had to turn around.  Needless to say, we were stuck for 2 days in the family's house. 

But there was hope!  On the day that we were scheduled to leave, the snow plow plowed the street.  We now had clearance to the airport!  We packed up, and made our way to the Cheesecake Factory for one last meal with the family.  Just as we were getting up to leave we received the dreaded email.  Our flight was cancelled.  We tried and tried to get through to the airlines, but kept getting disconnected.  We were finally able to reschedule...for a week and half  later, on Jan. 6. Seriously?! 

I went through the 5 stages of grief and the first one was shock.  Then denial, anger, sadness, loss, confusion, then positive thoughts (think: The Secret).  And then again the grief.  What was I to do?  Finally after 2 days of worrying, crying a little, fighting with the husband and more worrying, we were finally able to get through the airline and reschedule to an earlier flight. 

Now I can enjoy the family who has been so kind and gracious to us.  Now I can enjoy the rest of our New York Christmas.  Now our New York Christmas has turned into New York New Years.  And with any luck we'll be on a flight this weekend and home soon to our beds, our home and our withered Christmas tree.

Otherwise, we'll always have January 6th.

- Sage


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