Sorry for the radio silence my sweet friends… it was D-Day for the wisdom teeth removal and I was a complete loony toon in a crazy amount of pain there for a bit. I am still a loony toon (thank you pain meds) but at least now I can move my fingers without fear that it will hurt my face, so we can return to some of our regularly scheduled fun!
This project probably lets the cat out of the bag on what I have been working on, but yahoo, a major closet overhaul is under way and it is looking mighty fine so far! Like – damn girl, you fiiiine – kind of fine, which is perhaps appropriate given our impending heart shaped holiday? There are a dozen and one projects on the web for creating hanging coat racks, closet rods, and other awesome but similar things. Rather than jumping right onto that bandwagon and giving you my take on the same sort of thing (same, same only different – as they say in the East), I thought I would give you more of a recounting of the materials I chose and why, where you can find them, along with some tips (that I learned the hard way of course) for doing this successfully and in a way that will work for real people with real wardrobes. Not that I don't look longingly at those other DIY project beauties, with their 5 items hanging on them, because I do… they are so good-looking with only 5 items hanging from those cute minimal rods with all of the items only in black or beige. Oh to be that gal, am I right? But of course, I'm not, and you probably aren't, and in fact they might not be either and might just pull out the rest of their clothes once the photoshoot is over… so I guess in a round about way, this is a project for all of us while we daydream about being all of them, who may not even be 'them' in real life, and who clearly don't have children climbing the walls and swinging from your favorite sweater while you race to get the remaining items hung. Le Sigh.
Let's talk turkey… or paracord, whatever – same diff. The materials I used for my sexy sleek hanging rods cost around $30 to make 2. This price goes down for each additional pair of rods you plan to make since some of the items allow for multiple rod making.The most expensive item on this very small list is definitely the hooks. They run about $6 per hook for a swiveling ceiling driller toggle hook that is rated for holding at least 50 pounds and preferably 90 pounds. Just consider what you will hang on your rod and purchase accordingly. This is where the cost will add up since you need 2 per hanging rod (duh), but is quite frankly the lynch pin for the success (or failure) of this project. If your ceiling is made of drywall, which for 99% of you is definitely the case, and if you plan on hanging real clothing from your rods, which 99% of you probably do, then you need these hooks to be heavy duty and have this toggle bolt functionality to be as secure as possible. The braided cord is actually very inexpensive and comes in a fun assortment of neon colors as well as some basics like white or black. Now the item I chose to use for the rod portion is indeed actually a closet rod and is adjustable in length which means that when you purchase it, it comes in a package with two separate rod pieces so you can essentially buy one package and get 2 rods from it. You will need to remove a screw at the ends (where the rods would connect if you were using this traditionally) and otherwise there is no cutting, painting, or drilling involved with this project whatsoever. This is always a yahoo in my book because this means that the project will come together quickly and easily – as in – under 5 to 10 minutes maximum to whip this together quickly, kind of quickly… ha. Of course you can use many different things for the rod portion, like copper or steel and even a dowel would work so get creative if you like.
I created one big loop of rope that I threaded through the rod looped over the hooks. To secure the ends of this big loop together I simply tied 3 knots and then cut a separate piece about 12 inches long and made a gathering wrap to sit over the top of this. Then I got to play with fire for a bit and used a lighter to melt the cord at the ends as well as around the gathering wrap so I felt extra sure that baby was nice and secure. I let that knot sit inside the rod to hide it.
So now that you know what I used for this project, let's take a peak back to the beginning and gaze at my wiry slobs (the before shot).
The hardest thing about planning for this space and in deciding to completely gut it and start from scratch in here, was coming to the realization that even though there was a crap ton of completely functional wire shelving in here, that it was not being used well. I have lived with it for 2 years now and kept thinking that the problem was me, and the busy life I lead (which is partly true, to be sure). I had plenty of space to hang things, plus a ton of surface space and shelving for the clothing that will be folded. But, when you are using shelves to store your folded stuff instead of drawers, this inevitably means that the minute you are in a hurry and can't find something, you make a complete and utter crazy mess of things. That is a losing battle, because it means my closet looks like the image above virtually all of the time. Not to mention that when Mike does the laundry and puts things away, he gets completely confused about how to sort things since items like tops (at least for us gals) should be sorted by purpose to keep the stacks from getting too high. Who can blame him, this is a very specific type of organizing that most people find impossible to do for someone else.
It is pretty difficult to make the decision to get rid of things that should, in theory, be working beautifully, but just aren't. For a gal like me who feeds off of functionality and hates to spend money on things that I don't really need, this was initially a painful 'coming to terms' decision. If it isn't broken, then why try to fix it, am I right? But once I decided to take a good look at this space and try to figure out what on earth it needed to make it better, I was able to see that ven though it wasn't technically broken (physically), it was still in fact actually broken (mentally perhaps) because it wasn't working, for me.
Once I have this sort of light bulb moment, it's on like donkey kong and I embrace change like a champ. If it means the possibility for improvement, then I am all for it. The Mister, on the other hand, apparently hates change (who knew? certainly not me until this project came along) and takes much longer to warm up to an idea. Removing all of the functional and plentiful wire shelving and rods, it appears, is one of those things he doesn't find easy to jump on board with. Subsequently, I started this project on my side, and he has been able to warm up to all of the possibilities, by seeing the actual changes as they unfold – on my side.
And so… this closet was entirely gutted – on my side (3 walls) – and where there was once chaos, now there is utter beauty and simplicity. My original inspiration came from a recent shopping trip to HomeGoods, where I stumbled upon a gorgeous selection of velvet hangers. I thought to myself… I love when all the hangers are the same, and everything is awesome… and great (a little Lego Movie throw back). In that moment the seeds of change were planted and a simplified wardrobe and lifestyle were born. I purchased 100 of these velvet hangers (4 packs of 25) and decided that Mike and I would each get 50, and have no choice but to slim down our wardrobes accordingly. No exceptions. And of course, if we could streamline our hanging items and cut them down below our individual limit of 50 hangers, well that would be a lovely bonus as it would greatly simplify and reduce the number of things we have to launder and put away each week. Win, win.
I took a fine tooth comb to my clothing and forced myself to part most of those things I have been hanging on to for far too long. Turns out hanging onto things for the possibility of needing those things at some point in the future is not all it's cracked up to be. Having so much of this type excess was weighing me down. I cut myself some slack throughout this process and allowed myself to keep some of these items that were particularly hard to part with, and gave myself time to come to terms with giving up those little bits of my past life. I think this left me the space I needed to mentally deal with moving on from my youth and into a more current version of me. As I have been forced over the last couple of weeks to take the time to hang these items and watch my once light and loosely packed rods become full and cramped, it has become much easier to part with these pieces of my former self. I have definitely embraced this new found simplified life, wholeheartedly. It seems to be the good life, so far, and I haven't once looked back in regret at donating those someday pieces. Just wait till you see the other areas I worked over in this space. Can we say, downright skimpy? Yes we can – but in a good way of course…
To view all projects in this closet case series, in order, check out the articles below to see how far we have come!
IMAGES // Rayan Turner for The Design Confidential