Closet America design expert Jennie Rinker shares her list of custom closet design “DOs and DON’Ts.”
Remodeling projects let you witness the best kind of transformation. One area of your home starts out old-fashioned, run down, or ineffective and emerges as a beautiful and functional space. Upgrading your closets involves the same feeling of renewal. Speaking strictly closet to closet, your new setup will look and feel incredibly different and will significantly impact the way you store items at home.
Many of us dream of a custom closet solution that will solve all of our storage problems, but few know how to secure the closet of their dreams. Jennie Rinker, one of Closet America’s most prolific design experts, shares her list of “DOs and DON’Ts” below, which will help you navigate the simple process of getting your first custom closet.
DO decide your closet motivation.
Why, exactly, are you desperate to get your hands on those precisely-made shelves? If you’re desperate for some relief from the clutter, you’ll be overjoyed with a different kind of closet than the homeowner who wants a final luxury addition to their master suite. Jennie explains,
“Clients in Gen X and Y tend to need high capacity storage for their children and to condense the chaos in the rest of the house. On the other hand, baby boomers who have already remodeled everything else in their house are often upgrading master closets. A custom closet is a luxury item for this group, so the decorative aspects of the closet take top priority.”
Knowing why you want to renovate a storage space can help determine the product you’d most like to receive in the end. Prioritize the closets of your home in order of urgency, and make sure you’re clear on what your ideal result will do for you.
DON’T use a remote design service.
Some online companies and big box stores have employees on staff that can remotely craft a design for your storage space. This can sound appealing to homeowners who want a solution fast. However, this kind of remote process is a lot less personal than what you would receive with an excellent local closet company. Jennie shares her experience:
“Remote designers aren’t actually standing in your closet seeing all your clothes and counting how many pairs of shoes you realistically have. The average woman reports they have 30-60 pairs of shoes, but in reality, many have more than 90. A designer needs to be there in person to really know what you need.”
This is why many of our neighbors have purchased a DIY kit or a prefabricated system to be installed, only to find that their wardrobe simply doesn’t fit in the new configuration. When a designer can see your closet with their own eyes, it’s much easier to get everything in its place perfectly.
DO set aside time for a consultation.
Obviously, getting a designer in person involves setting up an appointment of sorts. What many of our clients don’t realize is that the Closet America design experts spend their entire day doing exactly these kinds of meet-ups. It’s easy to schedule, and even easier to welcome the pros into your home for a brief consultation. Jennie Rinker personally runs two design appointments daily, depending on the extent each job. 3-4 hours apiece, and she’s finally done for the day. As she says, “my day is longer than most designers, but I really do enjoy it a lot!”
DON’T clean out your closet beforehand.
This is Jennie’s most adamant assertion on the list. No matter how badly you want to clean things up, hiding away any clothing you have left from the 80s in the process, you really should let the designer see the true state of your daily closet.
“It’s really in your best interest not to empty your closets before our first meeting. You might not be aware of things that we’ll see immediately and be able to help you address. Everybody has that pair of boots, black tank top, or 10-year-old pack-and-play that they’ve forgotten is back there on the closet floor.”
Those are the items that are creating the most clutter in everyone’s closet, and that means they are the primary concern of the designer who is helping you to create organization anew.
DO ask questions—these designers are professionals!
When you prepare for your design consultation, be sure to create a list of all the questions that you’ve been dying to ask. In the moment, you might be too excited about the storage possibilities to remember what you intended to clarify. That’s why we recommend you write down a list. Maybe even email your questions to the design expert prior to your meeting, so they can more accurately structure your time together.
Curious about what these professionals have done previously? Jennie gives us a little bit of her own personal history:
“Most of our designers come from an interior design background, but I’m a little diverse. My father built homes for a living, so I knew how to build a house from scratch before I even went to college. What’s funny is that I fought him a lot before getting into the industry myself. He thought I’d have a knack for it and it would be great for me, but I was determined to try my hand at art, interior design, and finally civil engineering and architecture. My transition into Closet America was pretty easy because I’d already been in the industry for a while designing homes, hospitals, and retirement communities.”
DON’T wait too long to schedule!
It might be hard to believe, but closets actually have a season. At Closet America, we tend to be busiest in late autumn, as families are expecting holiday guests around that time and can’t wait to show off their gorgeous new closets. If you’re looking to have your custom closet installed before a specific date, do be sure to schedule your consultation early. As Jennie says,
“Some companies who already have everything pre-cut can deliver a custom closet within 3-4 weeks. But that might not be realistic for a company that does true custom design. We’ve been consistently finishing projects within 4-5 weeks, which extends to 5-6 weeks during November and December. That’s because so many people want to get jobs done before the holidays to show off to their friends and family. A lot of husbands, believe it or not, buy closets for their wives for Christmas gifts!”
Your Own Closet to Closet Transformation
Drawn from the experience of a truly expert closet designer, the tips above are bound to help you on your way to achieving the best closet you’ve ever seen. Whether you need some help with toy organizing or you’re determined to display your wardrobe in luxurious sophistication, a custom closet can be the perfect solution—and the most impressive remodeling project you’ll do all year.
Luckily, this is also a renovation project that requires almost zero effort from you. Just schedule your free design consultation with a Closet America designer today. We’ll come directly to your home, anywhere in the DC Metro Area, and give your storage needs a thorough evaluation. Before you know it, you’ll have the best closet to closet “before and after” photos on the block.