What The F#ck?!

I have four days off for the New Year’s holiday so the wife and I are making a “to do” list for the house; hoping to know a few things off over the weekend and the ultimately during the course of our Winter hibernation.

So here’s the list (not that you care):

  1. Finish installing last two cabinets in my studio.  This will free up some space in the garage.  Also I’m warming up to my studio as the “go to” place to escape work, kids, wife, responsibility, etc.
  2. Go through the Master Closet and make piles of clothes to give away, and get all the boxes out of there that have been sitting in the way since we moved in last April.  The new closet is smaller than the old one so we’ll have to separate “Summer” from “Winter” clothes.  Putting the off-season clothes in bins and storing them in the basement.  Ultimately though we should just get rid of clothes….or at least I will cause I don’t feel like going up and down each season.
  3. Finish Laundry Room – there are a lot of sales on stock white cabinets, and more to come so it would be nice to finish off the laundry room so I don’t have to trip over all the crap on the floor in there.
  4. Start framing the basement.  I want to partition the storage / mechanical room and build my world-famous plywood storage shelves in there.  Then we’ll go through the “Hoarders” episode that is our basement.  Tossing, recycling or donating anything that doesn’t fit on the shelves.  We need to get that basement up and running in so much that the boys can ride their bikes down there and maybe start migrating some of their toys down there.
  5. Build storage shelves in my studio.  Would love to get that organized so I can focus on art (and hiding from life) when I go in there.  Additionally, for next Winter, I want to hang some coat hooks and make an area to come in after we play in the snow.  With the exterior door, space and cement floor it’s really the best spot to come in from the snow.
  6. Build or install some shelves in the Sewing Room per the wife’s request.
  7. Also start doing some painting in the Living Room, Bedrooms and Bathrooms.

With that all plotted out, we decided to work on the closet, start organizing the basement and I’ll get those cabinets in the studio installed this weekend.  We decided to take a look at the closet.  I took the opportunity to lay down the law to the wife – which consists of me pontificating ad-nausea and her wondering what the hell she was thinking twelve years ago when she married me.

I want all these boxes out of here.  We’re going to go through everything….donate what we can…blah blah blah.” I rattled on. Looking at the shelves…..the end of the middle shelf kinda hung there.

Yeah that shelf came out of the wall. I told you that a while ago.  You need to fix it.”  The wife quipped to me.

Okay”  I said as I examine the drooping shelf further, and add the task to my ever growing ‘to do’ list.

For whatever reason I look up at the large top shelf.  It’s comprised of three leftover sections of wire shelving.  The little middle section, at only 12″ long, kinda sits at a funny angle.  Inquisitively I push aside a couple folded shirts to get a closer look….Inexplicably the  8′ section of shelf to the left decided to come and see me up close and personally.

What the f#ck?!”  I instinctively throw my arms up to catch the fully laden wire shelf in my hands as my dress shirts slide down the port side of the sinking ship.  Resting the shelf on my head I start pulling clothes off (of the shelf….you perv) and handing them to my wife.  Once everything was off I could see that the shelf basically pulled straight out of the wall.

So with that our priorities are now to 1) get the clothes organized and get that closet cleaned out and 2) finish off the Master Closet (something that wasn’t even on our to do list this year or next).  I don’t see much sense in trying to repair the current set up.  I think it’s better just to start from scratch.  There’s nothing I’ll be able to assure it won’t happen again and to just replace some parts won’t do much.  Long term I’m not a big fan of the wire shelving anyway.  There has got to be a better way.

Which lead me to the internet to start looking closet systems.  Ironically I just recycled a Container Store catalog that was all about their closet system, advertising their 30% off sale on materials and installation. Generally speaking my plan is to install myself, but hey I’m open to anything.  I’m not a big fan of all the clips and brackets of the typical wire shelf units.  Also I’m not convinced I want (or need) the adjustable shelves like I installed upstairs.  And like I think I said, I’m kinda over the wire shelf thing.  They are probably better from an air flow standpoint but they just feel cheap.  I’m probably just being snobby, as usual, but hey that’s how I feel. Our closet is about 12′ long and 2′ deep. Budget wise I don’t want to spend more than $1,000.  Preferably I’d like to spend only $200-$700 and get an attractive, working closet that suits the wife and I.

Here’s the rundown of options so far, weigh in with your thoughts comments or questions:

  1. California Closets – their website features photos of perky mannequin like women and fancy finishes.  Their brochures are limited.  I was hoping for more utility in planning out my closet.  Upside here is that we basically call them, they do all the work, and we write a check. Downside is that check is probably a lot more than we want to spend at this time.
  2. Martha Stewart Closets via Home Depot – This is the front-runner.  The website features an intuitive planning app and components can be bought online or in the store.  For about $750 I can plan out our dream closet, click a button and wait for it to show up on my front door.  For half that I can start with basic components bought at my local store and build up from there.  Available in cherry, espresso and white; we’d probably go with white.  Upside: decent quality, and easy install of a nice looking non-wire closet.  Low cost at about $500-$750 (self installed).  Downside: I’m skeptical of the mounting system; not sure how strong it possibly could be all hanging from a single rail.
  3. Container Store Elfa system – A cool system with lots of options.  We could get wire or wood shelves. Everything hangs from a sturdy track system just the one’s you find at Lowe’s.  The website’s planning tool is kinda lame and struggles with planning  our open 12′ long closet wall.  One other thing, all the planners don’t take into account our 9′ ceilings….I don’t feel like they take advantage of the long-term storage available in that top foot of space so we’ll have to infill that on our own regardless.  Upside: they run sales, like the 30% sale right now.  They can install for me if I’m feeling lazy and rich.  Downside: Not really low-cost at $800 installed (for simplest wire shelves), $600 if I install myself. To save money we’d probably have to go with a cheapo looking wire solution that leaves wire lines in my t-shirts.
  4. IKEA – I swear every time I go to their store they have tons of closet systems.  Their dismal website showed me but one system.  Upside: I could drive to Pittsburgh and come home with a pile of boxes.  Downside: I could drive to Pittsburgh and come home with a pile of boxes.
  5. Lowes – The Rubbermaid adjustable wire shelves are what I have in the upstairs hall.  The allen + roth wood shelves look great.  Also there are some wire shelves to choose from too.  I may price out the a + r stuff and compare to Martha’s stuff.  Rubbermaid features a planning app that looks cool but I didn’t try it yet.  Upside: the Rubbermaid wire shelves are sturdy, I like the mounting design.  Downside: wire shelves and unnecessary adjustable shelves.  Not sure how much the allen + roth stuff will cost.  No planning tools.  Install on the wire shelf systems is mind numbingly tedious.
  6. Custom –  Make the shelves myself?  Out of wood and paint?  Hmmm….I did get a table saw from Santa and my new Ryobi cordless drill is kick ass.  Um, no.  Upside: complete custom solution would leverage my extraordinary design abilities.  The wife would be tickled pink with all the dedicated storage.  Downside:  would probably cost a fortune and I lack the time, ability and know how to pull it off.

We’re hoping to make a decision this holiday weekend.  Like I said, if you have any additional ideas, let me know.  Cheers.

-Chris

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