The Art of Storage ... Daily Life Made Easier
(Originally published in the Napa Valley Register)
“A place for everything and everything in its place.” Although this phrase is sometimes credited to Benjamin Franklin, the Oxford Book of Quotations dates it back to the 17th century. No doubt you heard it as a child, probably as your mother encouraged you to clean your room. I can still hear the Sisters of Mercy at St. Apollinaris singing it over and over as we students tidied up our desks and the classroom. It’s such a simple, logical, healthy, and beneficial notion, no wonder it has lasted throughout the ages.
Over the years, I’ve written several columns advocating the idea of surrounding yourself, your home, with things that you love, use, or have special meaning. This not only makes your environment more pleasant and attractive, it makes daily life easier. You can select your wardrobe more quickly, prepare meals more quickly, pay your bills more quickly, and find whatever you’re look for more quickly. You’ve not only decreased needless stress and aggravation but have increased cherished time in your day. But, like a diet, such an ideal circumstance can be difficult to achieve and even more difficult to maintain.
My hunch is that most people declutter and donate once or twice a year. It always feels good to lighten one’s load. But there’s a subsequent step to this process. It’s where Benjamin Franklin’s wise words come into play. In order to sustain all that you’ve just achieved, what remains should have their own space. Their place.
In many cases, this means designated rooms, closets, shelves, drawers, bins, and cubby holes. But creating storage is more than just making room for your belongings. It’s an art. It should be designed carefully with the thought of organization, timely routine, function, and usage in mind.
Key ingredients to this art are categorizing and grouping like items together. That is, instead of stacking books on desks, coffee tables, and bookshelves, create a single library. Instead of separating jewelry in boxes and baskets in dressers, bathroom counter tops, and nightstands, designate a single drawer or two (with inserts and dividers in specific sizes) for all your pieces. Instead of scattering cleaning supplies in bathrooms, kitchen, and the garage, store them all in one place.
Why does this strict, and possibly uncomfortable, strategy work? Because it ends the guessing game. When looking for a book, a bracelet, or a broom, you’ll know exactly where to go instead of searching in various locations.
Even if your home was built with several closets, they are most likely not configured in an optimal way. There are many aspects to designing functional, attractive, and well-made storage with value-added bells and whistles. Since it’s not only an art but a science, I call on professional closet, cabinet and storage designer, Malka Sabroe-JoHanson, to help my clients.
Sabroe-JoHanson stands apart from other closet designers because of her background in interior design, her twenty-five-year experience, her insistence on working with quality materials, and complying with all relevant building codes and standards. She understands the concept of form and function and individual needs in diverse settings. She has clever solutions for each. She knows how to maximize space and a client’s budget. “A dream closet does not have to be expensive and or extravagant. It simply needs to be designed for a client’s specific needs and desires,” Sabroe-JoHanson explains.
One of my clients, Holly Quate, shared her conclusions with me. “I always thought a custom closet was a splurge - a nice addition only to be considered when there was extra money. Now that I’ve installed one, however, I see that my closet is one of the places where my money has had the most impact. The dedicated storage and the easy access to all my clothes, shoes, and accessories have made my day to day routine so much less stressful. The fact that I have plenty of hanging space and a place for everything makes both getting ready in the morning and putting things away at the end of the day a breeze.”
Sabroe-JoHanson’s team, RC Cabinets and Closets, has worked together for over 25 years. It’s comprised of a private, family-owned, cabinet manufacturer and an installer who has known them since kindergarten. They are fully insured and licensed under the Contractors State License Board, Consumer Affairs Department. Its long-established craftsmen are expertly experienced in ﬁne cabinetry and ﬁnishing work and adhere to the guidelines of safety and codes in the State of California for lasting construction.
Sabroe-JoHanson’s process begins with a consultation which is then followed by a presentation of detailed, computer-generated drawings. All cabinetry is custom and without pre-fabricated parts and all work is warranted. To see her portfolio and to read her informational blog, visit RCCabinetsandClosets.com. She can also be reached at (707) 688-2791.
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