Turning Your More than 5-10 minutes problems into Marital Bliss

This is actually an unauthorized guest blog by Lauren's husband, David. Hello. She is sleeping right now and I wanted to suprise her with her a new closet. She's been dealing with a lot of change lately and has had too much on her plate, running an outrageously successful business, raising the ironically-named Christian and still dealing with the after effects or a flood/ move/ renovations. I read her blog about the 5-10 minute rule, I'm going to fix this... the closet.

I'm going to give you tips on how to do this yourself on the cheap. I'm also going to ramble on philosophically about life and marriage and maybe even, God help me, design. I teach English Literature by day, and am only the master craftsman by night (check the post time, going be well around midnight) so here are my thoughts and some bad jokes, but its all for a good cause.

The only tools I used tonight were, drumroll please

And my little ryobi drill.So the first thing to do is plan out your closet. Lauren showed me how to do this in our townhouse. She says the most important thing about custom closets are the getting the different levels and spaces to stay organized. Figure out if you need lots of room- tall rods for hanging suits or long dresses, or if you have an inordinate amount of shoes maybe you need little cubbie holes. I know, I know all that sounds custom and expensive, but this is how were going to get around that.

It may not look like much, but this little baby is versatile. we spend 10 dollars on five of these things and ten dollars on closets rods. If you knew how little money I gave Lauren to spend on decorating you be so amazed, but they you wouldn't like me as much. So, first things first, lay out your closet. Lauren had already planned this out before we moved into the house (I know, I know) so I'm kind of cheating, but I did some of it on my own. We have your typical closet. Rods hung at 5 and some odd feet.

Wasted space below and above. We need levels. Lauren fixed this problem at the townhouse. In my closet we took a shirt and a pair of pants on hangers and held them up to see how much room they needed. Wow, if you hang a shirt at six feet and change and then hang the pants at three feet and change, problem solved. You still get a shelf above and room for a pair of shoes below.

So let's move the rod. We had one of these, which makes it more difficult. If you just have a rod resting against the wall in a socket, just remove the rod and unscrew the socket and ignore the rest, unless of course your enjoying the witty prose.

You have to remove the shelf, remove the rod and then pry off the wood molding (I use that term as loosely as possible, it is just a piece of 5/4 x 4).

I remove the old nails and use the same wood, waste not. I make my mark based on where I want my top closet rod to be and nail in the pieces of wood. Important- pieces of wood will sometimes overlap, so the pieces on the outside have to come out first and go in last.
See how the piece of wood on the right extends all the way to the wall and the piece on the left runs into it? Well that means the piece on the left is coming out first. So pull them out, put pressure on the corners and where the nails are or you might pop through your drywall.

Oops. But hey it's a closet and that will be covered up by shirts. Select the height you want your top rod to be and then start putting the boards back up. Use the original nail holes, but fresh nails, because they will line up perfectly with the studs, and will just go in more easily. (to any colleagues reading- sorry about the split infinitives but this is hard work) Now I've always wanted one of these suit valets:

The finish is wrong anyway. So I put the next rod in with one of these beauties and a few wood screws. Make sure to use wood screws.

The key to these thing is to put them into studs. I know the man at home depot will tell you that sinkers will work. The actual packages of the mollies, or sinkers, or whatever new name they have, claim outrageous holding capacities, 50, 60, even 100 lbs in 3/8" drywall. Far more than your clothes would ever weigh, right? I've been there, these are just a few of my bad memories:

I've tried them all. They don't work. They will never work, and if you used them before for other things and they worked, you got lucky but trust me, they won't work here. You need to put them into studs. Use this little machine, wait for him to beep. Then he is happy and you will be too. (look again at the picture above, I've shamelessly put the dreaded sinkers on an end table I built) Anway, I set the height on my bottom rod to accomodate a some pants on one side and a dresser on the other.

Well not exactly, you can get into a philosophical style debate on dressers but Lauren had this elfa thing from the container store. (lauren's into these right now)

And I said I want to keep my clothes in one of those things in the closet. That way all of my clothes live together like a happy family, and I don't change locations when my socks don't match. Its all right there now. We purchased one of those thing for me.
Now these things take up space and I sacrficed most of my lower side to house it. You'll see later what Lauren had to sacrifice.

I also got different size mesh baskets because while I have less clothes, I'm larger than Lauren and my clothes physically take up more space. So she has lots of little baskets and I have a few big ones. Here they are together:

I love this thing. Say bad things about dressers in closets, say bad things about Hemingway, but don't say bad things about this elfa closet organizer, I love it.

So Lauren's side only has half of a rod on the bottom because she has long, pretty dresses that go on the other. Very custom. It took me two minutes to measure the pole length and then three minutes to saw the pole to size. If they have the nice poles that have rubbers caps on the end then buy those so you don't have a sawed edge. If they don't put the sawed edge against the wall so the factory edge stick outs.

In my travels overseas I learned an ancient Chinese secret about getting good photoshoots of closets. Matching hangers with sufficient space in between, even if you have to remove clothes and hide them elsewhere.

Try to ignore the racing stripes, that's where the old board used to be. I will fix that later, remember what's important here is not the nailheads uncovered, I'll get to that later as well. What's important is that as we speak sleepy lauren just stumbled into the room and said "oh my gosh, so much better."

She will wake up in the morning and eat breakfast feeling a less stressed, she'll be singing a song, probably some terrible Cobie Calliet (sp?). After breakfast she will bring a bunch of toys into the bedroom and Christian will make and destroy buildings, in that order, while she organizes her clothes.

While most people see piles of clothes and empty hangers, Lauren sees what was an umanageable nightmare turning into a 5-10 minute mess. Maybe they'll be organized by occassion, season, I can't begin to understand the synesthete's mind, but I can observe its patterns. And I know marital bliss is not found in organizing closets, but I have found doing something nice that you know the other person will like always goes a long way. Now whether or not Lauren is pleased I stole her blog to post on a half-finished closet we've yet to see.


Lauren Jade said...

love those hangers. I just re-organized me and my boyfriend's closet. closets are my thing and you did a very nice job and very detailed explanations as well. :D I like the shelves you can hang from the rod as well. I move alot so its a really inexpesnive/effective way of having extra shelves.

Market Girl said...

That is so funny. I hope she liked the end result, if not you are welcome at our place any time!
Nice work

Eileen said...

My husband did the very same thing for me a few years ago! Nothing fancy, it's not California Closets, it's far from other high-end drawers and doors, but it serves it's purpose and is so much more endearing to me.
Great post!!

Blueprint Bliss said...

Lauren- So thoughtful that your hubby did this for you. And the best part is that he blogged about it! xx- Brooke

Lauren said...

Aw wow. hahha i'm teary-eyed, the closet was so bad & that was so sweet. won't write any more mushy stuff on here except thanks dav & i love you. xoxo,

Leigh-Anne said...

Job well done! I'm impressed and inspired.

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

Ok Dave is super sweet. What a great husband! I just sat here reading this eating breakfast with Jon and told him that he needs to step it up a notch! Ha ha he's not too happy with Dave.

Any it looks really great and I'm sure you're happy to see nice and clean.

Maria Killam said...

Your husband is adorable! Love the detailed lesson on how it should be done!
So so great!

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Now that was the best 'spize ever, eh? I can't tell what I like best...that he actually did the great work...or secretly blogged about it!

Kudos English Lit Prof!

Anonymous said...

Never mind the closet, your hubby is the BOMB! Im wondering how I can bribe mine into doing some blogging for me!
PS--AIDP meeting is at Design Center next time if you wanna go with!

Sarah's Fab Day said...

Ok, now that was adorable! Lauren you're a lucky girl. :)

Melissa said...

aww, super cute! i will definitely be flagging this for my guy to check out. An organized closet always makes me smile!

Things That Inspire said...

Wow - your new house is becoming more and more of a dream home every day.

I must say, though, I was wondering how Lauren would react to a surprise guest poster - I am not so sure how I would react to my husband posting on my blog! It looks like she is thrilled with the results, so all is well!

LindsB said...

Wow David can I borrow you sometime? You are funny AND handy, what a fantastic combination. I really could use someone handy, while I do everything around our house myself (my Dad is a general contractor, so I'm the one with the tool box and all the tools) it would be nice to have someone that knows what a Philips head is. Yes that’s right. I asked for a Philips head from the BF and he goes "what’s a Philips head” I almost died.

Fantastic job on the closets, they look great!

Mollie & Finn said...

AMASING! Forwarding this post to my husband... I had never heard of 'elfa' storage before - I'm off to Howards storage world on the weekend to get some for our out of control buildin wardrobe!

Cote de Texas said...

What a sweet husband!!!!!! Can I borrow you?

Love Where You Live said...

Lauren is one lucky girl.
What a great guy you are to surprise her!
cheers, -susan

Love Where You Live said...

Lauren is one lucky girl.
What a great guy you are to surprise her!
cheers, -susan

TKMFamily said...

Lauren is a lucky girl!!! What you did with the closet is the best, it even beats flowers!!!!
Great Job!

Haven and Home said...

Ok, this maybe my favorite post to date. What a wonderful and funny husband! I so enjoyed reading that. It looks so much better already. A handy husband, isn't that ever girl's dream?


Dave is handy AND hilarious. What more can a girl ask for? I love the line about the "ironically-named Christian." :D

Tracy Pardue Watier said...

Great job! Fun post! I have to correct one thing though... "marital bliss" is MOST DEFINITELY found in things like a husband-built, organized closet! At least that's a surefire way to keep THIS wife blissfully happy!

CakeLover said...

HAHAHAH!!! I love this! Good WORK DAV! I'm so impressed.

Can I be a guest writer on your blog? Does it matter if I talk about food? ;)

tarheel said...

what a sweet husband! And a literature professor to boot...

Cote de Texas said...

Lauren - loved your comment on the skirted roundtable - too scared to leave a comment??? things have come a long way!!! haha!!! love YOU

Flax and Spindle said...

Your so lucky!! and what a great job!

3 Peanuts said...

What a sweet man you are (and a humorous writes as well). Just catching up...your new home looks great and I LOVE the open shelving in the kitchen!

Oliveaux said...

A fabulous surprise!

nkp said...

I'm speechless...you are one lucky, lucky girl. The only line I would take question with is...an organized closet does not make for marital bliss...oh, yes it does and I'm certain your dear, thoughtful hubby just proved it! Hope you are breathing a small sigh of relief. Job well done!

linsi brownson said...

What an awesome guy! He's like the closet elf - when you go to sleep just pile up all your clothes, and when you wake up...poof! New closet.

And ladies, a man who does nice things AND blogs? That's a keeper.

Karen and Joe said...

I just nominated you for Husband of the Year! WOWee-ZOWee!! That's amazing. Happy wife=happy,cute, funny,erudite hubby.

Copy Cat Chic said...

Here there! I nominated you for a Splash award :) Check out my blog post about it:


I also used one of your kitchen pics in another post, I hope you don't mind!

Anonymous said...

wow, this project would not have occurred to my husband if I lived to be 200. The other thing that never would have occurred is that he would write about it.

alice said...

Hi Lauren,

I'm tagging you in the "6 Uninteresting Things that Make You Happy" Game!

Here are the rules if you'd like to play along:

-share 6 uninteresting things that make you happy
-Mention and link to the person who tagged you
-Tag six of your favorite bloggers to play along and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been tagged!

I'm sure your 6 things are anything but uninteresting :)

Yet said...

you have the best husband in the world! David gets points for being proactive and bonus points for surprising you!! Oh my gosh, I think I love him...oh wait, I have a BF (and he's in love with you) but anyway, I hope he got some (was that inappropriate? I'm sorry, I have bad habits like that). Gosh, he's the best (that is until I get married and than my BF will be the best) hahahaha. Have WONDERFUL weekend!!!

Bromeliad Living said...

Just found your blog via Copy Cat Chic.

How many blogs invoke Hemmingway for a closet makeover?

Love it. You're on my link list now.

TSS said...

This closet is great! I love the before and after, great job. Lauren is a lucky lady!