House hunting with my client A. today â€“ super cool chick! â€“
and she brought along her friend, J. , my client who referred her! Fabulous
surprise, and we got to spend some great time all 3 together, verbally
processing some properties and going over to see the work J. had done to her
house since she closed a few months ago.
A.â€™s particular homebuyer neurosis is that she has Closet
PTSD. She currently lives in a duplex that is very nice, private and in a great
area, but has virtually ZERO closet space. This is a problem, for a gal who I
have never, I repeat, NEVER, seen repeat an outfit. The girlâ€™s shoes are always Gucci or Louis â€“ sheâ€™s
young, single, makes a great living and has a great figure, so she has, letâ€™s
just say, embraced her inner clothes horse.
The result?Â Her bedroom is always a mess. Not dirty â€“ messy, primarily because she has
dramatically insufficient storage space. The number one rule of feng shui is that that old adage: a place for everything, and everything in its place.
But following this rule of thumb is impossible if there is no place for all the
Could she downsize? Sure. And she probably will, as sheâ€™s
actually a orderly person by nature, and fiscally smart, so I know
she will not want to spend a single cent moving a single unneeded or unwanted
item. Nevertheless, she knows herself well enough at this point to know that to
live out her Vision of Home â€“ including the vision of a totally orderly,
fabulously organized home with a place for every loafer and every miniskirt in
its place â€“ sheâ€™ll need to set herself up for success by ensuring that she
picks a place that has either huge closets or supersized storage or a plus room
that can be used as a closet or something.
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I work with a lot of well-dressed women (who also happen to have great taste when it comes to choosing their real estate broker!), so this is
certainly not the first time this exact issue has come up.
Here are the various
solutions and alternatives that I generally suggest to my clients who are
hunting for a house that cures their Closet PTSD:
East Coasters and people who love old homes canâ€™t imagine disliking a home just
because of its closet space (or lack thereof). They would just buy furniture
for additional storage â€“ whether you go to flea markets, Craigslist or Ikea,
there are tons of â€œpiecesâ€ you can buy to create additional storage. On the
Ikea end of the spectrum, there are even pieces you can install flush against
the wall to look built-in, without spending more than you put down on the
The Closet Room.
This is my personal preference. One of the luxuries of living alone in a home
you own is that if you keep one room as a guest room/office and one for your
personal domain, if you have another room to spare, you can use the entire room
as a closet/dressing room. You can make the investment to hire a company which
customizes closets and have them line the walls with design-yourown shoe racks,
sweater cubbies, short and tall rod/hanging areas and purse cabinets. Or, you
can take the more frugal and arguably more luxe tactic of lining the walls on
your own with rolling racks, dressers, a vanity, etc., leaving space in the
middle of the floor for The Ultimate Holy Grail of Home Ownership: the ability
to leave your ironing board standing open. All day long. Every day. The end.
Hog, I mean, USE all the closets. The other
closet-relevant side effect of single living is that every single closet in the
house belongs to you! All the bedroom closets. All the utility closets. The
linen closet. The broom closet. Those little tiny closets with the built-in ironing
boards. All of them! Just something to keep in mind before you pooh pooh a house
over the too-small master bedroom closet. . .
it out. If youâ€™re buying a home worth several hundred
thousand dollars, minimum, and the deal-killer is that the closets are too
small, perhaps it might be worth the $500-$2500 it might cost to extend,
enlarge or even relocate your closet(s). Most often, this just involves pushing
one wall out a few inches and maybe some fixes to the flooring you disturb.
If you have other good ideas for closet fixes to houses that are awesome except for their insufficient storage space, leave a comment and let us know!