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A word about closets [Mar. 28th, 2009|07:36 pm]
[Current Mood |tired]

Unprintable, but a word.

There are not enough closets.  There are not enough bookshelves.  Closets and bookshelves are necessarily related.

It is NOT that we have too many clothes.  No, it is not enough closets for clothes that a) have grown steadily bigger over the last thirty years and b) are required to do too many things (in my case, anyway.)   I can't just have, as I did once upon a time, two pair of jeans that fit (one older than the other...when it got too raggedy for me, and I was not overy tolerant of raggedy, I bought one new pair) and four or five shirts.   I'm now a professional person who must dress for things: conventions (I do not wear jeans to conventions--that reminds me to stand up straighter and be more tolerant), meetings of various kinds and Serious Appearances (universities, but also book tours, where I dress up more than at conventions except for the parties and not always then), and "concert blacks" for concerts.  (Yes,  our choir wears black at concerts--well, the men wear black tie; the women wear solid black.)    I used to also need riding clothes (not jeans, not when jumping)  so I have riding britches in the various sizes I've been and might be again. 

Then there's my faulty temperature control, which means I need WARM things as well as cool things--warmer than any northerner thinks I need, but without which I turn blue and can't think.   So rather than two pairs of jeans, four shirts, one jacket and one winter and one summer church outfit, I have...too many clothes for my side of the closet.    For awhile I spread out into the whole thing, and Richard used a small closet off the kitchen, plus all the shelves in the bathroom cabinet (large).   

But then I got the two big soup pots.   That don't fit in any cabinet in the kitchen--and the kitchen, moreover, has no pantry.   I have a metal cabinet out in the utility room serving as a pantry, but it's on the outside of the inner back door (that was once an outside door into a garage...)  and that's inconvenient when the heat or the cold is on.  So my inside food storage and my crockery and pots and all are jammed in anyhow, with things on the counter that I would really prefer not to have all over my workspace.  

And there's the hall closet.   Narrow, like the little pantry in the tiny kitchen I had in San Antonio (the whole house was 750 square feet and we loved it.)   When not full of clothes, and the luggage that's been stored under the clothes, it will hold the nested big soup pots, and shelves could fit above that for things like the canned goods now stores in the inconvenient outer faroffistan metal cabinet. 

Today, when I had many other things that needed doing, like messing with the Bach that I'm finding difficult, I got a bur under my blanket about fixing at least part of the closet thing.  And started in, hating it because I hate doing this sort of thing.  Hate, hate, hate, and it was dusty in the closet and so on.  I took all my things out of one side and piled them on the bed, putting some into a sack for Goodwill.  Closing my mind to what I'd paid for them, and how I felt about not fitting them anymore, resolutely sticking them in and not thinking about it.  Sneezing.  Coughing.  Eyes burning.  Then, when I was going to prune the other side of the closet to make room for the keepers, the blankety-blank sliding doors jammed.  Jammed hard.  I hate those sliding doors.  You can't ever see the whole closet at once.  I had bifold doors on a similar (but smaller) closet in San Antonio and that was much easier to deal with.  

Long story short, I couldn't get into that side until Richard got home from a movie and unjammed it for me, which meant I could not surprise him with the nice uncluttered far side of the closet.  Grump. 

However: the closet-destined-for-pantryhood now has no clothes in it.  Lots of non-fitting clothes (his and mine) are in sacks for Goodwill.  My remaining clothes *barely* fit into my side of the closet if you don't look around and notice that some are still folded on the window seat which can't be sat on because it's been the place to stack folded clothes that can't jam in anywhere.  .It's not big enough but I am not going to invade Richard's side of the closet again.  What need to happen is that we somehow unpack the closets (and floors and so on) at the other house so that they can be used for off-season and for the things still in M's closet here...and when M's closet here is free, my overflow could go there, or Richard could have it to himself. 

And the soup pots would not be where I bark my shins on them and they look less than fetching.

My back hurts, my eyes have dust in them, and 99,000 other things did not get done.


[User Picture]From: zianuray
2009-03-29 02:20 am (UTC)
I have not seen a house yet that IMO had enough/properly placed/properly sized closets. There are a lot of houses I've not yet seen, though, so there may be hope. This also applies to kitchen cabinets/pantries.

And bookshelves? You don't have too many books, you have not enough bookshelves. (I will allow that in very extreme cases, this may not follow, but in general.)
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[User Picture]From: green_knight
2009-03-29 02:37 am (UTC)
I once viewed a house that had one small built-in cupboard *and no wall space.* Everywhere you looked there was a door, or a window, or a cupboard, or the staircase- any tall furniture would have to have been placed as an island in the middle of the living room.

They'd also gravelled over the garden, giving it a dismal appearance. Fail.

It was very much a case of 'but I have bookshelves. I can't live in this place!
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[User Picture]From: sophielandon
2009-03-29 03:01 pm (UTC)
I think such houses exist, and one in particular, but I can't be absolutely certain until about three weeks from now, after we move into it.
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From: mmegaera
2009-03-29 03:17 am (UTC)
There is no such thing as too many bookshelves. I mean, really. What a bizarre concept.

On the clothes closet issue, I sympathize, and I'll go on to make you jealous. Me. In my condo. With two walk-in closets. Of course, one of them is full of quilt fabric not clothes, but that's beside the point [g].
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[User Picture]From: martianmooncrab
2009-03-29 03:52 am (UTC)
I did a closet system in my walk in. Its pure magic it is.
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From: ozdragonlady
2009-03-29 05:51 am (UTC)

Tis amazing ...

how many things you can find to do when avoiding doing what your editor wants you to do ... >:>

I have the same problem.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-03-29 06:04 pm (UTC)

Re: Tis amazing ...

It's not all avoidance...she wants me to do several things that require deep thought...if I stare at a computer screen, I can't think that way. All day yesterday I was thinking "I understand what she wants--I hope--but how am I going to accomplish it." I'd read the letter again, then start thinking, while moving hangers with clothes on them, or moving a pile from one place to another. I've *almost* got it now, I think, but not quite.

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[User Picture]From: nerinedorman
2009-03-29 09:58 am (UTC)
Of course we had to go and buy a house with no BICs... But the bookshelves with their double layers of books went up first.
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[User Picture]From: thejunebug
2009-03-29 02:27 pm (UTC)
What about those crazy spacebag things? My sister uses them for her sometimes-needed clothes and it seems to work well.
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From: sunfell
2009-03-29 02:58 pm (UTC)
I've been culling out my closets. I am fortunate enough to have a place with a decent number of closets and cabinets. There are cabinets in the dining room as well as in the kitchen, a pantry, a coat closet, linen closet, and a walk-in in the bedroom.

I used to be fairly simple in my clothing, too- but like you, I need sheddable layers. And I have the lack-of-bookshelf problem, as well. Not to mention that some of my cabinets are too shallow for my larger pots, so they live on top of the wash machine, or on top of the stove or in the oven. My mixer lives on top of my computer desk- there is no cabinet it will fit into.

I figure that if I want a home perfectly suited for me, I'll have to design it myself. It'll have tons of closets, wall-to-wall built-in bookshelves in the study and other rooms, Cat-5 or -6 cabling throughout, a server closet, indirect and spot lighting, heated floors and a heated towel bar in the bathroom. And a surge protector and noise filter at the power weatherhead.

Yeah, I'm a geek.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-03-29 06:19 pm (UTC)
I once designed a house (well...drew it on graph paper) that had storage *in every wall*. And nothing but a desk or a table to eat from had a horizontal surface (I know myself too well.) It made the house bigger, to put storage in every wall, but it was also *quieter*. And on the exterior walls, the storage counted as insulation, and the cutouts for windows made window-seats (which I love, though mine is covered with folded stuff right now.) And it had plenty of storage in the kitchen.

It would also have solar panels on the roof and a rainwater collection and storage system (which we do have, but for needing another 10-20K gallons of storage capacity.) Depending on where it's situated, it might also have a wind generator adding capacity, but might not need that. That way I'd have nice steady power out of my battery banks and a lot less worry about the quality of line power. Don't need/want heated floors or a heated towel bar (not in my climate!) Do want utility shower near the door that leads to the barn and/or garden, and the washer/dryer utility room off the bedroom/bath (which is where most of the stuff you wash is generated.) Would like the bathroom near the bedroom to have a shower with a seat on one side.

But we have a house, so I really have nothing to gripe about, except that I generate Stuff and my clothes, being larger now, take up more space.
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From: sunfell
2009-03-29 06:47 pm (UTC)
Sounds like we have similar tastes and desires, sustainability-wise. I like the idea of the outer walls being storage, with window-seats. I want a greenhouse window and a screen-porch/greenhouse, too.

Heated towel bars are wonderful in the winter- they not only warm your towels, but they also dry them. They're like those oil-filled portable radiators that are so common in Europe, plus they don't use much power. And I have a really odd cold allergy- when my feet get cold, they itch and swell, so having heated floors would be nice- plus it would help offset any forced-air heating by raising the ambient temperature enough to keep the system from cycling too often. My current place is on a slab, and even though I'm not too much further north than you are- the floors get icy in the winter- especially the tiled floors. My next place will be on piers, with tubing run under the floors that can circulate heated or cooled fluid to heat or cool the floors. The Clinton Library uses it- and it's a glass building- but you can't tell because it's very comfortable inside.

Have you seen those walk-in tubs? I might have one of those, plus a shower with a teak bench.

I also want a kitchen that has expandable work surface capacity- so when I do holiday cooking or parties I can pull out additional work space to prep and stage things. Right now, I drag out a small folding table that serves that purpose.

I like rainwater cachement- it's great for gardens. Are you planning to expand its capacity?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-03-29 06:58 pm (UTC)
Rainwater harvesting...yes, we want to do more, though right now there are economic considerations (buying more tanks.) We have at present 3 2500 gallon tanks at 3 of the house corners--there's not room between it and the carport for one on the other corner. We have 2 300 gallon tanks (linked) on that corner, and 2 on nearest carport corner. The barn has 2 2500 gallon tanks, with more collection area per tank than the house (1200 sq foot roof, one tank each side. The house's roof area is a little over 1800 square feet, and there's storage at each corner. The little tanks fill with 1-2 inches of rain. The barn tanks fill from empty with 7 or a little more. The house tanks, having less collection area, fill more slowly. So after a rain event, we pump from tank to tank, to keep room in the barn tanks to accept more rain. The other house isn't guttered, and though the carport and attached roof over the hay storage is now guttered, we don't have tanks under all the downspouts (but we will...)
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From: sunfell
2009-03-29 07:10 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you have your water situation well in hand. If you added solar panels, they could also be guttered and become a source for cachement.

I read somewhere that rainwater cachement is illegal in some Western states- specifically Colorado. Apparently the rain that lands on your property is not yours. Isn't that strange? I know that water is a very important resource there, but not permitting even a rain-barrel is rather silly, especially in an urban area.

Walking through my squishy back yard earlier made me wish I had some barrels or a tank or two. But I'm renting here, and while I know the landlord would not mind it, it's still an expense I am not willing to pay for until I have my own place. Plus, I'd have to gutter the rear roof.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-03-30 04:18 am (UTC)
Yes, it's really stupid of Colorado. Apparently they think if someone collects the water off their roof, it won't run into the streams and will thus rob someone else of water. DUH...it's not permanently sequestered; it will be used, will end up in the ground, and will filter through and come out somewhere as clean springwater, not surface runoff which is usually dirty.

It's also stupid of cities that won't let people have rainwater collection because it might being mosquitoes. Rainwater harvesting benefits communities because it lowers the cost of water provision to residents, cuts runoff (roofwater usually ends up as storm runoff) and thus damage to streets, overloading of storm sewers, etc., and reduces the cost of providing water treatment to water used for non-potable purposes (and untreated water is better for gardens and ponds anyway.)

We wouldn't gutter solar panels--they'd be on the roof, which is already guttered. Runoff from them would join with other roof runoff. Now if I put them out in the field (something I've considered) I'd create French drains or something similar under them, or direct them into one of the surface water-retention areas, so that water would end up in the soil, to increase the local water table.
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From: 6_penny
2009-03-29 03:53 pm (UTC)
I created 'custom' bifolds with piano hinges and marine grade plywood, and a little magnet thingy at the top and bottom to keep any landslides somewhat confined. That was because the hinged door was too small and the studs and sheetrock (inside and outside wasted a good 3+ inches of depth. (The plywood was also used on the front, and the one exposed side.)
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[User Picture]From: alexandralynch
2009-03-29 05:16 pm (UTC)
You have my sympathy. Whoever designed our house designed it without either a pantry or a useable closet in one bedroom, and took the space for the chimney to run out of the other closet. Ack is the word, yes. And there is also a walk-in closet in a totally random spot off the dining room.

I think a massive redo of storage options is going to happen as I spring clean. I have done out "my closet", and got rid of the clothes that don't fit. (I did hang onto the jeans one size down; we may be getting a dog, and I would like to be a 22 this summer...) Further work waits on me finishing the spring cleaning of the main room in the house. And THAT is waiting on my finishing the slaying of the laundry mountain.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-03-29 06:30 pm (UTC)
We once lived in a little house made of poured concrete with the oddest room arrangements and "storage" I've ever seen. The living room/dining room weren't bad at all, really--each roughly 11x13, and separated by a rather nice, airy, old-fashioned arrangement--a low "wall" with pillars up to a lowered part of the ceiling (the house had 9 1/2 foot ceilings.) The front door led into the living room and the dining room was behind it. One bedroom opened off the living room and was tiny--with no closet--but a window onto the front porch. The other opened off the dining room and was MUCH larger--the same width as the front one, but twice as long, at least. That bedroom had a closet--all of 3 feet wide. Between the two bedrooms was a bathroom; doors opened into each. The original kitchen was a narrow rectangle on the back end of the dining room, with a hot water heater in one end, and a single counter with a rotted out sink and little gas stove. The people we rented from redid the kitchen before we moved in by building a new one on the back (because busting out a thick exterior poured concrete wall was not an option.) I scavenged a display rack from a store that was tossing them, rolled it end over end two blocks down alleys to our place, cut it in pieces to go through the doors and reassembled it in one end of the former "kitchen" to become a closet. The other end became a pantry when I moved in our freezer and built shelves above it.
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From: sunfell
2009-03-29 07:14 pm (UTC)
I've lived in some pretty strange places- both closet and arrangement-wise. In Germany, the houses come completely empty- no cabinets, closets, or even kitchen counters. The USAF provided furniture and wardrobes, but it was really strange. But I loved the built-in window shades. In the summer, when the sun rose at 4 am and set after 9 pm- with dawn and twilight lasting 90 minutes respectively, they came in handy.

And in my English cottage, the bathroom was clearly an afterthought. It was tacked on to the back of the house, and you had to go through the kitchen to get to it.
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[User Picture]From: alexandralynch
2009-03-31 06:13 am (UTC)
Yes, we won't even go into the...interesting...wiring in the house.

There is, for example, a switch on the joists in the basement, nearish to the lightbulb for that section (near the washer and dryer). One would assume that it turns off that lightbulb. But NO! It shuts off power to the entire east wall of the house. ?!?
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[User Picture]From: liz_gregory
2009-04-03 03:09 pm (UTC)
I finally convinced my husband to let me redo the pantry and closet so it could be organized appropriately to hold all the stuff we have. We've got the designs, now we just need to find time and energy to get it done. I once took up space in 3 different closets, then I decided that I didn't need 5 different sizes of clothes hanging around, so I was able to reduce my wardrobe by nearly half. The pantry, on the other hand, is going to be a mess until I get around to cleaning it all out and putting it back together again.

Organization is one of my favorite stressors.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-04-03 06:22 pm (UTC)
Motivated by your post, I just switched the contents of the future-now-pantry closet and half of the closet in what was Michael's room. Luggage from A to kitchen to clear the bottom of the pantry...then removed the Container Store wire-baskets-and-frame from the other closet (one side) and put that in the now-pantry...then moved the luggage to the now-empty space in the other closet. Then moved the potatoes and onions from where we had been storing them (and they got too much light and sprouted) into their new wire-basket home, then started moving other stuff so it looked right, then put the two big soup pots on top and still had room for the box that holds spare 2 liter bottles of club soda. The hall floor is now covered in debris that had been under the luggage, so I now have *more* work to do, and the house guest should be arriving in less than four hours.

This isn't exactly how I want this closet arranged (I want hard strong shelves around the sides, higher than the present frame, for canned goods, so that maybe I can move things off the counter to the cabinets and have counter space without having to clear it every time, but that's WAY too much for today.)
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