"Sometimes you just have to have somebody there to pull the trigger, and you, Adam Glassman, are a mighty good gunslinger," Gayle says with a soft sigh. She is a little bit anxious, a little bit relieved, and a lot in need of a cupcake.
But Adam has something even sweeter to offer. He leads her to the dresser and opens the bottom drawer. Gayle stares deep into this drawer that once brimmed with necklaces, socks, scarves, and the occasional half slip, a drawer she'd dig through again and again before giving up on the pieces she knew were there but could never quite put her hands on, a drawer that drove her absolutely nuts. She is stunned. "I can't get over this," she says. "I used to think I didn't have enough drawers, and now I actually have an empty one!" Adam pats his friend's shoulder. "Gayle," he says, "I'm pretty confident that one of these days, you'll find a way to fill it."
Two weeks later, Jeffrey Phillip, organizational genius, and Adam Glassman, force of nature, have whipped Gayle's world into shape. "We didn't create the closet I'd want for myself, because what makes sense for my life wouldn't suit Gayle," Adam says, pointing to a rod full of hangers draped with sweaters. "For example, I never hang my knits because they lose their shape, but Gayle has to be out the door by 4:30 every morning, so she's not about to start hunting through drawers, unfolding and refolding her stuff. She needs a system that allows her to grab and go. And God knows, this is a woman who loves to shop. So now that we've de-cluttered, we've applied the same organizing principles that are used in a boutique. We've displayed things in ways that make sense.
"For starters," Adam says, "I've invested in some cheap and cheery linen boxes: one for opaque tights, one for sheer stockings, one for control-top Spanx, and one for leggings." Each box is labeled clearly because "you want to know where things are in an instant."
He points to the workout wear sitting on wire risers. "Jeffrey discovered these in the kitchen section of the Container Store. They're usually used in cabinets to create extra room for canned goods, but they're great for Gayle's Pilates stuff." Picking up a Joy Mangano Huggable Hanger, he demonstrates how a thin, well-made hanger can free up roughly 25 percent more space in your closet.
"Gayle responds to color," Adam says, "so we color-coordinated her clothes in different sections of the closet." Reds, oranges, corals, pinks, yellows, greens, blues, violets, and blacks each hang as a group, with prints going to the group with the dominant shade. On the shelf directly above each section of dresses are the bags that work with its particular hue. Jeffrey uses bookends to keep clutch bags upright in a neat row. He also stuffs Gayle's handbags with shoe bags that have been filled with crumpled newspaper. "The stuffed shoe bags help totes and hobos maintain their shape." Adam says. "And when you're on the run, you don't leave balls of newspaper all over the floor. Everything stays contained."
Gayle's dresser, which is a large drawer-filled island that floats in the middle of the closet, is generally for underwear, but within this plan there are subcategories: camis, shapewear, bras (each folded neatly in half), and T-shirts (rolled, rather than folded, so the design is easily visible), which are again divided—short-sleeved graphic tees, long-sleeved crewneck tees, and long-sleeved V-neck tees.
Jeffrey removed a bar where Gayle's jeans were doubled over hangers in two rows. They now hang from the waist, organized by size to accommodate any weight fluctuations that might occur due to, oh, let's say, the stress of sorting through every item you've ever worn.
Expandable plastic cosmetic trays are placed in drawers to hold Gayle's jewelry. Jeffrey has divided her pieces into gold tones and silver tones, then organized the remaining pieces by predominant color. He keeps rings with rings and bracelets with bracelets.
Measuring the height of the highest shoe in the shoe closet at nine and a quarter inches, Jeffrey then moved the shelves up to gain more space at the bottom of the closet, where he was able to bring in additional shelving and give a lot of extra shoes a place to live.
"Okay, Gayle; I think you're all set," Adam says as he takes one final look around. "The key to this is maintenance. Now that we've created a space for everything, you've got to carve time out of your schedule—it could be five minutes each night, it could be 25 minutes every Saturday morning, whatever works for you—to make sure everything is back in that space. Otherwise things will snowball and I will be forced to move in with you." And for a split second, they both look terrified.
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