Claiming my closets

When I first got my built-ins created my second bedroom was still a guest room that would function as a craft room. I was focused on greeting cards at the time, and that wall was ample space for all my supplies. Then I left my career and my plans as a small business owner morphed from greeting cards to wall art to then becoming more focused on jewelry making, adding more tools and confining my workspace.


Meanwhile, I only house guests twice a year max. So I started storing larger art boards and canvases in the his and hers clothes closets, and added display items that I balanced on a shoe rack. Shipping boxes gained importance, and over time the two large closets became rather inefficient.


In November I met Sandy Spatz of Step By Step by Sandy, and I blurted out that I wanted to organize my studio after the holiday season. Once out, the words became reality, and Sandy followed up with me in January. We soon set a date for her to assess the damage, and she was very understanding of how my studio functions for me.


I had picked up some books from the library for inspiration, but knew I needed closet overhaul rather than drool over vintage architect drawers and other items hard to find and get up stairs.


Sandy sent me links to various elfa shelving examples, and I started measuring out what I wanted stored and how it could get laid out with the new system.


I also moved things around the house and did some purging as I cleared the closets.


It did feel good to get things cleared out and dusted off.


The upheaval was not for the fainthearted.


I did a visual exercise of how the art books might fit.


I also measured lengths and widths and depths of items I wanted to store.


We then met at the Container Store to get the actual design mapped out and pick up the shelving. However, due to the January sale, most parts were on back order, so we only left with the top tracks and hanging standards. I did get to take home a modified version of the elfa utility Gift Packaging Door & Wall Rack Solution, though.


I live in a historic building, so I knew my walls might be problematic, but we did not anticipate spending almost an hour trying to drill holes into the wall.


We resorted to drywall anchors for the majority of the hanging system.


With one closet an inch wider than the other, the allowance for the wooden inserts had been forgotten about, and the top track was too long to install in the other closet (it was an easy re-cut when I went back to the store).

too long

So all we could do was install the tracks on one side, and I started playing with the over-the-door organizer.


It was nice to have one thing installed at least.


In the middle of that Friday night I decided the closets were boring, and got all my paint samples out. With a crappy brush and a limited supply of years-old paint I started painting one closet with a dry brush effect (to make the half pint stretch).


The next morning I swung by ACE hardware to get better equipment, and painted the other closet walls.


I went by swatch when I had the color mixed, only to find out out after the fact that the color name is “Happy Endings” : ) .


I pulled an inspiration card that affirmed my decision.


I set up my jeweler’s bench as well, and then waited the long week until I could pick the shelving up.


After some stairmastering and weightlifting exercising, I got all the components into the room.



It took a YouTube video for me to figure out how to snap in the shelving, but once I learned it was easy to set up the closet.


The other closet also had wonky walls, but the anchors did the trick.


I measured the brackets out based on the shelf heights I had allotted.


Soon the installation was complete, and my love for power tools had been re-affirmed.


Then I started pulling in everything from the closet explosion, and rearranged some shelving based on the actual feel in the space itself.


There was a moment of trepidation as I closed the door organizer, but the door still closes.


Did the Cat in the Hat’s cleaning machine help a lot? It did not!


Now I have storage for my art fair display pieces, my shipping supplies, art boards, collage ingredients, drawing supplies, and a bit of room for growth to expand my creativity.


There are still photos to organize, so one shelf may be filled with archival boxes soon (unless I go into a scrapbooking frenzy).


Meanwhile, my Manufakturen shop is on display.


With everything in place I felt compelled to tackle my collage work area, which had been in perpetual chaos from being both a jewelry and a wall art station.


Beads and jewelry supplies moved over to their new space, and soon I could wrap the table in fresh wax paper.


Now it is fully dedicated to the encaustic art work.


My encaustic palette got streamlined as well.


I also scraped the floor to get rid off a bunch of wax, not realizing what a difference that elbow grease would make-or I would have done before and after pictures!


On to creating more wall art for the Creative Coworking exhibit in March!


My built-ins will need some light straightening up, but I do have everything in its designated drawer still.


The bead boards are my favorite.I bought more hooks and ribbon holders to round out that design.


It is so lovely to view the color array and gems at a glance.


It felt very empowering to dedicate the closets to my art, and to truly claim them as my own with the paint color. Guests can store their clothes over the doors, and I can always repaint when it comes to selling this place.


While my bank account is in slight shock at this mega-splurge, it also is a very important investment in my business, in my art and in myself. I can now be more productive by having two work stations and by having things in their place rather than sliding various bins around the floor and moving trays around the sofa.


There is a lightness of being that comes with repurposing cluttered spaces and thinking about how to make it more functional for oneself. The organizing frenzy will spill over into other parts of the house, but for now I need to focus on the upcoming pop-up February 18 and get moving on the pieces for March.

2 thoughts on “Claiming my closets

  1. Jessica says:

    Wow, you did so much work! And it’s a really amazing transformation, Maike! Can’t wait to see how the new space fuels your creativity :-). (And I’m kind of loving the way your new workspace is dovetailing into a new online space, too!)

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