Closets by Melanie Johnson
By Brittani Leblanc
Find even more style tips from Brittani at www.itsthelifeofalady.blogspot.com
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]oday’s post is for those that are fashion obsessed and those who aren’t. We can all benefit from a few closet organization pointers, can’t we? I had a fabulous conversation with Shreveport-Bossier City’s very own professional closet organizer, Melanie Johnson. She filled me in on how she started her ever-growing business, Closets by Melanie, and gave me plenty of tips and tricks to keep my own closet in tip-top shape.
There are so many words I’d use to describe Melanie: passionate, informative, enthusiastic, and helpful are just a few. With a degree in fashion merchandising, she began working in New York immediately after graduation. Every fashion girl’s dream city, right?! She actually started in home furnishings as a buyer and loved it. She began closet design in the 1980s when no such thing even existed. She started with her own closet and then moved on to her parents’ closet when she came back to Shreveport. Eventually, Melanie’s parents brought to her attention the need for people like her right here in Louisiana, and so the business took off 25 years ago.
“At first, people said things like ‘I can’t let you look at all my private things. I’m too embarrassed,’” Melanie said. “So my business was slow to start.”
Once word started getting out about what a great job she did, though, things just boomed. She started out using only wire shelving, and then added laminate and the business really came rolling in.
“The most rewarding part of my job is the fact that I get to help so many people with their lives every day. I will see people five to 10 years later and they say ‘the closet was the most fabulous thing I’ve done with my house,’” she said. “It makes me feel like I’ve really done something great for them.”
Melanie said oddly enough, most of her positive feedback comes from men. They see what she does for their wives’ closets, and then want her to do theirs. She loves meeting and talking to new people and spending time with them to get a feel for what will be most effective in their homes. She also said it’s exhausting because of all the work that goes into designing a closet space customized for her clients, but it’s worth it.
“There is so much physical work involved, and I am personally on every single job with the carpenters that work for me,” she said.
One of the biggest challenges people bring to Melanie concerning their closet organization is that they can’t ever find what they’re looking for and they don’t know what they own. People tend to shop and forget that they are buying the same things over and over again.
“There’s an art to arranging the clothes. Categorizing and color coding help you visualize what you have so you know what you own and can see where your gaps are or where you have too much of something,” Melanie said.
I, myself, struggle with parting with my clothes, shoes and accessories. I asked Melanie for advice on deciding what to keep and what to get rid of.
“I usually don’t tell people what to throw away or not throw away. I’ve had things for 10 plus years. If it’s stuff you wear all the time, you should replace them when you wear them out, but I don’t tell people to just toss things,” she said. “If you wear black t-shirts every day and have 10 of them, you need all 10.”
Melanie’s top tips for keeping your space organized include:
- Store only clothes, shoes, and accessories in your clothing closet. People tend to use their closet for storing other things besides clothing and she said, “A clothing closet is meant for storing clothes not everything else you don’t have a place for. That’s how things get messy and cluttered.”
- Use nice hangers. This doesn’t mean expensive hangers. But Melanie suggests keeping all of your hangers the same. This way they’re all uniform and it keeps things looking neat and tidy. Great hangers can be found at discounted price points at places like TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning.
- Take inventory. Figure out how much you spend on your wardrobe, and from there, decide how much you’re willing to spend to take care of your things. Bargain shopping is definitely an option, but don’t try to overdo it on organizing bins and boxes because that will just create more clutter. “If you can’t afford to have your closet professionally done, do it yourself by categorizing and color coding,” Melanie said. Hanging space and shelving is what you really want to invest in. Drawers and furniture is where the expensive things come in. Shoeboxes are also something to look into. They come in all price ranges, but the simpler, the better. Her favorite places to find organizational tools include The Container Store (containerstore.com), Bed Bath & Beyond, TJ Maxx, and any dollar store.
Melanie Johnson doesn’t limit herself to clothing closets. She also helps clients take control of storage rooms/closets, kitchen pantries and cabinets, garages, linen closets, and much more. She can handle any space you throw at her, and make your life much simpler by doing so. Are you ready to take on that junk room you keep a secret? If so, call or text Melanie Johnson at 318-453-0964. You can also email her at [email protected] or visit her website at www.melaniejohnsonsclosets.com for more information.