I think the truest measure of motherhood is when you place your child’s needs over your own…especially when those needs include reasonable closet space. After all, babies are so tiny and chunky cable knit sweaters need space to BREATHHHHHEEEE.
My husband and I bought our first home a few years before my daughter arrived, it was a tiny, but charming Hollywood bungalow with one incredible feature: a private sitting room off the master. More than a few people remarked, oh-so -casually, that it could make a lovely nursery…when the time was right. It took me about two weeks to convert that bad boy into a walk-in closet for the wardrobe I had amassed while working the Manhattan sample sale circuit from 2005-2008.
Six years later, my husband and I had evolved from “young couple” to “young family” with a toddler and two dogs. We needed storage space, a yard, a two-car garage…and we needed to somehow find that little miracle in a beach town. After months of searching, we found our home and it was nearly perfect. But I’m not gonna lie, my heart died a little bit when I saw the master closet situation. (Yes, these are champagne problems, but if you’ve ever tasted a warm, flat bottle of Cook’s you’d be bitching too.) It was clearly the smallest in the house, and the low ceilings meant that it was going to be a tight squeeze.
My inability to be flexible and my very real OCD meant that splitting my wardrobe into separate closets wasn’t going to work. I needed everything in my room and I couldn’t see the forest beyond the trees. I knew that in order to make it work, I would have to do two things: maximize every last inch and start purging. Because I needed the space to be functional and beautiful, California Closets was the obvious (and only) choice. The designer I met with, Missy Almester, took time to get to know me, my aesthetic and what I wanted the space to achieve (lots of shoe storage). We went back and forth only a few times before we found the best possible solution, which included a shoe wall and enough buffer along the floor for storage baskets and handbags, for the price range I was comfortable in.
Now I have to call out the obvious: there are a few closet design competitors that might offer a better “deal,” but I worked with one on my last home and let me just say, you get what you pay for. (Think: cheap hardware, bowing wardrobe racks, built-ins that shift). I had a conservative budget, and Missy worked with me on every last inch. It’s a sturdier, pretty product, which I need…because it has to support a ton of stuff in a super small space.
After we finalized the design, I connected with Jen Robin of Life in Jeneral to help me de-clutter my fashion life and say a fond farewell to those aquamarines trapeze dresses from 2006 and my thrice re-soled black ballet flats. (So long, purple leopard Moschino pumps…thank you for always keeping yourself a secret.)
Not only did she help me to purge nearly half of my existing wardrobe (for either consignment or donation), she also played sideline therapist as I considered parting with certain things, like the bright orange and pink BCBG dress from my rehearsal dinner (“Have you worn it since?” No. “Will you wear it again?” It’s an orange tube a dress, Jen. Do you have good pictures in it? Yes.). Cue…Madonna:
It’s been three months since we moved in, and I’m loving my new closet build out. This sounds counterintuitive, but I actually feel like I have more clothes than before the “Great Purging of 2017,” because I can finally see them! Before, I would often wear the same three things over and over, because I didn’t want the hassle of trying to navigate the hoards of clothes I hadn’t worn in years and had been shoved so tightly onto a rod that I couldn’t even move the hangers. Now, there’s actually space for my clothes, and they’re organized in a way that I can actually find them (Although I recently did kick myself for parting with my authentic Texan cowboy boots). Not only was it much needed, it was also incredibly cathartic. After a year of moving and instability, my family and I needed a fresh start, and needed to part with some of our past (my husband spent approximately four weeks on a bowling league but really struggled with breaking up with his shirt). And while I’ll always have the fondest memories of that neon green cut-out dress that I reserved solely for Las Vegas, it was no longer appropriate for my life. After all, I’m a mother now…and I’m decidedly putting my child’s needs over my own….most of the time.
(Tallulah got a closet makeover of her own. Check back soon for her closet reveal!)