October 7, 2012 in Features

Organization can help maximize space in closets

John-John Williams Iv

For the past six years, Karen Ciurca-Weiner, left, has been helping her clients organize. Here she assists Lynne Weisberg with her closet in Pikesville, Md.
(Full-size photo)

Must have items

Every women’s closet should contain these items, according to Karen Ciurca-Weiner.

White shirt: A fitted clean, crisp white shirt is a must.

Boyfriend blazer: Everyone should own a black or white “go-to” jacket.

Belt: A belt that is the right length – preferably black patent leather - completes any wardrobe.

Nude-colored shoes (taupe or beige): They go with everything.

Little black dress: It’s a no-brainer.

Ruffled blouse: It’s timeless.

Things to

throw out

Our experts have no problem getting rid of items – especially when the threads have seen better days.

Things that don’t fit and stained clothes: “No matter what you paid, it had its day. It’s over,” Judy Pressman said.

Outdated clothes: “I don’t care what you paid for it,” Pressman said. “You really think it will come back, but it’s like an old boyfriend: Even when it comes back, it’s never the same.”

BALTIMORE – After years of watching Lynn Weisberg purchase garment after garment, boutique manager Karen Ciurca-Weiner finally told her loyal customer a hard truth – she needed to stop buying and start looking at what she had.

Ciurca-Weiner suggested that what Weisberg really needed was to organize her closet.

“She kept buying all these clothes,” Ciurca-Weiner said as she stood inside her client’s closet, a 9-by-12-foot converted office space that now has shelving and drawers to accommodate Weisberg’s clothes. “I told her to stop buying items and make outfits out of clothes” she already had.

Since their initial session five years ago, the two have come together twice a year to organize Weisberg’s clothes – once at the beginning of spring and once at the beginning of fall. The nearly four-hour sessions allow Weisberg to maximize her closet space while planning her outfits for the upcoming season.

“She cleans out and refreshes my closet every season,” the Pikesville, Md., resident said about Ciurca-Weiner. “It’s a time-saver and a huge money-saver.”

More and more people are seeking the help of closet organizers to create order and save money, according to experts. In addition to purging closets of space-eating out-of-date garments, the experts are using their knowledge to identify hidden gems to create fresh looks for their clients.

Although more attention is being paid to the closet, it still remains one of the least-used rooms in the home, according to Ciurca-Weiner, who works at the Baltimore women’s clothing boutique Jones & Jones.

“The biggest problem is that people don’t know how to utilize their space,” she said. “They don’t have enough cube space. And they don’t stack things such as sweaters.”

You don’t have to have a lavish “Sex And The City”-type closet to use the services and suggestions of a closet organizer, according to experts. With the addition of several hooks for clothes and jewelry, a few shelves for shoes and even a curtain rod to hang scarves, anyone can maximize their closet space, said Ciurca-Weiner.

“It’s very important to create closet and drawer space,” she said. “You must utilize every space. You have to have a need for each space.”

Ciurca-Weiner organizes closets by garments and colors – arranging items from light to dark. “I organize a closet like it’s like a store. I make it easier to shop your closet,” she said.

Weisberg’s closet reveals Ciurca-Weiner’s handiwork. Behind the sliding door is a space filled with outfits pieced together by Ciurca-Weiner. One wall is lined with customized shelving and stacked with 100 heels and wedges by designers such as Jimmy Choo and Stuart Weitzman. On the same wall, drawers are neatly organized by items including jewelry and exercise clothes. A hanging rack on the back of the door is filled with assorted ballet flats and sandals. A vanity and comfy, plush chair allow Weisberg to coordinate her makeup with her ensemble for the day.

“I use every little bit of space there is,” Weisberg said. “This is not storage.”

Image consultant Judy Pressman would agree that closets shouldn’t be used just for hanging clothes that get little wear.

As the founder of the Baltimore-based J.P. Images, Pressman has fine-tuned her closet organizing over the past 30 years.

“After you work with me, you’ll feel great. The confusion is gone. It will take you two seconds to get dressed in the morning,” said Pressman, whose roster of clients includes professional women in Baltimore, Washington and Virginia, and can swell to up to 100 at the start of the spring and fall seasons.

Pressman’s sessions, which run $150 per hour for an average of three hours, include a consultation, an overall cleaning and organization of the closet, a mission statement where she assigns clients labels such as “elegant chic” and “glamour spice,” and creation of a “look book” charting every item of clothing in the closet.

Pressman then makes a list of items her clients need.

“After we’re done, no item is bought unless it has a purpose,” Pressman said. “My clients are professionals. They don’t have time to waste. Image is important to them.”

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