Author Archive

Too Many Boys in a Room

July 22, 2009

We have five kids…four boys and one girl. Our daughter is stoked – her own room. The boys are just doomed.

The boys room is pretty good size but four in one room? That’s just too much testosterone in confined quarters. Here is what I did…

I built a shelving wall (with a door size opening) across the middle of the room and turned the room into two rooms. The shelving is double sided so both rooms have awesome storage for clothes, books, toys, Lego creations…you name it. The room had two windows so that worked out pretty good. Two sets of bunk beds made it perfect. Any kind of book cases will work. Just make sure whatever you do is secured properly. If there is a way to knock it down, the boys will find it.  🙂

Don Farwell –


Shoes and Backpacks

July 22, 2009

If your kids are like mine, they come home from school and drop their shoes and backpacks right inside the front door. Lame. Not fun to trip over and our Vizsla (Hungarian pointer) loves to grab shoes and greet people with them. The shoes, of course, end up in a pasture not to be found for days or weeks. Really lame.

Here’s what I did. I converted our typical entry closet into adjustable shelves divided down the middle. We adjusted the shelves to create cubbies for each kids back pack and shoes. Now they each have a place to plunk their stuff. I put coat hooks on the sides. This actually works most of the time. Kids like having a place for stuff.

We have a motto…shoes are either on your feet or in your cubby. Never again (almost never) will you be waiting in your SUV for little Johnny while he searches for his left sneaker.

Don Farwell –


Some No-Nos of Closet Design

July 22, 2009

Maximize your space.  Here’s a rule of thumb…if you can see any of the back wall of the closet, you can maximize more.  By creating sections for double-hanging, long-hanging, shoes, and shelves for folded clothes, you can double and triple storage space and efficiency.  Besides, it is so much easier to find items and stay organized if everything has a place.

Shelving will sag.  It’s a fact of life.  Doesn’t matter if its plywood, melamine, whatever.  Never make book shelves more than 24 inches wide.  Go even smaller if you can.  Any shelves over 30 inches will eventually sag if they have more than just folded clothes on them.  If you plan on storing boxes, books, or anything with substantial weight, you will need to support shelves with something…brackets, metal or wood stiffeners, cleats, a divider, something.

Watch your hanging clothes.  I’ve been in hundreds of closets where the carpenter, closet designer, or customer has hanging clothes on both sides of a five foot wide closet.  Lame.  Hanging clothes need 24” from the wall…so in the example above there is only one foot to walk! Oops!  We tear these lame designs out all the time. Keep it simple and leave plenty of clearance.

Don Farwell –

Custom Design? Pre-designed Kit? Pre-packaged Product? HOW DO I CHOOSE?

July 21, 2009

With so many closet organization products to choose from, where do you start? Custom designs can be very expensive – some closet designers will charge a fee just to visit you…yuck! Most pre-designed kits are useless and require a trained professional to work out the bugs. If you buy pre-packaged products, you have to configure your own storage solution and try to make it fit your space. This can be pretty frustrating!

Here are some tips:

  1. If you can afford it, go custom. Let an expert design, manufacture, and install your closet. Most closet companies know what they’re doing (some more than others) and the value added to your home and daily life are worth the expense.
  2. If you’re on a budget, find a pre-designed kit that works and makes sense to you. If possible, look for a kit that does not require a saw – this is not a kit but some boards for you to play carpenter with. A kit should arrive cut-to-fit and ready to install. Also, if a company is relying on you to be the design expert, just take your time and think it out. I know that our ‘kit designs’ come from decades of closet space experience (you can cheat and use our designs if you want…they actually work!  Ha ha!).
  3. If you are on a major budget, buy pre-packaged components and totally do it yourself. Just remember, keep it simple…less is more. Don’t get carried away with the fluff and accessories. This is most likely a waste of money and the quality of these products is usually questionable.

Hope this helps!

Don Farwell –