With the change of seasons and going from dressing in winter-wear to lighter fare, now is the perfect time to organize your home — starting with your closets. Ann Johnson, who’s co-owned The Closet Company of Mid-Michigan with her husband Karl for 15 years, says that finding the right system to organize your closet is more than just a task; it’s helping customers reclaim their time and ultimately their life. Even for her. She remembers how they used to joke that if “we can get organized, anybody can!” And even today, when she couldn’t readily find something she wanted to wear because she didn’t put it away in her closet, she reminds herself of how important it is to make sure to put things in their own place. She didn’t always know that. In the mid-‘90s, Johnson was a DJ at WITL, a country radio station in Lansing. She loved the job but needed to supplement her income, so she went into radio sales and eventually transitioned to selling office furniture and modular homes. Her husband was installing closets for newly built homes. When the opportunity presented itself, the Johnsons decided to go into the closet design and installation business themselves full time — and they never looked back. Johnson has designed closets for new homes and older homes, for local sports celebrities and everyday folks, too. They’ve worked with local and state-wide builders who want their clients to have more than the standard shelf and hanging bar system. The Johnsons have helped turn closets into business offices and pantries into laundry rooms. They’ve even converted a bedroom in an older home into a walk-in closet. “We find solutions for people,” she said. She and Karl know what their systems will do and how to help their clients get the maximum benefit from them. Whether it’s using wire or laminate shelves or a combination of both, Johnson designs closets that are made to order. Johnson said it’s easier to redesign a closet that’s in use because she can see how clients live and what they have. The first step in the process is to visit her client’s home and have a “brainstorming session.” Johnson has a few questions in mind. Do you hang sweaters or fold them? How many shoes do you have? Are your pants folded over on a hanger or do you clip the hanger to the waist so they’re not folded? Once she understands her customer’s habits, Johnson takes out her tape measure and she starts to put their ideas into a detailed blueprint. “My goal is to make every bit of space useable,” she said. She and her husband maximize every nook and cranny, and work around any unusual features — like vaulted or slanted ceilings. They can find a solution that works for tight budgets, too. But before the installation begins, the homeowner has a job to do — take everything out of their closet and think about what they want to put back and what they can give away or store. For Johnson, keeping your closet tidy comes down to a simple acronym — SPACE. Whether it’s to get a fresh start in a new home or to get control of an out of control collection of sweaters, shoes, scarves, shirts and everything in between, we could all use a little help. You can reach The Closet Company at (517) 332-4770 or visit their website www.theclosetcompany.net.
Ann Cool, MPS, is a freelance writer who lives in Mason with her husband Bob.