Sunday, September 11, 2016

Closet Boxes


It should come as no surprise but...my dolls have too many clothes and I have too little space!!!! In fact, they have outgrown the closet I built three years ago. In this, a period of transition when I change my dolls into Fall clothing, I had to stop and solve a growing problem.....how to store their mountain of clothes in a way that is organized and easily accessible.

When I first started making doll clothes, I bought lots of Barbies to "display" the clothes. I thought spending $8-12 on a doll was cheaper than, say, buying a mannequin. That excuse wore thin when I ran out of space for the both the dolls and their clothes! So....three years ago, in a post entitled "Taking Stock" I built a simple closet and purchased a skirt rack for more storage. Still... I still ran out of space. I began wrapping clothes in tissue paper and putting them in boxes down in the cellar. The problem was, I couldn't find anything and when I did...everything was wrinkled!

While there are plenty of DIY ideas floating around the internet on how to build a bigger, better closet (my favorites are the ones on Suzanna William's blog, "The Building of...THE PRIORS." And though I'd love to make one of these, I simply don't have the wall space. So I needed a quick and easy solution which is the focus of this post. The two ideas featured here are neither new nor  original. What is different here is that I have taken a common concept and adapted it to a simplified, inexpensive and time saving storage method. The materials are free (recycled packing boxes from ordering dolls). And no special tools or skills are required.

No More Wire Hangers!
Originally this idea comes from Mattel and the way it packages its stand-alone Barbie fashions which are mounted on a cardboard or clear plastic shape conforming to her body. But it was Suzanna's blog that  really planted the idea in my head. It is really brillian and solves lots of problems when it comes to hanging up outfits, particularly those consisting of several items.
1. Lay the doll down on a piece of paper and trace the length of her neck out to the widest part of her shoulders. Then trace around both sides of her body down slightly past her hips.
2. Slightly part her legs and trace inside. This allows you to create a template which accommodates trousers and bathing suits.
3. Remove the doll and connect the top shoulder point with the rest of the body. Trace this off onto a stiffer cardboard which you will use as a template. I have made two of these, one with the legs and another without.
4. Now trace the template onto a stiffer cardboard. I've recycled much of the cardboard packaging that comes into my home. My favorite is the thin corrugated cardboard used for the post office (priority mail) boxes. It is easy to cut with scissors, allows you to still pins in it, yet provides a sturdy form for the garment. Punch a hole in the neck and add a little bit of wire bent into a small hook. Hint: If you don't feel like making your own hooks, Christmas Ornament hooks work really well!
What I LOVE about these hangers is that you see the entire look at a glance. It keeps individual elements from being displaced. Even better, it saves space and it makes it easy to hang odd shaped clothes like strapless dresses and asymmetrical garments! If your form is too wide or too narrow, simply modify the hanger to fit the need! (I'll also be making these for my guys!)

Accessories can be draped over the form or clipped on. (I've used those miniature clothes pins to attach the gloves in the middle photo.) And if you have a top or dress with spaghetti straps, cut slits into the shoulders of the hangers to accommodate the style!

The Closet Box
Again, a super simple idea that is VERY practical and can be stored anywhere!
Choose a cardboard box suited to the dimensions and quantity of the clothing. It should be broad enough to accommodate the garment, shoulder to shoulder, plus about 1/2 inch (1.5cm) on either side. Add a little contact paper to spruce things up if you feel inclined. Poke a wooden dowel near the top and voila! You're good to go. I've organized my clothes by type and color. In this box: dark toned evening gowns.
After hanging up all the dresses, you can add some tissue paper to the "floor" so that it folds over the clothes as you close the box. Be sure to mark the contents (and the direction) on the outside of the box. I've used some old belts to keep the boxes shut.
It's not furniture, but it solves a problem!
The advantages to this system is that, the clothes are hanging upright as opposed to laying flat and wrinkling. And...when you need either a single item or the entire wardrobe, the box becomes an annex closet that can be transported anywhere for quick access. When not in use, it's like storing a miniature closet on your shelf.

The Closet Suitcase

In my cellar I also have some old luggage I'm not using. I simply installed a rod inside this carry-on and hung up my dolls' fur coats. On the outside of the bag, their fur accessories (stoles, trim, handbags and hats) are placed in the pockets! Then it's back down to the cellar and onto the shelf!

While we're on the subject.....this being the season of "Back to School," now is the time to look for all sorts of handy containers--like pencil cases-- to store tiny objects. This helps keep the interiors of drawers organized.
(Top photo) I found these really great little pencil boxes with small compartments on both sides. One side I used for glasses and tiaras and the other for a variety of belts.
(Middle photo) Like everyone else, I use those plastic drawers on my desk top. At the dollar store I found small, clear containers normally destined for nails, nuts & bolts. I use them to store jewelry. The nicest thing is to be able to see what's inside without having to open the box up. 
Bottom photo) At the local craft store, look for bead boxes. Here, I'm using one to store doll shoes. Again, you can see what's inside.

I have a ways to go before everything in the house is sorted and completely organized. But at least, I know I'll get there quickly and inexpensively!
It's so much easier to find exactly what I'm looking for now!!!

All text and images property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2016. Please do not reproduce without prior permission. Thank you

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32 comments:

  1. That's a really smart idea! My Barbie clothes were starting to get hard to storage. You could also use large shoe boxes, like from ankle boots or something. I also love the fact that you decorated the inside of the box.

    Cheers!

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    1. Thank you, Monstercrafts. You are so right. Any box will do provided what you're hanging fits. I've thought about shoe boxes as tiny closets for skirts or tops, for example. I almost didn't decorate the interiors, but afterwards, I was happy I did!

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  2. Mais quel travail! Je suis toujours bluffée par tes créations, notamment la vitesse à laquelle tu vas. A ce niveau là j'aurais besoin de conseils et de cours :)

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    1. Merci Melanie pour les tres gentils mots. Pour ce blog, je travaille plus rapidement que d'habitude pour pouvoir sortir les idees aux mes lecteurs. C'est rare que je fais les doublures, par example. Et quelque fois, je me serve de la colle. Mais, pour les vetements tres specials ou si un jour je deciderai a vendre mes creations, je prendrai plus de temps pourque la finition sera bien a point!

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  3. The organizer in me loves all these ideas and photos! When things are neatly stacked AND color coordinated it makes my cold heart go pitter pat.

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    1. The organizer in me is also thrilled. (In fact, I'm still making closet boxes!) This really came as a necessity as I had everything packed away but couldn't find anything!

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  4. Waw ! J'aime beaucoup ta façon de ranger toutes tes créations puis en fonction des couleurs. c'est très beau !

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    1. Merci Shasarignis. Non seulement c'est beau, c'est tres pratique!

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  5. Yes, some very good ideas here!I will definitely have to try some!

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    1. Thank you, Phyllis. Glad you found this post useful.

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  6. I luv these storage ideas. I thought I was pretty organized but this is really coordinated & practical.

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    1. Thank you Just My Dolls. We all love beautifully designed things (including doll closets), but when things pile up forcing you to find a solution, all you want is a quick and easy way to get the job done!

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  7. Pomysł z przechowywaniem ubrań jest wspaniały! Też mam wielki problem z układaniem ubrań moich lalek! Na razie leżą płasko w szufladzie, ale są lekko pogniecione, kiedy je wyciągam i chcę założyć lalce!
    Twoja propozycja jest doskonała!
    Pozdrawiam i dziękuję!

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    1. Olla wrote: The idea of storing clothes is great ! I also have a big problem with laying the clothes of my dolls ! For now, they lie flat in a drawer , but they are slightly wrinkled when they pull out and I want to set up a doll !
      Your suggestion is excellent!
      I greet and thank you!

      Thank you Olla. I know your problem very well which is why I worked on finding a solution. Very happy you found this post useful.

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  8. WHAT a challenge, April! Organizing a gal is no simple matter - bras, panties, jewelry, shoes, jeans, jackets, day wear, night wear.... good grief where do you put it all? These are all neat ideas that seem to work. Although, I think you need a built-in closet that spans your atelier to hang it all up and with mini-drawers to boot. Smile :-)

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    1. A challenge, indeed. I'm still making more hangers, more closet boxes! And, I just expanded the original closet. The guy's wardrobe has been growing as well! You know you're in trouble when you start moving your own clothes to make way for the dolls!

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  9. I love the ideas but I adore the final photo. This is all what makes you a must read for me (and I do not doll). Splendid!

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    1. LOL!!! We really MUST get you a doll so you can play along and share in such "agony!! :-D

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  10. I love your idea of the hangers - simple, useful and nice :)

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    1. Thank you olaaa78. I agree. The hangers are a REALLY good idea. For almost no money, you'll ALWAYS have enough hangers as there are clothes AND they're CUSTOMIZABLE! (Just made hangers for my guys!)

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    1. Thank you, Aya. Glad you enjoyed this post.

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  12. Good one, April! It looks like you are storing by color. And seasons too? I am just gathering enough to separate into seasons... I am imagining a future vintage fashion show! Just think of all the past work!
    Love the plastic containers. I am about to get another one for shoes...
    I love the photos too, of your divas hunting in their own closets!
    Power on, organizing queen!

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    1. Yes, I'm organizing by color, category of clothing, and season! And I've still got a long ways to go. Ohhhhh....my guess is that I've just made it easier for my divas to pick something out of the closets and sneak out of the house!!!!

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  13. For long term storage, I'd recommend acid-free materials. Otherwise, it's possible to end up with stains or discoloration over time.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Kathy. For long term storage, you're absolutely right. That said, I redress the dolls 4-5 times a year so there's a good bit of rotation and most of the clothes in these boxes are still on my "active" list. I've got tons of day clothes for summer and for winter. Tons more eveningwear, coats, furs AND menswear. So I find myself going back into the boxes regularly which is why this system of closet works for me. Eventually I'll make more hangers out some other material. And whenever I can get my hands on acid free materials (not easy where I live), I plan to store the dolls' original factory made clothes (which I don't use) in those boxes.

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  14. Great ideas! I have the opposite problem: I haven't sewn as much as I wanted and most of my dolls are in their factory clothes.

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    1. Thank you BlackKitty. If my dolls were still in their factory clothes, I'd have a major revolt on my hands!!!! LOL!!!

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  15. Once again, another brilliant piece! I made a closet out of a box once. Since your girls have tons of clothes from past seasons, why not sell em on Etsy? ☺

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and thank you for the suggestion. I have been giving this quite a bit of thought....

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  16. Great ideas. For the items I sell, I create an insert similar to yours. I don't include the hanger, but that ornament hanger idea is ingenious! Thanks for sharing. We always love seeing how people organize their dolly stuff.

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    1. Thank you, Vanessa. This was a must needed post..especially for me. I now know exactly how many clothes my dolls have!!! The hanger is such a great idea on a number of different levels. Good to know that's how you deliver the items you sell. That's really smart!

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