After almost six years in my house, I decided it was time to clean my closet. The only problem is my version of cleaning usually includes some sort of remodeling.
In my head, the job was simple enough: I would reduce three walls of inaccessible hanging space to one well-organized wall by removing the rod from one, and installing it on the other.
I even measured.
As it turned out, the project was more archeology than architecture—the builder made a mess of the original job.
Years ago, as the carpenter installed the rods, I walked into the room to tell him how I wanted the space configured. He told me he didn’t care and he was going to do what he wanted. Once I dug into the project, it was clear why.
Behind the rods and brackets, it was clear he chose where to drill with a Ouija board: for every “hit” there were two misses. The bare walls looked like a drywalled lunar surface. For an instant, I feared my closet had been used for military drone target practice. I spent 10 minutes looking for cameras before I realized I wasn’t crazy, the installer was.
For all of my planning, measuring, and proper use of a level—I found myself faced with two walls full of holes, and a mysterious red Nazca guide-line that marred walls I painstakingly painted myself.
In addition to discovery of the “Makita target practice” wall, we realized one of the rods wasn’t hung on a stud—in the '80s the weight of my shoulder pads would have pulled it down. If it weren’t for technical fabrics, the wall would have crumbled five years ago.
To reverse engineer the original problem cost me a well-invested $18 at Home Depot. For just a few bucks I bought lumber for the shelves, and a wooden rod. The friendly man in the lumber department even spared me the inconvenience of learning to write with my left hand by cutting the lumber for me—he must have been at La Grange Hospital the night I scallopini-ed a digit.
I bought some marked-down wall décor at TJ Maxx for less than the cost of a gallon of paint. It was large enough to cover the holes, but not my ears that rung with my husband’s “I told you so” mantra.
The organizing adventure ended at Walmart. The work on the closet was complete, I just needed some cheap valentines for the kids.
My builder got a valentine with a bill for $18, plus 10 hours of labor (more than $18).
At least now I love my closet.