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How to Choose a Custom Closet Company

How to Choose a Custom Closet Company
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California Closets, Closets By Design, and a multitude of other closet companies are offering a simplified life and all of the wonderful benefits of new closets. Builders typically put in a simple rod and shelf, and these companies can make drastic improvements. If you are interested in having more efficient storage, how do you choose which one to work with?

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First: Is This Necessary?
When a closet company comes to do an estimate, they count how many shoes and handbags you have and measure the linear feet of shelving and hanging space that you require, and then they design a custom closet around what you have. It doesn’t make sense for them to design a closet around a bunch of stuff you never use, so the first thing to do is go through all of the clothing, shoes, and accessories and decide what to keep, donate, toss, repair, and store elsewhere.
Once you see what is left, you may see that you don’t need a new closet since you’ve pared down so much, or if you still have a problem, at least now the closet will be designed around what you truly use and need.

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What to Expect
Closet companies will usually come out for free to do a design and estimate. They may need to schedule another appointment with you to present the designs. You will want to have all decision-makers on hand for that meeting so you can decide whether to move forward. It will take several weeks, typically, to cut the parts for your design and schedule the installers. You can spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending upon the features you want.

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What to Ask

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  • How long have you been in business? Are you a franchisee?
  • What warranty do you offer? Does it apply only to me, or future owners of my home?
  • What colors do you have available for the melamine (laminate) material?
  • Is the melamine thermal-fused or cold processed? Thermal-fused melamine wears much better.
  • Is the particleboard furniture grade, or industrial grade? Industrial grade holds the screws better and is thicker.
  • Is there any plastic used in the hardware? Metal parts are preferred.
  • What is the standard shelf depth you use? Builders’ standard is 11.5 inches, but having deeper shelves such as 14” or 16” is greatly preferred for holding larger sweaters and even suitcases.
  • How are your drawer units constructed? How is the drawer handle hardware fastened? Are full extension glides included? Full extension glides provide the best support for your drawers and are a really good idea to put in, even if it is an upgrade. Construction of drawers can be a big differentiator in quality.
  • Do you offer oval clothing rods? Just like an egg’s oval shape provides strength, chrome oval-shaped clothing rods are stronger than rounded ones. Metal rods are usually a better choice than wooden ones.
  • Does your installation include tearing out the old closet? Will you do wall repairs and touch-up painting?
  • What accessories do you offer, and how much are they? Is there an alternative to these accessories? You will see accessories like valet rods, shoe fences, sliding belt racks, sliding tie racks, jewelry trays, acrylic shelf dividers, hampers, pull-out ironing boards, pull-down upper clothing rods, and many others. They are all great, but you need to watch how they might add up. My favorite accessory is a valet rod, which gives you a place to stage clothing for packing or put up the dry cleaning when you get it home.

Just like buying a car, there are standard features and there are upgrades, whether in quality of construction or in additional accessories. If you’re prepared and ask a lot of good questions, you’ll end up with a great closet for the best price.

Lorie Marrero is a Professional Organizer and creator of The Clutter Diet, an innovative, affordable online program for home organization. Lorie’s site helps members lose “Clutter-Pounds” from their homes by providing online access to her team of organizers. Lorie writes something insanely practical every few days or so in the Clutter Diet Blog. She lives in Austin, TX, where her company has provided hands-on organizing services to clients since 2000.

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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