Allocation of Scarce Resources: The Closet Dilemma

My husband and I recently bought a house and are renovating it with the help of our cousin/friend/architect Talia Braude. I’ve learned that a good architect is also a good marriage counselor. Every decision, from the doors to the lighting fixture, can turn into a debate. He likes door handles, I like knobs. He’s not worried about mold, I’m convinced we’re all going to die of it. He wants to stencil a giant octopus on our kitchen island, I’m not even sure what he’s talking about.

But nothing is quite as fraught as the master-bedroom closet. We’ve been lucky in our current apartment to have separate closets, and we’ve gotten spoiled. Nivi especially loves having his own space, free from the toxic clutter of my shoes and dresses. I like being free of his judgmental comments about all my “shit”.

Talia had to listen to our closet debate over the course of days, sketching different options for a somewhat limited space in the new house. Ah, the trials of the bourgeoisie. In the end, we agreed to this option, a shared closet with a little wall jutting out from the center to shield Nivi’s eyes from the horrors on the other side. Nivi calls it the Maginot Line. I call it an excellent allocation of scarce resources.

Posted in scarcity

6 Responses to Allocation of Scarce Resources: The Closet Dilemma

  1. Alison M says:

    Why not go for a wardrobe instead? I don’t understand the need for closets, they waste a lot of space. My husband and I have a 200cm width Ikea Pax wardrobe monstrosity, split evenly down the middle. We each got to choose exactly how to outfit each side to our own satisfaction. With sliding doors, I never have to see his mess, he never has to see mine. With your corner there, you could even do a round the corner built-in wardrobe, right to the ceiling. Unless it’s a load bearing wall, ditch the closet and make your bedroom bigger.

  2. Talia Braude says:

    As architect/therapist I am delighted, and honored, to see that the closet conundrum was resolved well enough to merit publication on the spousonomics blog!

    Maginot line indeed! There is some kind of graph just begging to be drawn that charts the inversely proportional relationship between ‘difficulty in making decisions both spouses are happy with’ vs ‘ability to keep a sense of humor about the alteration experience’. (And maps the pleasure the architect has in working with a couple who can do the latter!)

  3. Danielle says:

    We’ve never done renovations, but I expect my husband will also request an octopus, and clearly my closet “half” will be bigger. The stories you tell on this blog (and in your book) are hilarious and so very, very true.

  4. Dave Killion says:

    Looking at the portioning of the closet space, I am reminded of the time my wife and I first moved in together in tiny basement suite. She quickly filled four of the five dresser drawers, and then said, “Are you going to take that WHOLE drawer?!”

  5. Julia says:

    In my current apartment, the whole “march” of the place bothers me. Why is the entrance to the apartment at the door furthest from the parking area? Why is the kitchen so tiny considering how many people this place is designed to house? Why is there no space in the bathroom for laundry hampers or tall shampoo bottles? Why are closets located all the way across the room from the door to the bathroom?

    The last one, especially . . . well, I’ll explain. Because apparently the architect of this place had never shared a dwelling with a significant other of any kind before. When one partner wakes up before the other in the morning, they shower and do their whole morning routine while the other sleeps. Then, bathroom light still on, they have to venture still slightly drippy from the shower past the whoosh of the cold AC vent through the dark cave where their honey is sleeping to the closet to figure out what to wear for the day. Cuz, you know, most of us don’t lay out our clothes the night before. At least I don’t think, anyway. The morning walk will wake up your sleeping partner, pretty much without fail. And the walk to the closet isn’t fun either. Put the closet on the path directly between master suite and the bathroom, and you will have much better mornings. It’s closer, there’s no light disturbance, and it insulates both temperature and sound, meaning if you wanna sing like a wolf in the shower you probably can without making your S.O. mad.

    My advice? Move the door to the bathroom (more northward from where it’s currently pictured, probably by installing a pocket door), put the closets on the wall opposite the one you’re currently planning, and have the entrance to the closet area be glass-paned French doors to let in light from the windows when you want it.

    Or am I just being Type-A? I go a little crazy sometimes about this stuff. :)

  6. ManWifeDog says:

    Laughing out loud at “every architect is also a good marriage counselor.” Makes so much sense!” We don’t own yet so we have to work with the closets we were given. It was a war that I won very quickly. This topic is not to be taken lightly (it was a super hot one on my blog! See post below), especially if your hubby is as much of a diva as mine can at times. (Please don’t tell him I called him that.)

    http://manwifeanddog.com/2011/02/03/the-closet-war-between-couples/

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