my little corner of the world

jackie miller : : graphic design + whatnot

The Black Hole…

that is my closet. I refer to it as a black hole for 2 reasons. First, it has absolutely no light… I have tried everything short of setting it on fire to get light into that closet. Battery operated, LED, stick on, glow sticks, plain old flashlight, taking the door off. Nothing worked. I can’t tell you how many times I have dropped my phone into the abyss trying to find an article of clothing. The second reason is that, as you can see, most of my wardrobe is black. That certainly doesn’t help the matter. I think I can count on one hand the number of things with a pattern or an actual color while I counted at least 22 black dresses, various lengths etc. That being said, I have been wanting to figure out a way to easily identify my clothes while hanging that doesn’t really involve light. I don’t need to examine them in the closet, I just need to find them! I came up with this idea yesterday.

I don’t know if I am weird, but I remember where I have bought every piece of clothing. That’s what the bold letters are, the store that I bought it… HM, Primark, Old Navy, Target, etc. But knowing where I bought things makes it easier to identify the black maxi from Target versus the *pretty much identical* one from Old Navy. Then I just came up with a short description of the item to add to the tag. I just implemented it yesterday, so definitely starting the testing phase. Not only does it identify my clothes, but it actually reserves the right kind of hanger for each article (strappy dresses, slippery blouses etc.) so no more hanger swap on laundry day. By the way, I no longer have to sift through everything looking for something that’s already in the laundry hamper. That, right there, is an added bonus that I didn’t think of when coming up with this system. My first thought is that the card stock might not be sturdy enough, but time will tell. I can always reprint and cut out of stronger material in the future after I see if this is working for me. Maybe a leathery paper or something. But it’s not like I have a lot of room to shift the clothes around, so maybe this is fine.

Here’s how I made them

I first gathered all the types of hangers I have. In a perfect world, I would just have one kind, but today, this is what I have. I used my knitting needle gauge to determine how big of a hole I would need to fit over each hanger. Apparently 1cm would work across the boards. Then I measured the shortest (gray) hanger to get the length. Then I started to lay out the tags, first in Adobe InDesign (gotta have those style sheets) and then into Illustrator so I could transfer it to my Silhouette Cameo.

This is the first time since having the Cameo that I have had a working printer, so I was super excited to see if I could use the registration marks on the print to line up the cut. I used to have a similar machine at work (although it was 4 feet wide!) and when we would try to use it to cut printed things out, I remember the alignment was almost always a nightmare. I was a little nervous that this would be the same headache, but it worked like a charm! I am so excited to try out other projects now.

I was using an older cutting mat which wasn’t sticky enough. That was an instant disaster with the cardstock getting stuck in the machine. I had read a tip a long time ago about using Quilt Basting Spray to give your mats a longer life and this stuff is awesome. I just sprayed on the back of the paper and it stayed perfectly in place. The tags were a little sticky coming off, but in this particular project, it didn’t really matter. I still can’t believe how easy it was to print and then cut, especially with the Silhouette Plug in for Illustrator. Best $40 I have spent in a while.

So, I am pretty happy with how it came out so far, just curious to see how sturdy the solution is… stay tuned for an update if I need to change anything! Onto my next Cameo project!

[Update]: The system was working beautifully. The tags were holding up great and I was even getting comments on how much faster I was getting ready to leave from the people I live with, if that tells you anything about how much time I spent searching for a particular black frock.

When did the system start to fail? After the move… Our rental was sold forcing us to move over the summer. I packed my clothes like I always do, folded into a massive IKEA DIMPA bag, still on the hangers so I can transport and hang up immediately. Some of the tags, sadly, did not survive. But when the system was working, it was working SO well that I have decided that my next winter project is redo them and adding in the few new pieces I have acquired since the original print run. But I am considering other paper choices and a possible color-coding system to make finding things even easier!

22 little black dresses, right at my fingertips, no light required!