Last month, I met Sergeant First Class Luciano Yulfo, a veteran who served our country for 36 years. In 2014, he retired from active duty after being injured in Afghanistan. “Louie” wears braces on his leg, walks with a cane, and will most likely face the amputation of his leg in the next year or so. Currently, he lives in Staten Island with his daughter Sonia, 27, who is his full time caregiver. Unfortunately, Sonia herself struggles with health issues, and the burden of caring for her father can be overwhelming. Thanks to an organization called Luke’s Wings, I was made aware of the situation, and teamed up with ClosetMaid and Hooplah to help.
After visiting the Yulfo home, we decided that we would install ClosetMaid ShelfTrack closet systems in the master bedroom, Sonia’s room, and the front hall closet.
Master Bedroom (Louie’s) Closet
Problem: Louie’s closet was poorly utilized, filled with clothing that no longer fit, and what he wore daily was difficult for him to reach.
- We took everything out of the closet, and separated what Louie wanted to keep, what could be donated, and what was not salvageable.
- We folded all of the t-shirts with military precision. Even Louie was impressed! These were arranged by color on the shelves.
- We hung all clothing on one type of hanger to reduce the visual noise in the closet.
- At Louie’s request, we hung his uniforms front and center, so he could feel the pride of serving his country each time he opened the closet.
- We oriented the closet in such a way that if Louie needs to be in a wheelchair in the future, he can wheel himself into the closet to access his clothing.
Problem: Every surface in Sonia’s room was piled with shoes and clothing. There was a desk that wasn’t being used and no dresser.
- We removed the desk. In the space gained, we used a ClosetMaid 3-2-1 Cube Storage System and filled it with the ClosetMaid premium fabric bins. Because Sonia lacked a dresser, these bins were used to store underpinnings, socks, bathing suits, and pajamas.
- We sorted each article of clothing and each pair of shoes based on what Sonia wanted to keep, donate, or discard. We discarded more than a dozen empty shoeboxes.
- We put all hanging items on uniform hangers and arranged them in the closet by color.
- We folded each item of clothing and consolidated it in an existing armoire in the room.
- We moved the shoes from the top of the armoire into the armoire so that Sonia could reach them with ease.
Problem: The front hall closet wasn’t functioning as a coat closet. This was where Louie’s uniforms were stored while coats were all over the house and shoes were kept on the floor in the hallway.
- Coats were gathered from around the house and hung in the closet.
- Louie’s uniforms were moved to the master bedroom closet.
- Shoes were stored on bottom shelves in the closet.
- ClosetMaid premium fabric bins were used on the top of the closet to store hats, gloves, and scarves.
When we left the Yulfo’s house, there were no more piles. In their place, we left functional closets and systems for storing clothing. Sometimes, a simple change can be a catalyst for future progress, and that is our hope for Sonia and Louie.