the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

How the Advice of Bloggers Saved My Ass

Thank you for your advice on not doing it myself. Once I actually looked inside the closet, I realized that I had absolutely NO IDEA how to remove and reposition the old installation, not to mention putting up these new shelves and rods, even though the guy at Home Depot said it was “relatively easy.” Is it so wrong that I’m a lover, not a builder?

Luckily, Sophia’s friend Leo knows how to do most handy things… and, lucky for me – he was home bored. Sophia helped as his assistant as he did all the hard work… we bought him some sushi for dinner… my role was pretty much reduced to serving apple juice… and 7 hours later — ta-dah! — MORE CLOSET SPACE!






Update: A cool NY Times article about “closet-starved” folk in New York City. (thanks Pam)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Neilochka Girls


  1. deezee

    Wow, does this mean all your marital problems are now solved??? 😉

  2. Alison


  3. paintergirl

    The shelves are so lovely. I love the double decker look. It looks like some clothes have been weeded out as well. Nothing like some new closet space to patch things up.

  4. CiCi

    As a closet-starved person in the South – I’m sooooo jealous! I know I should get rid of a lot, but it’s just easier to be blind to the clutter and cram more in than to sort through it all. Good job with the phone calls.

  5. psychomom

    Wow, Man with tool! Looks good.
    The closet looks good too.

  6. Tatyana

    Nothing’s sexier than a man named Leo with a hammer in his hands…does he have a phone?

    And what did you do with all your clothes, Neilochka? Don’t tell me you have matured enough to wear florals.

  7. kristen

    I was just looking at the hopeless situation of my own 2 closets and how I really need to get some organization.
    I’m married to a man that is handy-man challenged so by default, I’m it.

  8. Mr. Fabulous

    Your craftsmanship arouses me…

  9. Becky

    Hooray for you and Hooray for Sophia and HOORAY for Leo (gotta love getting paid in Sushi!!!)

    Enjoy the space and the celebration together.

  10. fringes

    Can you re-post your “before” picture next to your “after” picture for those of us who are too lazy to open the previous post?

    Glad you got it done. And in only a few hours.

  11. Becky

    Oh, and can we review some of those “old Jewish sayings?” Is there a collection somewhere? 😉

  12. Dana

    Send. Leo. NOW. I’ve just filled boxes and bags for winter trade-out, and it seems not to have made any difference. For 15 years (and through 12 moves due to his jobs, including overseas!) my man’s favorite [beat-a-dead-horse] joke at social events has been telling people, “Well, we no sooner moved into this house/apt./condo and started opening boxes than she led me to the tiny bathroom medicine cabinet and said, ‘This is YOUR shelf.’ Little did I know she meant IN THE WHOLE HOUSE.”

    And please don’t try to tell me Sophia only has four pairs of shoes. Hawwww.

  13. Rhea

    Here in Boston a lot of the carpenters are Irish or Italian. My Jewish friend thought it would be nice to employ a Jewish carpenter. So this guy named, I don’t know, Marvin Rosenberg or something, comes in to install the new kitchen counter. Can you imagine a carpenter with that name? Do I have to tell you he was lousy at it. Yup, Jewish men are accountants, professors and writers. Forget power tools.

  14. Bonez

    Well done Neil. It takes a man to build a shelf, but it takes a much bigger man to admit that he can’t do it and get someone else in to tackle the job.

    As for me, I get other people to do everything. Mow my lawn, build anything, paint anything. It’s just easier that way 🙂

  15. Dagny

    I hope you got Leo the good stuff. Now I’m going to dream about spider rolls.

  16. The Cynical Girl

    I thought the old Jewish proverb was, “You can do it. We can help. Home Depot.”

  17. Crankster

    The closet looks great, but I’m wondering where you got the Jewish proverb. I can’t remember the last time I heard one with such obviously pornographic connotations.

  18. Lynnster, yeah

    “Lover, not a builder”… heh.

    Closet looks awesome! Enjoy!

  19. Mo

    If you’re the President, are we your cabinet? Har har.

  20. Mist 1

    Where are all your shoes? Can I use your closet to store my out-of-season shoes?

  21. Dana

    Oh, I forgot to ask earlier. Now that the closet’s revamped, how’s it hangin’?

  22. Two Roads

    Rhea – agreed – Jewish men and power tools (the ones that come with electric cords) are a scary thought. I think the lover not a builder idea is spot on!

  23. Two Roads

    Neil – what was sushi did you have? Tonight was my sushi night – spicy tuna, super crunchy roll, unagi, salmon and shrimp – yummy in my tummy with loads of wasabi!

  24. Churlita

    How come even just seeing a little bit of Sophia’s hair in a picture is sexy?

    It sounds like you guys did the right thing.

    If I knew Jewish men had proverbs like that, I might have tried to convert a long time ago.

  25. Laini

    I’m also so not a builder; not a do-it-yourself-er. Unfortunately, it took buying a fixer-upper to learn this life lesson. May I never touch sheetrock again!

  26. in2deep

    aww the shelves look great!:)

  27. Ash

    It looks great! Can I borrow Leo?

  28. better safe than sorry

    we have a closet organizer in ours, still not enough room.

  29. question girl

    smart move getting someone else to do the work

    we ALL know it didn’t work out too well for the original jewish carpenter……

    as for that shoe rack – i have given up.. to give myself more space IN the closet, i have gone w/ the wooden shoe shelf (also purchased at home depot), painted the color of the walls, and placed it just inside the door…. then, my best friend added a velcro strip to the front of the top pannel and added a piece of fabric that SHE swaps out as the seasons change making the top shelf into an end table and the shoes are hidden *AND i dont’ trapse through the house in my shoes anymore so the place stays cleaner

  30. Megan

    Well done. Why do it yourself when you can get someone else to do it? Especially if you only have to buy him dinner. 😉

  31. gorillabuns

    i’m still wondering where your clothes are going to fit..

  32. claire

    Congrats on the new closet layout. Mine was driving me nuts recently too. I ripped out the most annoying shelves when I finally noticed they weren’t providing any necessary support.

  33. Jack

    Yup, Jewish men are accountants, professors and writers. Forget power tools.

    Nah, some of us work as General contractors.

  34. Scarlet

    Nice work!

  35. the imaginative action regime

    remember when we were more mysterious and mythical about our interiors? . . .

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