Manhattan's Messiest Closet Competition

Manhattan's Messiest Closet Competition

Nov 15, 2004

New York is the capital of closet spelunkers.... Nowhere else does the freight train of modern consumerism meet the dark tunnel of space constraint with such a gnashing of teeth and fearful glimpsing of shadows in the dark. Each day millions of wrinkling sweaters are stuffed into cramped shelves, and scuffed shoes are wedged between vacuum cleaner and hamper as photo albums and ski caps teeter precariously overhead. Our closets make liars of us all -- we hide our excesses and cram our mistakes out of sight.

But some closets are worse than others, some closet owners more frighteningly dysfunctional than the rest of us...

Welcome to's Messiest Closet Competition....

Over the next two weeks we will be accepting nominations for the title of Messiest Closet in New York. In outing these unfortunate souls, we hope to put them on the bright path to greater closet health. And, to the owner of the messiest of messy closets, we promise a complete, all-expense-paid closet overhaul courtesy of our sponsor, Astech Closets. Please note: this isn't some guy showing up with a garbage bag. This involves CAD software and power tools. We're talking a retail value of over $1000.

And for those rubberneckers looking on with guilty fascination, we hope the horror will inspire some rerform.

Who's Elligible:
The first ever Messiest Closet Competition is officially open to all residential closets in Manhattan. Arguably, the space constraints of Manhattan are more serious than those of other boroughs. But yes, we know this Manhattan-centrism is sort of lame, and we confess that a big reason for it is the fact that our generous sponsor only covers Manhattan. That said, if you know of a particularly gruesome closet in, say, the South Bronx, let us know. We'll find ways to honor the exceptional.

How to Enter:
Closets must be entered by their owner. Third parties are welcome to prod and encourage, but in the end the owner must step up. The goal here is to help the afflicted, not simply to embarrass them.

To nominate a closet, its owner should send an email to being sure to include the following:

  1. In the subject line: "Messy Closet Competition"
  2. In the body of the email: A brief description of the closet indicating its size, specific contents, and general state of disarray. Feel free to be as literary as necessary to evoke the extent of the problem, but all entries should be kept to within 250 words. Keep in mind that your description may be shared with our readers.
  3. Attached: At least two decent digital photos of your closet. Try to capture different perspectives, and make sure you've got enough light on the subject. VERY IMPORTANT: Please do what you can to reduce the size of the photos that you send. All images should be less than 100 KBytes.
  4. Also: please include your name and neighborhood. We will not share your name with anyone without your express permission, but we may need it to contact you in the event that you are a finalist. If you don't regularly check the email address that you use to send us your message, please include an alternate email or phone number.

The Judging:
The editors will screen the submissions and select a limited number of finalists. Photos and descriptions of the finalist closets will be posted on the site over a period of days such that's regular readers will be able to vote. If necessary, we will visit a closet to obtain more information and/or better photographs.

The Award:
Within one week of the posting of the finalists. will officially proclaim a winner. Following the bling bling celebration at headquarters in Tribeca, the winner will be introduced to Bill Skinner, founder and President of Astech Closets who will schedule the closet makeover.

Mr. Skinner is an experienced local contractor and entrepreneur who appears on various HGTV programs. Astech performs the same sort of work as California Closets but their prices are as much as 28% less. And the quality is high. Says Skinner: "I won't leave a job where a person is unhappy."

Astech will be in and out of the winner's home in less than one day.

Because we're curious -- and with their permission -- we will visit the winner after the Astech makeover at which time we will take "After" photographs. Naturally, we'll post these on the site for our readers to review. OHR

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