Another project is complete – making it two projects in the first month of the new year (outdoor tool shed was the first). I’m showing before and after pictures which just makes me cringe but if I don’t show them, you won’t value the true transformation!
A big thanks to my friend Danielle Wurth of Wurth Organizing, a professional organizer and an incredible problem solver with all types of spaces! She came over to help figure out a way to make my very small closet (4.5 feet wide and only 5 feet deep) efficient. The ceiling is just shy of 7 feet.
Oh it pains me to put before photos on this blog but I know it’s necessary – you can tell I kinda gave up trying to make the insides look nice since it just wasn’t ever going to happen the way it was.
I have an electric panel in my closet, boo! I would have preferred it be installed behind the clothes, but I guess back then no one cared about how a closet looked. There were shelving built-ins on the left side, and on the right I bought a cheap show organizer to add more storage. I attempted to make another shelf up top with using shelf dividers and tossed a board up there. My clothing on the double hang bars touched the bar below which drove me nuts, and some of my skirts were hitting the ground – everything was too low – 1952 home you know, tiny people.
Danielle suggested after removing everything, to build up the built-ins to the ceiling. That way, the closet while small, will look taller. The top ledge would be 12″ down from the ceiling, just enough space for clothing. We also had room behind the hangers to move them a few inches closer to the wall – so I could actually walk in and not feel smoothed. Danielle came over with storage closet ideas in hand and presented me with a sketch, so detailed that I could just give it to my handyman to follow the instructions.
She also helped walk me through donating and moving my items around – sometimes you need someone who is just real with you on your items. Always trust your designer/organizer! They are the professionals.
1 / New hangers
I swapped my black velvet hangers to off white ones (here are some on Amazon), and gave them to my newly married friend who just bought a house. The swap made a huge difference in lighting up the space. I even swapped out the pant hangers and skirt hangers, because it all need to be white!
2 / New rods
The chrome rods I’ve had my eyes on since I toured homes and loved their sleekness. Hangers also slide on it so easily it reminded me of a boutique. We moved the rods closer to the wall so I could gain a few inches of walk in room.
I also bought these purse hooks to remind myself to use these totes more often. The ones not often used are still in dust bags and a few daily totes and bags – about four of them – are hanging in my office behind the door.
3/ Garment organizers
I insist garment organizers help with your organization and you should consider them. The label I created include: jackets, blazers, skirts, tunics, formal, jumpsuits, dress pants, and resort dividers. Your friends will make fun of you, but when you ask them how it’s working for them with closet organization, you can give a sly little wink.
It helps when you just need to find something quickly and helps you assess how much of that type you have. It is also incredibly helpful when your husband is doing laundry – he knows where things go!
4/ Move lighting
We moved the lighting to the center – because it makes more sense. I had an electrician install a light switch and move the light and mount this pretty gold flush mount fixture from Home Depot. It comes with bulbs but they are really yellow and get hot – buy these LED Edison bulbs on Amazon in 4000k for a bright pure white.
Just a note – they are SOOOOO bright so you can put it on a dimmer if you prefer, these light are dimmable. After we installed them I walked around the house and thought every room was dim, even my computer screen, LOL!
5 / Add personality – like wallpaper or artwork
I’ve been wanting spotted walls for a while, I just fell in love with the trend. We considered painting the back wall a black and white spot pattern to save money, but the more I thought about the day in the future when this closet would become Benjamin’s, the more I didn’t want to think about repainting the back wall – just think of the priming and painting hours! So I searched for removable wallpaper on Etsy and found Livettes and her removable wallpaper – you can also get old fashioned wallpaper if you’re a fan. It was so easy and I highly recommend measuring your closet, then cutting around shelving and then installing it – it’s seamless and ridiculously easy.
^^ You can’t tell much, but we just wallpapered over the panel – it was just the best solution – there’s clever access to it.
6 / See-thru boxes for off season
I go nuts over acrylic. Sometimes I think I’d be OK living in an acrylic house – with an AC on blast of course, ha! I just enjoy the airiness it brings to spaces, tiny spaces especially. Danielle recommended these clear shelf dividers and they are only $9.99. I also like these at Target.
The drop down boxes were great ideas – but my shelving was only 12.5″ deep and so the ones at The Container Store which were 15″ deep wouldn’t work for me. So I found these on Wayfair (since sold out, but check back and found here on Amazon). They were perfect! I like that I can just open the lid without taking a box down to open the top – and I can see in them. This houses off season stuff or things I don’t reach for as often – swimsuits, scarves and athletic clothes overflow.
7 / Shoe organizer
This over the door shoe rack that holds 36 pairs comes in handy but those are not all my shoes – the other half are in the laundry/mudroom. One day all my coats and shoes will be in the same closet, but until then, this works for some of it. My things are still spread around the house but it would be impossible to put it all in this very small closet. I only have a single small tub under my bed that has my summer clothing but I think I probably could fit it all in here if I tried.
8 / Reconfiguring built ins
We took everything out and built it back up – which I thought was a good idea to have a clean slate. Having the shelving go all the way to the top of the small barely 7′ closet and moving the shelving up was great – 12″ height for the top shelf is more than enough to still fit baskets and clothing up there with dividers. The only thing I’m considering adding is an acrylic door for the top shelf so I can take my designer bags out of their dust bags and display them properly. That, I can do myself later down the line.
$110 Off white velvet shirt hangers
$135 Amazon hangers (pants, skirts) and chrome rod
$50 Paint + supplies – Simply White by Benjamin Moore
$100 Shelving dividers + acrylic divider for clutches + purse hooks
$800 Cost of shelving built in materials and labor
$100 Flush mount lighting + LED Edison bulbs on Amazon in 4000k
$170 Electrician cost for moving lighting + adding light switch panel
c/o Removable wallpaper by Livettes Wallpaper
Trade Organizing and design assistance by Wurth Organizing
FREE Drop front sweater boxes – used Wayfair gift card (identical here on Amazon)
The $500 budget I had went out the window, no surprise there with home renovations, right? Always takes longer and always over budget. I also think that I forgot the extras I’d want – like replacing all my hangers and upgrading the lights. The total wasn’t horrific but I think I had unrealistic expectations when I started. In the end, I’m really thrilled with the way my closet turned out!
Big thanks to my friend Danielle who helped me and answered all my freak out texts during this project. It didn’t go smoothly, in fact there were times it went very very wrong, ahhhh. But she helped me through it, and now it’s done!
I hope this inspires all of you to utilize the space you have – no matter how small your space, you can make it efficiently beautiful. Just keep everything you love – and donate the rest. I held on to so many clutches and pieces I thought I would one day need and let them go. I am also getting to know my purchasing habits more and more, I wish I could master it and stop wasting money on sale clothes or impulses but I guess it’s still going to take a while, but I’m improving.
- Removable wallpaper: Livettes Wallpaper (c/o) in spot
- Gold light fixture: The Home Depot + LED Edison bulbs on Amazon in 4000k
- Chrome oval closet rods: Amazon (supports here)
- Pant hangers: Amazon
- White wood bottom and skirt hangers: Amazon
- Clothing hangers: Huggable Hangers (similar on Amazon)
- Hex brushed drawer pull: CB2
- Clear shelf dividers: The Container Store (similar)
- Drop-front boxes: Wayfair (on Amazon, similar)
- Acrylic Clutch holder: The Container Store
- Purse hooks: The Container Store
- Organization and design: Wurth Organizing
What do you think? What’s your favorite part of the closet?