January 30, 2013 by Decorum DIYer
Like most of you, I have been slowing moving through my home trying to make it more organized and take inventory of what I have (and what I need). I recently gave our family’s hall closet a good reorganization and thought the master closet should be next on the list.
This is the scary, unorganized master closet with which I have been living:
When we moved in, there was only one bar beneath a shelf placed on the wall around 60″ (five feet) from the closet’s floor.
The two rods, two shelves, were placed in the closet after we reconfigured Roman’s closet with a Closetmaid system and stole his no-longer-needed rod and shelf. The lower bar and shelf at 46″ from the floor and the upper rod and shelf at 80″ from the floor. It doubled our hanging space, but many of my dresses and pants (I prefer that they hang long, not folded) were dragging on the floor collecting cat hair and
tumble weed dust bunnies (yuck!).
Not to mention, there was no place for shoe storage, so they simply piled up on the floor of the closet.
It was a temporary solution that we have lived with for far too long.
At a mere 68″ wide, 94″ tall, and 22″ deep with bypass doors (one can only access half of the closet at a time), this closet is tough to outfit well for two adults.
The first step was to take everything out of the closet. Sounds easy, but my bed looked like Mt. Kilimanjaro and it took a whole weekend to come up with the first stage of the plan and execute. So is the life of a mother of three small children and a husband that works way too much.
Oddly enough, the solution to making our master closet be more efficient, for not much time, nor money, was two-fold.
1. Cut the lower rod and shelf, remove the middle portions, and hang the rod and shelf on the right 50″ from the floor (an additional four inches). The additional bracket (we had three and required one additional bracket) was an extra we had squirreled away in the basement from a previous closet reorganization completed in one of the other bedrooms.
2. Lose some hanging space for a much-needed shoe storage solution. Luckily for me, I happened to pick-up this FREE Ikea unit during a Craigslist pick-up for a small, campaign dresser (more on that gem in another post). I honestly was about to list this square cubby on Craigslist for free, but then thought maybe it could would, as it is only 36″ square and 12″ deep. Sorry, I don’t shop at Ikea (maybe twice in my life), so I couldn’t tell you the Swedish name for this handy-dandy piece, but they are quite ubiquitous on Craigslist. (Correction: Per my sister-in-law, this piece may actually be from Target or Walmart. Just an fyi, if you are looking for the same type of storage.)
I also added a $1 over-the-door hanger from Dollar Tree that I simply fashioned over a hanger to hang my husband’s ties.
Before I reloaded the closet, my husband and I donated about ten pairs of shoes to Goodwill and I returned a borrowed Austin Powers costume (the dark blue shirt/jacket with white, lace sleeves peeking out of the closet) to my friend. Really, most of what was in the closet was returned to the closet. I should also mention that I already owned matching hangers. This is HUGE in terms of how neat and organized your closet can be. If you have mis-matched hangers, I suggest you move your entire closet wardrobe to matching hangers before reloading the closet. The hangers only need to match in terms of size. Feel free to mix up the hangers’ colors to further customize the organization (i.e. one color for each season, one color for each individual, etc…)
I should also mention that I kept my husband’s items to the left of the closet and my items mostly to the right (although, I did take up a lot of the middle, too). Interestingly enough, this is opposite of where we sleep (I am to the left, he is to the right). Huh?
You may also notice that I didn’t ‘color code’ my clothing completely. I try to keep sleeveless with sleeveless, short sleeves with short sleeves, jackets with jackets, dress shirts with dress shirts, etc…. I do, however, color code within the categories. This makes it easy to get dressed according to the expected weather for that day.
Like I mentioned, I would like to paint the interior of the closet. Since I am all about using what I have, I may use the remainder of the master bathroom’s orange paint. Although I am not a fan of the sheen (kitchen and bath, too shiny, and it distorts the color), I may make a go of it.
Or, I may cave and buy a quart of Behr’s ‘Acorn Spice’ to test it out. (I’m thinking of repainting the master bathroom with another orange color. But, shhhh, don’t tell my husband.)
You should also note that I have space for unused hangers. Once an item is removed from the closet, I place the empty hanger with other unused hangers. This makes keeping the closet organized easier and it also streamlines the ‘putting the hanging laundry away’ process easier. No fishing for an empty hanger amongst the clothing.
I decided upon the height of the bars by measuring how long our items actually hang (meaning I measured from the top of the hanger to the bottom of the hanging item and then added an inch or two to determine the hanging length).
Most online closet manufacturers have suggested guidelines for hanging lengths, if you need assistance with this. My husband and I are both petite (he is 5’6″ and I am 5′), so our clothing tends to be shorter than most.
In our closet, I used the following hanging measurements:
- 39″ long hanging space for husband’s dress shirts (upper left)
- 46″ long hanging space for husband’s casual shirts and folded pants (lower left) – this also left him space to place shoes or other storage items on the floor of the closet
- 46″ long hanging space for dresses (center)
- 32″ long hanging space for my shirts, cardigans, and jackets (upper right)
- 48″ long hanging space for my pants (lower right)
That said, I strongly urge you to measure your clothing items to ensure a proper hanging length, especially if you are above average in the height department. This also holds true for babies and children, as their garments are shorter/smaller. Makes sense, right?
So, let’s see the transformation and budget:
Total cost of phase one closet organization: $7.00
(six shoe boxes and one over-the-door organizer, $1.00 each).
Like my post title states, there are no hang ups (other than the obvious hanging clothing, of course) about my closet now. Well, maybe a few, but for the most part, the closet is one step closer to being functional and fashionable.
After painting the interior, I will need to find a more functional solution for the closet doors. I loathe bypass doors. Bi-fold doors could work in this room, but they would require some building, as the closet opening has no front walls of which to speak and the bypass door arrangement also serves as the master bathroom’s door. Odd, I know.
Until next time…, happy organizing!