Sunday, April 29, 2012

Transforming Wasted Space in Walk in Closet

For three years we have struggled with our master bedroom walk in closet. I knew there were things I could fix, like how we used the space but there were bigger things I could not change, like the fact it is small. It amazes me that a builder would make our bedroom the ridiculous size it is, but put a small walk in closet. Wouldn't the average person prefer to have 2 or 3 less feet in an enormous bedroom and have a larger closet? Maybe it is just me.
 I did not have the budget to rip all the builder grade shelves out and start from scratch, so I had to figure out solutions to the things I hated without spending much money. I had tried patch fixes to deal with the builder grade closet, like adding hooks on the back of the door and putting those horrible 'hanging organizers' from Ikea to arrange our sweaters and t-shirts. You know the ones. They hang from the rod with no support on the bottom of each row, so nothing says nicely folded and if you put too much in them or bump it the wrong way everything falls out of the back.
Source Ikea
So I felt like I was back to square one. Here is my list of problems I felt I needed to tackle to make this a workable space:
  • we stacked our sweaters and pants on the top shelf  all the way up to the ceiling, making the piles over three feet high
  • we had our t-shirts housed within hanging closet organizers
  • my purses were in a big pile on the floor
  • we had no room for a laundry basket
  • there was always so much stuff hanging on the back of the door that we could barely open it.

So with a small budget and but big dreams, I dragged my husband and two kids from hardware store to hardware store in search of a miracle solution.  Obviously, there was not one. So here is what I did.

The first thing we did was get rid of all of those hanging closet organizers and replaced them with the Expedit shelf. I love these shelves because they are deep, not too wide and sturdy.
Source Ikea
It is pricier at $80 but it works so much nicer and it fit perfectly into the space. I was able to fold all our t-shirts, fitness clothes and still have two spots for purses at the bottom.
We then thought we would tackle was the wasted space above the top shelf.  I thought if we could move our off season clothes us higher without having the 3 foot high stacks, then we would have more usable space. So that is what we did.
We went to Lowes and found decorative black brackets for $10 for a package of 2 (we needed 3 packages in total) and we bought the cheapest white shelves we could find. We could have used the really cheap industrial brackets at under $1 each but we thought we would splurge a bit :)
See how lazy I am...I didn't even take down all the clothes when he was putting up the shelves. I moved them from side to side so they wouldn't get dust on them. Shhhh my little secret.

My husband cut the shelves to the correct length and he installed the new shelf half way between the ceiling and the previous top shelf.
I would like to say we had the forethought to line this new shelf up with my husband's dress shirt shelf but we didn't and got really lucky that it all lined up. That would have been an oops on my part because it would have annoyed me horribly if they didn't line up. Now it looks like the new shelf was suppose to be there.
I really should have done the fancy folding and color coordinating but as you already know I do not stage photos. Organizing all our clothes and refolding them would take way too long and I believe there are better things to do then convince you all that I can keep my closet color coordinated. I am a mom to two busy kids, I can't even get my laundry put away.

So here are my official after photos:

No more 3 foot high piles. Don't you love my new light? See the previous post for how I made it.
We use the ultra slim hangers from Costco and LOVE them.
I can now fit a laundry basket under my hanging shirts.
 So how did I do with my list?
  • we stacked our sweaters and pants on the top shelf  all the way up to the ceiling, making the piles over three feet high - FIXED
  • we had our t-shirts housed within hanging closet organizers -FIXED
  • my purses were in a big pile on the floor - FIXED
  • we had no room for a laundry basket- FIXED
  • there was always so much stuff hanging on the back of the door that we could barely open it - Sort of fixed. We still have the hooks but they aren't overflowing anymore!
I am very happy with how it turned out. I can't say it is my dream walk-in closet but reality is, it is a space that holds our clothes and does it really need to serve any other purpose than being practical? I don't think so.

If you missed my first two posts I did for my walk in closet, the budget closet light transformation and hanging my sleeveless/short sleeve dress shirts on pant hangers, be sure to check them out. I love both of them too.

So have any of you tried to deal with a builder closet and succeeded? Or have you failed a few times like me before you found a solution that works well?

We will be adding the top shelf to our other three bedroom closets to store off season clothes too. It really is a cheap solution with a big impact on space.

Have a great day,


  1. LOVE the light, I bookmarked the "how to" post for it on the spot.
    Your closet looks a lot like mine, and we're redoing our closet at the moment, too.
    I can't help thinking your closet will really pop if you take a deep breath annnnd, PAINT it a bold but calming color, because that wall is the first thing you see when you walk into the closet, and even with all the stuff on the shelves, the background wall with bold paint will make a difference. trust me on this! great blog, btw!! awesome ideas here!

  2. I just found this article and LOVED IT. Thank you so much for the great ideas. Every time I try to search for "walk in closet storage solutions" or anything of the like, it always gives me pictures of huge celebrity sized closets -- obviously my closet isn't that big or I wouldn't NEED a storage solution.

    I do have a question, though. Where are your shoes? Or they stored somewhere else other than the closet?

  3. what are the measurements of the room?



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