Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Cleaning: In the Closet

I have closet envy. I wish my closet was as neat and organized as Emerson's.  While I love my house, one of the downers is the fact that all of the closets are not very big.  The closet in our room is used only by me-- Doug prefers to fold and stash in a drawer rather than hang.  Even for just my clothes, the closet is bit on the small side.  And while I try my best to keep it neat and organized, it usually starts to looks like this.

I actually have a quite legitimate reason for having a messy closet-- I have a hard time reaching the folded items on the top shelf since only one of my arms is useful above shoulder height.  So whenever I want to put a stack of folded clothes up on the shelf I have to put each item up one at a time with my right hand.  This is annoying, yes.  But not as annoying as when I try to take items down from shelf.  Say I want a pair of jeans that are on the bottom of the stack.  I try my best to one-handedly wiggle it out from the pile but alas, the entire pile usually ends up falling on top of me and all over the floor.  How's that for annoying!!!  So over the past few weeks, I've been brainstorming ways to temporarily make my closet a bit more user friendly.  I say temporary, because at some point down the road Doug would like to build some custom shelves and drawers in here.  But for now, I've come up with this...

So, instead of precarious piles I stashed all of my folded items in these bins I picked up at Ikea.  They are $4.00 a piece and are meant for toy storage so they're really sturdy and have a nice wide ledge around the top.  I sorted and purged my clothes, then categorized the folded items and stashed them in the bins.  Now when I need a pair of jeans, I just reach up and grab the 'jeans' bin with my one arm, find the pair I want, and put it back on the shelf!  I'm giving myself a one-armed pat on the back right now as I write this :)

My next brilliant idea occurred when I spotted an extra set of cleats at the very top of the closet.  When we moved in there was only one shelf at the top of the closet... but extra cleats at the top meant that I could add another shelf!  A loooong time ago I told Doug about my findings and asked if we had any extra lengths of melamine shelving in the garage that could be used to construct an additional shelf.  He said that there were a few options.  Conversation finished and forgotten.  Fast forward a few months.  Doug is folding laundry while I'm watching TV one evening (bless his soul :)  He starts trying to put stuff away in my closet-- disaster zone.  All of a sudden, without saying a word Doug's running down the stairs to the garage.  I hear the saw.  2 minutes later he's running back up the stairs with a piece of shelving and puts it in place.  Problem solved.  It really was that easy.

So now I have an extra shelf to stash out of season clothing and stuff that doesn't fit (I hold onto jeans of every size-- just in case).  This set of drawers has been in my closet for some time now.  We picked it up at MCC for $10 a few years ago, gave it a coat of white paint, added some new hardware and now it gives me a bit more storage in my crazy small closet.

The green boxes were a last minute addition... I stole them from the office to stash a few accessories.

And then I got all crazy and decided that the hangers should all match.  So anything that wasn't white is now in the guest room closet downstairs.  It's all about the details people.

As you all know, I care about the price tag.  So how much did this mini-closet makeover cost?

$16.00 for the four white storage bins
$0 for the extra shelf (scrap material from the garage)
$0 for the green boxes (already had them)
$0 for the white hangers
I'm not counting the dresser since I've had it forever.

Grand total?  $16.00.
Minimizing my frustration level?  Priceless.

Sidenote:  After purging the closet of clothes I no longer wear yesterday, I put up a few items for sale on craigslist.  I've already made $70.  So this closet makeover was actually a money maker :)

Sidenote #2:  Maybe I should have sold my old stuff before commencing with this closet makeover.... I would have had more to work with....


Anonymous said...

When we put our house up for sale last year, I also changed our clothes hangers to one color, which happened to be white. It made more of a difference than I thought it would.

Anonymous said...

The previous comment was made by me - forget to sign my name.
Aunt Char

Renee said...

Hey Elissa,

I came across your blog via Kathleen's I think? Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and tell you that your house looks great!

*I am now a regular reader of Young House Love thanks to you :) I also wanted to recommend one of my favorite blogs: lots of crafting, sewing, baking, cooking, homemaking, farming, thrifting, vintage goodness.

Take care, and I'm sure we'll see you again at church in the next while!

Renee Heinrich

KDees said...

Way to go! Always coming up with great ideas for cheap! :)

Erica said...

I confess, all my hangers on *my* side of the closet match. And how have you made $70??? What are you selling? Maybe I should try this rather than just taking it all to MCC!!

Erica said...

Oh yeah, I had an un-closet-related question for you! Where did you get your seagrass are rug thing that's at your front door? I have been looking and not seeing...

Graham said...

Very nice!! I am almost ready to reveal our living room makeover!! I was thinking about whether or not to include the price tag and after seeing you do it - I think I will! It's fun to see what you can do with not a lot of money (hopefully ours isn't a lot of money :)


Elissa said...

Erica, the seagrass area rug is from Home Sense... but of course!! :)

Bonnie said...

You're hilarious! :) Love the closet makeover & the price tag even more. And isn't craigslist where its at!? I've made some sweet $$ off selling old clothes too. Totally worth the 20 seconds it takes to upload an ad!

Best Reviews for Alaska Brown Bear Hunts guided said...

I should definitely do one of these deep Spring cleaning this year because my wardrobe is so cluttered. Thanks a lot for the great advices!

Informative URL for House Cleaning Austin said...

Store your winter items now. Anything made of a heavy fabric like wool or fleece can now be moved to your storage area or to a bin at the back of the closet. I have two shelves my clothes closet; the high one has bins for off-season clothing and the low shelf is used for in-season shirts and sweaters, stacked between shelf dividers.