Ok, this is one of the last spring projects…I think. We will see…but anyways, our bedroom closet has always been an issue since we moved in. We don’t have a walk-in closet, so for the two of us, the closet is very small. Kurt actually keeps all of his clothes in the spare room beside our bedroom because it was not feasible for both of us to put our clothes in the one closet.
Now, I am going to add a preface here and note that if you look at pictures of Kurt and I working in the yard in the posts from the very first year, and then look again at the pictures of the last year (9 years later), we are likely wearing some of the same clothes. We both wear clothes until they are completely thread-bare or have too many holes in them to even call them work or yard clothes anymore. We use our clothes well, and sometimes past the point that they should be used.
Ok, back to the project. With being on a shelving and organization kick, I decided it was time to re-organize the bedroom closet. I had hung some cloth cabinet organizers in there for my shirts, shorts, pants, etc. but after 10 years, they had enough and tore, dumping half my clothes onto the floor of the closet. That was a few months ago…it was time to fix that and get those clothes re-organized.
I unfortunately didn’t think to take a before photo to show how bad it was. I also didn’t think to take a photo of my office, where I dumped all the clothes from the closet while I built some better closet organization. In looking at the pile, perhaps Kurt and I could actually share the closet, I just needed to get rid of some of my clothes.
I did however, start remembering to take photos once most of it was empty and I started drawing the plans of what I wanted to do. As with all plans, they of course evolved once I got working on the closet. The key to the drawing, is that I had never thought to hang all my hangar clothes on the bottom and have the shelves of stuff in the higher area. That right there changed a lot. So many of my clothes were ignored because I didn’t want to crouch down to go through the little cloth cubbies of clothes. By moving those clothes to the upper area, it would change how I could access the items.
So, I started building shelves. Do you see a trend of the last few weeks for me?
In my drawing, I started with putting the dimensions in to determine how many shelves I was going to build. I decided that I would build 3 shelves per side to use to store my foldable clothes. Then the two bottom sections would be used for my hangar clothes.
In the centre is a 2 little cubbies that are perfect for the small delicate items….aka underwear. I was going to leave those as is with the plan to find a couple baskets that fit in there and could easily be pulled out to access.
The other fun tidbit about this wonderfully un-useful closet is that it has 2 sliding doors, so you can only access half the closet at a time. Plus they are mirrors so I get to wake up to my beautiful sleep smooshed, bedhead reflection every morning. Luckily I wear glasses/contacts, so the image is blurry and not so terrible. But, the mirror sliding doors will eventually need to go. I would prefer bi-fold doors so that I can open up the entire closet for access. Let me. tell you, I was making myself shimmy and think skinny thoughts to get some of those shelves up!
I had my plans and decided before I started installing the shelves, that I should go and source the baskets that I wanted to put in there to help keep the clothing organized. A few of the shelves would not have baskets and just be for pants, etc., but most would have baskets that could be removed. I didn’t want to do drawers, because I wanted them to come right out for easier access to put clothes away. I know how I am with drawers and I knew I wouldn’t end up putting things away properly if it was drawers. Now you may ask how the basket is any different than a drawer, but because it comes right out, I can lay them out on the bed while folding laundry, placing folded items as I go, then tuck the baskets back into the closet. Voila! Easy peasy pumpkin squeezy.
Because they aren’t going to be seen by anyone other than Kurt and me, I decided that I would go for functional over aesthetic. Where better to find functional (aka cheap) items, than our good old dollar stores. They had such a huge selection of baskets, that it took me a while to figure out what I would go with. The width of them was easy to figure out because I only had 21.5″ of width to work with, so I went with 10.5″ wide baskets, leaving a little wiggle room between the 2 that I could fit on the shelf.
But none of the baskets were 12″ or even 10″ in height. I want to maximize the space, so I decided that maybe shallower baskets with more shelves would be the right idea. So playing with the basket heights, I finally settled on one that would allow me to have 5 shelves per side. 5 shelves would give me 7.75″ of space, and the baskets were 7″ height, leaving room for the 1/2″ shelf plus a little wiggle room.
I also found some small baskets for the underwear cubbies, but again they weren’t 8″ tall, so I ended up buying 4 of them with the intention of splitting each cubby so that I had 4 instead of 2. All in all, the baskets cost me approx. $50 and I got 12 large baskets and the 4 smaller baskets.
Once home, I had new plans (which I didn’t bother re-drawing), and got to work adding the supports for the shelves. I had to go wall to wall with the side pieces because of the location of the studs. The inside where the little cubbies are is made out of 1/2″ plywood, so I could screw into that wherever with good support.
After doing a lot of yoga-like moves to contort myself into positions that allowed me to get the braces in place, it was time to cut the shelves. Now, I am not going to lie, I keep thinking that shelves will be easy in this house. So I merrily measured and headed out to the shop, cut all the shelves and came back in assuming they would fit. Nope. Not even close! I couldn’t believe how out some of the shelves were. Despite measuring repeatedly, I ran up and down our stairs about 20 times shaving off bits and pieces of the shelves to make the silly things fit in our angled and sloping closet.
I almost gave up for the evening, because by the time I was adding the shelving it was around 8 pm, and I was ready to go and relax on the couch where my body didn’t have to twist and stretch in ways that I am pretty sure is not natural. I guess a positive out of that is that I realized I am still pretty flexible and I stretched a few muscles that I am pretty sure haven’t been stretched in years.
Anyway, I persevered and got all the shelves into place. I may have said a few naughty words with the last shelf, because it really just did not want to sit properly, but I made it happen.
Kurt and Basil came and provided some moral support while they napped/chilled on the messy bed. Please ignore all the socks and tools on the bed…not the best photo, but funny none-the-less.
The next day, I spent a few hours…ok maybe the entire afternoon and early evening…going through all my clothes to organize them. I am apparently a clothes hoarder. I have clothes that are in sizes I haven’t been since I was much younger, but keep thinking that I could get back down to that size….not actually likely. I had clothes that were borderline wearable based on how beaten, paint stained, full of holes or thread-bare they were. But for some reason I had kept them just-in-case. I also had clothes that were in styles that I hated but had kept because they were still in such good condition that maybe one day I would be able to stand wearing them. So many excuses for keeping clothes that were just bogging down the closet.
I know we all have our favourite clothes that we tend to wear more than 90% of our closet, but this was getting ridiculous with the clothes I was finding. I of course, had to try everything on to make sure that anything I was getting rid of was actually needing to go. Hilarious some of them. I made 2 piles. The clothes that were in fantastic condition and could be donated and the pile of clothes that should have been thrown out or burned years ago.
Surprisingly I ended up with 2 very large garbage bags of clothes that are going to be donated. I just need to remember to take them with me when I go into town now. And only one smaller bag that could not be salvaged…though my brain did try to convince me that the areas that didn’t have holes or paint were still good material and surely I could find some use for it….got thrown out. Trust me when I say, that my brain and I had a good discussion about the use-ability of the items I was throwing away and there was no salvageable inch on any of them. We do our best not to waste, and I feel our wardrobes full of 13 year old clothes that we still wear are a testament to that.
The baskets that I had diligently filled with the good-to-wear / items-I-will-actually-wear clothes were tucked into shelves in the closet. I did organize them a bit by how often I felt that I would be accessing them. The few neatly folded piles of pants and capris, got tucked onto the upper shelves. The clothes left on hangars, went into the 2 sides. Sweatshirts and casual wear on one side and work clothes on the other. Let’s keep those 2 things separated.
The only thing I didn’t get done was the little cubby dividers. I have to re-think that since the baskets are a little taller than I calculated, and putting a 1/2″ shelf in there won’t work. Since the little baskets weigh so very little, I may glue in a 1/4″ divider so that I can still easily use the 4 little baskets.
All in all, it turned out really well. It feels so much better to open the stupid half-sliding-mirror-doors (which I will replace one day) and see such an organized arrangement.
Now, there is one last household project that may happen before we get going heavy in the yard…but we will see. I have already put it off many times. Perhaps this time I will actually get to it…but then again if the sun is shining, the garden might start calling and I won’t be able to ignore it.
2 Comments Add yours
Thanks! So nice to have it all organized.