Organization Tips, Success Stories

The “Catch-All” Closet

What do gift wrap, consignment clothing, internet routers, a pool tote, and a wedding dress have in common? The answer – they are part of the random assortment of items stored in my guest room/home office closet. This closet was stuffed to the brim with all that and much more. When a closet gets too full, it becomes no longer functional, and that was the case for mine. Time for a reboot!

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On day one I pulled everything out of the closet and laid it on the guest bed. Then I dismantled the closet hooks, stationery hang bar, shelf, and supports. Last, I used spackle to fill in the holes before calling it quits for the night. While the spackle dried, my family and I went out with friends to watch our town’s baseball team play and had a great evening together.

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The next morning, I gave the walls a light sanding over the spackle and wiped them all down with a slightly damp cloth. Then I painted the closet. This part was free because I used the last 1/4th remaining in the can from a past project. The color is Dreamy Clouds by Valspar, available at Lowe’s Home Improvement. The unexpected pop of color in this small space adds interest without being overpowering.

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While the paint dried, I directed my attention to decluttering items on the bed. I began this process by grouping items into like categories: keepsakes, office supplies, consignment items, gifts, gift wrap, tote bags, etc. Once things were in groups, I was able to evaluate what was really needed and what could be let go out of each category.

After the paint was dry, I installed the Rubbermaid Homefree closet system. The kit runs for $96 at Lowes Home Improvement and is incredibly easy to install. In under an hour, the horizontal mount bar and the vertical supports were up to allow me to customize the closet to my needs.

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I began by placing my largest and bulkiest item – the wedding dress bag. Once this item was hung, I was able to space shelving around it.

Try not to buy tubs or baskets until you know what actually needs to be contained. As I arranged the shelves, I set the groups of items on the shelves where they would live. This helped me determine how many baskets and bins would be needed. After a quick run to Dollar Tree for white plastic locker boxes and to Marshalls for a set of grass baskets, I was able to put the closet together.

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In the top of the closet are our internet routers. I put the top shelf as close to the ceiling as I could while still allowing a few boxes of keepsakes to be placed up there. These are boxes of items that I want to hold on to but are not something that I will be pulling down very often. I was able to reduce the number of keepsakes that I had been storing by 50% which makes it much more manageable.

On the next shelf down I stored gifts and consignment items. I resell my gently used clothing and accessories on the website Tradesy, so this closet is where the items live until they are sold. Most clothing hangs, but accessories, jewelry, and smaller items are stored in boxes. The gift bin is for little things I collect throughout the year for my friends and family. It also has a few emergency items for when I need a quick hostess’s gift.

The bottom shelf is wider than the two above it for a reason. In the far left I have wrapping paper stored vertically, so it is up off the floor and away from dust bunny territory. The rolls are contained in a bin that also holds gift bags and tissue paper. The paper slicer is hung on a 3M Command Adhesive hook on the front of the container, so it is close at hand. This shelf also holds supplies for my business.

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There is room for more shelving below if I purchase a pair of expansion uprights, but at the present time, I don’t need more shelving. I used shower curtain hangers to hold my collection of tote bags that I use and the awkward small space in front of the slanted stairway ceiling to store my airline carryon backpack. On the right of the hang bar are more consignment items and my fully stocked pool tote. It hangs here full of sunscreen, chair clips, snorkels, towels, and dive sticks, ready to go to the pool at a moment’s notice. There are also extra hangers on the lower bar so that visiting guests can [gasp!] actually hang their own clothes – that certainly was not an option previously! LOL

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Overall, I am pleased with how this space turned out. Start to finish, the job took five working hours to complete, and the total supply budget was $121.

Need help planning out your next closet project? Contact us for a free phone consultation – we offer in-home services and virtual consulting for clients near and far.

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