One of my big goals in 2017 is to get hyper-organized in all areas of my life, from client processes to the way I store my makeup to the tidiness of my closet.
The beauty of getting organized is that as you’re sorting, it becomes crystal clear what items no longer have a place in your life. If there isn’t room or it no longer serves a purpose, throw it out! There’s a sense of satisfaction in letting go and donating all that clutter.
I didn’t always have a walk-in closet. In fact, until a year ago, my clothing and accessories were confined to two side-by-side IKEA wardrobes because there wasn’t enough built-in closet space in my 1920s home to hold much of anything.
My IKEA wardrobes made it easy to stay organized with add-in drawers and shoe racks and Joey took over the small closet in our room. This worked well….but there was an even better solution lurking in a drafty, bare raftered attic space tucked behind a door off to the side of our room. Most of the time, I forgot it was even there.
A few years earlier, Joey had spent a month remodeling it to use as an art studio, cutting odd-shaped drywall pieces to align with the peaked roof and angled beams. When that was done, he painted it out and added flooring. It was cozy but even in the center, the space wasn’t quite 6 feet tall so he had to duck inside and always sit on the floor to work. It wasn’t ideal for him but it was perfect for me since I’m 5 foot 3.
After Joey built out a new, roomier studio space in the basement, I took over the former attic area. In went more shelving, Cole and Sons woods wallpaper left over from our dining room, a fresh coat of white paint and rope lights, which snaked along the floor seams.
This once unused, dark space I always avoided slowly came to life and was now the perfect hangout for playing with new looks and getting dressed up!
Once the space was cleaned up, we moved onto a solution for holding all my clothing. A lot of you ladies who have had clothing racks know that the cheaper store-bought ones tend to bow in the middle or come crashing down from too much weight (been there, done that!)
On the other hand, metal pipes can handle all those dresses! Joey built 3 clothing racks in total from supplies he found at the hardware store. They line up with the pitch of the ceiling. The center is taller and holds dresses, some of which are quite long while the left side holds skirts and coats and the right holds tops and sweaters.
Right by the entrance to the left, there are shallow built-in shelves which are perfect for holding clutches, sunglasses and shoes. The wallpaper behind them adds a nice pop of pattern.
Below those shallow shelves are the things I need to grab most often, tucked away in white wicker baskets from Target including underwear, bras and pajamas.
A nail was added to the side so I could hang up a few smaller bags.
Behind that are beam supports that once left an open area of wasted space so Joey added a piece of wood as a base and then angled slats which make it possible to display more shoes. (In case you’re wondering: in a past life, I sold shoes for 5 years and the obsession rages on.)
Along one side of the space is a very long, windowless area that’s much too narrow for furniture. This was by far the hardest part to figure out a solution for because we couldn’t have anything bulky along the walls.
It has a steep incline so we installed a long piece of wood from Home Depot along the entire length which makes it an ideal spot for more sunglasses, purses and jewelry.
Below the shelving is a row of identical IKEA white banker’s boxes which are used for storing purses, keepsakes and everything I want to keep but isn’t used regularly enough to have sitting out.
On the right, we installed four round IKEA mirrors which create visual interest and reflect light.
Along the very back of this narrow area, Joey built in additional shelves which I use to hold the basics that don’t need to be hung up. I use them to store a stack of leggings (top), jeans (middle) and hats (bottom). On the floor, I have storage boxes for more bulky stuff (shoeboxes for designer items I want to keep) and on those rest clear plastic organizer trays for scarves, socks and tights, all arranged by color.
• Round mirrors (similar), IKEA
• White banker’s boxes, IKEA
• White wicker baskets (sold out), Target
• Clear jewelry and sock trays (similar), Target
• Woods wallpaper, Cole and Son
• Paper bags, Be-Poles
• Metal hangers (sold out but I love these from HAY), IKEA
• White pendant light, IKEA
• Clothing rack piping and supplies, True Value
• Rope lights, Home Depot
5 Organizing Tips
I have a few easy tips to help you stay organized once and for all:
1. Arrange your clothing first by type and then by color.
Think of it this way: if you’re looking for a shirt, you know where to focus and you tend to remember an item of clothing based on its color. I have a ton of dresses and if I’m in the mood for a pink one, I can quickly locate my options.
2. Store your less used items away.
Get rid of the clutter by buying up a bunch of boxes in the same color and style to create a sense of uniformity and clean lines while hiding those seasonal items and keepsakes. Out of sight, out of mind!
3. Roll your socks and tights.
These items get tangled and separated easily but if you’ve rolled them into trays, it’s easy to find a specific color and pattern quickly without ending up with the entire tray thrown onto the ground!
4. Use mirrors to create the illusion of more space.
My closet as a whole is a pretty decent side but the right side is very long, dark and narrow. Adding a row of mirrors creates a sense of depth and makes it feel slightly less claustrophobic.
5. Wrangle odds and ends you don’t want to lose track of into bags.
I love Le Sac En Papier bags because they’re sturdy and stylish while hiding clutter. I have a ton of swimwear (I tend to travel to warm locales often) but don’t use it on a daily basis. The pieces all go in this bag so I can find them easily when packing.
Thanks for reading! It’s been pretty rewarding taking this once wasted space and transforming it something that I now use every day. With everything having a place, it’s less likely to get messy because I have no excuses.
Any questions about the space or organization? Let me know in the comments!