The EHD team is back and ready to accept our awards for the Closet Org Olympics. This challenge truly tested all of us but we are better and our closets are more organized for it. To recap, our fearless leader Jess came up with the idea to have us each organize our closets for under $150 in 4 weeks. It turns out we all needed this challenge to kickstart our organizational skills and break the clutter spell. Now our day of reckoning has come so if you are curious how we each fared in this challenge, you are in the right place. I’ll start.
I am awarding myself the status of partial success. I didn’t magically procure more closet space (weird????) and my “afters” are not the most satisfying, but I did my best to capitalize the space I do have. That was indeed the goal but I don’t feel 100% satisfied (and I did kind of cheat –more on that below). But let’s rewind and start from the beginning.
Here is our dark and ominous before. To reiterate the pain points as if they aren’t plain to see, the top shelf storage was a dumping ground for sweatshirts, blankets, and old puzzles. The space wasn’t used efficiently and with a tiny closet, every inch counts.
This is a never-before-seen picture of the closet floor. The secret is out! Our closet floor is a mess and before this challenge, I hadn’t seen the back of our closet in a while. Oh, the closet shame is real.
Finally, we have this clothing rack because our small closet doesn’t come close to cutting it. It’s the first thing you see when you walk into our room and like I said in the intro post, it could be better. My main goal was to clean this area up so at least we have less of an eyesore to look at every day.
Now let’s see how I did:
I am pretty happy with this. I bought the fabric bins for sweatshirt storage and fit as many as possible I used these compression bags. I was able to fit 8 sweatshirts in each bin which is great but there is a catch. Obviously, they are not the most accessible so I had to choose what sweatshirts and other articles of clothing we want to keep but don’t wear as often. It’s not the best system in the world but it is the best system for the closet situation we have.
I bought the open stackable clear bins last minute as advised by Mallory who might as well be the spokesperson for these bins. They are expensive at $22 but they are the best solution for sweaters and long sleeve shirts. They are open in the front so everything is accessible and easy to grab and put back away.
So here’s where I cheated a bit. Rocky and I have big winter coats that took up too much space but we live in LA so we rarely need them. We don’t want to give them away so the solution I came up with is to store them at my parent’s house. They live 30 minutes away so anytime we are going somewhere cold we can easily pick them up. And if we do get a blizzard in LA I guess we will just have to live with this decision.
Once I removed the huge winter coats, clearing up the closet floor became a much easier task. I actually discovered blankets and shoes I had forgotten about as a treat for my hard work!! With this area, I really had to move things around and try my best to store things efficiently. Some items I was able to move into our dresser as that space opened up. I moved blankets into one of our bathroom cabinets (the struggle is real) and any lingering clothing I folded and put into this underbed storage bag. I felt like I was playing real-life Tetris for like a day and a half but the result is that my closet is at least 5 x more organized.
This is probably my biggest success story. I needed to maximize shoe storage and on a whim bought this shoe rack. It ended up fitting perfectly on top of the clothing rack, creating a 2 tier shoe storage solution. This helped alleviate a lot of the shoe clutter. Next, I bought these hangers so visually the rack appears more uniform and organized. We try to hang our everyday sweaters, pants, and jackets here so they are easily accessible and that way the rack doesn’t get overcrowded. I also replaced our laundry basket with a collapsable one that is a little more pleasing to the eye. Finally, I ended up folding and stacking my jeans on the side shelf which freed up an entire drawer in my dresser.
So did I fulfill the challenge?? I’d say somewhat but the truth is in the numbers:
Storage Compression Bag – $20
Shoe Rack – $32
Underbed Storage – $9
Fabric Bin x 2 – $20
Hangers – $22
Laundry Basket – $18
Clear Sweater Bins x 2 – $44
GRAND TOTAL: $165
Not the most satisfying before and afters this blog has seen but it’s a start. Perhaps I need a true professional to help me but at least our storage is functioning a little better for our everyday needs. Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?
Now let’s move on to the rest of the team, but first: a fun video 🙂
I highly recommend forcing your friends and coworkers into an organizing challenge. I am SO much happier now that my closet is organized, functions WAY better, and is simply nicer to look at. Let’s get into the process and details…
As a refresh, this was the before. Not terrible but not as functional as I wanted. The “floor bin” was a messy bummer but housed items I needed every day (like underwear). I also had random things like lampshades that didn’t need to be in this closet and bins that didn’t really work well for what I needed (they were repurposed in another closet). Anyway, enough with the past and let me show you how it looks now:)
TADA! New year, muuuuch better closet. I did a little Marie Kondo action and took everything off those shelves (top and sides) to decide what needed to stay, what should go in a different closet, and what should be donated. I tried to be smart and cutthroat with myself about what I actually used and wanted to keep.
You might also notice that the shoe situation is a lot better. That’s where most of my “cutthroat-ness” came into play. It felt great to purge and one thing I decided to do for myself was take the shoes I was keeping that needed to be cleaned, reheeled, or otherwise fixed up to my local shoe repair shop. It was only three pairs with the added purchase of a shoe cleaner to save money cleaning other pairs myself. I think this is such a good reminder to take care of/repair the things we already own before they are unfixable. Especially shoes since we can wear them down to the point of no return. A new heel sole is a lot cheaper and more sustainable than a new pair.
If you were wondering where all those books came from, the answer is the cardboard boxes in the before photos. Much better right? Also, those hats were taking up PRIME real estate on that first shelf, so I just took some nails I had and hung those puppies up on the wall. I also LOVE those striped bins. They feel really solid for fabric bins and I decided to choose the smaller and non-lidded option (there are multiple options in this pattern) so that they are really easy to grab off and put back on.
I can’t tell you what this cubby system has meant to my life and back. Way less bending over:) The actual cubbies were easy to build and crazy affordable. Also, how cute are those round bins?! Are they maximizing the full extent of the cubby space? No. But I love how they look, mixing up those shapes, which to me was more important and still fit my needs. Lastly, the cubby cabinet was the perfect size/height to put my yoga mat and block on top with enough space to fit my suitcase next to it. Extremely satisfying.
Here’s how much this all cost:
Striped Fabric Bin x 6 – $78
Plastic Bin x 2 – $20
Round Bin x 4 – $40
Cubbie Storage – $28
GRAND TOTAL: $166 (oops! $16 over)
I did go a little over but I love everything I got so I’m ok with my rule-breaking behavior. I also thought it would be fun to show you what’s in these secret bins:
And here are a couple more before and afters because it’s fun to see. It’s not going to be featured in any magazines but all I wanted was a nicer and more organized space. Check and check.
There was great success, but with a huge catch (and I apologize in advance)…
Laundry Hamper – $60
Hanging Shoe Storage – $20
Bins x 8 – $70
GRAND TOTAL: $150
Perfectly on budget, so well planned out. Everything was going to be great right? WRONG. SO WRONG. But we’ll get there…let me explain. So, the original plan was to get some new bins that were tall enough to cover the stack of clothes that truly went to the ceiling and bothered me so much but here’s what that ended up looking like:
First off, they didn’t fix the clothes stacked to the ceiling/over the bin problem, and second WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS IN THERE. Like it was just an abyss of clothes in each bin that would immediately get unfolded and wadded up and thrown around…I thought about labeling the bins, but it wouldn’t solve the problem where all of our stuff at the bottom of the bin would just never get worn bc we had no idea what was down there. It could’ve been anything. Plus, the bins were so tall (12 inches high) and were at the top of our closet already so we couldn’t even reach them. And we needed so many that they were shoved shoulder-to-shoulder and it was unspeakably hard to grab them and take them down/put them back up. Then Chase (my boyfriend) turned one of them on its side so he could actually see and reach for his clothes (understandably) and it got me thinking:
Maybe we could find some bins that open out to the side so we can access them?? I would have done shelf dividers, but I wanted to use my vertical space and be able to stack bins on top of each other (for example, light denim and darker denim stacked on top of each other, and not side by side in order save space in our closet) But what about the problem of the stack being too tall and us being not able to grab the stuff out from the bottom/middle of the stack?? Then I found EXACTLY what I was looking for via Pinterest:
WHAT ARE THESE MAGICAL BINS??? I HAD TO KNOW. They’re from The Container Store (of course) and they’re not cheap. I repeat NOT CHEAP. I looked at this and thought “oh these are perfect” then looked at the price tag and I was like “oh there’s no way” so I scoured the internet for hours. HOURS I TELL YOU. I think I must have dedicated 6 hours to looking for bins before I just said screw it, what if I just find a coupon??? A $26 off coupon and my mental sanity was enough for me to finally add them to cart.
Before Before New Bins
After New Bins
Now if you didn’t click on that bin link and figure out the price by now, I’ll drop the number. Each bin is $21.99 and I needed at least 8 to hold our clothes, so the grand total (with coupon) was $149 for the bins. Now a part of me is still mad I spent $149 on closet bins and therefore went drastically over budget (I mean the bins are the whole budget, I know) but I could literally find no other option that had the right dimensions & stackability for what we needed.
Now what we really NEED is a big dresser, like you guys addressed in the comments of the last post, but there’s no room for one in our studio apartment, so I made the decision to invest in nice bins since this would be serving as our dresser for as long as we live here. It had to be AS functional as possible. So, now that you know I went massively over budget due to some dumb bins (that actually work great though and solved a lot of our problems) here is the final price breakdown:
So Here’s What Actually Happened:
Laundry Hamper – $60
Hanging Shoe Storage – $20
Bins x 8 – $70 (then returned half of them) – $35
Bin Pivot/Money Dump: 4 Pack Stacking Sweater Bins x 2 – $174 (and then I used a coupon so -$26) – $149
GRAND TOTAL: $264 (BIG OOPS. I AM SORRY TO BOTH MYSELF AND THE READERS HERE THAT MY WHOLE BUDGET WENT TO SOME BINS)
Seriously though, if anyone has a version of these bins for cheaper (and not a shelf divider or a pantry size) please comment them below because it was a struggle & I’d love to help others find this kind of thing at a more affordable price. Okay moving on to the other problems I finally fixed (and for actually very cheap)!!!
The Shoe Problem – SOLVED
I have to give a HUGE shoutout to commenter, Ijeoma who gave me the idea to mount some of my everyday shoes on the wall. This has helped keep them off the ground in such a big way! Plus now it’s so much easier to just grab what we need and go. 10/10 love it, plus the over-the-door/wall mount shoe rack was only $20 so it was a VERY easy solution. Also a big shoutout to commenter, Allison who gave me the challenge of pairing down to only my matching black hangers – challenge accepted!! I ended up donating a bunch of clothes and shoes and I am SO happy to have less things. Now as a reminder here’s what our shoe situation looked like before:
And here’s what it looks like now!
Also, you might remember, all of my shoes were in this little hiding spot in the corner of the closet…well let’s take a look at where we’re at now:
No More Secret Messy Shoe Hiding Spot – Solved
Here’s the dealey-o. The shoe rack on the wall only holds 18 pairs of shoes (which is certainly not enough for 2 people) and it also only holds tennis shoes & sandals. AKA our more ‘everyday’ shoe items. SO WHERE THE HECK DO BOOTS AND HEELS GO? My answer: on a separate shoe rack in the back corner of the closet 🙂 You might remember, I originally had 2 shoe racks side by side on the ground back here, but once we put the shoe rack up on the wall and the hamper in the back I had an extra one I didn’t know what to do with. I ended up putting one shoe rack behind the other for the ‘hardly ever worn shoes I can’t get rid of (aka fancy heels).’ It ended up working out perfectly because there’s room if I A. ever buy new pairs of shoes and B. it ended up lining up perfectly with the hamper. This leads me to my next exciting solution:
The Hamper And Bag Storage Problem – Solved
So you might remember originally, we had a hook situation that just wasn’t working out. It looked a little something like this:
Originally we had 2 hooks side by side: one for the hamper and one for bags, but the hamper got too heavy and the hook fell out of the wall so our laundry’s been living on the floor ever since (really cool, I know). We were in need of a hamper but just didn’t have the space for a big one, so we ended up doing some layout changes and I found a pull out hamper that I put in the back of the closet like so:
I love this hamper SO MUCH. The functionality of this works so much better and for only $60 it beats the heck out of doing a custom pull-out. I love this hamper for 3 huge reasons: 1. It has separate places for lights and darks so we don’t have to separate them out anymore 2. They pull out so you don’t have to see the top of the gross laundry and 3. They have a little shelf on top that was the perfect size for our weekender/duffle bags that we’ve had a hard time figuring out where to store. I AM IN LOVE. Oh and if you’re curious, yes the pull-out bags do pull all the way out so you can pick them up and bring them over to the washer/dryer which is awesome. This was probably some of the best $$ spent. It has made our lives SO much easier.
I know what you’re wondering…what happened to the rest of the bags???
See that lil bin in the corner? Those are all my bags!! Truly I rarely use these bags and they were renting some PRECIOUS real estate they could no longer pay. Well, they got evicted and we moved them to the back (which I am so happy about). Originally, I thought I would need to build a shelf for them but for cost reasons & the fact that I had so much more space once I got the clear stacking bins from the container store, this ended up being the perfect spot for them.
I’ll be honest that coming up with an organizational system for our rental closet is probably one of my lower priorities in life right now. Sure, the mess is annoying but I mostly wear athleisure (peloton + writing from home + site visits + dog walking = no outfits) so I’m not as annoyed with it as most people would be. I was more ashamed to show you:) So honestly I didn’t spend too much time on the front end ‘designing’ or coming up with a strategy. I’m sure there are ways this could have been done better, but the 2 hours of brain space that I could have spent on it was spent on much more pressing is
I know that I’ve published myself in a bikini on the internet but this is far more embarrassing. No system = chaos. It’s a big closet, too so there is a decent amount of potential.
FYI I had shipped most of my ‘city’ clothes and shoes from LA directly up here (not to Lake Arrowhead) so I recently unpacked them and was appalled at the sheer amount of clothes and shoes I have right now. I did a quick purge (my sister is begging for hand-me-downs) and it helped.
Apparently, this is where Charlie keeps the soccer ball. Sure. So two days ago I went to Target and did some quick purchasing.
HOW SATISFYING. This is now Brian’s side (rod-speaking) with his T-shirts and sweaters in the hanging canvas shelf and his button-downs on the left. We have a dresser in our bedroom that is mostly his, so this is just a small amount of his clothes. I could certainly have folded his stuff better, but I simply didn’t feel like it. The jeans up top are the ones that I like enough to keep even though they don’t currently fit me. I figure I’ll give myself till fall to see if I can get into them again and if not, SEE YA.
I bought a couple more of those wood bins which I strangely love. They are half bin/half shelf, so they stack, are easily accessible, and keep the mess inside. I use these for my workout clothes (which I wear all the time because I also walk the dogs 2 hours a day). So from top left we have workout shorts, pajama sets, workout pants, and workout T-shirts. P.S. I think I’m the only person who bought a Peloton in 2022 (post-pandemic sales have plummeted) after using my neighbors since September and loving it. I’m trying out almost every instructor to do a post about ‘my favorite instructors with SPECIFIC class recommendations’ (i.e. if I’m in a bad mood I know I can do ________ and the music makes me so happy, etc).
ALSO, I stuffed my tall boots with rolled-up magazines and it changed my life.
I got an over-the-door shoe holder to get 1/2 of those “city shoes” off the ground. Such a quick/fast solution that took away my shoe shame.
The biggest difference is obviously the sweater storage in the hanging canvas shelves. I LOVE THESE and I’m so glad that I didn’t buy a piece of garbage dresser (fun design fact – cheap dressers are the one piece of furniture that I really try not to buy because they simply don’t hold up long-term). I scoured Craigslist and FB marketplace for a couple of weeks to see if I could find a small dresser for in here, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything ugly or expensive unless I saw myself using it at the farm. So these shelves are GREAT because I know that I can use them in a kids’, guest, or linen closet. Also, I organized by color which is ALWAYS satisfying.
I am VERY glad that the girls forced me to do this closet challenge. All it took was one stop (Target) for the hanging shelves, bins, shoe holder, and those black velvet hangers. It gave me an excuse to listen to a podcast (I started Broken Harts – OOF) and I now carry around less closet shame. I probably went over the budget, but who’s counting? (answer: Ryann) 🙂
Large Stackable Wood Bins x 4 – $80
Over The Door Shoe Organizer – $17
Hanging Fabric Storage Organizer x 4 – $48
GRAND TOTAL: $145
Ok, that’s all! Are you inspired? Got any more fun ideas? Would you like more of these “real-life” budget org challenges? Let’s chat.
Opening Image Credit: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: A Bedroom & Closet Reveal with Target’s Made by Design Line
Love this post, thank you for the honesty and closet-humility ! I’m still not sure why drawers are not a “thing” in the US though…
These ladies did a great job! Drawers are very much a thing in the US, though! I think they explained in the first post that they either did not have room for dressers in their bedrooms, or were simply not showing dressers. This was a closet challenge. I could not live with just my tiny closets if I did not have a huge dresser with 6 drawers in my bedroom!
I think the question to most non-US minds is why don’t you have chests of drawers inside the closets, seeing as they’re all so big? We usually have wardrobes (either fitted or freestanding) and they usually have built-in drawers or someone will have put a chest of drawers in the fitted ones if it didn’t come with them. I understand that Emily doesn’t want to buy cheap drawers (I assume that’s what you mean by ‘dresser’ – a dresser in the UK is what you guys call a hutch, I think, but here a hutch is a thing you keep a rabbit in, and a dresser is a large set of shelves, often with a cabinet underneath, which lives in a farmhouse kitchen and displays china) because she’s moving, but if you aren’t moving, couldn’t you get a vintage chest of drawers and keep it in the closet? It would look much tidier than lots of hanging clothes that don’t need hung up and bins full of folded things that only stay nice when you keep on top of folding. Most people here would only hang formal clothes and anything made of jersey/sweatshirting/denim/knitwear/lycra would be in drawers.
Mallory has drawers in her closet. Personally I wouldn’t put a dresser in my closet (even if it fit, which it doesn’t) because it would take up height needed for hanging clothes. Right now I have clothes hanging and a two tiered shoe rack below them, which barely fits. Maybe your hanging rods are mounted taller so that you can actually hang up things above a dresser? Personally if I had the space I’d have everything hanging and keep only socks, bras, and underwear in drawers. My dresser (which lives in my bedroom and doubles as a nightstand) is a bit of a black hole and I roll every item before putting it in drawers to keep it from wrinkling.
I’m not sure why drawers aren’t more utilized. I think maybe they’re expensive to add later? And most construction for the past 50 years hasn’t included them except in super fancy/ custom homes. We’ve always shoved a set of drawers in our closet, even just regular reach-in, not walk-in closets. We’ll be building in drawers once we’re somewhere more permanent!
I also think if you only hang clothes across one direction in a small closet, rather than an L, it helps a lot.
Yeah, I think every closet shown here is in a rental so it makes sense why someone can’t just install drawers or maybe doesn’t want to buy a big dresser that may or may not fit in their next apartment. I definitely avoid big/heavy furniture items whenever possible because I know I’ll have to move it.
Here to say that I have always lived in the US on the east coast (NY and Boston)and have often had a dresser in my closet. Right now I live in a house with a basic “reach in”closet and have a dresser in there – it fits right under my shirts and adds tons of space. Would also. like to add that we keep all shoes in a front hall closet near the door we come in, except my slippers which stay in the bedroom – I think there are plenty of Americans who don’t wear shoes in the house and keep shoes near front door.
Drawers for closets that are built in are pretty expensive and the sizes can be extremely limited. You wouldn’t be able to do any sort of built in drawers in a closet for under 150. Maybe a small dresser like another person said. I’ve done that in my one closet but the other one doesn’t have space for both long hanging stuff and drawers. I do like plastic drawers from Muji or those wire ones from ikea,
They are a thing. I have two dressers in my bedroom, and one closet. Closet door is about 24-28 inches wide and 24 inches deep. The closet itself is probably 48 inches wide. But how would you fit drawers there, and how would you open them? The wood and space between would take away space too, and we do need space to hang coats, dressers, etc. My plan was to remove the dressers and but a 3 door PAX wardrobe with a rod and drawers instead. So essentially going vertical on one wall. Pandemic happened and I cancelled my order as it was pushed back significantly several times. Anyway, my closet has extra shelves.. we have 1 rod, two long shelves above it, and two low shelves on one side. That helps. But I still prefer to hang things after wash. They don’t wrinkle as much and don’t require ironing when they hang.
Maybe it is an LA/CA thing not to have dressers. Everyone I know on the East Coast has them.
OMG I am beyond excited for a Peloton post. I am addicted and can’t get enough, it has got me in the best shape of my life. Good job with the closets!
Great ideas here!
I’m an American living in Europe, and it now strikes me as odd that many Americans keep shoes in closets along with their clothes. In Europe shoes are usually kept in a front room near the door, removed immediately upon entering the home, and don’t come anywhere NEAR a person’s wardrobe. Maybe they’d be in the same closet with coats, but never with actual freshly laundered clothes. Shoes are put on only when about to exit the house and clean slippers/house shoes are worn inside. The European way strikes me as more hygienic and less stinky (I remember that stinky American closet shoe-y smell).
Completely agree with you! I also want to add that in Muslim countries, as well as in Japan, it is necessary to take off your shoes before you enter cafes, shops, temples, massage rooms. This is an age-old tradition, which is explained by the fact that in these countries it is believed that along with ordinary street dirt, energy dirt is also brought in.
Also true for a lot of Asian homes. The thought of shoes in my house feels gross. The ground outside isn’t clean so trekking that through my house just seems like a mess that eventually is going to need to be vacuumed. This does lead to the issue of shoe storage in the front of your house though (growing up, we typically entered from the garage door so shoes went in the garage).
Personally I keep the two pairs I wear most often next to the door but they’re just in the hallway on the floor – there’s nowhere to put them away. As someone who has lived in both Europe and the US I can also confirm that my shoes get less dirty when I am in suburban American environments and we are driving most places. Now I live in a big city and use public transit so I definitely leave shoes at the door but it may or may not be a concern for others. I do take good care of my shoes though – I clean them regularly and none of them have a smell so that’s one less thing I need to worry about.
What do you do with shoes that you only rarely wear, like multiple pairs of fancy heels? I’m an American who never wears shoes in my house, but I keep my everyday shoes by the front door, and the rest in my bedroom closet. When I want to wear the others, I’ll carry them to the front door and put them on there. (Maybe the issue is that we Americans just have too many shoes. I could definitely cut back on my collection.)
Nope, my closets don’t smell. We have seasons here, so shoes that are still in good condition go back to their boxes in my closet and wait out. Shoes that get used a lot go in the front closet for the season. My family doesn’t wear shoes at home. If my shoes get stinky they get replaced, they don’t get stored in my closet.
I have my shoes in a fabric storage hanger on the back of the inside of the closet door, like in Emily’s example. (I have 2 doors on my closet, so 2 hangers worth plus heels are kept in shoeboxes on a higher shelf). I don’t LOVE having them so close to my clothes, but I make sure the shoes are clean before they go in there. Also it makes it easier to plan an outfit and see what shoes match without having to run back and forth from the bedroom to another closet elsewhere in the apartment. In a perfect world I’d have a custom walk in closet, and shoes would be 10 feet away from the clothes, but still in the same closet.
Love this post, thanks!
I loved this post! In magazines and on social media, “after” shots of organization projects are often so unrealistic (like, yeah, my closet would look great if I got rid of most of the stuff in it, but that’s not what I want to do!). I appreciate that these closets still look like normal people closets, just organized.
It would be fun to have a follow up a few months from now to see how these systems are working.
Also, I’d love a pantry version!
+1 for the pantry version, though I imagine maybe LA homes are lacking in a proper pantry?
I bet many LA homes are lacking a proper pantry, but so is my Denver home, but we still have to keep our food somewhere 😆 A pantry/food storage organization post would be super helpful!
I’d wager a guess that most rentals in the US (in larger cities at least) are lacking a proper pantry so that’s what I’d love advice on! I use a base cabinet in my apartment as the “pantry.”
I’m using the term “pantry here” very loosely to mean “wherever you put your food.”
I know Emily had a pantry series for the mountain house and that pantry looked like a dream but I’d love to see food/kitchen storage for those of us with less than ideal rental-type situations.
Maybe but same so I’d especially love that!
While I could seriously benefit from a big overhaul in food storage, I’m an avid cook and baker with hundreds of cookbooks, countless flours and grains with condiments and spices to match. Probably not the target audience 🙃
Emily already did a whole kitchen organisation post from the Mountain House.
Check it out. It’s good. Right down to kitchen drawer organisation!
I appreciate posts like this so much! When I see highly stylized homes it’s hard to understand how to get there from a lived in, messy beginning. Posts like this give insight into the process which is so helpful as I can actually do something with that information!
This specific post is super timely, I recently bought a house which has a lovely dressing room but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to organize it! Now I have some good ideas (and a ballpark of how much it’ll cost to get there 😊)
This is the definition of what I am looking for. I am instantly inspired to go to Target and get a few things to organize my closet. I have two packs of felt hangers that have sat on the rack unused because I simply did not want to take the time to switch out hangers. Friday night planned; me in my closet with a glass of wine.
Mallory, I would put a piece of fabric behind your shoe bin that hangs on the wall. The wall will become black soon enough with the shoes sitting against it and it you hung something like a sarong it would save the wall!
I enjoyed this SO much. Well done ladies! All these “Afters” are way more satisfying to me than something more “produced.” This is real life! I would be happy to wake up to any of those closets.
Jess – yours in particular makes me so happy to look at! Those striped bins are lovely!
Please YES more posts like this!!!
Suggestions: kitchens, WFH area, bathrooms. Honestly each of these would be a win-win: you get a happier space to use, we get fun relatable content. If this sounds overwhelming, maybe for each area, only two or three of you do it? Ie you each do only the areas you most want to do.
Anyways thanks to you all for your participation in this! You are wonderful!
P.S. also Emily – your approach was great. You didn’t overthink it, you just jumped in and made it better. That’s inspiring to everyone but especially those who are also in short-term homes!
Anybody have a working link to Jess’ round bins?
Oh I’m stupid…the round bins are an option in the link. Would delete my question if I could.
You’re not. Everyone makes mistakes. Be kind to yourself, 🙂
This was another home run post for me! The best part is seeing four completely different situations side by side. I feel like I got so much more by having that wider range of items to be stored, closet types, and storage approaches. It’s much easier to mix and match for my particular situation (both now and in the future) when it’s not just a single persons perspective. I think that’s actually one of the biggest strengths of your organization: all of the contributors bring their own unique perspective, and it seems like the team has purposefully sought to highlight diversity. So many places on the internet seem to enforce a much more rigid sense of a particular brand and visual style.
Would definitely love to see more on this topic, and it would be fun to see a different selection of contributors each time. I really, really appreciate your willingness to share what can be some very personal spaces (I hate for even guests to see our disaster of a coat closet).
Loved this post. So practical, great ideas!
Oh, I have been the victim of “store them at my parents’ house” for decades! Youngest “child” is 44 and we still have her skis in our garage. Just got rid of the bike rack last year! lol
I have been waiting for this post since the intro post went up! Like seriously I was hoping you’d all finish before the end of January and share the results. Haha! I did a similar closet refresh, though I was starting with an empty space and clothes in boxes and I have to say this project gave me the energy boost to complete it. My closet now looks similar to Emily’s – no frills, but things are tidy and put away – and it’s been such a pleasure getting dressed (hell, even putting laundry away). I bet you’re all feeling the benefits of an improved space.
I had to post that last comment before I was done reading it all. Nice job, y’all! It feels so much better when things look neat and tidy and are easy to find! You can’t do much about not having enough closet space. Thank goodness there are so many products out there to help. I’m still hoping to pare down to my ideal (from a lady I used to work for), of having only 6-7 outfits at a time, and getting rid of things I don’t wear at the end of the warm and cold seasons. That would be the ultimate freedom, to me. No matter how many clothes I have, I always wear the same 5 things over and over. I forget about the rest- might as well give them away.
CUT TO SIZE POOL NOODLES FOR BOOTS!! EASY AND INEXPENSIVE!! 🙂
Oops!! Sorry about the all caps! Not yelling at you! LOL
I just figured you were really, really excited, and, with an idea like that, I don’t blame you at all!
It works great at keeping them upright, but then I had three dead spiders in an unworn pair of boots that had been kept conveniently upright for them to crawl into… now I keep them flopped over on purpose. I still get the creeps thinking about it!!
Just a tip – depending on the style of boots, keeping them stuffed – whether with newspaper or POOL NOODLE (lol) – can help to protect the zips. I had a both boots in a pair break at the zips after leaving them flopped over through summer and my repair guy gave me a lecture. I’m pretty sure the creepy crawlies will find a way in no matter what you do!
I’ve been using the same four Real Simple magazines in my tall boots for 8 years, but I respect people who actually make a custom solution like this, lol.
Even better than plastic is usjng old cardboard tubes from wrapping paper, etc.
My husband and I share a pretty petite walk in closet. For better storage, and fewer bins, we bought the largest IKEA dresser that would fit into one corner of the closet. The drawers hold lots of clothing, that we fold, and store “Kondo Style”. Which to me means, folded compactly, and stored kind of like files in a cabinet… Upright. That way, you can see what you want, and remove it without dislodging a whole stack of folded items. It’s kind of like using packing cubes, in that you can really squash things in. If they’re neatly folded, they stay wrinkle free.
we use the top of the dresser for a small mirror, some jewelry, and a multi drawer eyeglass storage bin for both of us. We have a few little pieces of art on the wall too.
We are lucky that we have a second closet, where we can store out of season clothes easily.
This sounds so good!
I would love more posts like this! Beautiful reveals are fun, but things like this feel so much more attainable and relatable to my own life, plus it makes me want to work on my own closets. I love the vulnerability and honesty of the befores (and also loved that we had an intro post so we could follow along at home if wanted, and also so we could look forward to the afters). And I loved seeing the real afters, and seeing exactly how much budget allocated in which ways help get to the different afters. I could see posts like that for kitchen cupboards, bathrooms, anything really. I think my favorite part of this was actually not clothes at all, but seeing the power of pulling books out of boxes and putting them on shelves. they look so intentional now, and good!
As a fellow renter I loved this post because it has tips I can actually use and closets similar in size to mine which when I looked for ideas and inspiration before was actually hard to find.
Agreed. It’s hard to believe but my closet is actually smaller than any of these, so most influencer/blogger organization tips are useless, to say the least.
Emma, Muji sells these like little half sized drawers and fileing boxes that work well for really tiny closets 😉
Just dropping in an option to Mallory’s stacking sweater bins. Not acrylic but gives you the same storage/stacking/visibility. Now that I’m inspired, let’s see if I can get my own closets together, ugh.
Pinkpum Stackable Plastic Storage Basket-Foldable Closet Organizers Storage Bins 2 Pack-Drawer Shelf Storage Container for Wardrobe Cupboard Kitchen Bathroom Office (2L) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FJ7H318/ref=cm_sw_r_awdo_navT_g_EXKG2K3QY7C2J9737VK6
Very nice! Ryan, I would strongly advise you to get to Home Depot and put in a second shelf above the current shelf for your rarely used items. It will keep much better than bins IMO. And simple brackets and a simple shelf will be pretty cheap – landlord is likely not to even notice – oh we always had two shelves there or want to keep it.
Aaagg I lost my post!! Basically just saying great job! But I think you could save yourself a lot of headaches by getting thrifted dressers for the bedroom. If you utilize wall space, you shouldn’t lose much room to the dresser. Stuff hidden in overhead bins always ended up collecting dust for me… I just use the shelf in my closet for sewing stuff or purses, stuff that’s either visible or I don’t mind digging a bit for. Just a thought to make your closets even better!
Y’all have inspired me to organize my own closet!
And, I would absolutely devour a blog post on not-ugly laundry hampers. I don’t have a closet big enough to hold a hamper, so it has to be out in the room … and I want it to look good! Help me, Emily and team, you’re my only hope.
This isn’t going to help you if your room is already fully furnished but I had space for a bench at the end of my bed that perfectly fit 3 Target baskets underneath. I use one basket for my pjs and the other 2 for light or dark laundry
I want to share these Target labels for organization help. There is a clip of sorts in the back and the work on a variety of storage containers. I have them clipped to fabric cubby bins, elfa drawers, and in one case I use one upside down on the rim of a box lid! They have simple paper inserts that you can flip over or replace to reuse the label.
A couple of years ago I painted the interior of my closet a bright white, then sponged on polka dots. It looked cheerful and complemented the newly painted bedroom. Then my husband installed a closet system of high/low rods and shelves, which I loaded it with clothes and bins. And the dots totally disappeared. What a sad case of over-improving.
I hope you sometimes catch a glimpse of them and they still make you happy!
Target has some new great acrylic bins that are $12. Not completely open, but might meet the needs of some!
Great job everyone!
I think what I loved best about this post was Emily’s “I didn’t feel like folding the jeans better” comment. So refreshingly honest and real. As a working mom of 2, I really connect to the idea of having a limited number of f*cks and choosing wisely how I invest them. A reasonable amount of closet cleanup/organization within a short window of time is so much more relatable to me than a perfectly curated capital-w Wardrobe where it looks like nothing ever gets worn or used!
I also wanted to say that I clicked on the bikini post in the link, and I sincerely hope you are still wearing the red bikini because you looked amazing in it. Your body shape is similar to mine and it was so unbelievably helpful to see how incredible you looked. I’m often critical of myself in a way that I would never be of someone else – and you reminded me that I, too, look far more smokin’ hot than I give myself credit for. 😉
LOVE!! Real life, real budget, and really helpful! Would love to see more of this type of post.
Something small that I did but really upped our closet was buying nice hangers that all matched. It sounds dumb and a waste of money but honestly it makes the clothes look better and more organized! This post was fun! Thank you!!
Love this! I am *almost* done with my bedroom renovation/makeover, but I don’t have the energy or the funds to fully makeover the closet. It’s a walk-in but has a slanted ceiling. I deep cleaned the floor, and threw a coat of paint on the walls and ceiling (the lath and plaster walls and ceiling have some pretty significant cracks, but they shouldn’t be an issue anytime soon), and am now trying to maximize storage space. I’ve been staying in a different bedroom for the past year, and my biggest issue is that all of the clothes I would typically keep in my dresser (drawers for you non-US folks) don’t fit in the one I have and I haven’t been able to find one I like and can afford. So I think I’m going to get 2 tall cube towers and put them in the corner of the closet to store my pants and sweaters. It won’t be beautiful, but I think it will be very functional.
Not quite sure why Mallory didn’t put up a second shelf above the existing one and used shelf dividers instead of bins on both levels but huge kudos to all participants. My own closets are still in the same sorry state they were when this was rolled out last month and vowed to participate: all my things nicely organized for someone goes off to work and wants to look stylish. These days, I just keep a few scarves in my Zoom-dining room 🙃
Love it! Just as an additional suggestion for folks, Muji sells some really great clear plastic drawers in a huge range of sizes that can stack or be low. Also a bunch of their office storage things (like half height file storage boxes) can actually work really well as bins in a pinch. I’ve been working on a similar project myself for like months now because I can’t make decisions to save my life haha.
Loveee an open stackable bin like the one Emily mentioned. And folding your cloths like Marie condo style is really worth it to make space and to find your stuff.
Clear boxes are a brilliant idea.
Definitely would enjoy more budget storage and honestly Ryann, yours was so relatable and I’m feeling kinda validated that you weren’t able to just make magical closet space appear. ‘Cause I’ve never been able to either.
I am 5’1” and a little foldable step stool has made a huge difference in my closet utility because now I can reach the shelf above my hanging rod. That plus installing an extra shelf might help several of you ladies who have some vertical space still left at the top of your closets!
Love this post so much! The closet shame is real!! It’s inspiring to see how few organizational items you need to buy to get it in shape. Now for the shame hoarder room most of us have…
Emily, I also bought a peloton in December 2021 so I am here for your recommendations! I am in looooove. I had been an app user for almost a year and a half so I suspected I would love it even more once I got the bike, and I was right. Looking forward to that post!
So excited the wall mounted shoe rack worked for your closet, Mallory! I have extra entryway closets in my house so actually mounted two racks in one of them and now have all my shoes living there. Shoutout to @citysage for placing the idea on my timeline!
LOVE the real life content!!!👍 So great to see “Done is better than perfect” in action.
Fundamentally, though, the real issue is #too.much.stuff.
I agree with others regarding more use of a chest of drawers, instead of hanging, especially for tees and the like.
Can’t say I’ve mastered the Konfo-style storage though. It’s an aspiration.
💥 I’D LOVE TO SEE A REAL-LIFE CAPSULE WARDROBE BY A FEW TEAM MEMBERS.
THIS is true grit useful on sooo many levels! Less stuff, quality vs dastfashion, classics vs fashion-victim, plus clothes we actually WEAR instead of a storage conundrum.
Rusty, I totally agree with you except I do think that sometimes the capsule wardrobe tends to be a bit poverty tax-esq. and I worry about mastering that balance in terms of representation on a budget post.
Yes, please do more. Definitely inspired by this.
I absolutely LOVE that shelving idea at the bottom of Emily’s closet where the shoes are on display and there is that empty space above it. Looks like a work of art with the blank space between that and the clothes above it.
I like all of the containers too!! Need to get me some.
All of you did a great job and it must feel so good!!! I know how calming and peaceful it feels to get it all orderly!!! : )
So proud of all of you. I have a weird hall closet for my entire wardrobe. The last three feet is 24 inches wide so I have to wedge myself in there to get anything in or out. Obviously, this is where I store clothes I seldom need. I do have a tall dresser that holds a ton, double rods and shoe cubbies that handle most of my issues. Only my winter coats live elsewhere.
I loved this post and its “realness” and enjoyed the before and afters even though they weren’t perfectly styled and shot.