Organizing and remodeling my closet to better suit my capsule wardrobe and my lifestyle!
Pinterest and Instagram are full of dream closet images, and most of them are full-sized rooms converted into in-home boutiques complete with island, chaise, chandelier, faux fur rug, displays, artwork, vanity, custom lighting, glass-front doors, washer and dryer, and possibly butler service.
I’ve been telling you for years I have my dream closet because everything in it is my favorite! And it’s true. No matter how beautiful, well-organized, and Pinterest-worthy a space may be, if the items in it don’t make you look and feel amazing, it’s not really a dream closet, is it?
We moved into our dream house last fall, and one thing that has been a challenge is getting my closet organized in a way that works for me. I geek out on efficiency and am constantly rearranging things to get the most efficient and useful flow and use of space. This house is nearly 30 years old, and the built-in shelving was nice, but not efficient.
When my husband told me his idea for my birthday present was a custom closet redo, I nearly expired right there. To say I was thrilled would be an understatement. It was something I really wanted but hadn’t mentioned. With the other renovations and furniture purchases, I had mentally put it some years in the future.
Today I’m taking you through what my closet looked like before, what it looks like in this middle stage, what I want from my closet, and what the next steps are.
This article and the video below are taken from the Stunning Style Weekly Style Snack! Join us Wednesdays at 1pm ET on the Stunning Style Facebook page or the FREE Capsule Wardrobes for Classic Style Facebook Group.
I fully recognize I have more closet space than many people in the world, and I’m very blessed to have it, and it’s also smaller than most of what you would see on Pinterest. We had his and hers closets with a wall dividing them. They were narrow and deep at five feet wide and 10 feet deep each.
The first problem I had with my closet is I think mine was constructed for a giant. I’m 5’6”, and the rods on my side were so high I had to step on my tiptoes, reach as high as I could and do a little hop to get a hanger on or off. I even had a foldable stepstool in there to get to my things. Since most of the hanging space was up high, most of my clothes were really hard to get to. Adam’s were at a normal height, but mine had more shelving for shoes and more hanging space, so I chose that side.
I found myself not putting my clothes away because they were so hard to hang up, and that meant my closet and bedroom were often messy.
One of the rods in both of our closets went in front of the windows, which have plantation shutters, so we couldn’t open the shutters or the windows. Plus, I didn’t want anything hanging in front of it because the window is pretty.
The Wrong Shelves
The shelves in my closet were either made for the shoes of the giant who lived there, or not made for shoes. They were deep, so I stacked my shoes one in front of the other. They were also very spaced out, so my husband also added a shelf in between each one so I could put more pairs. Shoes are my weakness. Always have been, always will be.
Overall the design was very inefficient, and I had a hard time organizing my things in a way I could easily use them. I keep all seasons of my clothes in one closet, but with the super-high rods, each season I was rotating the current season to be on the low rods for easy access, which is just one more thing I don’t have time to add to my list.
What I Want / What I’m Getting
- Proper shoe shelves and enough of them
- Sweater storage
- Efficient use of space
- Normal heights and easy access to my clothes
- Easy to put away all of my clothes, including swimsuits, etc., in my closet so we can get rid of our two dressers
- Jewelry storage
- A place for everything
- Not crowded
- To leave my windows uncovered and be able to open them
- Light, airy, clean
- Not crowded
What I’m Not Getting
- Glass front doors – the space is too narrow for doors so we will have open shelving
- Butler service – Maybe someday one of my kids will volunteer as thanks for all the years I’ve been their butler
- A bench or seat to put my shoes on – I have one in my bedroom, and that’s plenty
- Mirror – but I have one in my bedroom
What I Don’t Want
- Chandeliers – the space is too narrow, and they aren’t my style
- An island – I don’t see the purpose
- A chaise – I don’t want to lounge in my closet
- A faux fur rug – I love the beautiful wood floors and the smooth surface feels cleaner and less cluttered in that narrow space.
- Custom lighting – With the windows and the light above, I have enough light
- Art work – the clothes I love are the beauty in my closet
- Vanity – I don’t want to do my makeup and hair in my closet
- Washer and dryer
How We Are Doing It
We consulted a professional closet design company, and they created the layout and design of the space. After a home visit where she measured everything, some ideas back and forth and a visit to the design center, we finalized the design.
In order to get maximum efficiency and to get all the things we wanted, we knocked out the wall separating the two closets to make it one closet. Of course Adam will tell you it’s because I was using all of my space and he was using hardly any of his, so I’m taking over his space (and….he’s not wrong).
Repair the drywall in our closet – currently in progress
Paint the closet – coming soon.
We have to get the floors repaired in our closet because they were laid around the built-in design that was previously there – next month.
Closet install – mid-August. Wait What? Why is it going to be so long? Because it’s not the only project and this one can’t be done until the others are finished. We had a silent leak under the kitchen cabinets, and we didn’t realize it until the wood floors started buckling. They had to cut out a huge section in the kitchen, and now they have to refinish the whole main floor. Since that is already happening, they will be able to repair the floor in our closets at the same time, and they were going to have to refinish in there anyway.
But we have waited to repair the floors until the other construction in the house is done, which will hopefully be early next month. And then the floors will take a while. Once they are done they have to cure for a few weeks before we install the closets, which puts us at mid-August.
What Are We Doing Without a Closet for 3 Months?
My summer wardrobe fits on a rolling rack I already had, sitting in our bedroom in front of the dresser, and Adam’s fits on another small rack I had. The rest of my clothes are hanging in my office closet, and my sweaters are boxed up in the cedar closet. My shoes are lined up in the basement, and other stuff like baskets is just stacked in our room in the meantime. Is it ideal? No. Is it livable? Certainly. Is it worth it? Definitely. I’m willing to live with the short-term inconvenience for the long-term benefits!