What’s the best way to manage the limited space without having to do renovation work on the house?
Clients frequently ask me this questions and I solve this challenge with a few different organizing tricks.
One of the most common tips I recommend is to convert your single rod into a double rod by adding a drop down hanging rod.
These are available at most department stores, are super cost effective and do not require tools to assemble.
Once you have doubled your hanging space, make sure to look up and see what type of extra space you have above your shelf. You can easily add another free-standing shelf on top of your shelf for more storage area. I have used the inexpensive shoe shelves to add more shelf space above the traditional single shelf.
If you don’t want to install another shelf, use containers that are more tall than wide to use as much space above as possible.
If you have a two sliding door closet with pockets of unused space on either side, purchase a shoe carousel that secures itself floor to ceiling on a rod.
The seemingly useless pocket of space to the right or left of your sliding door can then be used for shoe storage.
If you don’t have space in the corner for this solution, use hanging shoe bags which will drop down off your hanging rod to hold 10 pairs of shoes in a 4-5 inch area. I once used 4 of these to organize 40 pairs of shoes. The hanging rod space required was less than 20 inches!
If these tips don’t quite finish your organizing closet project, leave a comment or question below and I will offer you even more solutions based on what you are up against.
Thanks for reading!
Use this 7 step process to organize and create a toy closet within your hall closet. Even if you don’t have kids, you can use the same process for whatever you decide to do with your spare closet.
1. Gather It All Together
Gather all of the toys or sports equipment that you wish to store in this area. Sort these items into categories. Pile like items with like, give or throw away all of items that your children no longer play with and then take stock of what you need to store.
2. Determine What Storage to Use
For toys with multiple parts like Lego bricks, consider buying plastic bins with lids that children can easily remove and put back on. Place all Lego items into one bin, with a little room to spare to serve as a guide for when your children request more Lego parts.
3. Sort Like with Like
Make sure that board games are intact and stack these boxes together. A large rubber band around each box will save you hours of frustration sorting spilled boxes. Stuffed animals are best stored together in their own bin or deep basket. Once all toys are gathered, you will have a better idea of what type of storage containers you need. For instance, if the collection is mainly board games and stuffed animals, then you will need a small shelf unit and a large basket to hold the toys. If you discover that you have multiple loose items, you might want to incorporate a drawer unit into the closet.
4. Choose the Proper Containers
There are many cost effective and efficient plastic storage units on the market. These plastic solutions will help organize your closet without requiring a construction worker. One of the most versatile units is the rolling drawer bin. These white and clear plastic units feature three to four drawers and they can be stacked if you need more room. You should be able to fit one of these into the closet with room to spare on one side for other containers. For instance, you can stack two to three bins on top of each other on the floor beside this unit.
If you need to store many sports related items, tall kitchen trashcans make super containers for bats, gloves, balls, etc.
5. Make Use of the Side Walls
On the side walls you can install hooks at “kid height” to hold bags for separate projects. These hooks could also be a landing zone for backpacks when your children return from school. Keep things at their level so small children can hang up their coats and grab their backpacks. Install these hanging rods and hooks about 2 1/2 to 3 feet high.
6. Consider Adding a Shelf
Another option is to buy a small shelf unit that will fit inside your closet. There are numerous shapes and sizes available to accommodate almost any size closet. Most are kits that you can easily assemble yourself. Buy the tallest one available to optimize the vertical space within your closet. Stack plastic bins on the shelves to organize loose items. Usually the shelves are only 12 inches deep. This means you will have floor space in front and off to the sides for small trashcans to hold larger loose toys.
7. Develop Good Habits
Once this closet is reconfigured, teach your children that this is their own special closet, built just for them. Because it is their special place, they are the ones responsible for returning toys there at the end of playtime.
Even if a kid’s toy closet is not your final outcome, it pays to get everyone in the house on board with what ever the new improved closet is designed for. This way, you will hopefully never again find strange unrelated items stuffed into this space.
There is no one perfect closet design. If you are designing a toy closet, your storage needs depend on the age of your children and their interests. If you are simply designing a sports closet for the entire family, you will need flexibility because interests like sports come and go like the wind! Keep in mind that as your interests change, you can easily redesign the space with different plastic storage configurations. With plastic containers and a little creativity, you can create effective holding zones for almost any item.
Here’s an easy way to organize your jewelry. Simply buy a fishing tackle box with dividers, and add plain white rice (not quick cook rice because of extra dust). Move the dividers based on the size of your jewelry. Once it is set up you can open the lid and see exactly what you have at a quick glance. If you have lots of jewelry, you can buy multiple boxes and store them on top of each other with labels on the side. This is what my friend Brianna does with her jewelry. Isn’t she smart?
Situation: This client had a lovely walk in closet that had been built onto her bedroom as an addition. Although it is a large closet, it became disorganized and mismanaged and ended up housing things that did not belong, such as holiday decorations.
The client’s shoe collection ended up on the floor in piles which made it difficult to get into the closet to find what she was looking for.
Challenge: We needed to fit all of her clothes, shoes, jewelry, and handbags into the closet while keeping everything organized and accessible.
Solution: We sorted through all of her clothes and purged the ones that didn’t fit, or no longer fit her lifestyle. We did the same with the shoes and purged all but a few pairs of heels. As we get older, we are less likely to wear heels or uncomfortable shoes, and this was the case with this client. She had clothes in dry cleaner bags, which made them difficult to identify. Dry cleaner bags trap moisture and keep fabric from breathing, so we got rid of the bags. We lined up the clothes by type and moved formal clothes to a closet in another bedroom to make more space for her daily wardrobe. The holiday decorations and other things that did not belong were moved to the garage. We purged so many clothes that she ended up with a whole row of empty space, which will give her plenty of room when she buys something new.
The client kept many shoes in shoeboxes so she could easily identify them, and the shoes that she wears most often were moved to a hanging shoe organizer. We also utilized a built in bench in the closet for the shoes she wears most often.
We moved her jewelry and handbags to allow more space to get into the closet, and hung her jewelry on a hanging organizer on the wall. Her belts are all hung together, and everything is categorized and easily accessible. Now this client can shop her closet and find what she needs.
Challenge: This client lives alone in a two bedroom house, but had 10 or 12 sets of sheets, many towels, and lots of toiletries that she wasn’t using. We needed to assess how many sheets, towels, and toiletries one girl needs, and purge the rest so she could regain a functional linen closet and make room for other storage needs.
Solution: We sorted through the sheets and towels and pulled out her favorite matching sets. We donated the rest to charity. We also went through all of the toiletries and medications and disposed of anything expired or not needed. After everything was folded and stacked, or organized into labeled bins, we ended up with an empty shelf. Pretty impressive!
Situation: This hall closet was full of mismatched stuff, old linens and heirlooms. The closet was not functional; it was wasted space.
Challenge: We wanted to turn this beautiful cedar-lined closet into a functional space, utilizing it for storage of items that the client would need to access rather than old heirlooms that were never used.
Solution: We decided to turn the closet into a “store” for extra goods from Costco that were getting dusty in the garage. We cleared out the top two shelves of linens and heirlooms, and donated most to a hospice. Some of the linens were saved for the client’s daughter. All of the useful goods from Costco were gathered from the garage and throughout the house and are now easily accessible in the closet, organized by room.
Would you like to get inspired to clean out your closets and get organized? Watch these amazing before and after photos to get started!
You will see real life before and after photos and examples of master closets, garage storage systems, pantry organizing systems and even craft and gift closets get organized and orderly!
This is what you can do with the Ikea ready made self standing closet system. It looks small on the outside, but inside it provides tons of storage. Here is what my friend does with hers. She is amazingly organized and could be a professional organizer herself!
As you can see, she has included high/low hanging rods in one part of the closet, and on the other side she has included enough drawers to house her large shoe collection. She has her boots lined up one in front of the other instead of side by side, which is really smart because she can see more pairs of boots at a glance. Very ingenious!
Situation: This bathroom was used to store old tax records, old flight manuals, and a safe. It had not been used as a bathroom for over 3 years.
Challenge: The papers were completely unorganized, and included years of tax records, bags of miscellaneous receipts, and random photos that had accumulated over 3 years. The shower was being used as a laundry line for clothes to dry.
Solution: We sorted through the bags of receipts, identified which documents were needed for sufficient tax records, and purged the rest. We also sorted through the photos and put them in appropriate containers. We even found space in the master closet for the clothes. Now this bathroom can be used as a bathroom again!
Solution: Think vertical! We mounted a towel rod from the ceiling and hung 4 hanging shoe bags, plus a flip flop hanging device. In about 24 inches of horizontal space, we made room for 40 pairs of shoes and 6 pairs of flip flops. We also mounted hooks on the empty wall for scarves, hats, and purses.