Closet Makeover

I have been warning you that I was planning an overhaul on my closet.  This project was less about cleaning out my closet and more about re-organizing.  I cleaned out my clothes closet pretty severely back in March, so this time around I didn’t need to spend much time purging items.  I do, however, plan on going through my clothes closet after Fall/Winter and purging items.  As I was starting to re-organize there were several pieces that I felt iffy about.  But, I’ll allow myself the opportunity to wear them this Fall.  (The clothes hanging in the closet are mostly my professional wardrobe: dresses, skirts, dress pants, button up shirts, blouses, cardigans, and blazers.  Tank tops, cami’s, t-shirts, shorts, jeans, and workout gear/sleepwear are housed in my dresser in the bedroom.) A few things were not working for me in my closet.

#1. Belts and Scarves.  I was corralling them in an over the door shoe organizer with clear plastic pouches, but it wasn’t designed to hang on a closet rod.  Therefore, it wanted to turn perpendicular to the way that I wanted it to hang.  Also, it hung the length from the closet rod to the floor.  The problem with this was that the shoe organizer was in the way.  Lastly, it blocked easy access to the items in the left hand side of the closet and because it’s dark inside the closet it was difficult to tell black belts from brown from navy.

#2 Purses and Bags.  I did not create a designated space for my purses and bags like I had wanted to the last time I cleaned out the closet.  Therefore, my bags and purses were shoved under the bed.  I wanted a solution that was a little more bag-friendly and kept them out in the open where I can easily see and select them.

#3 Lighting.  There is no internal lighting in my closet.  I added some touch lights, but they were super inexpensive ($1, maybe?) and didn’t work as well as I would have liked.

#4 Wasted Space.  There was a lot of space above the closet rod that wasn’t being utilized to its fullest potential.

You can see many of these pitfalls in the BEFORE pictures, below.


I purchased a few items to help facilitate my re-organization project. First, some tiered skirt hangers. These will hold up to 6 skirts on a single hanger. I purchased two of these at Wal-Mart. (They were pretty cheap, maybe like $6.) I also purchased two pants organizer hangers that hold 4 pairs of pants each. (These were about $5-$6, too.)  I also purchased a Clostmaid stackable organizer at Target for $20.  Lastly, I purchased some different (hopefully better) push-on lights.

Now, I was ready to begin.  First, I pulled everything out of the closet.  This wasn’t entirely necessary, but I knew that I wanted to switch out some hangers and re-organize the location of types of clothing, so taking everything out just made it a lot easier.  Now I had a blank slate.

I replaced the old push-on lights with the new ones and left the double-hung rod in the same place in the left-hand side of the closet. I did re-arrange the shoe organizer in the bottom to be narrower and flush to the right wall. I also flipped it upside down to create more of a gap between the floor and the bottom rung to house flip-flops.

Next, I sorted my clothing into piles by type: dresses, skirts, pants, button up shirts, blouses, cardigans, blazers/jackets, and cardigans. I took the skirts off their original hangers and grouped them in categories by color, and then re-hung them on their new hangers.

The maxi-skirts I hung from the top set of clips, but had it behind the other skirts so that you could still see all of them, and it wouldn’t touch the ground. You can see this better from the back. I repeated the same process with my dress pants.

Third, I started loading my clothes back in. I started with the dresses all the way to the right, and then the skirts next. I discovered that with the tiered hangers, they were longer than before. They touch the top of the shoe organizer, but that doesn’t bother me. Next, came pants.  (Although, I moved them to the other side in the end.) Cardigans were next and then blouses. In the left hand side, I hung my button-up shirts and dress pants on the top and my blazers and jackets on the bottom rod.

Fourth, I assembled the shelf organizer and turned it horizontally.  I looked at several different organization options for the top of my closet, including Itso blocks, Yaffa blocks, and many other cube storage systems.  But, given the dimensions of my closet and my budget, this ClosetMaid item was the best option.  One note, I had planned all along to use this item horizontally.  What I didn’t count on was that the shelves sit on plastic clips and rely on gravity to keep them in their place!   While they still work for separating the space and helping the purses stay upright, the “shelves” fall over when I remove the purses.  (I think that I can remedy this problem by purchasing some additional plastic clips and putting them on the other side of the shelves to hold them in place from both the right and left side.)

Lastly, I re-arranged the items that were previously stored in the top of the closet.  The two plastic shopping bags were relocated into the rectangular plastic bin sitting on top of the purse organizer.  The cardboard box of table linens are also sitting on top of the purse organizer.  This makes much better use of the space–almost to the very top of the closet.  In the top of the left hand side I loaded back in our suitcases and travel bags and extra pillows.

This re-organization has addressed 3 out of 4 of my concerns: purses and bags, lighting, and wasted space.  The last and final hurdle for me to overcome is a suitable storage option for scarves and belts.  I am still surveying the products out there to find the best solution for me.  I like the idea of a hanger type item for the scarves.  But, that type won’t work for my belts because I don’t have a lot of vertical space.  Also, I don’t have usable space on the back of the closet door because this hall closet has a bi-fold door.  That leaves me with the small amount of space between the double-hung rod in the left hand side and where my clothes begin on the right hand side.  (I currently have my sun hats occupying this space.)  Any suggestions for belt storage would be greatly appreciated!!

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Closet Clean-up

As promised, here is the post that I wrote about organizing my closet while I was completing the project– with photo’s to go along with the descriptions!  I photographed and documented the process– all for you.

BEFORE

After a few days of talking about it, I am finally taking this morning to clean out and organize my closet.  First, I removed all articles of clothing from my closet and quickly sorted them into piles of “yes, no, and maybe.”  There were several things that I knew immediately that were going into the “no” pile– items that I haven’t worn in forever, are outdated, don’t fit, or don’t go with anything else in my closet.  The maybe pile was reserved for items that may still have some use value or that I wasn’t quite ready to get rid of.  The yes pile was the easiest because it contains items that I wear regularly, have just recently purchased, or know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will wear.

"Yes, No, and Maybe" Piles

Next, I went through the “Maybe” pile and assessed the value and potential of each item.  I am extremely proud to say that only 4 items moved from the maybe pile into the keep pile: a gray short-sleeved shirtdress that I am either going to wear very soon or toss, a pair of casual khaki’s that I feel the need to hang on to, a pink and majenta cardigan that I think is spring-y/summery and will try to incorporate, and a casual white dress shirt that I think would be good for occasions when a formal white button up would be too stuffy.  However, the caveat with all of these items is that they may have survived this purge, but if I don’t wear them or make use of them in the next few months, they won’t survive the winter/spring closet swap.  (Yes, I have spring and summer clothes in plastic clothes storage bags underneath my bed and some in my dresser drawers!)

Lastly, I sorted through the “no” pile and separated them into two groups: ones to take to the consignment shop and ones to donate to the Goodwill.  I do have a few items in the consignment shop pile that I am uncertain that they will want.  Those items will then go into the Goodwill pile.

One for Goodwill and One for Consignment

My next step is to decide how to make my closet space more functional.  I have already decided that I will move the jackets and coats to the bedroom closet.  (My BF has his clothes in the bedroom closet, but my clothes somehow ended up in the hall closet.  I like having a closet to myself, but I do feel that if we made efficient use of the space we could both have our clothes in the bedroom closet.  Not to mention that the bedroom closet is more set-up for clothes storage while the hall closet is more for vacuum cleaners and coats.  Sigh.)  My second big decision is to use only one style of hangar– plastic.  I have enough plastic hangars for all of my hanging clothes, even though some of them are different colors.  I don’t think I have quite enough of the different colors to use them as a secondary level of organization, i.e. all business tops on lavender, etc.  So the color of the plastic hanger will just be meaningless.

After a little trial and error, I decided to put my dresses on the right hand side with the least worn ones closest to the back of the closet.  Next, I hung my cardigans and then blouses.  I purposely did this so that they would hang right above the accessible floor space.  I plan on using this floor space for shoe storage.

Loading Back In

Then, in the left hand side of the closet I hung a closet organizer that creates a double rod.  I had this item just hanging out underneath of my bed.  On the top bar I hung some blazers and jackets– again putting the least worn towards the back of the closet.  On the bottom row I hung the other half of my jackets and blazers and then my pants and skirts.

So far I am really liking the new organization system.  Of course, I will have to see if it is actually practical for my lifestyle.

Then, I reorganized the miscellany on the top shelf and created a space where I can organize and store my purses and bags– which are currently stored under the bed.  I also added my scarves to this shoe organizer that I re-purposed for belts awhile ago.  I folded this in half and hung it on the left hand side with the blazers and skirts.

Scarves and Belts

The clean-up phase consisted of a quick browse through my shoes, where I decided that it was time to let a few pairs go.  I also collected a bit of trash from cleaning out the closet and shuffling around some items.  I relocated my sewing stuff to under the bed, the winter coats and jackets to the bedroom closet along with a storage tote of board games.  I also have some short sleeve cardigans that I think should be in my dresser drawers and some long-sleeved cardigans that I put into the closet.

A Few Less Shoes

There are only three more steps to this process: 1. Take items to the consignment shop.  2. Take any remaining items to the Goodwill. 3. Make a trip to the store for a shoe organizer and a purse/bag organizer.  Then, this project will be done!  Besides those last 3 steps, this whole endeavor took me about 3 hours.  Not bad at all.

I still need to go to the consignment shop and Goodwill, but this project was a success!

Project: Pajama Pants

I love projects.  I like the idea of creating something from nothing, the thrill of seeing something and recreating it to fit my specifications and budget.  I like the whole idea of projects.  It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to be able to say “I made that!”  I think I get this from my mom who is an avid sewer.  Someday, I would like to say that I am an advanced sewer, but I think I need a few more projects under my belt before I can say that.  Right now, I mostly choose projects that are simple: pillows, curtains, etc.  Plus, I have trouble with several things: zippers, sleeves, button holes, modifying patterns, and getting a fits-like-a-glove garment.  But that just leaves me something to work towards.

This past weekend, I made a pair of pajama pants for my BF.  A few weeks ago, I was messing around with making a pair of sleeves for my Halloween costume and as I was rifling through my box of patterns I was reminded how simple it is to whip up a pair of p.j.’s.  Plus, my BF is very tall and complains about his p.j.’s either being too short, or too big in the waist to get the length.  Something about cold ankles.  So, I offered to make him a pair of p.j. pants.

First, I washed and dried the fabric on Saturday afternoon.  While I was doing this, I also selected my pattern and read through the complete instructions.  I actually have several pants patterns– some with drawstrings, some with elastic waistbands, some with pockets, some without.  Then, I ironed the pattern pieces and prepared them for the fabric.  Next, I pinned my pattern pieces to the fabric and cut them out.

On Sunday, I had my BF select the color of thread that he wanted and took a few final measurements.  Then, I sewed the pants together.  It only took a few hours to complete the project.  Afterward, my BF had a custom pair of p.j.’s that fit in the waist and the length!

While working on this project, I also came across another pattern that I forgot I had for a skirt.  I am thinking that I may just get my black lace skirt, yet!

Project: Ring Re-do

As I promised, here are the second crop of button rings that I made.  The first one is made with all new buttons, while the second and third examples are re-do’s of the original.

Here are the pieces and parts for this project:

Button card from Jo Ann Fabrics

Flat topped ring finding from Jo Ann Fabrics

Besides the buttons and ring findings, I also used a pair of wire cutters to remove the shanks from the buttons and hot glue to affix everything together.

The button shank that needs to be removed

Button with the shank removed

Here is the before: the button with the shank, and the after: the button with the shank removed.  Now, I am ready to stack the three buttons and hot glue everything together.

The 3 buttons stacked and ready to be mounted

The completed button ring

My newly made button-ring

Re-do of the first and second button ring that I originally made:

Button Ring Redo

Button Ring Redo 2

Project: Rings

Lately, I have been shopping for more accessories to spice up my outfits.  I have really wanted to add some rings to my growing collection.  But, most of the rings that I find are either too large or too expensive.  Yes, I have admitted several times that I am cheap.  And, I don’t particularly want to pay $15-$20 for some cheap baubly rings.  To me, that is too much.

Well, I had this epiphany that I could make the type of ring that I was looking for.  I found some buttons at Wal-Mart that I thought would make great inexpensive rings!  Plus, there were three buttons on the one card and two buttons on the other.  I thought that was great–since I was sort of just winging this project.  But, I needed something to attach the buttons to.  So, I went to  Michael’s Craft store and found some ring findings.

Button cards: Wal-Mart. Ring findings: Michael's.

The ring findings each had two hoops to fasten my buttons, but I only needed one.  I used a pair of wire cutters to remove on of the hooks.

Each finding had two hoops to attach baubles

The ring finding with one hoop removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had anticipated using clear thread to fasten the button onto the ring finding, but that didn’t work out as well as I had hoped.  So, I revamped my technique and pulled out my trusty glue gun.  I removed the button shank, and pushed the hoop on the finding as far into the hole as possible before adding a dollop of hot glue to secure it.

Side view of the button hot-glued to the ring finding

 

Although it worked, I was a little unhappy with how high up the button sat.  It is nearly impossible to tell when looking straight down at the ring, but when looking at it from a different angle it is quite apparent.

The finished button-ring

I repeated the process of removing one of the hoops for the second ring.  Then, I removed the shank from the back of the button.  However, I was in for a small surprise.  The black “jewel” was held in place of the gold frame by the shank.  With this one, I had to hot glue the black jewel back into the gold frame before hot gluing the button onto the ring finding.  Again, I was a little unhappy with how high off the ring the button sits.  The mix of the silver ring and the gold button didn’t bother me since I knew that you wouldn’t see the ring, but my boyfriend had a small problem with it.

Black and Gold button ring

 

Bothered by the height the hoop caused, I looked for some different ring findings at Jo Ann Fabrics— I was picking up some fabric for another project on my to-do list.  And I found some!  So, stay tuned for another, better, round of button-rings!

 

Functional Decoration– DIY Project

The past few days I’ve been sick and I’ve also been off from work.  I have taken that time to organize some of my stuff–namely the closet, my scarves, belts, and jewelry.  The jewelry organization has been my favorite, mostly because it was also part of a small decorating project.

DIY Project-- Functional Decoration

First, I sorted through my jewelry box and threw out some earrings with missing mates, some knotted necklaces, and cheap corroded jewelry that even the “Sell Your Gold” place wouldn’t be interested in.  Once I pared my jewelry box down to jewelry that I like and wear, I picked some of my favorite and display worthy pieces.

While I was out shopping, I picked up some green push pins that were on clearance for $1, some 1 1/2 in. brown knife-pleated ribbon (also on clearance for $1.50), and a small cork board that was 50% off ($3.00).  I set out the earrings and bracelets that I wanted to also include in my new display piece.  However, it was at this point that I realized that my cork board was going to be too small.

Luckily, I had a larger cork board from long ago that I was able to utilize.  It was already covered with a cream colored background, which worked perfectly in my color scheme.  All that was left to do was to cut a small piece of ribbon and pin on each pair of earrings.  Then, I used the green push pins to tack them onto the board.  Next, I added the 4 bracelets that I had chosen, and then the necklaces.

The finished product is perfect–it organizes my jewelry so that I can easily find it, and displays some of my favorite pieces.

Close up view of the push pins, ribbon, and paper display

This project was quick, easy, and cheap– it only cost $5.50 (and that’s including the small cork board that I purchased specifically for this project, but didn’t end up using.)