My Budget Closet Makeover

Full disclosure time. I have literally been putting this off for MONTHS!  I have had it on my “things to do list” for so long that I stopped SEEING it there.  Has that ever happened to you?  You keep procrastinating something and pushing it farther and farther down the list…until it’s at the bottom…and even though it’s still technically there…it’s not really there!  Please tell me I’m not the only one that does that. :-)

Anyway, I just could not get myself motivated to tackle this seemingly overwhelming project, and yet when I finally DID (which is so often the case that you’d think I’d learn!) it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Granted, it did take me a good 6 hours of work…and my room DID look like a bomb had gone off in it during the midst of the project, but overall I was so happy with the outcome I didn’t mind.

The thing that FINALLY pushed me over the edge to actually tackle this project was the need to come up with some “outfits” for several conferences I am attending this summer. I keep reading things about “what to wear” and “what to bring” and “what NOT to wear and bring!” It all had me a little concerned about whether my “wardrobe” was going to be sufficient. So I took the advice of someone on Twitter who said “Shop your closet FIRST before going to buy new clothes”. Great advice. But in order to “shop” the clothes in my closet…I had to be able to FIND them first. Thus a “makeover” was in order first, as you can see from this “Before” picture.

closet makeover

I wasn’t keen on spending a whole lot of $$ for this badly-needed makeover because I have a LOT better places to put my $$ this summer (don’t we all!?!)…so a trip to IKEA & Walmart with a budget of $50 or LESS I found some great organizing tools to help me accomplish my closet rehab.

closet makeover

These three IKEA items cost me about $20 altogether. A laundry hamper and a hanging shoe organizer with drawers!

closet makeover

Then these four cloth bins from Walmart cost me about the same. So $40 total.

So I was armed and ready….it was time to ATTACK! I decided to follow the guidelines I read many moons ago in Good Housekeeping about conquering closet chaos:

  • Take everything out of the closet. Everything.
  • Sort through your clothing, shoes and whatever else has been lurking in your closet’s murky depths. Put them into one of three piles:
    • Keep: It fits. It’s in good repair. You wear it a LOT. It’s timeless.
    • Dump: Anything that is stained, ripped or stretched-out. You never wear it, you never will. Toss it.
    • Donate: Anything that you haven’t worn in a year or doesn’t fit. If you’re not sure if it fits or not, try it on. (I was a stickler about this…I tried EVERYTHING on. It was actually quite eye-opening! Some stuff I was SURE didn’t fit…DID and vice versa. TRY IT ON!)
  • Throw out your “dump” pile
  • Donate your “donate” pile to charity. (You could also sell it on ebay or host a clothes swap with friends…but chances are you won’t. So DONATE IT!)

Now that we’ve conquered the clutter…’s TIME TO ORGANIZE.

Assess Your Space: Closets contain a ton of wasted space. Make use of every inch. There are organizing tools that allow you to use virtually all of your closet’s space including the backs of doors and high shelves. Even your door frame or a small, unused wall space can support a valet hook.

closet makeover


Group Like Items with Like Items: Make storing and finding items easier by grouping like items with like items. Tank tops hang out with tank tops. Pants hang out with pants, etc.

closet makeover

Store Small Items in Containers: If you have small accessory items like scarves and gloves, group them together in small boxes. Be sure to label the boxes.

closet makeover


Use the Back of the Door: The back of your closet’s door is the perfect place for an over-the-door shoe organizer or set of hooks.

closet makeover      closet makeover
No Wire Hangers: Wire hangers cut the lifespan of your clothes in half. Use wooden, durable plastic or padded hangers. If you treat your clothes well, you’ll place more value on them and be less likely to leave them strewn all over your now immaculate closet floor.

closet makeover


Use Adjustable Shelves: If you do decide to invest in shelving for your closet, be sure that it’s adjustable and can change as your storage needs evolve.

closet makeover


While there is still some “fine-tuning” to be done…for the most part I consider it a successful “Budget Closet Makeover”.

I hope you find some inspiration and information to help you conquer YOUR closet chaos!

closet makeover


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  1. Jenn says

    Organizing is a huge thing for me I have to have everything organized or I go crazy! haha A couple months ago a bought a shoe carousel at Wal*Mart for $15 and it was a great investment! For anyone that has a lot of shoes this would be great. It has 40 shoe pockets(and of course you can put other things in them as well), has 5 shelves in the middle, it spins all the way around and hangs in the closet.
    Check it out, here’s the link.

  2. Karen C says

    Okay I got serious closet envy. And it already had an organizer in it. No closets in this old house. Glad all you had to do is buy bins and such and take the time to go through your nice things. I have two tiny dressers. Stacked. Space is an issue. Nice to see what a real closet is like!

    • Jennifer McClanahan says

      lol I also had no closets once and had an old armoire which would have been nice if I wore dresses and he wore suits. As it was, my jeans and sweatshirts were wadded up on one side and his flannel shirts hung on the other. It got filled with pillows and blankets and we went back to dressing out of the dryer and laundry basket. I got lucky with this house, there is a closet with shelves built in but I know how you feel about being envious of closet space.

  3. trudy says

    This is too funny, and ironic. My bedroom looks like a bomb has gone off. Why? I began pulling everything out of MY closet yesterday then ran out of time as I had dinner guests on their way over. LOL I didn’t intend to start the closet clean out project, but it was way overdue. Your project inspires me to keep on truckin’ and to be ruthless. Thanks, Jillee!

  4. says

    Looks great, I just did this myself. My only problem is I’ve been pregnant for practically two years straight (there was about a four month window between my son and finding out I’m pregnant with this one, a girl, and I spent two months of the four trying to get back into my old clothes)… I really haven’t worn a lot of my clothes in a looong time, so I’m putting off going through my clothes for now. 6 more days and I won’t be pregnant…

  5. jkincolorado says

    Organizing my closet is so far down on my list that it’s not even on it anymore. It’s too overwhelming so I just ignore it. Your closet looks great and may inspire me to tackle the beast!

  6. kim says

    Looks great!
    I’m curious about your doors. Are they bi-fold? Are your purses hung on the outside?

  7. says

    Looks great! I’ve been a subscriber for a while now and never comment, but this before and after is wonderful. Keep inspiring us :)

  8. Vanessa says

    You have inspired me! Closet clean out tomorrow. I like the ‘try it on’ rule, that could eliminate some old favorites that really ought to go but I just don’t have the heart.

  9. says

    Love it! Doesn’t it feel good to have this done? I cleaned out so many clothes and shoes last fall and reorganized my closet. It is so stressful to go rummaging thorough a cluttered closet.