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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…..it’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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  • I’ve been scouring the ikea website trying to find the shoe hangar with drawers. I NEED THIS IN THE WORST WAY! (thats just being loud and desperate, not yelling….) I dont suppose you remember the name of it or maybe how long ago you bought it or perhaps you got an extra and you’d just love to sell it to me???? Any info is extremely appreciated! Thanks!

  • Good day I am so glad I found your website, I really found you by accident, while
    I was searching on Aol for something else, Anyways I am here now
    and would just like to say thanks a lot for a marvelous post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the minute but I have saved it and
    also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will
    be back to read more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

  • Through the years I went from anything goes to nice wire hanger, to plastic to wood. I have a one in, one out rule so I do shop my closet first. I have all the wooden hangers I’ll ever need so I have to have an empty hanger to make a purchase. I think of projects like games and set out to enjoy myself. Thinking as if my work is a game also keeps me from gettingOCD or super perfectionistic. Make it orderly. Make it fun. Make it clean. Make it lovely. JOY!!

  • This is particularly helpful since I am moving to an apartment with “open” closet space, with only a curtain to hide it! My thinking is… if I make it organized and beautiful enough, I may just forget about the curtain and bask in the glory that is clothes and accessories! hehe (we spend enough money on them, why not take the time to look at them?)

  • I just love your blog…. I send out your helpful emails to all my friends. What I should do is tell them I think of all this stuff myself. But they know better. I especially loved this closet organizing idea. When I go to check out all the closet stuff at Lowes or Home Depot, it would cost me a fortune. Not only did I organize my closet but also my craft closet. Your blog is the highlight of my day…. Carry on Julie….. I’m a faithful follower…Marlene….in Tennessee

  • Thanks Jill! We’re just about to move into a new apartment and I’m excited to start off organized (cause it sure isn’t right now). This will be great :)

  • Thanks for this great post! I actually bought am organizer like that from Target yesterday in an effort to get my closet organized! As an FYI, Target has those organizers for $2.50 a piece in their dollar buys section!

  • Any advice on pantries? I have a HUGE pantry and that would seem like it would help. But it does not. I throw everything in there and it just looks disgusting. Nothing is organized. How do you organize canned goods, chips, jars of applesauce etc?

    • Hi!

      For the cans:
      I like to group like with like: so coconut milk cans go with the condensed milk, and skinned milk; veggies all stick together, etc. And I also like to put the taller cans in the back, with smaller cans on top so I can read what they are more easily. Also try to think about what you use and put those closer to the front.

      The “group like with like” suggestion is actually good for all the other stuff we usually put on the pantry. It makes it a whole lot easier to find stuff. Another trick is to use baskets for some of the smaller stuff that might get lost in the back like food sprinkles, little condiment packages, etc. Just don’t forget to label those baskets! Hope that helps!

  • All of the closets in my home are organized by color – rainbow to be exact…since everyone knows ROY G. BIV. I simply add the extra colors, such as brown, black and white to the end. Pinks are included with the reds, etc. So easy to put the clothes away and to match things up when getting ready.

  • Thanks for the inspiration! Just reading this i decided today was the day! I just tackle my walk in closet which is the size of a small bedroom. And i finally did it!!! Just breaking it down into steps helped. A new hanging storage shelf and organizer and it looks clean again.

  • isn’t it the greatest feeling when you actually get these kind of jobs done? i just keep looking at whatever i’ve done thinking “wow” my house can actually look good! thanks for sharing….i appreciate all of your great ideas

  • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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…

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

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