Friday, November 11, 2011

Hall Closet Makeover

Okay I am particularly excited about this project. The hall coat closet in our entryway has been the bane of my existence since we moved into this house. Well, after the basement, of course, but that is a whole other series of posts I'm not getting into right now.

Sorry, back to topic. One of the reasons that the hall closet drives me crazy is because it is absolutely HUGE. I know I know, why would that be a problem? Shouldn't that be a good thing? Maybe if it was laid out properly. With plenty of storage. But it's not. It is a huge closet that has one hanging rack. ONE. In addition, the kitchen immediately adjoining it has no pantry. I will never understand why people feel the need to build a home without a kitchen pantry. Where do they expect you to put all of your food and random cooking things? So every time I have to move things around to try and find something stuffed in the back of my kitchen cabinets, I can't help but glare at my huge coat closet going to waste and think "why can't you be a pantry?!?"

Now I don't want you to think we have this huge closet that is just sitting there being empty. As the Queen of Random Junk, I can guarantee that closet was definitely being used, much as the laundry room was being used before its recent overhaul. I don't even remember all the things that were in it at one time. We were stashing shoes, bags, hats, tools, steam cleaners, toys, crafts, and who knows what else in there.

With winter coming I knew it was time to clear room for cold weather things, so I grabbed all the obvious items that I knew didn't belong and stashed them somewhere else, leaving me with a lot of space in the top half of the closet.

It still left a lot the craziness at the bottom, though.

I knew all that junk wasn't going to fit after the closet remodel I had in mind, so after another round of sorting and organizing I was left with a much more satisfying start.

Now we are ready for the serious stuff. I thought long and hard about how I wanted the closet to be organized in order for it to function at its maximum potential. I knew I was definitely going to need a lot more shelving for all the items I was planning to store in this closet:
  • everyday shoes
  • hats, gloves, scarves
  • jackets, coats - plus "space" for guests' coats
  • my purse
  • camera bag
  • off-season items - right now that means bubbles, chalk, flip flops, sunscreen, etc
  • rarely used kitchen items - bread maker, crock pot, waffle iron, etc
Here are my solutions:
  1. A fun paint color on the wall - my first actual foray into the world of color!
  2. Full length shelf above the current one for little used kitchen and off-season items
  3. A row of shelves along the left side to easily access regularly used items
  4. Hooks along the interior wall next to the door for lightweight sweaters and C's little jackets
  5. Storage on the inside of the door for quick grab items: flashlights, umbrellas, flip flops, etc
The first step was to paint. I am absolutely in love with the turquoise that's so popular right now but I usually play it safe with neutrals. The thought of trying out such a bold color in a whole room absolutely terrifies me so I figured this closet would be the perfect place to start. I chose Olympic's Blue Dusk (A-58 2), and I used the Premium Zero VOC. It costs a little more but there is very little paint fumes and even those are completely gone within a few hours. Definitely worth it, especially in such a high traffic area.

I love it! It's so pale I guess it could still qualify as a neutral but it's soothing and definitely helps all the white pop. I'm still not quite brave enough to put it in a main room, but I think adding it to the laundry room and other closets would be absolutely dreamy.

Once the paint was dry it was time for the new shelves to go up. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures as installed them. Remembering to take pics step-by-step is definitely going to take some getting used to!
At this point I've wrapped up most of the major isues. There are still a few changes and additions that need to be made but this is a 100% improvement and I'm so happy with it.

And now, without further adieu, I present the hall closet makeover!

Check out the added shelf on top! The fabulous people at Lowe's cut it to size and showed me exactly what pieces I needed to put it up, and it was super easy to install.

I went through all the random tools that were stashed in the closet... and drawers, and laundry room, and office, and bathroom, and kitchen... and set aside only the items that I know I use on a regular basis. Then I stored them in this handy makeup caddy that I'd picked up at Target for $3. Everything else was packed in a box and moved to the garage until I get a chance to organize them.

Those awesome banker's boxes have been vegetating in the basement since the move. I rescued them hoping they would be the perfect size for these shelves, and they are! Eventually they will be covered with fabric so they are nice and pretty (oooh that will be a fun post).

Now THESE shelves were a serious pain. The top rail went up first, but of course I couldn't find my level so I had to eyeball it and hope for the best. The vertical rails were hung, but I waited to screw them in since I wasn't sure about the spacing. I put the shelves up to so I could mark locations for screws, then took them back to down. Finally I screwed everything into the wall using drywall anchors and put the shelves back up. Phew, it makes me tired just to think about it.

M requested a shallow tray to toss all his pocket items when he got off work. I went through various baskets, boxes, and trays before we settled on this one as his favorite size and shape. It's just a baking pan from the dollar store, and it will look FABULOUS once I make it over!

I debated whether to hang my purse from a hook or put it on a shelf and finally settled for the shelf. I didn't want to have all that continuous stress on the straps and potentially ruin all my favorite purses!

Now the final question is what to do with our shoes; we have two options at the moment. M doesn't want me to take this shelf out, he prefers to line his shoes up neatly in a row. I think this rack is bulky and awkward, and it interferes with the new streamlined look of the closet. If we decide to stick with a shelf I think it might be better to have one that runs the full-length of the closet, like the one I added to the top.

Another option is to place a few baskets along the bottom of the closet, either on the floor or on a full length shelf. Each person can have their own basket to toss their shoes into. The bins would look streamlined all lined up, but save crucial seconds of bending down and lining the shoes up one by one. Trust me, when it comes to convenience and keeping things clean and organized, those seconds count! What are your thoughts on our shoe debate?

Last but certainly not least are the hooks I added to the interior wall by the door. This is definitely an under-utilized space in most closets, and I decided it would be the perfect spot to hang quick-grab items. I was hoping to use some pretty hooks but after pricing them I decided to wait, especially once I found these simple racks at the dollar store. The top set of hooks are for my camera bag and the light weight cardigans I seem to be wearing all the time. I made sure to use drywall anchors with this rack in case I decide to hang any heavy items later on.

I had C step in the closet with me while installing the bottom hooks so they would be at the perfect height for him. Now he can hang his own teeny hats and jackets!

Now if you've been paying attention, you will notice that I haven't installed the door organizer yet. I'm still trying to decide what exactly I want to use and will update you once I do.

Okay, time for the final before and after pics!

BEFORE                                                               AFTER

BEFORE                                                           AFTER

Well, what do you think? Did I make a good use of the available space? And what is your opinion on the shoe debate? Would you line them up on a shelf, toss them in personalized bins, or do you have another suggestion we can try?

This has been a long makeover but the end result is so completely worth it. You can always tell an organization makeover has been successful if it's easy to keep neat, and (more importantly) you keep going back to smile at it like a goofball! Check and check!

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1 comment:

  1. Great use of space, AJ! I'm happy to hear you're finding it easy to keep neat. That's always the key to successful organization.
    Have a great day!
    ~ Wendi ~


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