Sunday, August 12, 2012

Going Vertical

I did it again.  I gutted another poorly designed closet in our 70-year-old house.  As I have mentioned before old homes notoriously have small closets.  Not only are they small, but they in no way take advantage of the tiny amount of space allotted to them in the first place.  Since our master bedroom closet overhaul last year I have been dying to get my hands on our disaster of a “coat closet”.

Technically, our house does not have an official coat closet.  I installed coat hooks by our front door, which we use to rotate our regularly worn seasonal items.   

To store the rest of our coats, jackets, hats, gloves, boots, and bags we took over our guest bedroom closet since it is located on the first floor of our home.  Over the last four years it has started to look a little something like this…

Horrible.  Not only is it difficult to find a matching pair of gloves, all of our many bags, backpacks and boots have melded into one giant pile on the floor making it impossible to find what you are looking for.

A few weeks back the organizing bug hit me again.  I was trying to clean our living room and could not find the space to shove yet another backpack into the closet.  I had enough!  So the closet purging began.  This is everything that it contained.

After the purge, I began to take inventory of what we had, what we could move to other locations in the house, and what we could donate.  We decided that we wanted this closet to only contain the following:

Picnic Items

I took measurements after the purge of the closet, as well as some of the items I knew we needed to make room for.  Using Paint I created a rough diagram so I could explain my vision to the hubby and get the final approval.

After getting his input and blessing I got to the fun part…the demolition!  I knew this closet would likely be constructed the same way as our master, so I collected the necessary tools:  gloves, sturdy shoes, a pry-bar, and a large hammer.

The closet had boards nailed around the perimeter with hooks and the rod attached.  Using the pry-bar I loosened up the boards from the wall and removed any remaining nails with a pair of pliers.

After all of the shelves and boards were removed I started spackling to create a slightly smoother surface. 

I like to use the DAP Drydex Dry Time Indicator spackle.  It goes on pink and then turns white when it is dry.  Once everything was white, I lightly sanded over the spackle to smooth everything out.  I was not going for perfection here, as this is a closet after all.  Another little tip, have your shop vac in one hand and the sanding paper in the other.  This cuts down on the dust floating around to all areas of your house.  Trust me…it gets everywhere!

After the sanding was complete I started cutting in with the paint.  I decided to go with a muted turquoise, “Yucca Plant” from Martha Stewart’s line at Home Depot, the same color I had used for the kitchen pantry.  Luckily I had enough left over so I didn’t have to buy paint, always a good thing!

While the paint was drying I took a trip over to Lowes to pick up the necessary closet supplies.  I got a closet rod and mounting brackets, a melamine shelf which I had cut in two to size, four shelf brackets and a longer pull chain for the light.  The total for all of the supplies came in just under $40.

Once home, I started hanging the closet rod and the shelves.  I always use the heavy-duty anchor screws anytime I have to mount anything on our walls.  We have the old plaster and lathe walls, which makes it nearly impossible to find the studs using our stud finder.  So far, we have had really good luck using this method and everything is staying put.

Winston, "helping" as always.

 After all of the hardware and shelves were in place, I started reintroducing our items into the closet.  We did pare down some of our coats and jackets, as well as a few bags.  Here is the final product!

The first row contains all of our boots and I left room in case any taller boots join in in the future. 

For the next row I used these three IKEA PJAS baskets I picked up on my last trip up to Minnesota.  I filled these with winter hats, gloves, and baseball caps. 

The third row contains all of our various bags, backpacks, laptop cases, and picnic items.  I had thought about hanging hooks around the wall of the closet for bags, but quickly realized we would run out of hooks.  This shelf is just the perfect size for all of our bags and the shelf height makes them easily accessible.

The final row is obviously our coats and jackets as well as our IKEA Komplement scarf hanger.

I am really happy with the outcome.  I like to take advantage of the vertical space in closets as much as possible and it worked really well to just move the closet rod up in this case.  

My mom already asked if we could reach the closet rod.  Thankfully I am just tall enough at 5’4’’ to hang any coats.  Any future vertically challenged homeowners might have to lower the rod, or get one of those handy reaching sticks they have in department stores.  I always thought it would be fun to own one of those.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hopefully as work eases up in the near future I will have time for more projects and more posts!


  1. This is so great! I seriously need to hire you to come over and help me redo my whole house!

  2. Thanks, Andi! Your house is awesome and does not need to be completely redone :) Feel free to pick my brain anytime though!

  3. Great use of space, Charlotte! Amazing transformation! (Love that color!)

  4. ooh - I love the idea of hanging the bar up high - going to do the same thing in my master closet. Thanks!