We are talking about the closet this week so today I’m sharing the simple budget friendly closet solutions I use in my home.
WARNING: This post isn’t styled and internet beautiful, it’s my plain old real life master closet.
Closet Space Planning
When I first moved into this house the master closet came with 3 wire hanging racks and 4 wire shelves. You can see from the layout above. The closet isn’t huge, yet it isn’t small either. The racks that were hung there didn’t use the space well. The wire shelves were useless because they were small and poorly placed. I knew it could be much better.
The first thing I did was measure the space and draw it out on paper. I added up the length of all three racks and calculated that currently I had 12′ 8″ total hanging space.
My next decision was to choose between installing a closet system or come up on my own with a creative way to make the space work for my needs.
Why I Chose Not To Get a Closet System
I looked at closet systems and then went online and designed one for my space. Because of the shape of my closet, every system I laid out didn’t give me a big increase in hanging space. Yes, I got some cool cubbies, but it wasn’t a big gain in over all storage.
But the biggest reason I passed on a closet system, to be honest, was cost. I looked at the price and then checked my wallet and the decision was made for me. I know there are some very reasonable systems that can be purchased, I just didn’t have the flexibility in my budget for even a cheap one.
My other reason to pass on the closet system, was I found in the planning that the dividers and cubbies take up space. I was losing space in my effort to gain space.
I still love the look of a closet system. If I had the money, the idealistic pretty factor may have trumped my desire for more hanging and storage.
In the end the closet system was removed from the option list and I had to go to plan B.
Maximizing the Closet Space Plan B
The first thing I did was to add an extra hanging bar. You can purchase the extra hanging bar online or at the local home improvement store for 20-30 dollars. I kept the wire rack, since I already owned it and simply moved it down to make room for the extra bar. I don’t love wire racks, but when you are on a budget you reuse what you have!
The double hanging bars are an instant increase from 4′ 8″ to 9′ 4″ . Some serious space was gained here.
How to hang a Closet Bar Without a Wall Stud
My side of the closet wasn’t as simple. Because of the shape of the closet, the bar is open on one side. (See above layout) I also didn’t have a stud in the wall to attach the bar to.
(There are so many stud jokes that can be made here, but out of respect to my husband I’m going to pass. Just know that I’m biting my lip and it’s killing me.)
The solution to make sure I have a super strong bar that will hold the 50 pounds of clothing I actually wear and the other 50 pounds of clothing I may one day fit into again is to install a support board.
I located the studs in the wall with a stud finding tool and cut 1×4 pine boards to attach to the studs. Now the bar has something sturdy to attach to. You could use wall anchors instead but wall anchors can fail. I wanted to make sure the bar was up for good.
Because the bar was open ended I used closet rod brackets and installed a support board for those as well. I also added a shelf. Now all the is left is to go back and paint the wood. I should have done that pre-install but I was in a hurry to get my clothes off the floor.
Remember that if you don’t have a saw at home, most home improvement stores will cut the wood for you on site.
I reused the original wire rack here too.
Closet systems often come with little drawers and that is nice. My solution was to move the original 3rd wire hanging rack up and slide in this antique empire dresser.
This was a better solution for me than the little drawers that come with a closet system, because the drawers in this old chest are HUGE. I don’t know what it is about modern day dressers and drawer systems, but the new drawers are never as big as it seems they should be. This old cherry dresser holds everything and then some. Plus, it was something my grandfather gave me years ago, and so it brings back happy memories.
Don’t Forget the Storage Baskets
I added 6 extra baskets to hold seasonal and extra items. I also keep a small folding step stool in my closet to make it easy for me to reach everything.
Obviously the labels help me remember what’s in the bins. I made these labels recently with my silhouette vinyl cutter using the font “Digs My Hart,” but prior to these, I used a hand written post-it note on each bin. The post it note wasn’t as pretty, but it worked.
And the great thing about making your own labels is you can be as passive aggressive as you like. I’m still waiting for him to notice the bin in the middle. Someone has a lot of hats.
Make Shift Shoe Rack
I have plans to build myself a shoe rack one day, however on the waiting list of projects around here it ranks somewhere around #145. So in the mean time, I had some of these helper shelves around the house that I stacked together to give myself a shoe spot.
It’s not my favorite solution but it helps in a pinch.
Loose Change and Charging Station
One thing we needed was a place for my husband to empty his pockets at the end of the day. It made sense to have a spot right in the closet, since this is where most of his clothing was.
I also wanted a place to plug in the multiple devices that need charged, because my bathroom counter was quickly being cluttered up with fitbit chargers, extra electric razors, electric toothbrush, and such.
My solution was to use a tower of stackable drawers and a piece of plywood on top to create a sturdy table and charging stand.
The tower table is not large and fits well in this small space. Plus, the drawers are handy too. The top drawer keeps a lot of those extra charging devices. It’s not fancy, but it’s incredibly useful.
The wall behind the door was the perfect place to create my hanging jewelry box. This is so simple and handy, its ridiculous.
All I did was purchase the clear mini command hooks and line them up on the wall in the spot I wanted to hang my jewelry. Now have a hook for every necklace and bracelet I own.
I still have a few more things to do in the closet like paint and add hooks for belts and hats, but for now its very functional.
I started with 12 feet 8 inches of hanging space and for under a $100 I now have 21 feet 10 inches in hanging space, a large dresser with 4 large drawers, 6 storage bins, a shoe rack and a charging station with 4 storage drawers. Oh and a place for jewelry too!
It’s a functioning closet now, and I’m proud of how little money I spent.
As always, I know we all have different needs, but I hope this gets you thinking about possible inexpensive solutions of your own for your closet.
And for even more ideas, check out my friends and my previous storage and organization posts…..
Happy Creating (and Cleaning),
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