Wednesday, February 4, 2015

3 Things You Need for a Closet Makeover Project

I'm always making over other people's spaces. I provide home organizing services in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, including Blaine, Minnesota where I live. As a busy full time mom, and Professional Organizer and owner of Smiling Spaces, LLC, I rarely take the time to tackle a project I want to do in my own home. My hall coat closet, for instance, has been in need of some attention for a while now. I finally got to it!!

While I could always find things in this closet, and had systems in place for containing items and keeping things organized, it was time for an "upgrade." I made it a goal to improve where I thought I could, and fix a couple of key problems. Here's how I tackled this closet I'd been making do with since we moved in 5 years ago. Read on for 3 things you need for a closet makeover project.

Coat Closet Before & Afters
Closet (Before)
Closet (After)

Have a space in your house that you've been wanting to redo? Below are 3 things you need for a closet makeover project, or really any project you want to tackle. After you're done reading, I'd love for you to leave a comment below. Carry on.

1) Motivation

My Motivation: The time of year, and a changing family-
  • January is Get Organized Month- meaning, I just feel more like doing this kind of project at this time of year. The colder weather also reminds me daily how I need my closet to function properly. Also, a favorite organizing store of mine, The Container Store has a fabulous once-a-year 30% off sale on their Elfa Shelving. I knew I wanted to take advantage of that.
  • Our family is growing and so are our possessions- Since we moved here, we've added a dog and had a baby, adding to what's currently being stored in the closet. Our chocolate lab Savannah has leashes, treats, a couple sweaters, and toys. My son turned one at the end of last year, and now has his own set of coats, little shoes, and a diaper bag.

2) Timeline

My Timeline: Three weekend days in the month of January-
  • One Saturday to plan and purchase/order shelves (babysitter in place)
  • One Saturday to pick up shelves (drive down to Container Store)
  • One Sunday to put up shelves (4-5 hours to do it ourselves during nap times)

3) Goals

My Goals: What was on my list-

Goal #1: Make coats more accessible.
The previous owners had shelves in place, but they were awkwardly positioned and not easy to readjust to fit our needs. I also didn't like how the shelves lacked rods for coats that you could move hangers back and forth on with ease. We wanted coats to be easier to grab in and out.

Coats in Corner of Closet (Before)

Goal #2: Be better able to see the family's scarves, hats, and mittens. There is no light in this closet which makes seeing anything a challenge. Although we had each family member's outer wear accessories separated and contained already, we wanted to be able to see them better without having to hire an electrician.

Cluttered Closet (Before)
Goal # 3: Have shoes and boots be better organized and upgrade storage solutions in look and style. I'd been reusing shoe shelves from my college days thriftily, and trying to work with the existing closet system. But I wasn't fond of the white shoe shelves making dirt show and we always seemed to be slightly short on space even after removing out-of-season shoes.

How it turned out:

Closet (After)
(Left) Moving the coats to the front and adding coat rods make it easier to see and grab coats. Shoes are now on pull-out shelves that provide enough space and no longer collect dirt.

We moved all of the dog supplies to the laundry room where the food and water bowls are located. The broom and small vacuum, backup kitchen appliances and paper goods got moved there too. This freed up the side wall and upper shelf space.

We also tackled our laundry room space at the same time, so the items we purged from the closet had a place to go. (Normally, I don't recommend doing more than one space at a time)

Closet (After)

(Below) Pull-out baskets for each family member keeps outerwear and accessories contained.
Moving the unit close to the front of the closet makes it easier to see things even though there still isn't a light in the closet.

Pull Out Storage Bins for each family member 

Pull Out Storage Bins for hats, scarves, and mittens

(Below) I even found a solution to a problem I didn't expect to get to.  I wanted an easy to reach spot for the diaper bag, recipe books, and reusable shopping bags. Installing four shelves above the basket system did the trick.
A spot for the Diaper Bag, Recipe Books, and Reusable Shopping Bags

This will make meal planning easier!

I'd love to hear what you think about this project, the tips you find helpful, or ask a question. 

Leave a comment below. Thanks!


  1. There are many ways to go about organizing your accessory. Different methods make more sense depending on your space and what you’re storing. No matter which method you choose, these accessory organizer definitely helps you to reduce the space usage and clutter.

  2. Love the photos Andrea. Before and after photos are such a wonderful way to showcase the impact of good organization! Inspired by this wonderful Smiling Spaces blog to tackle your closet clutter? Make sure check out the Closets For Life website at for more ideas and inspiration!