This is our closet before the overhaul. As you can see it was full to the brim, to the point that stuff is spilling out of the closet and we could not even close the doors.
The first thing we did was remove all clothes from the closet. Everything. Then I went through everything and got rid of clothes that were not earning their keep. My wardrobe has changed a fair bit since I had my son. I used to wear dresses to work all the time - but since I am still breastfeeding I find dresses really inconvenient and I have been wearing more pants and skirts. I got rid of some dresses that I did not think I would be wearing again any time soon. The Salvation Army definitely benefited from this project.
Once the closet space was more or less empty, I found it much easier to envision what I wanted to do with the space.
Next up, my husband removed the shelf that stretched the entire length of the closet. He washed down the walls, filled in the holes, sanded them down, then painted the walls. We painted the walls using CIL Primer and Paint (it's a combo) from Home Depot. The colour is Horizon.
A fresh canvas!!
After researching various options I decided to go with plain old white wire shelving made by Rubbermaid and available at Home Depot. I used the Free Style shelving that allows you to move garments from end to end. Home Depot employees will cut the shelving to measure for you in store. (Sidenote: Apparently the Rubbermaid shelving is actually baked once the colour is put on, as opposed to being simply dipped in paint as some other brands are, making the coating on these shelves extremely chip resistant.) I purchased the shelving I wanted (some 12 inches deep and some 16 inches deep), the wall mount, the free slide verticals, the brackets for the shelves and the related hardware. Note: I highly recommend the Rubbermaid hardware packs that are put together with all the screws that you need to complete your project as well as end caps to put on the end of the shelves in order to avoid sharp edges sticking out. I brought them home and my husband was able to install everything in about an hour or so.
I decided I wanted to go with three different tiers of shelving. I moved the highest shelf closer to the ceiling (from where the previous shelf had been) in order to allow for a second shelf to be placed beneath it that would still be high enough off the ground to hand my husband's shirts on.
The shelf below does not run directly to the wall - I left about a 12 inch gap between the wall and the bottom shelf because I wanted a space to hand long dresses.
Wondering why I staggered the two top shelves instead of using one long shelf? Two reasons:
1. Because I wanted the first shelf to be high enough to hang long dresses from and to allow space for a lower shelf that I could still hand dress shirts on.
2. I wanted the second shelf to be low enough that I could still place storage boxes on top of it.
Here is the closet before I started putting the clothes back in.
And here we go - you cannot see all my dresses in the far left corner, but they are there.
These is a little cubby hole to the right that you cannot really see in the picture. I have tied my scarves to hangers and they are occupying this space. Eventually I could add some shelving there, but it is just a nice little hiding place my son loves going into and reading books. I want him to be able to use this space for now so the shelving will wait.
These are Martha Stewart storage bins that I already had on hand (purchased at Home Depot). You can see the end caps on the wire shelving in these pictures. The only other change I would love to make it to buy coordinating wood hangers for the entire closet - it is just not something I want to spend money on at the moment. When I decide to splurge, I will be ordering a bunch of these.
The entire project cost just under $300.00. We are very happy with the results!