Closets are a girls’ best friend, they house our favorite pair of jeans, our coziest sweatshirts, our fancy thingimabobs and thingimajigs (you like that Little Mermaid reference?)! Or wait, is the closet our biggest enemy? Hiding our fat pants, mismatched socks and useless crap we don’t even know we have because it is buried under a mountain of procrastination and resentment.
So, I ask you, is your closet a friend or foe?
If you change your mindset a little bit, a closet can be a great many things. In 2020, I believe the closet became the greatest flex space in the home! Here are a couple of ways you can utilize a closet in a non-traditional and still fabulous way!
Lego’s, Trivial Pursuit & board games – Oh My!
I just wrapped (this is a pun, you’ll get it in a minute) up a client’s flex closet project. She came to me with two closets in her home that needed storage solutions and organization – and neither closet had a stitch of clothing in them.
The first closet we worked on was in the bonus room, which her girls use as their playroom. The room is spacious and the closet was a generously sized walk-in. Like most closets, this one featured the bar for hanging clothes and a top shelf. But since there were no clothes in this particular closet, its contents were piled on the floor here, there and everywhere.
What’s the Fix?
A basic and inexpensive solution to consider is additional shelving. This quick and easy fix is attainable just by going to your local hardware store and purchasing shelves, cutting them to size and installing them with some brackets.
After your new shelves are installed, take inventory of everything that needs to go back in and get it categorized. For this particular closet, we were dealing with mostly games and toys, some for the adults and some for the kiddos. As we all know, Cards Against Humanity is not kid-friendly and as such should go way out of reach, so store those types of things on the top shelf. Also consider games with lots of parts and pieces for the top shelf, along with any game that includes glue or glitter.
Since we want to encourage our kids to learn, grow and function independently of us, start with how you organize. The lower shelves and storage spaces are great for their favorite board games, maybe some dress-up attire and educational games. When items are where they can get to them without your help, they are more likely to play with them and, ideally, more likely to put them back. If putting them back isn’t their strong suit, add a reward board to the door, they can add a sticker every time they put something back where they got it and get a treat when they’ve met whatever goal you have set. Eventually, you won’t need to bribe them, they will just do it naturally, and the phrase, “Mom…where is the blah, blah, blah?” will become a thing of the past.
Wrapping & Gifting Galore.
Same client, next closet.
All attics are not created equal, some are better than others, while some shouldn’t even be considered usable space at all. For this client, her attic had its own entry way, its own foyer, but it looked like most of our attics with stuff just kind of in there haphazardly. Its features were similar to a closet with top shelves and hanging clothes bars. Again, not a stitch of clothing in this closet and only small visible areas of the floor.
The closet was home to the wrapping paper, and storage bins full of mystery – some had gift bags and ribbon, some had craft supplies. Since this closet is behind lock and key, it was also home to the glue, glitter and puff paint that her girls can only play with under supervision. A lovely desk sat in the room acting as placeholder for something greater, a proper solution.
What’s the Fix?
Cabinets and countertops, obviously! It seemed only natural to make these additions, the storage and workspace that would be provided would more than handle what the client needed. In working with her budget, we went with basic, unfinished cabinets from Lowes – Project Source. After taking our measurements, we pieced together the perfect section of cabinets to fit oh so snuggly into the room. To dress it up some, we added fancy pulls from Amazon that didn’t break the bank and used a marble laminate imposter from Lowes.
We used the drawers for ribbons and bows, crafting supplies and additional school supplies (gotta love that End of Summer School Supplies list!). Above the counter we installed tension rods that would make wrapping paper easy to store and use, as well as easy to change out for different seasons or celebrations.
The hanging clothes bar wasn’t necessary to remove and we found great uses for them when it came to gift bags and coloring kits. Binder rings!! This solution is so amazing for gift bag storage – we grouped by celebration and then by size – with the ring it is easy to see what you have and get to it quickly and easily! For the coloring kits, it keeps them upright and visible for the kids to see what they have, but still out of reach!
All-in-all this was a low-cost, high value solution that can be used in a variety of ways as the family’s needs change.
I, for one, think that the cloffice is the most ingenious use of a closet and one of my favorite things to come out of the disaster of 2020 (that link will make you laugh). For those of us that found ourselves working from home…from our sofa or from our kitchen table… struggling to find a place that allowed focus and no screaming kids or barking dogs, I share with you the cloffice.
(these images are courtesy of: petitemodernlife.com, thecrazycraftlady.com, Studio McGee & thecofranhome.com)
I have not had the pleasure of converting a closet to an office yet, but oh boy, oh boy when I do!!!! There are so many great things that you can do – adding color, fun wallpaper, great shelving, storage, function – I could go on and on. If you have a closet that you want to convert, check out the links above or just search “closet desk,” in your favorite search engine. And, of course, if you would like my help creating a cloffice, you can find me here.
Closing the Door on Closets
Closets are valuable square footage of your home and can be utilized in so many ways, these are just a few examples to get the creative juices flowing. The closet is your friend. It doesn’t have to be the scary place where the monsters hide from us. If your closet is home to a mess, clean it up, make it useful and beautiful. And, remember, I am here to help if you need it!
“The first step in crafting the life you want is getting rid of everything you don’t!”Joshua Becker