I feel a special shade of terrible.
When I first moved into my apartment, there was nothing special about my clothes-storing facilities. I had inherited it from previous tenants, and it had been used and abused by people with very little fashion and way too many clothes. So when I woke up one day to a broken closet rod and half my clothes on the floor, I wasn’t too surprised.
Where other people would have seen disaster, I saw opportunity. I was all smiles when I pulled Mr. Min into the closet to survey the damage. “That’s it!” I said. “I’m taking ALL of the credit cards and I’m redoing the closet.” To which he replied, “Yes, dear. Try not to spend too much.”
I wanted something that was durable and of good quality, so I opted to use the elfa system by Container Store. It’s not cheap -- I can give you more affordable options -- but I know this system inside and out and I love how it’s customizable. I was also lucky enough to receive a 25% off coupon in the mail, so I gave myself permission to buy a bunch of elfa system components and install it myself.
I started by mapping out a plan. Here’s the interesting thing: my brain freezes at the thought of doing math and slows down dramatically whenever I look at a map. But when planning a closet, my mind becomes clear and everything suddenly makes sense. Somehow, I know exactly what I want, and this is the result.
I have staggered closet rods.
Sure, a lot of closet systems have staggered closet rods. But let me explain exactly how I use them. On the right side of my closet, there’s a short 2 foot rod and any clothes I hang up there are just a little bit out of reach. I prefer it that way, since I can place infrequently worn items like out-of-season clothes and party dresses up there so that they don’t accidentally mix with my everyday clothes. This cuts down on confusion. And underneath, there’s an extra rod for my pants.
The four-foot long, main closet rod is on the left. I’ve reserved it for the stuff I wear for work and play. My clothes are organized by length (I don’t do ROYGBIV), and Mr. Min’s clothes are in the dead center of the closet. It is our unspoken agreement that he gets to have prime placement in our closet and elsewhere since he has zero control over our household.
What I used: Custom elfa closet ($277)
Get it for cheaper:ClosetMaid Closet Organizer ($40)
I’ve painted the back of my closet.
I wanted to update and decorate my closet without having to do too much thinking or buy a lot of knick knacks. I have some paint left over from touching up the walls of my living room, so I used it to cover the walls. I love how my clothes look against this pretty backdrop, and it’s an added bonus that I didn’t have to spend a dime.
What I used: Benjamin Moore Mauve Blush (FREE!)
I use a hanging shoe bag to save space.
It stores all of Mr. Min’s wifebeaters, as well as my tank tops and sports bras. They are rolled up very small to fit in the tiny compartments. The organizer stores a total of 50 items and takes up a mere five inches of closet rod space. It has also opened up two drawers (!) that I can use for other things.
What I used:Hanging shoe bag ($10)
I keep stuff in shallow drawers.
Out of two drawer units, one is an Ikea Alex and the other is an elfa product. I have multiple shallow drawers that I use to hold rolled-up sweaters, cardigans, knit dresses, leggings, pants and scarves. I love how I can just pull out a drawer and see what I have at a glance. The rolling helps prevent wrinkles and I don’t have to disturb a neatly folded stack of sweaters to get the one I want. Since I’m the kind of person who likes to revamp her organizational system now and then, I label all of my drawers so that I can remember where things are.
What I use:elfa drawer unit ($144)
Get it for cheaper:Ikea Algot ($58)
I keep the closet floor free of clutter.
I have two dressers, a bin and a laundry basket on the closet floor. Since there are only a few large objects to deal with, I can slide them in and out whenever I want to vacuum the closet floor. This doesn’t happen very often, but I like having the option. I don’t actually need another laundry basket, but it fits the space and keeps it from becoming a catch-all for junk such as boxes and shopping bags.
What I use:Hip laundry basket ($10).
I’ve placed hooks everywhere.
To hold my belts, I installed a hook rack in the back of the closet. I have more hooks on the sides of the closet, and Command hooks on the closet doors. I use them for things like hats, lingerie and random clothing items that I haven’t gotten around to hanging up.
Get it for cheaper:ClosetMaid belt rack ($9)
I collect my hangers.
I dislike having to dig through my closet to find a spare hanger, so I use this belt organizer to keep them all in one place.
What I use:Classico accessory hook ($3)
I wish I had modular drawers.
I use the two drawer units because I don’t want to spend money getting all new things. But if I were to do it all over again, I might get these Like-it drawers. I would buy multiples to completely fill the bottom of my closet. I’m pretty sure this unit would look like custom built-in storage. I’m holding off on buying this for now, but a girl can dream, right?
What I’d like to use:Like-it Modular Drawers ($30 each)
Get it for cheaper:Sterilite Medium Modular Storage Drawers ($51 for 6)