Welcome to Kelli's Olympic Nest's tale of how we are creating a home we love through thrifty DIY projects, crafty ideas, and a willingness to get dirty. In between, there's the stories reminding us to also live the life you love. 

Closet Challenge Part III: declutter and organize your closet

Closet Challenge Part III: declutter and organize your closet

How to declutter and organize your closet space

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This is the third and final episode of our his/her closet challenge. Sharing a basic builder grade closet is tough...if you're a guy who is like my guy, that is. His "side" is quite frankly less than a 1/4 of the space. What can I say? I am a closet hog and it was definitely time to trim the fat.

Here's what ya missed if you're just now joining us.

  • In Part 1: Goals & Design I jumped in without really having a plan so that's a fun read to learn what not to-do first.

  • Part II: Affordable Custom Made Closet System where the plan slightly changes and a simple closet system is built for less than $100 dollars.

And here's one before shot (see Part I for more dark, cluttered closet pictures).  While everything was pretty tidy, it was just so crowded and not very attractive.

closet before diy california makeover.jpg

Now it's time to declutter and reorganize our closet space.

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If you've been following this basic builder closet makeover, you probably remember this pile of clothes which is now ready to be sorted.

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First figure out what your criteria is going to be for decluttering your closet. This will require you to change your mindset so you may want to do some research first. I was a bit shocked how attached I had become to so many items I never really wore. Sigh.

Then sort your closet items with these two guidelines:

  • Anything that is rarely worn goes into the 'come back later' pile.

  • The "maybe I'll wear this one day..." (translation, will never wear this again) heads to the 'got to go' pile.

Now sort through the 'come back later' pile and use these two ideas:

  • If it doesn't fit or fit right, gotta go.

  • If it hasn't been worn in 2 years, bye-bye.

That left me with this pile which was sorted into 2 other piles: resell and thrift store.

how to declutter and organize your closet

Time to organize the closet...

I'm all about reusing what you already have. 5 ways to organize your closet is proof of that. 

The milk crates became cubicles. Each cubicle stores items that I don't necessarily access on a daily basis (those items are in the chest dresser). Tip: roll your clothing instead of folding. Then store your 'roll-ups' vertically rather than horizontally. Now you can see each item.

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The baskets also hold clothing pieces that are a bit more seasonal such as long-sleeved cotton t's and leggings. 

On the shelf are my sweaters. Below I hung all my knit shirts. The bottom rod is where I hung all my blouses. Each rod is then also organized by color. 

Dresses or long sweater cardigans hang from the top closet rod.

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My belts used to hang from coat hooks and were draped over the shelving unit I had previously tucked into closet. When I saw someone use shower curtain hooks, I knew this would be the perfect solution. They are now located just right of the jeans (above) on the same closet rod as the blouses.

shower hooks upcycled to belt hangers.jpg

This is the same tub I had on the top shelf of closet. Instead of piles of summer sandals, I stored them vertically as well. When summer comes around, will swap out the boots/ankle boots for these. 

seasonal storage idea for shoes.jpg
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The other basket now stores my work clothes (aka paint clothes) also rolled to fit vertically.

What I really love about this simple custom closet system is that I can now see my shoes. I did add another shelf which I already had the brackets on hand. 

I used the hook shelf and rod brackets for all shelving because this gives me flexibility. I can move shelves around as needed. You can actually purchase these on Amazon for less than what I paid for at Home Depot. See link below.

simple closet shelves.jpg

TIP: Roll-up old magazines and slide into boot. This keeps your boots up-right.

simple solution to keep boots upright.jpg

That brings us to his side of the closet. 

He stills only has a small bit of the closet real estate. 

His sweatshirts are folded neatly on the shelf above the water heater access point.

basic builder closet makeover for him and her

His jeans rest nicely on the top shelf of the re-purposed milk crates. And other than a basket, that's it. That's his claim on his/her closet.

I am so thankful that most of his clothes are t-shirts and work clothes (which are stored by the laundry room). Also thankful my guy isn't a clothes hound like I am. We would for sure need a bigger closet.

storage ideas for builder grade closets.jpg

Also found a spot to hang my hats. 

maximize closet space.jpg

Organizing the closet was much needed. The down side is Hubby can actually see just how many pairs of boots I own. He also noticed just how little space he has. So, I guess, this closet challenge was successful. We turned a basic builder grade closet into a cheap custom made closet system (cost $86) that looks much better than what we had before.

I'm sure you have your own closet story to tell. Would love to hear how you have found ways to declutter and organize your closet.

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