Organizing My Closet – Working It with What You’ve Got!

I don’t think I can put into words how encouraged and happy I felt reading your comments after yesterday’s post.  You took something scary, something I wasn’t sure that I wanted to share and turned it into a positive experience.  What a gift you gave to me!  Yesterday, I shared the scary before and the dramatic after of my master bedroom closet.  Today is the fun part… I get to share how I made the transformation using items I already owned.

Closet Organized using what you already own

My closet has to serve 2 primary purposes.  It has to store my clothing, both hanging and folded, and all my accessories (shoes, jewelry, bags and belts); as well as my somewhat massive crafting supply.  Mike took over my former crafting nook and turned it into an office, leaving all of my stuff homeless.  My challenge was to incorporate all those items without making the closet look cluttered (or like a bomb had gone off again) while using items I owned.

Once I purged and whittled down my wardrobe to what I really wear, I need places to store it all.  Hanging stuff was easy to deal with… it went right back onto the rack.  Prior to the purge, I had a gorgeous but bulky dresser in my closet.  It was moved out and 2 smaller dressers moved in.  I bought the dressers and a desk on Craigs List over 2 years ago for my crafting areas.  They were made to be baby or children’s furniture and they are inexpensive and made of laminate.  But they were the right size for the closet and had the footprint to pass for built-in.  Of course, being me, I didn’t want to put them into the closet unless they matched… So I painted them… please tell me you’re not surprised!  It’s not a pretty paint job and it’s certainly not exciting, but they look 10 times better than they did.  I never cease to be amazed by the power of paint.

White painted baby dressers

Next, I dealt with shoes, belts and other accessories.  Shoes were easy… they went back onto one set of the built in shelves.  Easy for me to see and easy to access.

Shoe Storage, Slipcovered Chair, Organized Closet

Belts, hats and scarves were hung on the wall using an old coat rack that used to house dress up clothes in the playroom.  I hijacked one of my bulletin boards that is was for sale on Etsy, stuck some straight pins in it and used it to store all my special jewelry… not only is it fun to look at when I walk in the closet, it prevents the pieces from tangling and lets me remember their stories every time I walk past.  A friend gave me the mirror above the smaller dresser and a simple coat of spray paint was all it needed to fit right in.

Jewelry, bulletin board, painted mirror, scarf storage

The biggest challenge in the closet was the second set of built-ins and figuring out how to incorporate my crafting supplies.  I wanted the shelves to be pretty to look at… there were certain items that I wanted to display… but there were a lot of items that I needed hide.  I had 2 big weapons in my arsenal to help me get there… paint and a box of vintage mason jars that I unearthed from the back of my closet in the purging process… they were leftover from my brother’s rehearsal dinner this past summer.

Bookshelves, mason jars, craft storage

I started by painting the back of the shelves with leftover ASCP in Paris Grey…. no real reason for doing it, other than I just don’t know when to stop once I get a paintbrush in hand.  I’d never used chalk paint on a wall before and I was impressed!  It literally took 20 minutes, only took one coat and dried within the hour!  I then started adding the things to the shelves I knew I wanted to see every day… my great-aunt’s sewing basket, my grandmother’s spools of thread that I use for my own sewing and her thimble.  All my pins (safety, straight, etc) went into old film tins that I purchased at an estate sale earlier in the summer.

Pin Storage, vintage film tins, annie sloan, organized craft storage

My sewing kit (which may or may not have also gotten a coat or 2 of Annie Sloan… seriously, they don’t lie when they say you can paint ANYTHING!), sits on a shelf above my pared down fabric collection.  Mismatched baskets were spray painted and hide odds and ends… everything from floral foam to Modge Podge.  More mason jars hold chalk and my Sharpie collection.  Once I’d dealt with everything I needed to store, I backfilled the spaces with special photos and a couple of framed pics of my beloved New Bern.

Annie Sloan Paris Grey Mason Jars Craft Storage Organized Closet

The final touch for the closet was to add back my slipcovered chair.  I framed a couple of vintage botantical prints I found in my grandmother’s old teaching supplies and framed them in frames that used to hang in James’ nursery.

Slipcovered Chair, vintage prints, spray painted framed, organized closet

I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love new carpet in the closet and a new light fixture for the ceiling.  But do I need them?  Absolutely not.  I’m thrilled with what I have.  I love them feminine feeling of the room… I love the organization and knowing where all of my belongings are.  And I love not having to crawl of a mountain of mess to get to them!

Thank you again for letting me share this experience with all of you.  I’m looking forward to tackling another problem area in my house next month and sharing it again.  In the meantime, if you’re tackling your own closet or other problem areas in your own home and are feeling brave, find me on Facebook and let me see your transformation!

Sharing at:

Emily Clark


  1. Looks beautiful! I never thought of spray painting mismatched baskets, but as I start to create a crafting/work area for me, that’s a great idea! I have tons of different baskets and I would love to have a unifying element like a bright color. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Looks soooooo goooood! :)

  3. The dressers really do look great with a fresh coat of paint. It’s all put together beautifully. I’m so impressed that you have room for all of your clothes and your crafts too! I think you were so smart to have left yourself room to grow – you still have lots of space in there.

  4. holly, i love this post because my closet is a lot like yours, but yours looks so much better with the wood shelves as opposed to my yucky white wire ones! great inspiration for me to apply as i begin to get more organized in the new year!

    hope you’ll pop over when you have a moment, lovely blogger.

    smiles to you.


  5. So glad I got to see part two.. again. What a big difference
    in your closet.. as I said I did mine last year and I am
    in happy land when I sit at the mirror and do my hair.
    Yes, I made a vanity in mine!
    Love it

  6. Wow! What a difference a little organization can do! I am in the midst of doing the same thing with my master closet. However, mine is much smaller and I am having a hard time trying to fit all of mine and the Hubs clothes. We will see what happens. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. I love your results and especially love that you made use of items you already owned! The carpet actually blends right in because it matches a lot of the baskets, frames and even your spool of fabric down there! It all looks great! I mostly love your crafting supplies area, you did an excellent job there, it looks super pretty. I could sit in your closet all day and be happy!

  8. I love this makeover–and am amazed at how you were able to pull it all together using what you have. Can you come do my closet next?? Thanks for linking up :)

  9. WOW! I had to stop by after seeing the ‘After’ on Emily’s site! I desperately need a closet makeover and there are a ton of great ideas here! I love the mix of hidden storage and pretty display items AND all the feminine details. Well, and the pink, too–I love pink! Gorgeous job, thanks for sharing!

  10. 100% totally jealous of your closet. So well done!!

  11. Looks amazing!

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