Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Reworking and Redesigning My Closet


When we first moved into our apartment — and honestly every apartment we've moved into or lived in since moving out of my parents house — I never gave much thought to changing around my closet.  I think often when we rent, we're thinking about things in the temporary.  We're thinking, 'well eventually one day I'll have a good couch, or organize my clothes, or try to hang up pictures.'

And while I've always been the one to push the envelope and hammer nails into the wall and put up pictures on a whim, I've always taken that closet part at face value: this is the closet I have here, and I'll just throw my stuff in it.

It wasn't until maybe 8 months ago that I started thinking to myself, "why haven't I used any of the tricks that I've learned as a clothing merchandiser to better interact with my own closet?".

Now, mind you I have meticulously re-arranged my wardrobe by color, silhouette, etc., and I'll be sharing some of those tips on the blog eventually as well, but I've never sought to re-work the actual structure of my closet.


Old "hall of closets vs. new walk-in closet, that actually feels like it has less space

And I suppose I might not have before because my 'hall of closets' at our last apartment was so freaking awesome there was not really any need.

Our move to this new place was such an improvement in so many ways — the kitchen is newer, there is space for a dining table to have people over and still have a separate couch/ tv area, I have space to store my Etsy inventory and a space to work at my desk that isn't in the kitchen... and so far nobody has come and busted holes through the wall and not come back to patch them up for months on end...

There are so many things that are awesome about this place, but if there is one shortcoming, it's the amount of closet space.

We went from having 5 large closets to having 2 small closets that are barely large enough to house our clothes, let alone any other supplies you would keep in a closet, like tools, paint, ladders, etc.   For the sake of this post, I'm really just going to talk about the clothes though, and maybe we'll get to creative space saving ways to store other house things sometime in the future.

Andrew seems to have just enough space to store all his clothes in his small closet and dresser.  I, on the other hand, being so immersed in the fashion world, have nowhere near enough space to reasonably store all of my clothes.  Now, I knew this going into our move, and we knowingly decided that all of the benefits of this new place were well worth losing our closet space.  So, I'm just making it clear that I am not complaining about the closets, I know I did it to myself.  But I want to share how I've made use of my current closet space, and possibly inspire others to make the changes they need in their own space.

First of all, I may have touched on it before, but I have been making efforts to clean out my wardrobe of old or rarely worn items.  I've been, and continue to sell some items on Poshmark to pare down my clothes to an amount that can reasonably be worn on the regular.  There are some items that I've not worn during their season for like 3 years, and each year I think, "man this piece is going to be great for < insert season here > !"  So my first piece of advice for those transitioning to a smaller closet would be: pare down your wardrobe and get rid of excess pieces that aren't doing it for you anymore.

Additionally, in case you're not doing it already, store out of season clothing in bins.

Now, here is where it's been tricky for me.  Because I have done this, and I have SEVEN out of season bins (this includes 2 suitcases for me), and because of the closet space issue these are just stacked in our bedroom currently.  It's hard to say where to store these, because while we have a basement storage unit, I don't feel comfortable storing clothing in a place that has no temperature control.  My current plan as I go through the next few seasons will be to continue editing down each season until I have just a single bin per season.  And possibly this will be aided by getting a vacuum sealer, because MAN, we just got a mattress in a box from Tuft and Needle, and watching that thing come out of the vacuum sealing was nothing short of MAGIC.

So I am going to sidebar that part of the issue as I continue to go on about the closet transformation, all the while being fully aware that that is a huge issue.

At the moment for Early Fall, I have dwindled down my wardrobe to what I think I will actually wear during October.

Before and after wire shelving

Here is where things get exciting, and this is the main takeaway from this post:

Do what you need to (within reason) to make your closet space usable now — regardless of if you're living there one year or ten.

Your days will flow easier and you will have less stressful mornings.

Just to remind, we are renting our current space.  My closet had that standard white wire shelving in place when we moved in, I'm sure you can picture it in your head.  I hate that stuff.  Things fall through it.  It's awkward.  Not to mention sorta ugly.  It doesn't 'spark joy' for me.

For some reason I was worried that I couldn't pull it all out because we're renting. Silly Lindsay.

I've lived with it for over a year and whenever I go in there, dresses are running into stuff hanging on the bottom, the things hanging on the bottom are getting all dusty on the floor, and stuff on the shelves is hiding behind all the clothes.  Who designed these dumb shelves???

It took me all of five minutes with a power screwdriver to tear them out.  You don't even need to spackle up the holes because you're just going to screw them right back in when you move out.

Immediately after tearing them out, I was already so much more in love with the closet, and it was just an empty box with holes in it!

Photoshop mockup of what I envisioned for my new closet space

Mood board for my closet

Starting with a clean slate I was able to re-envision how I wanted to interact with my closet.  I knew that I wanted a clothing bar that was tall enough for dresses and pants, and I also knew that I wanted more shelving space for shoes, hats and bags — as well as a little bit of space for some cute decor to brighten up the room!

I opted to bring in some of the same shelves that we used in our kitchen feature wall, that are wood and have great minimalist gold brackets, from Target.  These shelves eliminate any need for those gross fabric shoe cubbies that hang from your closet clothing rod!

Next, I found the IRIS clothing rack on Amazon, which is an affordable modular clothing system that I can use in the next place we move to also!  I already had the single standing rack out in our bedroom area for staging outfits, and I opted for the version with the shelves on it for in the closet.

Lastly, I wanted to provide a space to hang some accessories — I'm currently hanging all my bags off of our door handles, which is pretty in the way when it comes to opening and closing the doors.  So I found a great funky little hanging knob fixture at World Market that I love.



In progress painting the back of the closet

But first things first, after I pulled out all of the old shelving, I was left with a kinda sad looking back wall, and also this space needed a theme.  I wanted something fun, and a little feminine, that could hold its own once clothing was put in.  Most of the style design is based off of a removable wallpaper I found on Etsy.  When I first started, I looked into potentially using a peel + stick wallpaper, but later decided that I wanted to paint it on the wall instead.  So while I freehand painted it on the wall, the design is based off of this wallpaper from uniqwatercolorstiq on Etsy.  This bold pattern brings in a fun pink, mustard, and blue color palette that can really transition nicely throughout seasons and I think makes going into my closet fun and exciting.   The rest of the palette is pulled together with decor, including an art piece from Janethillstudio.

So, Voila!   There you have it, a newly designed closet space that is not large, but is useful, functional and cute to boot!



Until Next Time,

— The Lovely Red Fox

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