Closet Organization, Eco Style

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The room in our apartment that we have the most trouble keeping clean and organized is, sadly, our master bedroom. The living room is straightened and de-cluttered pretty much every day, and I clean the kitchen daily too. But I guess since most of our time there is spent sleeping, we just don’t focus much on keeping the bedroom so clean. And the closet? Well, lets just say it was a disaster area:

We’d take off shoes and toss them on the closet floor, and lots of other miscellaneous things wound up in there that I can’t even explain, really. Plus, my crafting corner. Yeah. It was terrible. Let’s just say I have a LOT of craft supplies and finding someplace to put them all when I don’t really have a dedicated crafting area was a challenge. So they wound up in this corner of the closet:

I’m ashamed.

The worst part is that last year, I made a huge effort to clean up my closet. Clearly, it didn’t last. So when Walmart offered me an opportunity to get my closet in order — again — courtesy of the organizational products of my choosing, I jumped at the chance. And boy, am I glad I did. Before I get into the details, I’ll gratify you with an “after” photo:

Better, no?

In my opinion, this photo doesn’t do it justice. It took literally hours of work to get it that way, but it was totally worth it to be able to walk ALL THE WAY into my closet without tripping over anything :).

First, the shoes. I admit it. I have too many pairs. So does my husband. So they overflowed everywhere and we never put them back where they belonged even though we already had two shoe racks on the floor and one on the back of the closet door from last year’s makeover. This 16-pair shoe rack from Canopy solved that problem easily:

We decided that I’d get the new rack while my hubby would keep the two floor racks. I put away all my shoes, including my tall boots on the hard top of the rack, and I had a couple of empty spaces left over — which of course, must be filled. Consignment sales, here I come! I kid…sort of.

Next, the closet shelves. As much as I love our mid-century bedroom furniture, the fact is that the dresser drawers are pretty shallow and my hubby’s clothes are really big. So he had a lot of overflow that wound up on the closet shelves. I used open storage bins from Canopy to sort and fold the extra clothes.

I still need to label each bin accordingly, but I’m trying to figure out an attractive, durable, permanent way to do it that doesn’t involve a Magic Marker. The best part about these bins, and almost every Canopy product I used in this makeover? They’re all made of recycled PET plastic bottles! This picture is the label from another product, but they are all made of the same thing. Score one for the green team!

Once the shoes and extra clothes were handled, there was little left to be done. Except. Yes. The crafting corner.

It took me a long while to figure out how to sort the mess. I eventually decided on covered, stackable storage boxes, also made of recycled PET plastic. I used one large bin to corral all my fabric (and there’s quite a bit of it).

The second large box was used to contain a bunch of shoeboxes that I used to sort items. For example, one shoe box contains paintbrushes and stamps, another contains craft paint, and still another contains wooden and metal items like curtain clips, craft sticks, etc. Finally, I have a plastic container for all of my sewing supplies: Needles, thread, etc.

Can you believe how much better it looks?

I did a lot of purging, getting rid of shoes and clothes that are outdated, too big (have you read about my weight loss journey at Green & Gorgeous?), or just never worn. They were sorted into two piles: One to consign at my favorite consignment store and another to donate to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. I also replaced some of the bent plastic hangers holding suit jackets and fancy dresses with these babies:

These hangers are covered in velvet (or velvet-like fabric, anyway) and they’re nonslip. Big bonus, and they make things look really nice and neat.

Also in the hanging department, I want to hug the person who invented this:

It is a scarf and tie hanger and it has already saved me so much frustration! My hubby has more than a few belts and ties, and we’ve always just slung them over a hanger, and that hanger always gets lost whenever he needs a belt or a tie. And me? I have more than a few scarves. In fact, I think I have a bit of a scarf problem. This simple product has solved the problem so elegantly that I actually plan to go to Walmart to grab two more so I can do a better job of organizing my scarves by color.

And last, but not least, we needed a better way to manage our laundry. So just outside the closet door, we set up this awesome hamper:

It includes four bags so clothes can be sorted as they’re dumped. This will save me SO much time on laundry days! It’s empty at the moment because we’d just finished doing laundry, but I’m actually looking forward to getting some dirty clothes so I can put this to work!

Its fellow workhorses are two laundry baskets, which we sorely needed. I’ve spent many Sunday afternoons walking loads of clean clothes from the dryer clear on the other side of the apartment to my bedroom. Which generally leads to lots of dropped items. Which is a real pain in the butt. These baskets have one curved side so that they can fit comfortably on a hip. Small detail, but I think it makes a big difference.

All of these products helped me take my closet from this disaster zone:

To this:

I can now actually walk into my closet again. And assuming we actually put our shoes away every day, it should be a lot easier to keep it looking this way :)

Here are the products I used (aff):

DISCLOSURE: I am a participant in the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has provided me with products to use in my closet makeover and compensation for my time and effort on this project and post. Participation in this program is voluntary. As always, all opinions are 100% authentic and mine.

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8 comments… add one

  • Em home blogger August 30, 2012, 5:32 am

    Thanks for sharing. I am about to tackle my walk in closet this weekend and was looking for some useful ideas of how to deal with all my clutter (apart from throwing it all away that is). Some great ideas here that I will need to utilise!

    • jennae September 10, 2012, 7:15 pm

      Em, I’m glad I could help!

  • San Francisco Metal Recycling August 30, 2012, 10:09 am

    I love what you’ve done here…my closet needs this kind of revamp!

  • how2home August 30, 2012, 12:27 pm

    I think this looks great! Love the shoe rack, its great when you can visually see all your shoes. I totally understand you, cleaning the closet takes so darn long! We just did a make over to our bedroom (how2home.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/how-to-our-bedroom-makeover/) and also built a mini mud room (how2home.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/how-to-mini-mud-room/) , hope you’ll love our space as much as we do!
    how2home recently posted { Weekday fun }

    • jennae September 10, 2012, 7:16 pm

      You guys have done some awesome work! Thanks for sharing!

  • jenn aka the picky girl August 30, 2012, 8:52 pm

    When I bought my house, it was the first time I had my own laundry room. I was so thrilled, but it has turned into such a dump because I use it like a mud room. I bought a hamper deal from Target where the frame is made from PVC, and it’s really crappy. Love the one you got. Can you tell what the frame is like? Also, I LOVE your laundry basket.
    jenn aka the picky girl recently posted { Review: The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny }

    • jennae September 10, 2012, 7:17 pm

      Jenn, the frame is actually metal, and its really sturdy. I’m also pretty stoked that the whole thing is on wheels, because I can roll it straight from the bedroom to the laundry room. I’m definitely not a fan of PVC, but this one is perfect :)

  • Eva Stephen October 12, 2012, 12:48 am

    Useful share Jennae. It has highlighted some very helpful tips to organize your closet and other clutter in a small space.

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