Our affordable closet fix

The ‘Eat Raw, Eat Well’ cookbook winner is commenter #39 Laura h.
Our youngest daughters have a typical bedroom closet with a rod and a shelf above it.   Years ago I replaced the ever-falling-off slider doors with curtains tied back at the edges of the closet.  I also added a shelf down below the hanging space to provide a bit more storage. But the rod was always too tall for younger kids, the lower shelf sagged, and there wasn’t enough shelving to keep things neatly divided.  I’ve been wanting to do something different in that closet for months (years?), and finally last weekend it was time.

Here’s how it looked before, mostly emptied out. My plan was to lower the clothes rod, and divide the hanging space with a column of shelving in the center. I also wanted to move the lower shelf up above the hanging space so that the girls would have shelf space for some of their dolls and stuffed animals.

I didn’t want to spend any money, so I challenged myself to do this fix with things we had around the house. I already knew I’d be reusing the lower shelf. I also had a smallish narrow bookshelf in another room that I thought would make a good shoe rack. But it was too short to act as the center divider. What to do….? I called my ever-capable hubby into the room and explained my scheme.

After a bit of talk, he went out to his wood shop and rummaged around, then came up with a simple solution: 4 2×4’s cut to a 5 foot length. These he attached to both sides of the narrow shelving unit, two on each side. This raised the new shoe shelf off the floor just enough to be a good center support for the large shelf. A couple coats of white paint (scrounged from our old-paint stash in the garage) and we were in business. Here are a few pictures of the finished project.

Our 7-year old is delighted that finally, finally she can reach her dresses all by herself. Our 9 year old is delighted because that means the 7 year old no longer requires her assistance. And the both love the easy access to their shoes, which formerly were jumbled together in a Rubbermaid. My hubby was delighted that my scheme was easy to pull together. And I was thrilled at the cost of the project: exactly zero dollars.

This final image shows the shelving unit that my husband built a few years back behind the bedroom door. It also extends over the closet to add storage space for less-used toys and games. Just recently he also added hooks for the girls’ guitars. It is a very densely packed space, but it really makes the most of their 10×11 ft bedroom.

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  1. Love this idea! If only my husband was handy!

  2. What a great organizational idea, Mary! You actually made it doable!:)

  3. That looks so cute–and functional. And free besides!

  4. Awesome job! I love it! =)

  5. What a great idea! I noticed the shelves over the door and down the wall – do have a better picture of those? Our kids bedrooms are quite small as we’re in a nearly hundred-year-old farmhouse, and I want to maximize on every square inch.

  6. Bravo! Looks great. You have to love space improvements.

  7. Love the shoe solution. My 2 boys have a very hard time with their shoes – this would be perfect. I am off to measure their closet ……

  8. Is there any way you could share dimensions? My two Ethiopian born sons (8 and 12) share a bedroom that is 10 X 11 and is an organizational disaster. They have a closet with sliding doors but I’m not sure if your closet is about the same size. I love, love, love your shelving idea! P.S. Because I have a non-handy hubby I would be undertaking this myself.

    • HI Kristen,
      The closet is 5-1/2 feet wide with a 5-foot opening. The new center column of shelving is 23 inches wide, counting the supports, and the new shelf on which we’re storing stuffed animals is 4-1/2 feet off the floor. The original high shelf didn’t get moved– it is about 15 inches higher than the new shelf. And once you get your wood cut the right dimensions (which Home Depot will do for you) it is just a matter of nailing or screwing it together– not too hard.

  9. You guys are brilliant!!

  10. Wow, nicely done. And girls have more shoes than boys. As a mom of only boys I think 4 of my sons’ shoes would fit on the shelves.

  11. That is wonderful. I am sure the girls will enjoy using the closet for years to come. Great fix.

  12. I love it! My girls have a large closet and that is completely unorganized – a disaster to say the least. They like their clothes to be hung high and they have their American Girl stuff set up underneath – except there isn’t enough room for that and it always get messed up. You have challenged me to think of a workable solution, thanks!


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