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Before + After: Brit’s Closet Transformation

Here on Brit + Co., we often talk about how to maximize storage and organization; but sometimes, a space is just too small for all the stuff you’re cramming into it. Case in point, my closet. One of your good old fashioned sliding door closets. Mine happens to be even more challenging to fill, given that half of it is made up of built-in shelves, making it extremely difficult to find room for all of my hanging clothes. And okay, I get it, I have a decent amount of clothes (I’m cursed with the triple edge sword of finding bargain deals, making my own clothes, and having the TLC Hoarder’s syndrome, AKA the hesitation to get rid of my old clothes), which was why I knew that something really had to change.

Though I live in a 2-bedroom apartment, the second bedroom is quite small, and typically goes unused. In fact, up until recently, it had been used for storage of skis, framed artwork, boxes of things we needed to return, and all of our books and old movies. For months, I’ve been talking to my husband about what to do with the room. We aren’t planning on having a baby any time soon, our house guests were fairly infrequent, and Pixel certainly does not require a bedroom. Plus, our master bedroom had begun to spin out of control — my clothes were winding up in piles everywhere because I had no where to store them. It was definitely not zen.

We finally agreed that the best plan was to clear out the second bedroom and turn it into my new closet. If you know me, you know I love a good home project. I literally had dreams about how magical this new room was going to be and trust me, I was a pinning fiend! Here are a few pics of my (p)inspiration:

Okay, so that last photo is really just proof that I’m not the only woman in the world obsessed with shoes. (PS: How hot does Christina look here!?)

I decided to enlist the help of the gals at Neat Method (you might remember them from our craft closet organization project) to help me make my dreams a reality. The one major issue about this project was that we couldn’t drill into the walls, given that this is a rental apartment. Everything we designed had to be modular. When I explained this to them, Team Neat Method scoffed at the challenge, telling me that the Container Store’s infamous Elfa wall system was going to change my life. And it did. Check out the transformation.

A few lessons I learned while completing this project:

1. ALWAYS… and I repeat, ALWAYS, hang your clothes on velvet hangers. They are super skinny, making it easy to fit 10x more clothes on a rack. Unlike wire hangers, they also won’t snag your clothes or leave imprint marks on sweaters. And they are non-slip, meaning tank tops won’t fall off the sides — score!

2. Organize your clothes first by length (sleeveless, sleeves, long-sleeve, sweaters) and then by color. This makes it so easy to find clothes and also to re-hang. Oh, and it looks pretty.

3. Keep baskets around for odds and ends like accessories and scarves. Random things in a basket looks far less messy than random things strewn on a shelf.

4. Keep everything where you can see it. You’ll be able to make much more creative style decisions each day when you know all the different outfit combinations you can put together. Plus, you’ll get far more wear out of typically infrequently worn clothes that might have crept to the back of your closet elsewhere. If you’re currently using a sliding door closet (like my old closet), try removing the doors so that you can see everything easier.

5. Roll it up! Save room by rolling up things like scarves and tights. This is a great packing tip as well.

It’s all about easy access. This new format lets me see everything so that I can grab things in a hurry and put them back into position once I’m done. I debated laying all of my handbags out on the shelf, but have found that they actually add some color and charm to the entire set-up.

I removed the mirrored closet doors and propped them up against the bookshelf so that I have two amazing full length mirrors. It also makes the room look way bigger.

You may recognize that accessory organizer from a recent segment I did on the Today Show. It was made out of an old photo frame and chicken wire and has been so helpful in organizing my accessories. You can get the DIY here.

You’ll also notice I keep an iPad on my dresser. Every day (if I remember), I take a photo of my outfit from my iPhone and it syncs over iCloud to my iPad. I keep my iPad photos on  slideshow mode so that I’m constantly able to remember and flip through outfits I’ve put together before. It’s great for those days when I’m just not feeling inspired. I also use it to play music and video while I’m getting ready — I’ve seriously never had more fun getting dressed!

These acrylic jewelry storage trays are also a Container Store find. They cost around $10 and are fantastic for grab-and-go jewelry access. Plus, I haven’t lost an earring yet!

Obligatory Pixel shot. It was early in the morning, he still has his tired eyes on. Don’t judge.

It goes without saying that this new space has changed my life. I spend far less time getting ready every day, my house stays cleaner, and I’m able to make more creative decisions about the things I wear. The only downside is that it will be hard to go back to a smaller space once we need the room for something else (AKA a baby). I guess we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it — for now, though, I’m planning to enjoy my new beautiful boudoir!

Do you have any other closet organization tips & tricks? I’d love to hear them in the comments below, or you can reach out to me on Twitter!

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