Or, How I Redid my Front Hall Closet for (Basically) Free
Step One: Take it All Out!
Take everything out of your closet including any shelving and rods. Purge any items you don't wear and throw out old or flimsy hangers.
Tip: Seasonal Items
Get large seasonal items out of the closet if you can. I store our winter boots in a plastic storage box at the back of our bedroom closet. In the winter the boots come out and our summer clothes go in. Our winter coats hang at the very far end of our bedroom closet when not in use.
Step Two: Clean
Wipe down the walls, dust, vacuum and wash the floor, clean the baseboards. A clean slate!
Tip: I wash my floors with water, a drop of dish soap, a splash of white vinegar and a few drops of citrus essential oil.
Step Three: Paint
An easy way to go is to paint the ceiling and walls one colour - it's just a closet after all. A low-lustre paint is best in a light, neutral colour. If you paint it white then go ahead and use the same paint on the trim. Or, if you want a more exciting, fresh look, paint the inside a fun colour. (Again, you can paint the ceiling with the same paint). I opted to paint the back wall of the closet a colour and paint the rest white.
Cost: Cost of paint & supplies, see below for how I did it for FREE
Tip: Painting for (nearly) free
Save money by using paint you already have. I had some leftover soft blue paint from the accent wall in the bedroom that had been sitting in the closet (ironic?). By using a colour you've already used in your house it also adds to a unified colour palette. The white paint I had already bought to freshen up all the baseboards in the condo. And looking for cheap painting supplies? Check out the dollar store. A drop cloth? An old sheet or, as I used, brown craft paper. (I have a hug roll of it stored under the bed for many purposes...gift wrapping etc).
Step Four: Strategic Storage
The next step is the fun part. What can you hang? What can you put on a shelf? I had five wire shelves to work with.
- Any big items to accommodate? If you need room for a stroller or grocery cart plan that first. I considered hanging my cart on the wall (collapsed) but at the end of the day it took away from hanging space and made the closet feel cluttered. Once I gave it enough of a footprint I worked from there.
- Take advantage of vertical space: Seasonal items and items that are not often used can be stored right to the ceiling!
- Storage Boxes: For small seasonal items like hats and gloves get functional storage boxes. Closed = more sleek look, but open baskets = more convenient. It's up to you. I got mine at Ikea for ($) each.
- Keep shelves as close together as possible: Plan out what lives on each shelf to take advantage of space.
- Measure you longest hanging item: For me that was my winter coat. I gave just enough space between the rod and the bottom shelves.
- Get it off the floor: Keep as much off the floor as possible for a clean look. The only items on my floor are tall boots and the grocery cart. Then when we come home or have people over there is room on the floor for their shoes.
- Don't forget the back of the door: Get a hanging shoe rack for the back of the door. (Again, Dollar Store).
Cost: Shelving / Rods, Hanging Shoe Rack, See Below for how I saved big
Tip: Re-Purpose Shelving You Already Own
When we bought our condo the bedroom closet was outfitted with a wire shelving system. I repurposed the middle section of shelving to be used in the front hall closet. (We replaced the bedroom storage by placing a dresser in the centre of the closet and removing the doors). So the shelving ended up being free and the only thing I bought was the hanging shoe rack.
Another Tip: What Else Can Go in There?
Have any other random items that can live in the front hall closet? I store my craft supplies, gift wrapping supplies and extra paint on the top shelves of the closet. I don't use them every day so it's a good use of space to store them up high. A small front hall bench can double as a step-stool to reach up high.
Step Five: Assemble the Closet
Assemble your shelves one at a time. Less-frequently used items go at the top, so place your top shelf as high to the ceiling as possible while still fitting that item. Work your way down.
Tip: Hanging shoe rack is not just for shoes!
Shoes, umbrellas, cleaning supplies, reusable bags, sunglasses, dog leashes and more can fit in those little compartments!
Step Six: Lighting
A finishing touch on a front hall closet is lighting. If you have a light fixture installed, opt to swap it out for a motion-sensor one.
I don't have the wiring or an electrical outlet in my closet (does anyone?) so I picked up a battery-operated LED motion sensor light. I "installed" it (stuck it) above the door frame. The one I bought is also adjustable, so I angled the LED to point down towards the closet.
Total Cost for Me: About $20 including the motion-sensor light and some painting supplies from the dollar store.