I’m that lame-o that loves organizing.
Everything in our home has a specific spot to be put away so I can find it again. It sounds crazy, but staying organizing saves me time from cleaning because it’s much easier to keep things picked up throughout the week, leaving me less cleaning to do on weekends.
However, there was one area I was having trouble with…
Our bedroom closets (we each have our own) are fairly small. They are not decked out walk-ins like the Real Housewives with their own island, unfortunately. While I don’t have a TON of clothes, my closet just wasn’t working. The shelf above the hanging rod was a little high to reach, so my stuff ended up in messy piles and it was impossible to grab the right sweater I was looking for. Then there was a ton of wasted space below the hanging clothes where my shoes ended up. It was unorganized and a “pain point” in our room. Clothes ended up on the ground because I didn’t have a proper place to put them, so even when I cleaned, things still looked messy.
See what I mean…Yikes.
I had two problems here: I needed to purge all the clothes I didn’t love and wear to make more room and I needed a better organization system.
Today, I’m sharing how I cleaned out my closet and installed a new organization system that worked for me.
*BONUS: If you want to learn how to get a complete printable IKEA shopping list for the Algot System I used, click here.
1.Purge Purge Purge
Purging a bunch of clothes is intimidating and scary. I used to love shopping. Going to the mall and coming home with new stuff was one of my favorite things. Eventually, I realized more didn’t always mean better, so a year ago I started adapting the capsule wardrobe concept thanks to my sister and I’ve begun to whittle down my closet to only things I truly love and wear and it’s made alllll the difference. If you want to stop asking, “What should I wear today?” and spend less money shopping, I highly suggest checking out Caroline at Un-Fancy and her capsule wardrobe experiment.
Here’s a step by step guide I used to cleaning out your closet. Have fun with it. I actually enjoyed getting rid of stuff!
- Empty your entire closet and dump it on your bed. Putting it on your bed is your motivation to finish going through it.
- If you have clothes in a dresser, dump those on the bed.
- Include your shoes too.
- Now that all of your clothes are on your bed, it’s time to go through it.
- Make 4 piles on the floor:
- Love – These pieces fit me well and I wear them often.
- Maybe – I want to keep them but not sure why.
- Donate – These do not fit me well and I haven’t worn them in a year.
- Trash – These pieces are worn out.
- As you’re going through everything on your bed and putting them in 1 of 4 piles, don’t give it too much thought. Just go with your first reaction.
- Once your bed is empty and you have 4 piles, bag up the donate pile immediately so it’s out of sight. Throw the trash pile away.
- Now, try on your Maybe pile and ask yourself:
- Would I buy this in a store today?
- Will I wear it in the next 6 months?
- If you’re answer is yes, throw it in your Love pile.
- If you’re answer is no, add it to your Donate bag.
- Put away your Love pile.
After doing this my closet felt so much better now that it had space to breathe. It’s also amazing when you stand in your closet and see only things you love! Getting dressed with less is actually easier because you have fewer options and you know you those options fit well.
2. Make a List of What You Need Your Closet to Do and Then Pick the System to Make it Work
My closet needed to make better use of space above and below the hanging clothes. After thinking about biggest pain points, I needed a better way to organize t-shirts, sweaters, and sweatshirts on the top shelf, and I needed better storage for my scarves, shoes, and purses.
I headed to Pinterest to look up DIY closet organization ideas and found a slew of different methods to organizing a closet. Ultimately, I decided the IKEA Algot System crossed off all my needs and was most affordable.
Browsing their selection online is a little overwhelming at first if you don’t know how their Algot System works like I didn’t. Everything is interchangeable and customizable but I decided to buy a ready-made “set” because it had all the pieces instead of buying them individually. After measuring our closet, I decided this set was best and then I also got this basket organization since I had a little extra room on the end of our closet that I wanted to fill. Then I got this this triple hook accessory for my handbags.
I wanted lots of shelving and the sliding baskets would be nice for things that don’t always stack neatly like workout gear. I chose not to get the shoe storage because I thought having shelves for either shoes or clothes is more functional for me.
BTW, did you know that IKEA has a handy little feature that lets you print a shopping list and tells you exactly where to find each item in the store on your list? It’s super simple and convenient. I made a quick tutorial to show you how! Just click below to get it.
3. Utilize the Whole Space
The biggest problem with my closet is all of the wasted space above and below the hanging clothes.
I started installing the IKEA system myself when Jordon was at work one Saturday. I watched a few videos first to see how to do it and all tutorials said to measure MANY times or else the shelves won’t line up and you’ll have to start over.
Measuring being my weakness, I got a little nervous, but decided to take a stab at it anyway. Sometimes it pays to be impatient :)
I started by hanging the horizontal rail first. This helps keep the vertical rails at the right height, so you only have to worry about measuring the distance from each rail. After the horizontal rail was hung, I hung the 3 vertical rails evenly apart. You must use drywall anchors if you aren’t screwing into a stud, so this takes extra time. It took me several hours just to hang the 4 rails because I measured many times and made sure they lined up perfectly before drilling holes. Luckily, it worked and I didn’t have to start over! Whew.
Once the rails are in place the hard part is done. All you have to do next is snap in the shelving and hanging rods where you want them. What I love most about the Algot System is that it is customizable so you can change it at any time. If you hang your shelves at the bottom and decide later to move one to the top, you can do that.
Here is the layout I settled on. I may eventually get one more shelf for the top so I can stack some shoe boxes up there. I was super excited when I saw it all come together!
And here it is with clothes! I’m in love with how well it looks and functions! Not only does everything have their own designated spot, but there is still room so it doesn’t feel full.
The thicker sweatshirts I won’t wear in the summer are on the top shelf right now, and then I’ll switch them around when winter comes so I can access them easier. My sweaters, t-shirts, and activewear each have their own drawer. My shoes have just enough space with the lower shelving.
The side basket rail with baskets holds my scarves, clutches, and the hook holds my purses. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!
Jordon was shocked to see it finished when he came home from work. I think he’s actually a little jealous of my neatly organized closet and wants to install the system for his closet now too. :)
Does your closet need a little reorganizing? Are there items you can purge to help clear the space? Do you have clever ways you save space in your small closet?
I’m a big fan of IKEA because of their great prices and versatility. Check out another post and see how we made these IKEA hack built-ins.
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