Chaos contained (a closet makeover)

One of my goals this month was to get the main hall closet in my house under control. It’s the largest closet in our 70’s split-level house, and it’s conveniently located near the entryway, living room, and kitchen, so a whole bunch of junk ends up in there.

I know cleaning out a closet sounds a little OCD, but seriously… It was bad. To the point that it was completely non-functional. Stuff was covering the floor so you couldn’t even walk inside to hang up coats or put toys away, so more stuff just got piled on top of the mess.  All right, enough chatter.  Wanna see?

This closet is out of control!  Check out how I got it organized.

Yes, I have a inflatable remote-controlled minion in my hall closet. Doesn’t everyone?

There’s no magic formula I followed to organize the space, just the basic “get everything out, put back what you need to keep” philosophy.  I moved a junky bookcase from my sons room and wedged it in under the coats to make room to store toys that’s not on the floor.


The only things I bought for this project were two large storage containers.  I stashed sports gear and dress-up outfits in them, under the coats on the other side of the closet.


This freed up the floor so now my son can use the lower hooks to hang up his coat by himself. I put some baby stuff that I like to have close at hand on the upper hooks.  The top shelf is empty, since I learned from the ADD organizing book that you should always leave some extra space for “staging” or short-term storage in areas that are used a lot.

Closet redo april 2014 front view

Yay!  I’m soooo glad I got this project done.  I was almost tempted to stick something in the closet that didn’t belong in there today, but I resisted.  That’s progress, people!

What’s the most chaotic space in your home?  Or are you one of those organized people whose closets never look this bad?

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32 thoughts on “Chaos contained (a closet makeover)

    • Office space (especially with lots of papers) is really hard to keep organized without good storage space. We have that problem in our home office too.

  1. Great job! Doing that is so therapeutic. I did a lot of clearing out while on maternity leave and we recently cleaned our garage too, but there is still a bunch of stuff in there to organize. Oh and I know I could do better in my craft room!
    Kathleen recently posted…around here // momming upMy Profile

    • Oh man… I lost my craft room to the new baby, but in a way it’s kind of good — I was forced to organize all my stuff and get rid of a lot. Now it’s mostly organized, even if it is stuffed in a closet.

  2. My closet is the only place in the house that looks that way but thankfully there isn’t anything on the floor -we have cubbys but they’re messy! I’m pretty OCD about keeping things organized but it is also a reasonably sized two bedroom apartment so nothing crazy, yet. 🙂 Nice work Sarah, glad you were able to tame that mess! Happy Friday -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted…GTFO: Your Eyes Can’t SeeMy Profile

    • Thank you, Iva! The floor of the closet was what was just killing me. It was definitely the “broken window” of the closet… once stuff started getting piled on the floor, it just went downhill from there.

  3. The thing with organization is it always needs to be maintained. I have many organizational systems throughout the house and maintain them. The closet gets maintained monthly so it could get pretty hairy. My kids like going in there and just dumping everything on the floor. I have been tempted to put a lock on it so they can’t get it.
    Tara Newman recently posted…5 Things I Have Learned About Motivating ChildrenMy Profile

  4. I did that with my bedroom closet last month but I failed to stick to the plan so it’s a disaster again! I love the book shelf idea for the lower part of the closet, I always feel like there so much wasted space down there.
    Kelli recently posted…Seashell Chronicles 4/7My Profile

    • Bedroom closets are so hard to keep organized! Does the weather change enough where you live to have to switch out clothes for winter/spring? That’s always when my closet gets the craziest — when it’s warm enough to get out the summer clothes but still cool enough to need some winter clothes.

  5. Wow! I am so jealous- I love that feeling but at the moment, more of our closets look like your before than your after! I am beginning to think we can finally (knock on wood) put away our winter coats so I’m thinking that might be my inspiration to get some things moved out!
    Stacey recently posted…This Moment: April 11My Profile

    • Yep — Swapping out the winter stuff has been the big inspiration for me to get organized. We’ll see if it carries over to any more closets! Still, just getting this one straightened up does feel great.

  6. Ohhh, good for you!! We have a similar closet in our foyer (with un-cleanable shutter folding doors) and my goal is never to let it get crazy again. Well, it’s looks a little crazy at the moment — the shoes are all kind of sticking out of their bins, which is ridiculous — but I can fix that today and feel right as rain. In fact, that one blasted closet is the thing that keeps me going: If I could organize it and keep it together, there’s hope for the rest of this place!
    Meg recently posted…The Little Things: Canning Jar SleeveMy Profile

    • We must have the same closet — we’ve got those shutter doors, too. (Although I must admit I don’t try to clean them very often…) I feel the same way about this hall closet (especially since we’re in and out of it so often the doors are open at least half the time). If it’s organized then the rest of the house can’t be toooo bad.

  7. Nope, ours are bad! The most chaotic space in our home is the living room. Dog, two kids, two adults, entertainment stuff. It’s where it all meets. And I can’t relax or Des will turn on the TV and the dog will eat a princess toy.
    Happens every time.
    Tamara recently posted…What I Want You To Know.My Profile

  8. Our guest bedroom is our catch-all. It is terrible! Also, that is a lovely Ergo hanging there…you may not want to loan it out to people if you enjoy it 😉

    • We used to have a bedroom like that before we filled them up with kids! Yes, I do love the Ergo — I think I used it with Josiah til he was almost 2!

  9. Your “before” pic looks VERY familiar. Isn’t it amazing how much stuff accumulates in places? It seriously amazes me how much stuff I have everywhere. Good job cleaning the closet!!
    jan recently posted…Favorite OutfitMy Profile

    • Glad to know I’m not the only one with closets that look like this! It is amazing how the stuff piles up. It feels awesome to have at least one small space semi-organized!

    • Hee hee… we all have our dark sides, don’t we? But I guess if you have to have a vice, having messy closets is a pretty good one. Have a great week at that awesome new job! =)

  10. Good job and great tip! My shoe/coat closet floor is pretty unorganized. It’s just that my shoes don’t fit on our shoe rack b/c I have smaller feet than what it’s designed for. Plus, my boots won’t fit on there at all (and they should be moved upstairs to storage anyways). And when I mean storage, I mean our walk-in closet, which could also use a makeover as things are just piled into corners on top of one another. It makes me mad to look at it, but since we’re renting, we’re not motivated to do any real organizing.
    lisacng @ recently posted…We are totally legit backpackers {photos}My Profile

    • I know what you mean about being unmotivated when you’re in a rental. We rented until we bought this house a few years ago and I hated to spend money on a space that was temporary anyway.

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