One day. $120. A trip to IKEA and Lowe’s. Yes, sometimes those Pinterest projects you dream about are doable. My underutilized coat closet has now become a mini-mudroom and I couldn't be happier.
We've only been living in our new house for a few weeks but the "shoes/bags/keys/hats/junk by the door" situation was already driving me nuts. I knew the problem was not a lack of space but using the space correctly. Most coat closets just don't have enough storage down below. You get a simple long bar to hang coats, one shelf on top and that's that. My kids won’t be tall enough to access any of that for years. Years! There is just no way I am waiting for that, and making something work by piecing together boxes and bins is just not going to cut it. Enter the magic of Pinterest.
I checked out a lot of coat closet makeovers and some of them were just drool-worthy. After all the ogling, I scaled back my ideas to my budget (under $150) and my size closet. Yes, the individual lockers with built in shelves and wooden name plaques were gorgeous, but that’s not realistic for my space. I want my kids to be able to use the space, not create something beautiful but not functional. I honestly don’t care if it doesn’t belong in a magazine – I just want it to work for my family.
Armed with measurements, we headed to IKEA and found bookcases to fill the gaps on either side of the closet. The GERSBY ones were the right width and at $24.99 a steal of a deal. I also picked up (3) $4.99 TORKIS laundry baskets for shoes – very easy to hose off if they get dirty versus pretty wicker baskets.
We went home and I built the bookcases so we could double check our measurements for the bench and hooks before buying the wood and I am super glad we did that. Then I handled the kiddos while my husband went to Lowe’s and then the TechShop to cut everything perfectly to size. If you don’t know about the TechShop, look it up before you tell your husband. He might end up living there because it is such a man paradise.
Hubby came back home and we (and by that I mean mostly he) built a bench. Then we mounted horizontal boards, screwed in hooks I already had to the boards, and ironed on trim on the edges. I did some caulking and paint touch up and fiddled with adding bins and boxes I already owned on the new shelves.
The lumber, screws, trim, and small parts came to $55.41 so our grand total amounted to $120.36 – nicely under budget.
It’s funny because I think we actually decreased the available space in the closet and yet it is so much more useful that it’s worth it. I have storage for shoes, soccer gear, hats, items for the car to be returned, keys, mail, backpacks, pool gear, and even empty shelves I haven’t filled yet! The best part is that everything is kid height and accessible, plus they have a place to sit to take off their shoes instead of on the floor in front of the door. I was hesitant to take off the doors to the closet, but it’s so much easier to use without them. Plus it’s not embarrassing to have it all out in the open when it looks so good.
The 1st 2 days of school and soccer have been a breeze so far since everyone knows where everything belongs. I’ve set up some baskets for things like mail and one for all of the stuff my husband empties out of his pockets when he gets home. But for the kids, I’ve made it easy for them to see everything – hats on the shelf, not in a bin they can’t see into – and although it might not be so pretty, it’s easier for them.
I know in the future I'll add baskets and change things around. That's a given with anything I do because our family needs are always changing. As the kids get taller, we can just adjust things up and down as needed, but it’ll last this way for years before that comes. Ah, success!
If you are thinking about converting a closet, I wholeheartedly say go for it! Do a lot of measuring and planning first, but definitely take the plunge. If you need a little help with the space planning or products to use, just give me a call and we'll work it out together. Happy closet dreaming!