Before and After: A Closet Is Transformed with a Repurposed Kitchen Staple

published Jun 15, 2023
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closet before organizing: too much to fit, things in shopping bags on top shelf

If organizing is your day job, it can be especially hard to muster the energy to tackle spaces at home. But professional organizer Allison Weigensberg (@everythinginplace) was dealing with more than ordinary occupational fatigue: In the aftermath of a “disastrous” home renovation, she was also grieving the loss of her mother. 

Despite these incredibly valid reasons to procrastinate, Allison prioritized her 10-year-old daughter’s open-concept closet, a space that had become a stressor to both mom and daughter. Allison says her child “does better with structure and having a clutter-free space” to relax. The builder-grade closet with its single high shelf was incredibly difficult to maintain, and Allison wanted to make it easier for her daughter to get to her clothes and put them away. It was time for a budget-friendly refresh. 

Following these simple steps, Allison transformed the closet in a mere five hours. Here’s how.

Step 1: Declutter.

Allison was able to declutter an impressive 20 to 30% of the items in her daughter’s closet by removing outgrown and unloved items.

Step 2: Clean.

Once the closet was empty, Allison gave it a good vacuum and wiped it down.

Step 3: Add storage. 

With a budget of only $150, Allison had to get creative. “I had some old leftover kitchen cabinets in the garage,” she says. “So I cleaned those and brought them up to give her closet some additional shelving.” Once they were placed on the closet floor, however, the doors wouldn’t open or close properly. Allison used leftover wood from the renovation to elevate the cabinets enough for the doors to have clearance. With all the money saved on shelving, Allison was able to splurge on these decorative woven baskets and slim black hangers from Amazon. 

Step 4: Categorize. 

“After the structure was in place, I organized [my daughter’s] clothes by color, grouped her other belongings into categories, and put each category into a different bin or basket,” says Allison. With only three baskets, Allison didn’t feel the need to label them, but each contained a single category of items, such as keepsakes or crafts. 

After devoting almost half her day to the project, Allison is happy with the result. “I love how it turned out, and the fact that I did it for such little money and mainly repurposing things I already had,” she says. If she had it to do over, she might have repainted the inside of the closet, but otherwise, she’s completely satisfied. 

“​​My favorite part is the fact that my daughter has maintained the closet months later,” says Allison. ”As an organizer, that’s a sign that I did my job well!”

If you, too, are finding it hard to tackle your own closet chaos, Allison advises that you should just get things started. “The hardest part is often getting these organizing projects going.” 

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