For the age of my home (circa 1956), I am fortunate to have a walk-in closet in my bedroom. Curiously, it isn’t wide enough to accommodate two parallel hanging rods as it was outfitted. When we first moved in, we attempted to use both rods and did so for several years, but we grew weary of feeling like a running back facing the defensive line of the Seattle Seahawks each time we entered it.
At one point I tried the band-aid approach and delegated the re-design to a handyman whose choice of hardware left me aghast
(the unused rod hooks were painful to the backside as well as the eyes)
until I realized the hardware was the best, lowest cost solution. First lesson learned: Do it right the first time, or, as tKs says,
spend the money to do it right the first time and you’ll only cry once.
My Mantra: Not Having a Cocktail Party in Here
After suffering long enough with the first whiff, I was ready for take two. This time I would tackle the job myself as I just couldn’t justify spending LDB‘s hard-earned income on a fancy closet. I mean, if I’m not going to have a cocktail party in it, what’s the point in fancy? Yet because it’s a room we use every day, I was determined to make it happier and friendlier, all while not breaking the bank.
House Beautiful’s cover photo
of Richmonder Katie Ukrop’s living room, inspired me to put more pink in my life. My closet seemed the perfect place to add some, and I reminded LDB that as real men don’t shrink from pink, he could embrace it, or at least cope.
Step 1: Remove all Items, Evaluate and Edit
This was the hardest step of all, but once I removed everything, I was motivated to finish the chore asap. Plus, I didn’t want to re-hang clothes that we weren’t going to wear.
Step 2: Remove and Replace Shelf Brackets, Move Hanging Rods
Long before HGTV became popular I learned the thrill of using a drill. Armed with my ratchet screwdriver
I find ratcheting screwdrivers easier to use than cordless models.
and drill, I removed the old brackets and hung the new ones, switching the hanging rod from one side to the other to stop smacking into it when we enter the closet. Unlike HGTV, where things seem to happen in a jiffy, this task took me longer than I’d care to admit. Knowing that I could move the edited clothes back and work on the fun stuff as soon as this was done and the space painted, I persevered.
Step 3: Paint
After testing several swatches of paint on the wall, I selected Benjamin Moore’s Early Sunset for the walls and a high gloss white for the ceiling and trim.
Step 4: Accessorize!
Your closet is another room in your home, so why not make it pretty? Using a combination of new and repurposed items, I enjoyed decorating my little pink chamber with touches of gold and pink.
Use Your Accessories
It’s a shame to keep some of your cherished accessories hidden away. My vintage Enid Collins bags prove my point. Pulling them out of one of my other closets, I now use them to hold my stockpile of old costume jewelry. Since I don’t use the jewelry or the bags often, they reside on the top shelves.
Lucky for me I discovered a vintage handkerchief of my grandmother’s embroidered with rose gold floss. Inge at Frame of Mind selected the perfect mat and molding for this sentimental accesory that I now see every day.
My ironing board and supplies live in my closet for convenience. Our home will never have one of those cool laundry rooms complete with fold-out ironing boards, but that doesn’t mean their storage needs to be
ugly utilitarian. To the shelf in the closet’s small nook (above), I added a repurposed gold wire basket to hold laundry odds and ends and rescued a square bamboo serving tray from the basement, brushed the bamboo with gold paint, and placed the iron, starch and water spray bottle on the tray.
My ironing board was due for a new cover, and I looked forward to finding a pretty one. Silly me. Have you shopped for a cover lately? The commercially available ones really need facelifts. Fortunately I remembered Cath Kidston, the British brand of housewares, and found this hydrangea-adorned cover. Perfect! Finally, my old ironing board/iron hanger never worked well to begin with, so I found a stylish solution on Pinterest using large brass coat hooks.
Another coat hook went to work holding my robe.
While not a huge fan of using baskets and bins for organization because they tend collect unused items, I thought this gold wire basket would suit for my small handbags.
The old ceramic bare-bulb socket really had to go. LDB expressed one preference here: he liked the industrial bulb look. I wanted a glass and gold pendant, so the search was on. Fortunately I found a home-grown solution at Shades of Light, and my electrician hung in no time.
By far the least expensive way to update your closet is to replace your mish-mash of hangers with one style. Because my clothes co-exist with my husband’s, I discovered that a one-size-fits-all hanger is not a good solution for our closet. The flocked hangers work great for my garments, but not for his dress shirts that come from the cleaners already hung on wire hangers. I’m not willing to spend time transferring them; I have limits. Our solution is to use the same hangers for each type of garment.
Regarding those flocked hangers: using kids-size hangers for my pants on the lower right rod saves me 4 precious inches all the way down. They aren’t suitable for LDB‘s casual pants, which hang at the back anyway.
my pants hang on kid-size hangers in foreground
Given that the width of the closet was the initial problem, I wish I’d thought of this space-saving solution earlier.
Tip: if you want to recycle your wire hangers, ask your cleaners if they accept used hangers. Hand Craft Cleaners does and even supplies a handy caddy.
My closet won’t make the pages of House Beautiful, but for us it is an upbeat and organized space. We can now walk in and not be tackled by towering rods full of clothes on either side, and I get more pink in my life.
Isn’t it amazing how such a seemingly small change can have a major impact on your daily life?
November 17, 2016