Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sending the Scary Closet Back to the Realm From Which It Came

This is an update on a post from earlier this year. I tackled a much-needed closet makeover, using inspiration from here and here on Pinterest. It's one of my favorite recent before-and-after projects. So I decided to share it with everyone for the unofficial Pinterest Challenge, which is the brain child of Sherry and Katie to get people to "stop pinning and start doing."

The day we moved into The Capers, aka our house, back in 2009, I tossed a bunch of boxes containing paint supplies and crafting items into the closet in the front room. Chris took one look at the eerie pink paint with grey scratches all over the walls and never looked back. He said it reminded him of a closet out of a horror movie. Poltergeist, maybe? It did have this creepy feeling of being a portal to another dimension.

Anyway, as of about two weeks ago, those same boxes were still living in the scary pink closet, being of absolutely no use to anyone. Also, my beautiful new bookshelves were getting loaded up with so many items that they were starting to look cluttered and overwhelming. It was time for a utilitarian overhaul. It was time for me to send that closet back to hell and create a new, friendlier, more organized closet.

The first step was clearing out the mess.

Check out the cracked paint on the door, which was probably white at some point but now looked greyish yellow.

Gotta love the random hole in the wall where you can see right through to the original wood lath. Awesomesauce.

And let's not forget how fantastic the gross pink paint looked against my freshly painted Golden Pyramid walls.

See the claw marks on the ceiling? (OK, OK so it's probably just scuffs from the hangers, but it still looks creepy).

One day on a whim, I picked up a paintbrush, grabbed a bucket of paint that I had bought for the hallway (Benjamin Moore's Moonshine) and painted over the pink monstrosity. Already a big improvement. Sometime over the next few days, I went to Lowes and bought a wall patch for a few bucks and got to work repairing the hole in the wall.

Another coat of paint, some glossy white paint on the trim and the door and we were in business. The closet was looking much better. But I knew I'd have to be smart about how I organized the closet if I was going to use it to store all of the not-so-pretty but oh-so-useful supplies from craft projects and home repairs. Enter a Macy's gift card that was a gift from Chris's aunt Lynn. I snagged an over-the-door accessory organizer and 2 cloth hanging shelves for a steal during a particularly good home sale.

So here it is all organized and painted and looking like a type-A dream.

As you can see, I haven't finished my big organizational coup, but we're off to a good start. The hanging shelves offer a lot of space for keeping frequently used items handy and easily accessible, but I'll still be able to close the door and hide the visual clutter.

Having our little filing cabinet upstairs is also nice so we don't have to trek down to the basement every time we need to file away a receipt or owner's manual.

I started adding a little gift-wrap center on the back of the door. I had to hang that wire shelf (which was already in the house in a different room, so it was totally free) super low because the screws were too long for the recessed center panel in the door. I found that out the hard way when I pushed the screw right through the door. You can even see the hole on the right side there next to the wrapping paper. Oops.

I'm also going to add a 3M hook to the top so I can hang gift bags. Not sure what's going to be stored on that bottom shelf yet.

Here's the over-the door accessory organizer up close. The clear pockets make it great for storing tools and keeping everything in sight. We'd been storing the tools in one of the baskets on the new bookshelves, but the space was limited and it was tough digging around to find the right tool. This system is way more convenient. All I did to adapt this over-the-door design for use on the wall was take out the metal hangers and nail right through the reinforced sections of the fabric into studs behind the wall. Super simple.

And the cloth shelves just hang on the existing bar that was already installed in the closet, but not being used for anything. It worked out well that the bar was installed way at the top of the closet. While it caused the previous owners to make scary scratch marks all over the ceiling, it enables the shelves to hang nice and high and leave plenty of room for our filing cabinet, canvases and other floor-dwelling items.

Update: Here's a few pictures of the closet several months later, still being a organization power house and holding lots more tools, gift supplies, leftover wedding goodies, and more.

So whadya think of my little transformation? I know it's just a closet, but eliminating one more messy zone in the house feels good. I love organization, even if I'm not always the most organized person. With this project well on its way, the last big organizational overhaul I have on my list is the basement, the mother of all disaster zones. But this little closet is definitely motivating me to keep going. :-)