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How to Make a Storage Closet More Organized and Functional

Have a storage closet that’s a total mess? Check out how I updated a walk-in closet to be more organized and functional for storage needs.

We have a big walk-in closet in our bonus room for storage.

Now before I start complaining about how messy it gets, I want you to know I do realize how lucky my family is to have this extra storage space in our home.

It really is amazing because it holds So. Much. Stuff!

Really…it’s so big I can fit lots and lots and lots of junk I mean our beloved belongings in that closet.

Everyone in our family (myself included) just kept opening the door throwing unused items in there and shutting the door quick.

After tossing more and more in that closet it got harder and harder to close that door.

Can you relate?

Do you have a closet or space that after a while becomes a dumping ground for all the things?

My storage closet got so bad after the holidays I wasn’t able to get the Christmas bins back in the closet.

That’s when I knew something had to be done.

It was time to get organized!

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Before Storage Closet Makeover

view of walk-in closet before makeover with bins stacked in corner

Can you believe as a blogger I totally forgot to get a picture of the closet before I started emptying it out?

So it doesn’t look that bad.

But don’t worry, I’m going to share some amazing pictures of all the stuff I had shoved in this closet soon.

Haha!

When we moved in the builder had installed one wire shelf at the top of the closet around three walls.

The one high shelf around the room wasn’t very functional for a storage closet.

The wire shelf wasn’t very deep so it couldn’t hold much.

Especially since the back wall is slanted only a small plastic bin fits on that shelf.

On the side shelves I stored sleeping bags and pillows but they always fell when the kids would try to get one down for sleepovers.

Not very efficient…at all!

bins, lamps, folding table and other items stacked in corner of room

Here are some of the storage bins that were in the closet.

And this is just the start of what was shoved in that room.

Just wait there’s more to show you!

Large plastic bins, lamps, air mattresses, a folding table and even a pair of crutches were all in the storage closet.

bonus room with bins and stuff cluttering floor in room

And here’s even more that was crammed in that closet.

Maybe now the closet doesn’t seem so big!

I mean seriously…no wonder I could never find anything.

I’d have to dig through solid colored bins trying to locate things I was looking for.

Over the years, I tried to stay organized by labeling the storage totes.

I wrote the contents of what was in each bin on an index card and taped it to the outside of the solid colored tubs.

But the closet was just so jam packed I couldn’t move anything to even read the labels.

Planning a Storage Closet Makeover

plastic bins, christmas accessories and other items stacked in room against wall

After the holidays I decided I’d had enough of our disorganized storage closet.

Well let’s be honest…I didn’t know how I was going to get my Christmas decorations back in the closet.

Haha!!!

So I folded up our ping pong table and cleared one side of the bonus/play room.

I stacked all my holiday bins along the wall.

And they sat there for months and months.

Finally, I got motivated one weekend and emptied out the closet to start my storage closet makeover.

The plan was to create a wall of adjustable shelves on one side of the closet to store smaller plastic bins and items.

On the other side of the closet, I planned to change my solid tubs for clear so I could see what was inside each bin.

Then I’d stack all those large storage bins along the wall in the closet.

Remove Wire Shelves and Fill Holes

hand repairing holes in wall with dry wall spackle

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After the closet was completely cleared out and empty, I removed the inefficient wire shelving.

Then I filled in all those nail holes left behind after the shelves were gone.

There were probably 1537 holes that needed to be filled in.

Okay…maybe there weren’t that many holes but there were a ton!

I got to work using a putty knife and my favorite spackling.

This stuff is great because it goes on purple but dries white so you know when it’s dry and ready for sanding.

Use a drywall sanding sponge to lightly sand the patch smooth.

You want to be sure all those nail holes are covered and completely smooth so that you won’t see any imperfections when you paint.

Paint Closet Walls and Ceiling

paint supplies on newspaper and drop cloth on floor in closet

I decided to prime the walls before painting, since I used so much spackle to on the walls.

Honestly, I never use primer before painting walls, but I also never had this many patches in a room either.

I found a practically full gallon of paint in our garage left over from painting the bonus room.

Score!

Whoo-hoo…I just saved money because I didn’t need to buy any paint now for this closet makeover.

empty walk-in closet freshly painted after old shelving removed

I painted the walls and ceiling of the walk-in storage closet in Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore.

This is only the second closet I’ve painted in this house.

I painted my husband’s closet when I transformed his small walk in closet last year.

You have to check it out, you won’t believe we did it for less than $250.

Usually, I don’t feel the need to paint closets when painting the room because who really sees them.

And I’m kinda lazy like that! LOL

But I’ll tell you what…it makes such a difference.

Installing New Shelving

hand holding closet bracket in store

Wire shelving is budget-friendly and functional if installed in a way that makes sense for your storage needs.

I liked the depth of the shelves we had on the side walls to store smaller items but I wanted the shelves to be adjustable.

Installing adjustable shelves in a storage closet is more efficient so you can change them around as your storage needs change.

To keep costs down we planned to reuse the old wire shelves with the ClosetMaid ShelfTrack system.

Gotta love a budget-friendly makeover!

We purchased the additional parts we needed at our local home improvement store.

hand holding drill installing support bracket for wire shelving

After measuring and marking the walls, Chris and I started installing the shelving system.

It’s a super easy process!

First, we mounted the hang track with screws into studs in the wall to be sure the system was secure.

completed brackets installed on wall in closet

Next, we hung the vertical standards from the track and attached them to the wall.

You’ll notice that our standards aren’t evenly spaced.

That’s because we wanted to secure them into the studs like we did with the top hang track.

Installing them in the studs will allow the system to be more sturdy.

hands installing wire closet system bracket

After it was all mounted to the wall and secure I attached the brackets to the standards.

And then added the wire shelving on top of the brackets and locked them in place.

wire shelving across wall of closet three rows of long shelves

We have the space to add another shelf at the top of the standards later when we need more storage.

This system allows me the ability to move the shelves if I need different spacing between each of the shelves depending on my storage needs.

That’s it!

It’s a super easy installation that doesn’t take more than an hour.

After Storage Closet Makeover

completed storage closet makeover with neatly organized plastic storage bins and pillows arranged on wire shelving

The right side of the closet with the new adjustable shelving is just what I needed to store all the smaller items.

And now my extra throw pillows have a home too.

Tell me I’m not the only one with an overflow of throw pillows!

But what about all those big plastic storage bins and Christmas decor that was piled up all over the bonus room?

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completed storage closet makeover with plastic storage bins lining left side of walk-in closet

Well…I also reorganized all the stuff that filled those bins scattered around the room.

I decided I wanted to use clear bins so that I could easily locate the things stored in them.

Since I already had a bunch of clear tubs I sorted everything that was in all of those solid storage totes.

I used the clear tubs I already had and also invested in 10 new large clear bins.

There are three red bins in the mix, but we know they’re Christmas bins…so it’s all good…no worries.

I’d like the utilize the space above the bins.

Maybe that would be a good place to store decorative wreaths with some sort of hanging storage.

I’m loving my new organized and functional storage closet!

It feels so great to walk in here and find exactly what I’m looking for.

And it was a really affordable project since we reused some of the shelves and found enough paint for the room.

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Marla Weatherborn

Saturday 13th of November 2021

Oh this is just perfect for me. I was cleaning up my closet and came with a new idea thanks to you girls, just love your site :) thank you!

AnnMarie

Saturday 13th of November 2021

Thank you Marla. We're so happy we inspired you. Good luck cleaning & organizing your closet.

Shirley

Saturday 31st of July 2021

If it were me, I know I couldn’t have stopped at just one side of shelves. I know I would have made a shelf for every single bin too…lol. I love what you’ve done to get the room usable again! It sure makes a huge difference! I actually just started working on my kitchen pantry. It’s just a 36 wide 24 deep built in that has goes up a foot from the ceiling. I sure wish I had a big one! Anyway, I’ve decided, big or not, I’m going with all Rubbermaid containers. I purchased 2 large and 2 medium so far and I’m loving them so much that I’m going to fill the cabinet with them. Just those few have made a huge difference! My husband asked me if he could have one for a large amount of nuts he bought so I’ve already had to give one up and I’m not happy about it! LOL yes they are a bit pricy but for me, well worth the money. Not only do they have clips on each side but they also have a rubber seal that you can hear forcing the air from when you’re closing them. Oops sorry I need to stop. WELL DONE!

AnnMarie

Sunday 1st of August 2021

My husband actually wanted to do shelves on the opposite side of the room but honestly, I didn't feel I needed them with the large bins. But I definitely want to add some storage above those stacked bins so shelves up high may be next on the list. Also want to figure out storage for wreaths and get them out of the garage where they get covered in spider webs. Sound like you're on your way to a perfectly organized pantry! My pantry is also on my long list of projects. Have a great day! :)

Maria

Saturday 19th of June 2021

Well you sure have storage now!!! shelves, shelves, and more shelves. Can you have too many? No!! This post makes me want more shelves;)

Anne

Sunday 20th of June 2021

Isn't her closet amazing!?? I would love to have space like that somewhere in my house! Thanks so much for reading our blog!