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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 absolutely realize how very 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 quickly.

After tossing more and more in that closet it got harder and harder to close that darn 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!

Before Storage Closet Makeover

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

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

I mean seriously as a blogger that’s my job to get the before photo (ugh!).

So it doesn’t look that bad since this was after I had moved most of the stuff out.

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

When we moved into our house 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 shelf wasn’t very deep so it couldn’t hold much, especially since the back wall is slanted only a small plastic bin fit.

I tried to store sleeping bags and extra pillows on the shelves but they always fell when the kids would try to get one down for sleepovers.

Honestly, I’m not sure exactly what they thought this space would store because it wasn’t very efficient…like, at all!

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

Here’s a picture of 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 there’s even more that was crammed in that closet…old bedding, wall art, mirrors and other decor items.

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 tubs.

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

How to Plan 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.


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

I stacked all my holiday bins along the wall.

And then the tubs sat there for months and months.

It all felt so overwhelming, so I ignored it and shut the door to the bonus room.

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 out all of my colored 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.

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How to Remove Wire Shelves and Fill Holes

hand repairing holes in wall with dry wall spackle

After the closet was completely cleared out and empty, I removed the inefficient wire shelving by pulling out the nails and disassembling the brackets.

Next, I filled in all those nail holes left behind in the drywall after the shelves were removed.

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 until it was smooth.

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

What Color Should I 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 on the walls.

Honestly, I never use a 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.


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

empty walk-in closet freshly painted after old shelving removed

I painted the walls and ceiling of the walk-in storage closet Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore (OC-52).

Can you believe this is only the second closet I’ve painted in our house?

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

Go check it out here!

Usually, I don’t feel the need to paint inside a closet 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 big difference!

How to Install New Shelving in a Storage Closet

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 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 using our Ryobi cordless power drill.

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.

We did that on purpose so that we could secure them into the studs as we did with the top hang track.

Installing the vertical pieces 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 if we need more storage.

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

And that’s it…done!

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.

Please 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 decorations that were piled up all over the bonus room?

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 tubs scattered around the room.

I decided to use clear bins so that I could easily see the things packed away in each.

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

I used the clear tubs I already had but 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 guessing what’s in them.

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

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

If you have any ideas drop them in the comments below.

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 quickly.

And the best part is that this was a really affordable project since we reused some of the shelves and found enough leftover paint to cover the closet.

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collage of product images AnnMarie used to transform and organize a storage closet

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

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