Friday, February 3, 2017

25 Before & After: Organized Boy's Bedroom Closet

Organizing our son's bedroom closet was the biggest organizing task we had on our list for January. And although we didn't complete all four that we set out to do this past month, I did tackle and complete five different spaces! (Three in our home and two at a friend's home.) #win Our tool drawers are right at the top of our list for February, but for now I am breathing some major sighs of relief because we finally have a wonderful setup for our wonderful young man!

Our son took over the guest room just before school started this past year, and with that move he inherited a double closet. Because he is only ten, we liked the idea of keeping one side for studying and utilizing the other side for storing his clothing. By doing this he now has plenty of open floor space to spread out and play and to make forts and to have sleepovers... You know, all of the important things every little guy loves to do in their bedroom.

The closet area was slightly complicated only because it is wide open to the other side (his workspace), and the previous setup didn't allow him to easily organize and store all of his clothing. Up until now, he was using bins under his bed for many of his folded pieces, as well as small cubbies and wire shelves in the closet. I absolutely couldn't wait to install a long term solution that can handle all of his clothing now, and when he is 18, and when the room goes back to guest room status again someday (but let's not think about that).

Here is a reminder of how the closet was looking at the beginning of the month....

The first step to this project was to assess what was not working well. That included a lack of drawers/concealed storage, a lack of accessibility for our little guy, no designated systems, no access to the top shelf due to placement, no hamper... We also were not a fan of the overall layout, the metal wire shelving or the floral wallpaper that was still installed. We did like the stackable cubbies, and the fact that they offered that internal divide between the workspace and clothing closet, but we didn't love their placement in terms of fully utilizing them.

The overall dimensions for this side of the closet are about 4' 6" wide by 2' deep. The goal was to add towers inside of the closet to define the clothing area, while also offering our son both hanging and drawer storage.

After researching a few closet options and layouts, we ultimately decided to partner with ClosetMaid on this project. I have utilized ClosetMaid components in multiple closets and spaces throughout our home and we have always been happy with the mix and match customization options, as well as the overall quality. I went straight to the ClosetMaid website to begin looking at all of their available closet specific configurations and spent many hours designing multiple storage variations before landing on a final plan.

Depending on the specific collection you select, ClosetMaid offers design tools online that allow you to input your walls and measurements, and then play with their product configurations. My problem-solving self loves this aspect of any organizing project, but if you are feeling a little lost, they also offer a new free design service. Once the design is settled, the program generates a shopping list that includes every last part and trim piece that you can then add to your online cart. To check every last wish list item off of my list, I decided that the SpaceCreations line was the best fit for our needs.

Here is another look at my overall vision and plan for the final closet.

Once the boxes arrived holding the closet components, we began the process of removing the previous wire shelving, stripping the wallpaper, priming the walls and installing the same Walls Need Love peel and stick paper we used on the desk side.

I love that this specific pattern is forgiving due to the organic watercolor paint splotches, it was probably the key to the paper going up in just a couple of hours.

We wrapped the entire interior of the closet to really finish off the look throughout.

Above you can see the closet during the installation process. We assembled the two towers first, which were ultimately anchored into wall studs. At this point, it is really important to leave a small gap for the decorative trim pieces that are provided to give the units a more polished look.

The assembly was quite simple; although we know our way around a drill and hammer, any DIY beginner could definitely tackle this particular project.

A huge parent and kid win is the fact that the drawers are all installed on soft-closing tracks!

I also love that ClosetMaid offers a few drawer organizing options specific to their drawer sizes. Do you see what I see? Oh yes, those are acrylic! #oohlala

The two towers offer future flexibility because they are pegged from top to bottom and accommodate rails, shelves, and drawers. For now, I added shelves down the center to hold some baskets and smaller belongings, however, this area can easily turn into additional hanging storage as our son grows and his needs change.

Above you can also see how those trim pieces that run down the sides and along the top of the unit really finish off the entire closet.

Ready to watch it all come together with our son's belongings?

Let's back up for a moment. A huge part of the planning and putting things away process is to actually touch every last thing and purge down anything that no longer fits, as well as items that were worn thin or had any holes. Our youngest son receives quite a few hand-me-downs from both of his older brothers, as well as family friends with older boys. We realized that he had more clothes than he really needed and that he was also holding on to quite a few items that no longer fit him well.

Also, let's be real for a second. I naturally put everything away nice and neat to celebrate and reveal the new closet to our kiddo and to you blog pals. In fact, I realize that quite a few of my over-the-top habits of arranging items but color, folding things in specific ways, smoothing things out and pressing wrinkles, will quickly be undone as the closet is used full time. I am fairly sure that this setup will be extremely simple for our son to maintain, but this is probably the tidiest it will ever be. #truth

I reused Parker's previous slim hangers, which provide him with plenty of hanging space for all of his pants, long sleeve, short sleeve and dress shirts. We were actually able to maximize his pant hanging space by adding some hanger clips which just clip to the hanger and the pant to allow them to hang straight (vs. folding over the hanger and doubling the amount of space they take up).

One of the biggest problems we had with the previous closet arrangement was that our son couldn't reach the top hanging shelf. It was installed too high and most adults couldn't get near the upper hangers without help. Our little monkey would love to climb if we were to give him permission, but I decided to purchase him an extending hanger-hook pole, which just hangs on a Command Strip inside of his closet.

This was such an easy solution to maximize that vertical space while also preventing our youngster from climbing. Another parent and kid win!

We made sure the top of the hamper could flip open and placed two shelves above it to hold a few pairs of shoes.

I know you all want to see those acrylic organizers doing their thing, so I won't keep you waiting any longer!

This just might be my favorite spot in the entire closet; it is pure eye candy for sure. Ten pairs of rolled shorts! You hear that summer? We are ready for you!

Next up is his new pajama drawer...

And above his undie drawer is a shorter drawer that I wanted to use for belts and socks. An inexpensive flexible drawer divider keeps everything sorted and makes for quick mornings.

I added adhesive label holders to the drawer and printed off the colored inserts which I made using Pages on my computer.

I couldn't resist a quick video with our son opening and shutting his drawers. I told him to just be himself and not to take it easy...

The lower basket is designated to t-shirts, athletic wear, and swim trunks.

And the basket on the top shelf collects random belongings like ties, toys and his overnight sling bags.

We have always stored linens and bedding in their actual rooms (vs. a central linen closet), and there is plenty of space remaining on the very top shelf for extra blankets and pillows. And because our closet is two feet deep and the system is 15" deep, we are still able to easily add and remove items without running into any spacing issues.

We have been planning on installing some french doors to the closet, but I am in no rush to cover up this handsome install.

Now that you have seen how I put this closet to work for our son, let's get giddy about the before and after and go gaga about all of the added storage and functionality!


A huge Thank You to ClosetMaid for partnering with me on this post! 


  1. I've noticed that your boys' closets don't have doors (if they're proper closets that is). Is this something that you've found works better for putting stuff away?

    1. I did find that it was easier when they were smaller just to remove the door and give them quick and direct access to their clothing (all closets initially had bifold doors which seemed bulky just got in the way). Both closets will have dual doors added back on within the next year - similar to this style we did in our kitchen (

  2. Love this! So inspiring! Makes me want to tackle all our closets. I'd love a closer look at well, your sons wardrobe. How did you decide how many shirts, pants, athletic tees etc to keep? And which ones? I feel like we are constantly drowning in kids clothes over here and a post like that would be so helpful. I'd love to know where you shop for kids clothes too. I love your blog! Thanks!

  3. I love this! My list this year includes redoing our 8-year-old son's bedroom and turning it into a "big boy" bedroom! One of the things I have been stuggling with is his closet. We also want to incorporate a desk in his room and debating whether or not to convert his closet, but it is a very tiny closet so he wouldn't have room for much else! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

    1. I will say, as much as working in a closet space was pretty, I couldn't handle looking at a wall full time. But my boys? They stinkin' LOVE their little desk/closet nooks. I do agree it is tough when you only have one closet though, keep me posted! ;)

    2. The closet looks great! I just had a follow up comment for Ann - in both of my kids rooms, I wish we had a bit more room. In both of them we removed the closet doors and they have their dresser in there. That gives perfect room for a desk in the room. Our dressers are not tall, so it works perfect for the clothes to hang above and that works fine. Either way, I love the idea of using any furniture in the closet space! Also, in my daughters room I have a special family rocking chair that I cannot part with. Rocking chairs can be hard to find a place for, and hers is in the corner of her closet nook. If not for that, I have no idea where I would put it! I really enjoy your blog, Jen!

  4. How long did it take for you to install the closet? I'm debating between DIY or doing a custom closet though in Hawaii a simple closet with laminate shelves in the middle costs over $790!

    1. It took a couple of hours to assemble the components and another couple to install everything. Maybe 5-6 total for the entire project. :)

  5. Hello from Jambi, Indonesia. I am a mother soon to be of a son. This is so inspiring me. ^_^

  6. I love the wall color. Do you remember what the paint colot is?

    1. Thanks Renee! The color is Behr's Infinate Deep Sea, you can see more pics here (

  7. I am a little confused whether you reused the shelf tower from the 'before' pick in the final result minus a few shelfs? Or did it move somewhere else for now?

    1. Hi Hannah,
      We were unable to reuse the previous tower (which was made up of a couple of these:, because they are much too small to hold drawers or contribute to our overall goal of having a dresser/closet combo setup long term. The stacking organizers will most likely be used in our garage or storage room.

  8. I love seeing your organizing work. It looks so good!

  9. We stumbled upon your blog today and kept reading it for hours. We love your practical solutions, the way you show entire process and explain the details. Your blog will surely be our favorite source of inspiration when trying to convince our clients that good storage is one of the most important elements of beautifully designed, clutter-free home.

  10. I love a closet with wallpaper or paint!

    I am in awe of your folding skills. I need to find a better way to organize my exercise leggings, by weight and length, so I will try rolling them, then storing them facing up in separate baskets.

    Wish me luck!

    1. I think that sounds like a great idea! Rolling is definitely an easy way to save space and organize clothing!

  11. Love this and your cute little videos!!!


  12. My tiny NYC apt is begging for this.

  13. our master walk-in is in desperate need of a system like this! Thanks for the inspiration! I love the wallpaper too

  14. I absolutely love this idea. We were thinking about something similar to this in the closet in our playroom! This is really such a good idea, especially the wallpaper! It really completes the look of the closet! Thanks for the inspiration :)


  15. I love this! Just what I needed to show my husband so maybe he will be inspired to do this in our girl's bedroom. I'm just curious, where do you keep winter items? I don't see them in there and those things are bulky. I always scrambling to fit everything in our coat closet but not all fits there.

    1. Hello! Our son's winter clothing is stored in our coat closet, he loops his snow pants over the bar of a wooden hanger and puts his coat over them and hangs them there. His hat and gloves live in his backpack unless they are wet, if that is the case, they drape on the hook near the front door.

      We have a pretty small coat closet as well, we keep a bin of seasonal outerwear in a cabinet in the garage that we rotate out spring and fall. That way we are able to keep one winter jacket for each of us, as well as snow pants for the boys in the main coat closet, and the remainder of our outerwear is stored in the garage and accessed on an "as-needed" basis.


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