Hey friends! Angela here from Home Décor Chat, coming to you live from my little Craftsman bungalow in Charlotte. I’m excited to share my recent closet-organizing adventure with you all. As you know, I’m constantly finding ways to maximize every inch of space in my vintage home. And this time, I took on the task of giving my cramped closet a functional makeover.
I wanted to create a customized system to hold all my clothes, shoes, accessories, and more. But custom closet designs can cost a pretty penny! Being the thrifty DIYer, I set out to organize my closet on a budget.
After lots of planning, shopping around, and elbow grease, I now have the closet of my dreams for under $500. Read on for a breakdown of everything that went into my budget-friendly closet overhaul!
- 1 Defining the Dream: What Exactly is a Closet Organizer?
- 2 Browsing the Options: Different Types of Closet Organizing Systems
- 3 Mapping It Out Key Factors That Impact the Cost
- 4 Pre-Game Prep Work
- 5 Installation Day: Putting It All Together
- 6 The Final Reveal: My New Closet!
- 7 The Cost Breakdown: What I Spent
- 8 Savvy Tips for a Discount Closet Makeover
- 9 The Takeaway: You Can Do It!
Defining the Dream: What Exactly is a Closet Organizer?
Before we dive in, let’s start with a quick overview of what I mean by a “closet organizer system.” It’s a storage solution comprising shelves, drawers, rods, and baskets to optimize your closet space. The goal is to arrange your belongings so everything has a designated spot.
There are tons of options when it comes to building your ideal system. From bare wire shelves to luxurious custom cabinetry, you can get as simple or fancy as possible! Your style depends on your needs, budget, and decor taste.
For my 1910s bungalow, I wanted something clean and modern with a hint of vintage charm. And most importantly, I needed it to be functional and affordable!
Browsing the Options: Different Types of Closet Organizing Systems
The first step was exploring the various types of organizers to find the right fit. Here’s an overview of popular closet storage solutions:
Wire shelving is the most common and budget-friendly option, made of metal mesh. It’s super adjustable and can work in any size closet. I like how airy wire shelves prevent mustiness. The downside is it looks a bit industrial.
Wood or Laminate Shelving
Wood or laminate closet shelving has a warmer, more built-in look for a homier vibe. Pricier than wire but affordable, these can provide a nice custom touch in an older home like mine.
Modular Storage Systems
Modular organizers allow you to mix and match components like cubes, shelves, and drawers to build a custom setup. Brands like IKEA and The Container Store are great for this option. The pieces can have a sleek, modern style.
The most luxe choice is full-on custom cabinetry, designed and constructed specifically for your closet. You can customize every inch, from the layout to the finishes. But custom closet systems come with custom price tags, starting around $2,000.
I loved the idea of installing something one-of-a-kind and perfectly fitted to my space. But the cost was out of reach, so I looked for creative ways to get the customized look I wanted on a budget.
Mapping It Out Key Factors That Impact the Cost
The next step was determining the specifics of my closet that would choose the price tag. Here are some of the critical factors that come into play:
My closet is a small reach-in space, only about 6 feet wide and 2 feet deep, with one hanging rod and one upper shelf. The confined square footage and shape made the installation more accessible and affordable than a huge walk-in closet.
Type of Materials
Going with ready-to-assemble components keeps costs lower than custom-built cabinetry. I chose budget-friendly wood laminate instead of solid wood for the shelves to save some cash.
Level of Customization
Completely customized systems are expensive. I got the tailored look I wanted by creatively modifying pre-made parts. For example, I cut down and stained lengthy shelves to fit my closet’s proportions.
Professional vs. DIY Install
Doing it myself rather than hiring a contractor for the installation shaved off a huge chunk of the cost. But this part required some sweat equity on my end!
Adding up all these factors gave me an idea of what I was looking at in terms of the project budget. Now, let’s get into how it all came together!
Pre-Game Prep Work
You can’t just slap shelves and rods randomly into your closet and call it a day. A successful installation requires careful planning and prep.
Measure, Measure, Measure!
Grab your tape measure! Successful closet organization starts with meticulous measurement of every inch of your space. I measured the height, width, depth, corners, shelves, rods, and anything else that needed to be accounted for.
Tracking all the numbers helped me plan my new layout and ensure all the components I ordered fit. Don’t skip this crucial step!
Design the Dream Layout
Once the measurements were down, I started mapping ideas for the ideal layout. I wanted to take full advantage of every available space with shelves, hanging rods, and cubbies for bags and shoes.
Also key was ensuring everything would be easily accessible – I’m only 5’3, so I can’t reach anything too high! I sketched a few options, then converted my favorite into a digital layout I could reference during installation.
Clear It Out!
Next, I emptied everything in the closet, so I had a blank slate, taking inventory of what needed to be organized. Initially, this was an overwhelming mess, but an essential part of the process. Plus, it felt great to donate old clothes and shoes!
Finally, my closet was ready for its stunning transformation into the organized oasis of my dreams. Let’s get to the fun part – installing the system!
Installation Day: Putting It All Together
The big day finally arrived. I was armed with my perfectly planned layout, toolbox, and all the organizational goods I had sourced. Time to get to work!
Hanging the Rods
First up were the closet rods. I opted for a double rod system to double my hanging space. I mounted one rod higher to hang longer dresses and coats and the other lower for shirts and blouses.
Using my layout as a guide, I marked the rod placement on the walls with a pencil and then drilled in the brackets. I ensured the lower rod was high enough to see over it (remember, I’m vertically challenged).
Assembling the Shelves
Next, I put together the laminate shelving packs I ordered. There’s nothing like the satisfying feeling of a power drill to make you feel like a construction pro! The easy-to-assemble shelves went up in a snap.
I made sure to mount the upper shelves at a reasonable height to reach them comfortably. I left a gap between the top frame and ceiling to avoid creating a clutter-catching dust-bunny haven.
Adding Custom Touches
Here’s where I got creative, using some DIY tricks to elevate the affordability of my new system with unique details. For example, I stained, painted, and stenciled some of the shelves for a more finished look.
I also made a custom shoe rack by repurposing an old ladder from my backyard flea market finds. And I crafted a jewelry organizer from a tiny picture frame embellished with trim and hooks.
These personalized elements made the space feel luxe and unique despite the inexpensive foundation. It’s all about the details!
The Final Reveal: My New Closet!
After a long day of drilling, sawing, screwing, staining, and stenciling, I was ready for the big reveal. I carefully arranged all my folded clothes, hung up my outfits color-coordinated, and displayed shoes and accessories in their new homes.
Stepping back to admire my work, I got a little choked up. The transformation was incredible. I could walk into my closet, see all my belongings neatly arranged, and pick out an outfit without digging through piles or moving shoes aside.
As a bonus, purging old clothes and shoes I no longer wore freed up a ton of space. So, I still had open shelves to neatly store out-of-season items, spare towels, and sheets.
The best part is it accomplished the exact look and feel I was going for – clean, modern, and cozy – while sticking to my thrifty budget.
Ready to see the jaw-dropping before and after pics? Feast your eyes!
The Cost Breakdown: What I Spent
Now for the part I’ve been dying to share – a breakdown of exactly what I spent overhauling my closet! Here’s a detailed rundown:
Materials – $215
This includes all the storage components and hardware:
- Three packs of 4’ laminate shelves – $105
- Two packs of bracket packs – $40
- Double hanging rod set – $20
- Cubby bins for bags – $25
- Shoe rack materials – $15
- Jewelry organizer supplies – $10
I saved big time by choosing the laminate shelving over pricier wood. And the DIY shoe rack and jewelry organizer cost a fraction of what pre-made versions would.
Hardware & Supplies – $50
For all the tools, hardware, paint, and extras:
- Stain & wood finish – $15
- Paint & brushes – $10
- Hooks, knobs & trim – $15
- Drill, level, tape measure – Already owned
- Screws, molly bolts, brackets – $10
I kept these costs low by using primarily items I already had on hand, like the toolbox and painting supplies.
Labor – $0
This is one of the biggest money savers – I did all the work myself! It took two full weekends plus a few nights after work. My body was tired, but my wallet was happy.
Total Cost – $265
Coming in under $300 for everything blew my expectations out of the water. I expected to spend $500-$1000 for a complete closet overhaul. Doing the work myself and selecting budget-friendly materials kept the dollars down.
Was it easy? Heck no! But it’s so rewarding. And my aching muscles and drill-wielding blisters were small prices to pay for a stunning new closet.
Savvy Tips for a Discount Closet Makeover
After completing my budget-friendly closet makeover, I’m overflowing with ideas to save on your organizing project! Here are my top tips:
Buy on Sale
Time your purchases to hit the sales. Home improvement stores mark down organization products in January and June/July. I saved 30% ordering my supplies during a January sale event.
You can also find great deals buying secondhand. Check places like Habitat for Humanity ReStores and garage sales for fixtures and materials.
Stick to Simple Materials
To cut costs, opt for ready-made wire, laminate, or MDF modular components rather than solid wood built-ins. Also, save by repurposing items like old crates or ladders for custom elements.
Mix and Match
Buy different parts from various stores and brands to get the best deal on each component. You don’t have to match one brand across the whole system.
Add your Custom Touches
Personalize with easy DIY projects, like painting designs on shelves or framing a jewelry holder. This makes basic materials look luxe for cheap.
Provide Your Labor
If you’re up for the challenge, cut out huge costs by installing everything yourself. Just be sure to get help lifting and mounting if needed.
The Takeaway: You Can Do It!
Well, there you have it, folks – the nitty-gritty of how I afforded my dream closet on a tight budget. This makeover was well worth the splinters and sweat! My experience inspires you to tackle your closet or another organizing project.
The story’s moral is with careful planning, strategic shopping, and a little elbow grease. You can build your ideal storage solutions at a price point that works. Now, let’s get started making the most of our spaces!