What Would Jen Do: Girl’s Closet Storage & Organization

Hello pals!  I was really hoping that I would have some photos of our oldest son’s bedroom for you today.  My clan was hit with the flu virus for the second time in a few months, so I was moving slower than normal.  I still made an attempt to photograph the room last week, and as I was looking at the photos I noticed a few details that were bugging my eyes.  I tried to photograph it again yesterday, and it was so dark and gloomy that the photos weren’t good at all.  I also saw a few more small things that need a little more tweaking… Fingers crossed third time will be the charm!

Whenever I start to get discouraged, I turn my energy and focus on something new for awhile.  And with that, I am so excited for today!  Last year I shared an idea I had for a new blog series… What Would Jen Do?  And although I am sure these types of posts will evolve and change as I work things out, I am really excited about the overall concept.

My hope is to begin helping folks tackle spaces in their own homes, but I also want to share those ideas and recommendations here in hopes that they help others at the same time.  I plan to select areas/zones/spaces that many people have in common (submitted to me from friends, family and readers), and to share my personal thought process while problem solving organizational and storage solutions for their projects.  
I decided to start out with a closet similar to so many I have seen before.  While visiting with my best girlfriend, Erin, she was telling me that she was going to begin updating her daughter’s bedroom.  Part of that process will be to add some additional storage to her existing closet space.  I knew this was the perfect type of project to select for a What Would Jen Do post, and I couldn’t wait to start brainstorming a few ideas for her and her darling daughter.
Look familiar?  Majority of the closets that I see are just like this; one shelf and one hanging rod. How is this setup helpful to anyone and why is this idea the stock/norm?
The second the door opened, my eyes lit up and I knew just what I would do.  But first I asked my friend to provide me with the overall closet dimensions and share with me how she envisioned the closet being used down the road by her daughter.  (The majority of the suggestions for this closet would also work for a boy’s space as well.)  Also worth mentioning – many of the items in the closet are going to the new “big girl” bedroom or are items being sold on Craiglist that Erin’s daughter has outgrown.
Closet Needs:
  • Clothing storage – current clothing sizes as well as upcoming/next up sizes
  • Shoe storage
  • Dress-up/play clothing storage
  • Accessory storage
  • Extra books in and out of rotation
  • Favorite art projects and special memory items (mementos, cards, letters, etc…)
  • Special dolls, toys & stuffed animals
  • Extra bedding/linens
Once I had the dimensions and items that need to be stored in the closet, I began sourcing closet solutions that would not only fit her space, but also maximize how it is being utilized.
The biggest thing that caught my eye was that there was only one row of hanging space, when the height of the closet would easily offer two.  I also wanted to add storage straight up the center of the closet to hold baskets and non-hanging items.  The center item would also allow Erin to create four zones/categories for hanging clothing.  I have used Closetmaid quite a few times with projects around our home, so I began to source a few of their products for this project.  (Alternative options can be found at Home Decorators, Home Depot & Ballard Designs.)  I selected the 16″ Selectives Organizer and went from there.  It would offer enough storage to be effective while also leaving enough room on both sides as well.
I use Microsoft Excel to create scaled diagrams to get an idea of measurements and ideas.  Below is the center organizer installed with four rails and shelving above each hanging rail as well.  I also added a shoe rack to the bottom right side of the closet.
You will also notice I recommended to update the large single door to a french door style with the help of a bi-fold (like we did here).  The large door took up quite a bit of space in the room when open, and the french door style will offer better access to all areas of the closet.
To really maximize the space, the doors could offer additional storage potential.  My recommendation was a set of the Elfa Utility Door baskets on one door, and a jewelry frame and rails on the opposite door.
Once I had the general built-in closet system selected, I also wanted to show what the addition of paint or a pretty wallpaper would add as well.  Just for fun and giggles…  OK, who am I kidding?  This is a crucial step of mine!
I selected this pretty paper because we may have access to a few extra pieces, but any paper would be extremely lovely.  Oh!  And see what a difference swapping hardware also makes?
With the built-in components of the closet sourced, I was then able to source storage baskets and boxes that would also fit the dimensions of the shelving and organizers.
memory box | art box | elfa utility door | closetmaid selectives | hook & rail via | jewelry holder | woven baskets | hangers
Not only did I want to give Erin (and YOU) a visual and source list, but also an action plan!  Isn’t this fun?

  • Empty closet contents, start fresh!
  • Patch & paint walls – maybe even add a pretty paper
  • Install french doors
  • Install new closet system 
  • Install new hardware
  • Sort!  Remove contents that no longer belong including clothing that no longer fits, items waiting to be sold on Craigslist, etc…
  • Use the bottom of the closet to organize shoes, add a small shoe rack and a basket to hold flip flops/boots
  • The drawers in the organizer will work great for extra linens and clothing
  • The open shelves in the organizer can display toys and hold extra baskets of items
  • The four hanging sections can be divided by clothing type or size – keeping one specific for dress-up time (a lower rail at little one’s level).  Optional slim hangers maximize space and prevent clothing from falling to the floor
  • Utilize the top shelf for lesser used items, such as the memory bins and art boxes
  • The Elfa door system will work great for extra books and toys
  • The jewelry frame can hold earrings, necklaces and bracelets while the hooks/rails can provide storage for clothing and hair accessories
Now that I have come up with a plan and shared it with Erin, I am hoping she keeps us all updated on the progress of the closet.  She even said I could come help her organize it if I wanted to… #dreamjob #ofcourse #willtherebetacos?

I have one more space to work on for another friend, and then I will begin calling for reader submissions!  Do you have an entryway, pantry or master bedroom closet that needs a little love or organizational help?  Get your emailing fingers ready to send them my way within the next few weeks, details coming soon!

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