The EHD BUDGET Closet Org Challenge (Yep, You’re Going To See Our Real-Life Closets)

It’s a tale as old as time. January 1st comes along and we all start taking inventory of our lives — what’s working, what isn’t, how we can improve, etc, etc. I sort of love that even though the new year is just a day on a made-up calendar, we use it as a marker to reflect and aim to achieve new things for the next 365 days. It’s quite endearing. I say this as someone who is really bad at sticking to resolutions but loves a fresh start. “Organized” is a word that has never been used to describe me but like most people, I can’t resist a satisfying organized “before and after”. So when our fearless editorial leader, Jess, came up with this budget closet organization challenge, I didn’t know whether to thank her or crawl in a hole and hide. I’ll be honest. I’M SCARED! My closet situation is bleak and it’s the one thing I look at every day and try to ignore. But a challenge is probably just what I need, so I’m hoping that this will turn me into the organized queen I’ve always aspired to be. And the best news is I am not alone. The entire EHD team is up for this challenge to get organized on a budget. These won’t be gorgeous, camera-ready closet transformations (like Sara’s above). Instead, our hope is to come up with easy, affordable storage solutions that will help us (and you) stay organized throughout the year. Here goes nothing.

THE CHALLENGE:
– Can’t spend more than $150
– Must be done by Jan 31st

Easy enough right? (ha!) Now let’s meet the players:

Ryann’s Closet

I recently saw a meme that read “Deadline near enough to inspire anxiety but not near enough to inspire action”. Sadly, I’ve never related to anything more. My toxic trait is I require a deadline to get anything done. Even if said thing would benefit me immensely I am a master procrastinator and avoider, a symptom of undiagnosed adult ADHD I am sure. So it is absolutely advantageous that this little closet org challenge made its way onto our editorial calendar. I have you all to keep me accountable and a clear deadline to feel anxious about. What a win! Truthfully, I needed this and feel for the first time that I can finally tackle my abhorrent closet conundrum.

Our Single Tiny Closet

I wish this was the first time I have succumbed to showing my closet on this blog. This photo was taken *gulp* two years ago when I presented all my storage woes. Sadly, not much has changed except it may have actually gotten worse?? I am ashamed, but I will also remind you that I share this tiny closet with another human being and it is the only closet in our entire apartment. So that’s fun.

One thing that has changed is our mattress is no longer on the floor, so we’ve acquired under-bed storage. I’ll spare you that photo because dust bunnies and loose socks are not something anyone needs to see on this blog, and this is about our closet after all.

The Shelf Situation

Right now the top shelf has double the amount of sweatshirts stacked on top of each other. I basically have to keep chucking sweatshirts up there hoping they’ll land. It’s bad. What I think we desperately need are stackable storage solutions. I am imagining a two-tier shelf and storage boxes so we can utilize all that vertical space.

The Unsightly Clothing Rack

Can you believe we look at this every day? Sometimes it is slightly more organized but I can’t tell you how much the dry cleaning bags pain me. I want to scream at myself JUST PUT THEM IN THE CLOSET. Also, and this isn’t the biggest deal, but how much nicer would it look if we had uniform hangers? I think that’s the clear next move. But as you can see our main pain points here are shoe storage, laundry storage, and overall clutter (aka too many clothes on the rack). Ideally, we would have our most ~attractive~ looking clothes here so it can act as a storage solution and be less of an eyesore.

Side note: What do you do with dry cleaner hangers? Rocky (my fiancé) gets dry cleaning done once a week and it’s unavoidable that he comes back with those god-awful hangers. It feels so wasteful even though we do use them because what else are you supposed to do? I just can’t keep collecting them and they are also the worst hangers ever. Can we give them back to the dry cleaner to recycle? Excuse me while I do my own research (but feel free to drop some suggestions below).

1. Storage Case | 2. 3 Drawer Closet Organizer | 3. mDesign Metal Wire Closet 2-Tier Shelf Divider | 4. mDesign Plastic Divided Closet Storage Bin | 5. Household Essentials Small Drop Front Vision Storage Box | 6. 2-Tier Portable Adjustable Closet Hanger Rod | 7. Two Shelf Horizontal Cube Natural | 8. Stackable Fabric Closet Storage Organizer Box with Lid | 9. 5 Tier Pants Hanger Black with Natural Wood | 10. Simplify Under the Bed Storage Box Gray | 11. Stackable Connect Open Storage Cube | 12. Simplify Medium Storage Box Gray

Okay, I think we have a lot of good options here. I want #7 for the closet shelf, #1 and #10 for under the bed storage, and either #5, #8, or #12 for additional stackable closet storage (perhaps for shoes or sweatshirts). I am intrigued by #6, which essentially adds a second tier to your closet and I figure it could be great for hanging jeans and pants. My only worry is my closet doesn’t have enough space for it to be functional. #2 could be a good stand-alone drawer solution if I can actually fit it into the closet. But let’s keep in mind the budget is $150 so I’ll need to pick and choose which solutions are the best fit.

That’s enough about me. Now let’s move on to the rest of the team.

Mallory’s Closet

Hey all you out there, and welcome to the inside of my closet. Now let me preface with the fact that I consider myself a decently organized person, I like to set up systems but what happens is slowly and over time you collect more and more things and have less and less space. My ‘things’ seem to have gotten out of control in my closet, so it’s time for me to pare back and square up. So to give you a little backstory my boyfriend and I live in a 500 sq ft studio apartment and this closet is the only closet. So it needs to be incredibly hardworking. For example, our vacuum and a beautiful, ‘still-in box’ light fixture are both stored in the depths of this tiny room (feel free to play a game of ‘I spy’ in the photos below). There’s also some random record storage and a few other easter eggs you’ll notice, so, well, let me just show you:

Here she is, my bursting closet that once had all matching hangers and a place for everything. Well, that’s just not the case anymore so it’s time for a little closet refresh (especially for those janky bins at the top that I’ve had since, uh, my freshman year college dorm (HAHAHA)). First off: see that little white dresser in the bottom left corner? I found it via Facebook Marketplace the week we moved in here… $20 and a sketchy encounter later, we were very happy to have something to store our socks, undies, and bathing suits in…the drawers are a little small for 2 people, but it works totally fine. Behind that little dresser though, is where I’m hiding my shoe problem. Feast your eyes.

My Secret Shoe Hiding Spot

When you peel back the long dresses right here you’ll see my vacuum (spotted!) and a BUNCH of shoes that just don’t fit in here. Some of these I don’t even wear anymore, so it’s time to pair back and donate so I’m not afraid of going back there anymore…

The Hook Situation

Onto the hook problem. We used to have 2 hooks hanging here: 1 for bags and things, and the other for laundry. The laundry hook just could not support weeks worth of 2 people’s dirty clothes (I’m being dramatic, we do laundry pretty often but still), so the hook finally burst off the wall and now our hamper is currently residing on the floor in a laundry bag (it drives me nuts). So, that’s the main problem I need to fix: some sort of more accessible/taller/skinnier/maybe hanging again laundry hamper.

The Bin Problem

Like I said, the bins are another major problem. Yes, they are from 2015, so no, they are not in the greatest shape. I need some better bins that will last (because clearly I never rebuy them), that are also tall enough to hold these massive stacks of clothing (and my sweatshirt bin is getting out of hand, I know). I’d also love to put some shelves above the bins so I can store our big ‘weekender’ type duffle bags that are currently laying on the floor. The question is do I do one shelf or 2?? And lastly, I need to pair back on the clothes I don’t wear very often and then grab some new black hangers to match (bc matching hangers make me feel like 1 million bucks).

I’m Sorry Is That Record Storage??

Yes. Yes, it is. I don’t mind our records living here (there’s truly nowhere else for them to go) and they don’t get damaged by sunlight or anything since they’re tucked away. If I can think of a better solution for where they go or how to store them I will, but for now, I’m working around the records 🙂 So there’s the explanation of what I wanna accomplish, let me know if you have any products or insightful ideas for any of those things!! I’d love some advice!!! THANKS FOR READING!

  1. Fabric Storage Bin | 2. Storage Cube | 3. Wooden All Purpose Storage | 4. Pull Out Laundry Hamper |5. Leather Handle Storage Cube | 6. Laundry Hamper

Jess’ Closet

Welcome to my “not terrible but also not great” main closet.

At first glance, no one (at least I don’t think) is saying, “Jess, what is HAPPENING here?? Get your life together lady!” I mean I’ve spent years ensuring that all my hangers are the slim fit velvet ones, the clothes are practically color-coordinated, but it’s just not functioning great beyond that.

The Shoes Need HELP

When I first looked at this apartment, this closet was one of many selling points. A huge part was the built-in shoe storage. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Gone would be the days of the ever so charming insufficient shoe rack. I don’t want to speak out of turn but I don’t think I personally know anyone that only has ten pairs of shoes (the average floor shoe rack allowance). So yes, this was a dream. But look at this sad state. My shoes should be living their best shelf life, but instead, I’ve just started to stack. I need to do a little purge and get this situation handled.

Don’t worry, I see that miscellaneous mess too…I’ll get to that.

Wasted, Underused Space

Yes, that bin holds all of my delicates, pajamas, belts, sweatpants, etc. I currently don’t have a dresser so this is my current solution…that’s not working. I want to get a small cubby unit so I can easily find what I’m looking for and look better. A fun issue is it can’t be taller than 27″ and not too wide since I want to be able to slide my suitcase next to it.

Total Random Dissaray!

Here’s where my actual dissatisfaction lies. Again, not horrible but man it could be SO MUCH better. You may have caught at the beginning that this is my “main” closet. I actually have three in total which is crazy. I’ve never had this much storage. But each closet has, let’s say, unique challenges. So I’m really trying to figure out how I can best utilize each closet and what’s in it. I mean why are there solar outdoor string lights, TWO giant lampshades (their bases don’t exist), a Daffy Duck baseball hat from the early ’90s, and the majority of my office supplies in my main “getting dressed” closet? My purses and scarves for sure should be in my second closet where the bins are annoying high to reach so I never wear/use them… *palm to face*

So purging, reorganizing, and honestly just making it look better with some new bins and a deep clean is my plan. The only tricky part is that while special features, like ample shoe storage, are amazing, unique closets also come with unique measurements. So many of the cute bins I was looking at were either too big or way too small. Looking at you 13″ compatible Target collection. My heart hurts for the cute options that will never be.

1. Farmhouse Storage Cubes | 2. Twisted Paper Rope Basket | 3. 13″ 4-Cube Organizer Shelf | 4. 10pk Flocked Hangers | 5. Woven Felt Rectangular Basket | 6. Linen Woven Kiva Storage Cubes | 7. 4 Cube Decorative Bookshelf | 8. Felt Storage Baskets (set of 4) | 9. Woven Water Hyacinth Milk Crate

These are the top picks. Some I am ordering and testing out and others that I wish I could but the sizing just wasn’t right. I’m going more neutral and textured since I’m not sure where my bedroom design is headed and I don’t want to have to rebuy. Maybe down the line, I might throw some paint and/wallpaper on this bad boy. Who knows what crazy things I might do!?

I just seriously can’t wait to have this closet looking really organized, easier to use, and $150 should be more than enough (she says with a tinge of fear in her voice) to make that happen.

Emily’s Closet

It’s my first walk-in closet and it’s an utter disgrace. But remember we are only living here till May so engaging in making this space amazing is not something my brain, heart, or budget is willing to do. But could it be better for $150? YOU BET. I don’t have a dresser so this is where my t-shirts, athleisure, and unmentionables all live as well as blouses, sweaters, jeans, dresses, etc.

What we need here are drawers, but without them I have some ideas on how to make the monstrous stack on the shelf less terrifying and more functional. When we move to the farm I’m going to have a real seasonal system as we have those here (my former LA self – what is this “winter” you speak of? – My current Portland self – where is my fleece? No. Not that one, the other one?).

Without systems there is chaos, but it’s hard to prioritize when I literally only wear athleisure during the week due to my dog walking habits. So this challenge is a great inspiration to get more organized without investing in something that might not work in my closet later (hopefully I can put whatever I buy in our kids’ closets).

You are welcome for that image. Now show me yours, kay? 🙂

1. Hanging Fabric Storage Organizer | 2. Stackable Wood Storage Bin Natural | 3. 5 Tier Pants Hanger Black with Natural Wood | 4. Over The Door 26 Shelf Mesh Shoe Organizer

Alright folks. That’s all from team EHD. Caitlin is also joining in but has been stuck on the east coast so couldn’t take any photos. Her’s will be a fun surprise! Are you also on a journey to organize? Let us know in the comments and have a GREAT weekend. xx

Opener Image Credit: Design and Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Sara’s Closet Reveal – The Bold Design Moment She’s Been Craving

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This post was originally published on keepingcurrentmatters.com.