Master Closet Reveal

Our home was built in 1960, and the master bedroom is therefore not very big, however it did have a ‘dressing room’ or what we call now an ensuite. Initially the ‘dressing room’ only had a large wall to wall wardrobe/closet and a sink and mirror. At some stage, probably early 70’s, a shower was put into the ‘dressing room’, however the closet was never removed…eeekkkk !!! So when we purchased the home 5 years ago our only closet for clothes for the master bedroom was literally in the ensuite. Fast forward 5 years and we are finally renovating the house and this “nasty” wardrobe is getting gone…long gone to make way for the beautiful new ensuite…actually to make way for the wall to wall shower. Check out our ensuite reveal post, it’s got lots of before and afters.

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Planning and Building

It was very exciting to think that there was going to be no more wardrobe in the ensuite! However the big question was where to actually install a new one in our master bedroom, remember it’s a small bedroom. The layout of our bedroom, specifically the windows, restricts where you can place our bed (Queen size). Getting the right position for the bed and ensuring space for a wardrobe was a bit tricky. However in the end there was actually only one way it could be done, so it was a easy decision. The wardrobe had to be built along the wall of one side of the room. To maximise the space we ensured that it went floor to ceiling and also agreed that we would need to have a set of 3 sliding doors to enable full access and in glass ti make the space feel more open.

My dream would have been a walk in wardrobe however, that would take busting out walls and extending the house which, well, just was not worth it to house clothes!!! I mean it is a lot cheaper to just reduce the clothes you have to lessen the space you need…I mean you can only wear one outfit at a time right.

Our builder also helped us to work out the best placement and size which really helped in the long run with the overall design. He is well experienced and knows all the important details that you need to think about when renovating.

After the frame up of the wardrobe itself , we engaged Regency Wardrobe Company to make our sliding doors. We actually came upon them at the Auckland home show and was able to access the “home show special” for the doors. They came out to the house to measure and quote. We chose soft closing triple doors in full glass with silver frames. The gave you an option to have them installed or self install. We chose to self install. The doors were made and delivered pretty soon after the measure and quote and delivered on site. The instructions on the self install were very good and easy to follow. Pete installed the doors in less than an hour . I have to say the quality of the doors exceeded my expectations, they are lovely and quiet, weighted well and soft closing, very nice indeed to use.

At this point we had to do some thinking about the internal closet and the best design in terms of storage. The wardrobe is used by both Pete and myself so needs to accommodate 2 sets of clothing. We did get Regency Wardrobe Company to complete a built-in design and quote, however in the end Pete decided that he wanted to make the closet built-in’s himself. He had actually keep the drawers and the metal runners from the old kitchen which were actually great quality. In short he repurposed the drawers, making new frontages for them and then designed the rest of the built-in’s around the drawers.



We also recycled the metal railing from the old wardrobe and the wooden shelf and used them in the closet….such savings, it was going to cost approx $2600 to have built in’s made. In the end it only cost approx $200 (wood) and we used the left over paint from the renovations. Pete actually designed the closet as well, working out the best size and design to maximise the hanging space , as well as ensuring that I have space for my shoes! He is a good man isn’t he :)

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I asked Pete about how he went about the design and build and he said that he just measured up longest garments being dressers, also measured up the shirts and jackets and drew out the plans to fit the clothes. He also considered the numbers and types of shoes that had to be stored and created spaces for them as well. He said he just worked out the clothes that we had and what storage was needed for them “the drawers are for jocks and socks” .

He built the storage in sections and put them together in the closet. Once he had all the components together he prep and painted them.

You know what I like about this closet and in true Pete style we equally share the space…..no extra space for me just because I am a women and therefore “have more clothes” in fact having equal space forced me to really think about what clothes I really use. I have found that it’s getting easier as I pare down my clothes …far easier decisions to make about what to wear…it’s very refreshing.

So now Pete has done his awesome job making the closet, it was my turn to “organise “ the clothes in the closet.

closet organisation

Oh this is the fun part….in my world anyway. Just like any other organisation job you always start at the very beginning and take all the items out and declutter. Don’t forget to make signs for recycle, donate, sell, dump. Then go through each item making a decision on where to place the garment in one of the 4 areas. I regularly declutter my clothes so it was not a big job for me , however I was still surprised by how many items I left go.. Pete’s clothes also got the once over and the old holely undies and sox’s got the bin treatment. Thanks to Pete’s grand design the closet has lots of hanging space as well as shelving. My goal was to get in all our clothes and not just “seasonal clothes”. I have to confess that I could not fit all mine in so I have keep a small number of off season items in the spare room closet.

All clothes that could be hung were and I used these thin felt coat hangers. I have used these style of coat hangers for a while now and I love them, you can almost double the amount of clothes that you can hang in a space by using these hangers. As you can see I tend to sort by item type and then by colour. So the trouser, dressers and skirts are in the middle, next to them are shirts and tops and jackets . On Pete’s side it is just trousers and shirts.

We each have three drawers and these house our smalls. I have my t-shirts and tops in these drawers as well . On my side of the closet I have my scarfs at the top, however this is not actually ideal as I reach for these daily and it’s not always easy to find them. I am hunting out a better option, like a coat hanger for scarfs, like these at Storage box. Any other ideas on scarf storage please share!.

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The next shelf I have my jewellery and I found the perfect velvet tray to display them on , and guess where I got it from? Yep good old Kmart. Next shelf I have my jeans and shorts, then bulky tops (jersey’s etc) . On the bottom shelf I have got a cube container to hold my gardening and house work clothes.

One of the great design features that Pete put into the closet is a space to place clothes that you may wear the next day, like jeans etc, and my after work clothes. This space is really useful and means that these aren’t hanging around on a chair or on the bed. Under that he has another shelf for my yoga gear which I reach for daily. He really did think of everything!

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Pete’s shelves are a bit more spartan than mine because…well…I simply have more clothes. He has his jerseys and tops on the top shelf the work gear , followed by a shelf for jeans and shorts and t-shirts on the bottom.

At bottom Pete designed space for my shoes, even measured them up to make sure they fitted. If you are wondering his are out in the hall cupboard..big stinky man shoes not allowed in the new closet.!

To ensure that we made the most of the space I have used laundry hampers on the top shelf to store bags and other items that get used less often.

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While I was organising the wardrobe, I attacked my bedside cabinet which has three drawers and was full of clutter…nightstand should not have drawers as they just become dumping zones! As these drawers can be a bit ugly , I wanted to brighten them up. So I got some of my left over wall paper and some unused acrylic containers and used the paper as drawer liners. Now the cabinet only has items that I reach for at night or use in the morning. And every time I open the drawers they look so nice “ohh joy”.

I can’t tell you how much I love my new wardrobe…to the moon and back maybe! It`s amazing what you can make out of an empty space!.

I hope that this has given you some ideas and inspiration for your wardrobe, even if it is to just declutter it!

Stay tidy out there!

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How I organized a small wardrobe

Now, for those of you that read along with me and my posts, you will have picked up that Pete and I are slowly renovating and redecorating our 1960s cedar and block home. This is a long process, so far it has been 5 years. There is a lot to do, both inside and out. There are areas of the house that are somewhat outdated and not really fit for purpose and we have to make do until they are renovated. Point in question is our bedroom wardrobe. This wardrobe is actually in our ensuite...yes that is right, our ensuite, and it is all original and I mean 1960 original which is when the house was built. 

We are making do with this area as it will be renovated at the end of the year. In the meantime I have had to work hard on the wardrobe to get it usable, one because it's in a bathroom and two because it is so small for two people. 

Before and After

Before and After

The wardrobe space is still very tight however now at least I have made the most of all space available and access to the clothes is a lot easier. So I thought I would share with you what I have done, so if you have a very small wardrobe and want to get more space, this post may be worth a read. 

The goal

In short there were two things we needed to achieve;

  1. We needed to be able to house all our clothes (except for jackets and Pete's work shoes). 
  2. We had to reduce the amount of moisture that was getting in. I mean who does that!!!! put a wardrobe into a bathroom space!!!!

The plan

Yes, you know me there needs to be a plan. This one was pretty simple, just do some research, get the equipment needed, sort it and refit it out. However there were some challenges.

The biggest challenge was how get a lot of drawer space at the same time as increasing the hanging capacity. The wardrobe had one metal rail with a wooden shelf above it. It also had wasted and difficult space in the middle of the wardrobe because of the sliding doors.

I got my google fingers going and came across an number ideas in YouTube and good old Pinterest. I found this great tutorial from Engineer your Space which gave me the idea to replace the sliding doors with curtains and create another hanging rod by moving up the existing rod and shelf.

However I still needed more storage space and thought about how I can effectively use all the space within the wardrobe.

One particularly good idea came to me was to use an old duchess that was in my daughters room (she has left home and didn't need it). A wee fact, the duchess was my original one from when I was a child, which is kind of special.  

I also brought two hanging shelves and reused a 4tier cube shelf that was no longer being used from my son's room.

The coat hangers were an important part of the plan as I needed to replace them all with the space saver coat hangers, these velvet ones from Briscoes are the best and the clothes do not slip off.

 

The Design

Firstly I cleared out everything from the wardrobe and did a full purge, both my clothes and Pete's. I am getting pretty good at decluttering and do not hang onto items that I do not use much. I have actually discovered over the years that you wear probably about 20% of your clothes 90% of the time. I am now down to that 20% and it does feel great because trying to figure out what to wear is so easy.

I am lucky with Pete, he is a Tradie so only has his work gear and pretty much just jeans, t's and shirts so his clothes don't take up a lot of space.

The next step was to map out how to set up all the rails and storage. You do need to measure each area and work out what will fit best and it took me a few goes to get this right.  It is very helpful to do this first as it really helps when you put it all together.

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Putting it all together

Pete moved the clothes rod and shelf up for me, just as shown in the Engineer your Space video, link above. I purchased a piece of aluminium tubing and chain to create another rail. This allowed me to hang two tiers of clothes where before I could only hang one. 

 

I placed a 4 tier cube shelf on its side on the top shelf. This not only provided more "drawers" but also provided a space to put my shoes.

With my duchess, I did give it a bit of spruce up. As it was already a bit knocked around I just distressed it a little more by sanding it on the edges and the handles. I did a quick once over with the sander on the top and front, then just used a sealant spray which I got from the local hardware store. I have to say I was actually really pleased with how it came up. It was also really cool to be able to use my old duchess again.

I got an old cushion cover, put a little bit of padding in it and placed on the top of the duchess. This is where I put my everyday jewellery, it's perfect and easy to get to.

 

I placed the duchess in the middle of the wardrobe and put the hanging shelves above it, this was an excellent way to fill dead vertical space. 

All the longer clothes are hung to the left of the duchess and Pete's shirts and trousers.

To house his work clothes I got a basket and this sits on the floor under his hanging clothes. It works well as its stores his work trousers and tops.

A wee added bonus was the area to hang my scarf collection. I used the chain that held the second rail to wrap my scarves around and worked perfectly as a scarf hanger.

The last thing I did was to hang the curtains. I had a brain wave and came up with the idea to use shower curtains to help keep the moisture out of the wardrobe. So I got two shower curtains and essentially hung them up as you would in the shower. I did make sure that I hung them on the inside of the frame so there was full cover over the clothes. As the curtains were not actually long enough I just sewed on a piece of cotton material onto the bottom, matching colour of course. I am amazed at how well this works. It's really easy to access the clothes and they do hold out the moisture which is really great.

So there you have it, a "make do" wardrobe which houses all our clothes. It works really well and does stop me from buying clothes as there is really no room. If I want something new I have to let something go.

I am however very excited to plan my new big wall to wall wardrobe when we do the renovation and this "make do" one has given me some great learnings and ideas for the new one.

Are you happy with your wardrobe? Do you want to make some changes? Have you already got your dream wardrobe?

Love to hear from you on any wardrobes stories.

Have a great week everyone, and see you at the next post. 

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