Quicky Closet Make-Over + Free Download

For living in such an old house, we’re lucky to have decent sized closets in all the bedrooms. They’re not “big” (by any stretch of the imagination) but they are bigger than most found in older homes.

As luck would have it, the “study” off the bedroom makes for the perfect walk-in closet. “Spoiled rotten” has popped to mind on more than one occasion as I stare at our new Elfa organization. I’m a lucky girl.

finished closet with curtain

While storage for clean clothes, shoes, & bags is taken care of, it does leave a few things left to sort out.

Enter, our bedroom closet.

small closet before

Yup! That’s the only closet actually IN the bedroom. Thank God for the study, right?!

small closet mess

And for awhile, it’s looked like the hot mess you see above. Here at Brick City Love, we put it all out there. And besides, really awful “befores” make for better “afters”, don’t you think?? Although, if we’re going to get technical, that’s actually an improvement!

Here’s what it looked like before we painted!


A couple weeknights ago, I got fired up and decided it was high time to make this little space function properly – and for cheap!

Our dirty clothes bins stay and yes, we need 6 different bins. We presort all our dirty clothes. When a bin fills, it’s time to do that load. {Or at least that’s the theory. The fact that we don’t currently have a working washer/dryer is a small detail we’re still working out. Laundry is currently done by dragging it to our parent’s house, which completely defeats my pre-sort method. Hey; it’s a work in progress!}

I love my bins.

pre-sort bins

The theory works but the layout wasn’t really working for our storage needs. After thinking about it a little, we needed a place for:

  • our 6 dirty clothes bins
  • the iron & ironing board
  • the steamer
  • towels
  • clean linens

And the makeover had to be cheap; use what we already have an buy as little “new” as possible. Not only is that friendlier for our wallet and the planet but we’ve got a ton of stuff still sitting in boxes waiting for a home. Why’d we move all this crap if we aren’t going to use it?!

Sitting empty on the second floor was this dresser.

malm dresser before

First purchased for Rob’s bedroom back in our college apartment, it moved to the apartment, then here. It’s an IKEA Malm dresser and the moves have taken a toll on the poor little thing. It’s still holding together though and the right size to hold all our clean bed linens.

A fresh coat of white paint was a free upgrade.

dresser after

The height was perfect too. 2columns of 3 bins fit with room to spare under the closet’s built-in shelf. The only problem was the dresser was a little to narrow. A quick trip to The Depot and retuned with the only purchased item for the entire redo – a 2’x4′ piece of 1/2″ plywood.

trace out shelf

By laying the bins side-by-side upside down, I was able to trace out the perfect size. The bins taper at the base so, if the wood was the size of their top, the bins would have a little wiggle room at the bottom.


The depth of the shelf was cut – not to the size of the bins – but to completely cover the top of the dresser + 1″ for the base board. I didn’t want a gap in the back for the bins to slip down into.

That got 2 coats of white semi-gloss too.

The groudy built-in shelves cleaned up nice with a couple coats of fresh white ceiling paint {same as we on the inside walls of the closet}.

groudy shelves

Then it was time to put it all back together.


After playing with the placement of the steamer & ironing board, I found the steamer fit perfectly in the space to the right of the dresser. The ironing board could hang in front of it and still allow enough room to manuver in & out.

steamer space

To hang the ironing board cady, I added a piece of wood underneath the existing strip of wood.

predrilled screws

Don’t forget! When screwing into plaster, it’s important to predrill your holes!

DSC_0641 DSC_0649

Paint white & hang up your cady {which we already owned}!

iron cady

Then everything else stacked into place.

closet almost done

The finishing touch were labels for our bins.

I thought colored dots would be a fun way to label the different bins, instead of words. Things are sorted white through beige; black, navy, gray, brown; red, orange, yellow, purple; green & blues. The last two are for jeans, linens & towels and dry cleaning. We mix jeans & linens because those fill up the slowest. We wear jeans & use our towels multiple times before washing them.

dirty clothes bin labels

FYI – when you can’t find a paper cutter, a pearing knife & magnetic knife rack work.

cutting labels apart

I printed the dots in 2 sizes but the larger ones looked best. They’re printed on 8.5″x11″ label paper i had left over from our Christmas card labels.

dirty clothes bins

Fun Fact: our dirty clothes bins are actually stackable recycling bins from The Container Store. They’re the perfect size for 1 load. Just scoop out the dirty clothes into another basket or bag and carry to the washer; no unstacking required.

closet after

clean towels storage bins
labels close up

closet after, left

small closet after, right side

small closet after

So there you have it! In just 2 evenings after work we went from chaotic & grody to organized & bright. Not bad for $8 {the cost of one 2’x4′ piece of 1/2″ plywood} & a little work.

small closet before small closet after

And if you’d like your own dot labels, here’s mine for you to download free! Click on each to download.

Happy organizing!

This entry was posted in 3rd floor, bedrooms and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Quicky Closet Make-Over + Free Download

  1. Brandi says:

    Oh dear.
    This totally appeals to the super-organized-neat-freak in me. Oddly, I really don’t separate colors like this for laundry. I think if I did, I would hardly ever have clean clothing — I’d have to wait at least two weeks to warrant a load. I’m really loving everything you’ve been doing with your renovation project. I’m so impressed.

  2. That is fantastic! If I ever have the space, I’d love to have the laundry pre-sorted. Currently, everything gets dumped into one, tall bin and when I do laundry, I make piles on the kitchen floor (the laundry is off the kitchen). Inevitably, Baxter makes a little nest in the bedding or towels and naps away while the cycles run.

    You way is so much less…disruptive. My kitchen is hostage while I’m doing all this!

  3. MEA says:

    Oh I love it!!! It’s so Bright, Clean, and Crisp. I love it when closets dont become hide all for things I don’t want to find a place for. Oh im so jealous!

  4. katie says:

    so organized! i like the dots, that’s a fun way to lable the bins.

    this would so not work for me. my clothes are all black, gray, or jeans. at least it makes doing laundry easy…

  5. Anne Hudson says:

    So um if I buy you a ticket out here, and promise to take you to places no on the map will you come organize and make pretty my house??? 🙂 I love what you do!

  6. carrie – will you marry me? or, better still, tell me that you have a brother that lives in san francisco? lol. this is just SO faboo!

  7. Mom Liv says:

    You rock! This makes doing laundry look like fun!

  8. Kim says:

    I love how different it looks! Way to go, girl. I’m also glad you painted the dresser, it really looks great in white. Love your colored bins, but I don’t sort laundry. Ever. Unless it’s dry cleaning, it all goes in the same pile. 😉

  9. Pingback: Quick Tip: Vase turned Trashcan « brick city love

  10. Pingback: The Master Bedroom « brick city love

  11. Pingback: Thrifty Tip: Closets « brick city love

  12. Rebecca Collazo says:

    Wow! You guys did a wonderful job! And best of all you kept it totally green and unbelievably attractive. By making everything white the whole project looks very stylish and pulled together. I LOVED the labels too! You inpired me to redo my closet as well! Thank you very much!!

  13. Charlotte says:

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!! 🙂 Inspired by you, we built a similar system using white bankers boxes for the bins. We set them on their side and made cut outs in the lids -which we hot glued in place. Then we added spacers so they would sit level. We built a simple frame out of wood to hold the 4 corners, making a tower of five bins, and used your dot labels plus a couple drawings for (top to bottom) baby clothes/delicates, whites, colors, darks, and dry-cleaning. Thank you so much for posting your closet re-do online!! I really think that this will help eliminate piles of sorted clothes on the floor and keeping sorting more efficient -plus I never liked going diving into the hamper. We love it, and spent very little moolah !! 🙂

  14. Nina says:

    I love what you did here. I wish I had a closet I could dedicate to laundry/ironing type of stuff. I love it… especially the way you labeled your bins. AND I love that you could use a spare room as your closet, it’s huge. Great organization. Now, I HAVE to follow your blog. 😉

  15. s0flyy says:

    This makes me sooo happy. I want to go home and reorganize my closet right now, the only problem is our closet has a slope on the floor because it is adjacent to the stairway on the other side. Hmmm… maybe if I put down a shelf of some sort and build from the bottom up…

    I love.

  16. Pingback: Pinterest Take 5: Multicoloured Polka Dots

  17. Jennifer says:

    Thank you sooooo much for including the dots! I have organized my laundry JUST like you! It makes me feel so good to have it so organized. Thanks again!

  18. Fantastic website you have here but I was curious about if you
    knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get suggestions from other experienced people that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Many thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s