how to organize a small closet on a budget

How to Organize Your Small Closet on A Budget – Without the Shame!!!

Organize Your Small Closet on a Budget, and Make Those Pennies Last! defines budget as an estimate of debts, revenues, and resources over a specified period, reflecting a reading of future financial conditions and goals.  Ah…..OK… what does that mean exactly… layman’s terms, people are trying to hold on tight to their cash!

Let’s face it, many people’s finances are tighter than a Boy Scout’s having to tie a knot to earn his Merit Badge!  Any of these phrases sound familiar: My money is a bit tight this month; I’m strapped for cash; My money is a bit funny right now.

So, how does all this financial gibberish relate to how to organize your small closet on a budget? Well…..a lot!!! If you’re totally clueless or semi-clueless about your budget, you’ll have absolutely no idea of how it can follow your project to get your closet organized. In essence, you can self-sabotage your project, even before you begin!

This may seem like a bit of an exaggeration, but think about it: if you don’t know your budget, you may end up wasting a lot of your precious time and money.  So, let’s take a moment to look at some practical ways you can organize your closet on a budget…..and appear wiser than your years!

Before you open a magazine, search online or step foot in any store, know exactly how much cash you have to spend towards this project.

I know, this seems like a no-brainer; I can hear the comments now: “Well, of COURSE, I know how much money I have to spend Veronica! DUH!!!”  Hmmm…..not so fast there Skippy!  Sometimes, in the thrill of beginning a new project, we can overlook the obvious.  Do you REALLY know how much cash you have on hand towards organizing your closet…I mean, down to the penny!

And notice, I said “cash” not credit! Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Suze Orman on you, but this is something you’ll need to figure out – prior to, before – entering a store.  I could be wrong, but I think some stores spray an invisible, scentless midst into the air, as each person enters their store, inducing them into a semi-hypnotic state, thus, leaving the person helpless, incoherent, and unable to make wise and reasonable decisions.  Just my theory…..

My goodness, just SPEAKING about shopping leaves me babbling…..what was I saying…..oh, yes, a budget…..get one.  Establish what you’re going to set aside towards this project, then stick to that plan.  If you don’t feel strong enough to do this on your own, and just the thought of it is making you weak in the knees, solicit the help of a friend, preferably one who will be a lot more firm and steadfast.  Better yet, if this applies to you, get the whole family involved!  You can make colorful charts and graphs, heck, why not even blog about your journey!  Have fun!  Be creative!  But whatever you do, stay within your means!

Understand what you can and cannot do to your closet.

This is especially important if you’re renting. Putting up a few shelves for your bulky sweaters may just be the thing your closet needs to be a lot more functional, but make sure to check with your landlord first.  Again, this may be another “no-brainer”, but I’d rather cover all bases now, before we, in our excitement, overlook the obvious.

I live in a 3-family house, and rent the 2nd floor; my landlord lives in another town.  The rent is left on the mat, so I can literally go months without seeing him.  I could probably hold a circus in my apartment – minus all large sized animals – and he would only care about collecting the rent and that I keep the place clean.  But even still, I need to check with him, if I want to make any major alterations.

Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, you’ll have to go over the “logistics” of your closet.  Are the walls solid or hollow?  Not the end of the world, but it would just be a minor annoyance if you bought all the necessary supplies to put up your shelves, only to find out that the walls are hollow (tip: plastic anchors).

Speaking of shelves, did you measure the space to make sure the length, width, and depth of the shelves will fit your particular space in the closet?  I know…..I know….another obvious, but it really doesn’t hurt to take a look at everything.

Case in point:  I wanted to purchase one of those wire baskets that hook onto the inside of a cabinet.  I wanted to find a “home” for some of those smaller miscellaneous items, like those small aluminum pans that seem to multiply on their own.  I thought this would be just the thing I needed to keep my cabinets organized.

I found just what I wanted online, and ordered it without blinking an eye.  I had ordered a 2 pack, and one smaller one; all items were received within two days; I tore open the box, whatever I was doing before, was quickly bumped down a few notches on my “To Do” list. This was important…..this was exciting…..this proved to be a waste of time because they were too long for my cabinets!

That’s right folks, the “expert” forgot to measure her cabinets, PRIOR to placing the order.  Why do you ask? Because I was so excited, that in my glee, I totally overlooked the obvious!  Not all my kitchen cabinet doors are the same size, so I was able to use one in the kitchen, one in the shower, and one I gave to a friend.  The “damage” could have been a lot worse, so I’m grateful.  But the lesson has been learned:  Be excited…be overjoyed…but don’t overlook the obvious.

Do Your Research

After you’ve spoken with your landlord and/or taken the measurements of your closet, do some research on the items you want to place in your closet. Remember, you want to organize your closet in such a way, as to make it the most functional, so take your time.

If painting, which brands of paint would work best; we’ve already covered shelves, so really make sure you have the right measurements; if you want to use baskets, will you be using over-the-door baskets, hanging or those that fit under a shelf.

No matter the size, most closets have one item in common: hangers. You’ll need to know which hangers are not only best for your style but which ones will be best for your closet space. Plastics hangers are lightweight and come in a variety of color, but not the sturdiest; velvet hanger’s “claim to fame” is that they save a tremendous amount of space. Then you have your padded, suited and wooden hangers (trust me, we’ll explore this topic in more detail, at a later time).

Some of you may decide to use containers to organize your small closets; do you want to stick with stackable ones, those that pull out, or a combination of the two.  Is the depth of the container more important, or would you rather have a number of smaller containers, to do a more detailed organizing of your items?  And don’t even get me started about hooks!!!  Take your time, and do your research!

Express Yourself

There’s no “right” way;  in the end, only you really know what will work for you.  Feel free to experiment, try something different, but whatever you do, just allow “you” to shine through in your closet.  If you share a closet, make sure to find some sort of balance.  If your closet is big enough that it can be split down the middle, great!  If not, you’ll both need to find some sort of compromise; maybe one of you can pick out the hangers, while the other selects the type of container.  Granted, it is just a closet, but you look at it at least once a day…..every day!  Why not let it shine! Just remember: budget doesn’t have to mean “blah”.

Time to Take Action!  

So, here you are: you’ve gone over your budget, and you know exactly what you can spend on your project; you have a clear understanding of what alterations you can and cannot do to your closet; you’ve taken the time to do your research, comparing products, brands, cost, and you’ll find a way to let your style emerge.

So now, it’s time to take the plunge!  Remember, nothing is set in stone, so it’s OK if your initial makeover, isn’t quite what you had envisioned.  Change the color!  Maybe use a different style of containers…..maybe NO containers!

Unless you’re auditioning to be one of the new hosts on HGTV, don’t sweat it!  It may just need a little tweak, here and there, and before you know it, your small closet will be functional and glam in no time…..all with your budget!!

For additional shelving ideas, check out, “The Handyman: Fast & Easy Shelves”.

I would love to hear from you, feel free to leave your comments below.

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