In the middle of the stress of the week that is graduation….

….my closet is now painted and organized.

Just between us?

I used to eat Oreos to deal with stress.

But now? I organize instead.

Now in full disclosure, this is not a pretty post. I wish I could show you a beautiful closet full of glass shelves with lighting and shoes that look like artwork and a tufted bench in the very middle where I could sit and look at my hat collection.

But this is me.

My closet is small.


If you blink you might miss it. This house is 111 years old and it was built in a day when people didn’t take their closets too seriously. They spent all their money on molding and crop seed instead.

So today I’m going to show you the before, the after, and the during of the mini-closet makeover including some of my very favorite closet products you can use to make your closet live like it’s on an episode of the lives of the rich and famous.

Here are my best simple ideas to makeover a small closet (and my top TEN favorite organizing products).

Here’s the before.

Here’s where we started.

And yes.


My mother painted this closet gold 25 years ago and never looked back. I like yellow. I actually love yellow.

Just not in my closet.

It tints the colors of the clothes and you have to pull them out to get the true color.

Idea number 1: paint your closet white

Do yourself and your clothes a favor.

Paint the closet white.

And get good white lighting in there, too.

We used SW Extra White to paint the closet.

Idea number 2: Use vertical space

This closet is so tiny. It might look bigger in the pictures but I can almost touch the sides of the closet walls when I stand in the middle of it.

And I’m five feet tall.

So when you can’t go out?

Go up.

There were already two closet organizers installed on either wall. One has shoe racks and the other has a rack on the top and the bottom.

(organizing tip: adjust the bars on your closet if you are shorter so you can reach them. I was using a step stool until he adjusted the height of the bars.)

My closet hasn’t seen belts in years, but now that I’ve lost weight I LOVE THEM. I didn’t have that many hooks in the closet, so we added rows of hooks for belts and purses.

We are on a budget for organizing the closet so we actually found these hooks at Lowe’s for ONE DOLLAR. I tried to find them online to link them, but I couldn’t find them on the website, so I found these hooks that are similar instead that you can order online.

Idea number 3: Add more space with velvet hangers

These are SUCH a space saver. They are so much narrower than regular hangers.

I have these velvet hangers and I’ve ordered them four times.

Make sure to get the suit hangers and not the shirt hangers so you can hang pants, too.

Also, in my opinion, the suit hangers are so much sturdier and hold more weight with the clothes.

And while we’re on the topic of hangers?

I just ordered these velvet clip hangers for skirts and pants and they work so well, too.

Idea number 4: Add canvas bins with tops


Here what I have stored in these bins:

And on and on and organizing on.

I thought I would like the clear front so I could see, but I actually prefer the simple canvas with the top. It just looks cleaner and I can never tell what’s inside anyway.

I got these bins years ago, but I found ones that are super similar here and here.

Idea number 5: Add a rolling rack for seasonal clothes

I had all my winter sweaters and tops and pants and dresses in here and they were so bulky and taking up so much space.

So I bought a rolling rack like this and took out all the winter clothes and added them to it.

Then I put the rolling rack into the attic until it was time to change out the clothes for the next season.

It made SO MUCH more space in the closet because now those winter clothes are out of sight and out of mind.

One more time.

Here’s the before.

And here’s the after.

One more thing.

Here are some of my other favorite organizing products for drawers and closets (I own and HIGHLY RECOMMEND all of these):

I know it’s such a simple change.

It’s a little closet holding a lot of stuff.

But when I open the door?

The stress melts away and it makes my heart so happy.

So much better than cookies. 🙂

PS If you have questions about anything in my closet? Ask away and I’ll leave links in the comments. 🙂

PPS Can you guess which dress I’m wearing to graduation? It’s SO CUTE.

disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post.

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  1. Image for Peg Peg

    Love your closet redesign! If you need to save even MORE space, get velvet hangers that cascade!! I stack my blouses in twos!!! Love, love!!! xoxo

  2. Image for Betsy Betsy

    Your closet looks great! I have to confess I'm a little jealous. My husband and I share the same clothes closet size you have minus the shelves for shoes. We keep them in boxes on the floor and the in season shoes in a shoe bag mounted on the inside of the closet door. We are practicing members of the Project 333 plan. I love our older house but the closets !!!!!! : (

    1. Image for Ann C Ann C

      Good for you! I did it for the winter and was so happy with the results, now to do it again for summer! Whenever I see an overstuffed closet I want to tell the owner about Project 333!

  3. Image for Scarlett Scarlett

    I just LOVE organizing (any & everything)! I love a good organizing story like yours just as much. Doesn’t it just make you feel better? I know it sure makes me feel better. I love organizing so much...I look for excuses to organize other people’s homes. For (certain) family, it’s my treat. For others’s part of my business. What’s better than getting paid to do what you love?!?! Your closet looks amazing, just like you! 😉

  4. Image for Gina Gina

    Looks great - love your ideas, as I have a small closet as well. Love the inscribed bracelets. Unfortunately, it looks like she (metalsgirls) is no longer selling on Etsy. Other options on Etsy, but love her design the most. Love your blog!!

  5. Image for Janice Byrd Janice Byrd

    Quick question: Where do you hang your dresses that are longer than a shirt? Quick tip: If you have tall ceilings (10 ft +), you could add a third bar at the very top and use a tool especially designed to reach the hangers above. It's a pole with a hook. It's handy for lots of other things, as well. I keep my out of season clothes on the high bar where they are out of the way, but easy to get to twice a year.

  6. Image for Ann in Atlanta Ann in Atlanta

    Fantastic closet redo! And I must know where you found that cute navy blue dress with the light blue circles (and is that the winner for graduation?!?)!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Ann, Yes!!!! I got it at Draper James on sale! I think I'm wearing the purple one to graduation! happy day!KariAnne

  7. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    I too have a home over a hundred years old-closets were taxed as rooms back then so they were not added. Love your ideas about using vertical space as that is what I do. My closet in the hundred year old house is on the sloping roof section, so I have very little vertical space and a strange low area behind the rods. It is two feet tall. I thought about putting shoes there, but you would have to move the clothes out of the way to see them. Thought about storing belts and scarfs-same problem. Any ideas?

  8. Image for Lois Lois

    Karianne; After reading your closet re org it made me feel like I need to get busy on mine because my closet is a BIG WALK IN and it is very unorganized now. Thank you for your inspiration I will start working on it now.

  9. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    Our closets are in a home built in 1971, and they are about 36" wide, so my husband double-rodded them and we really have lots more room, although most people will frown on them (when we go to sell!!!)

  10. Image for Kakie Kakie

    You did a MARVElOUS job redesigning your small closet space, . All really good tips you provided on this blog. I chose the blue polka dot dress right in front! Classy, cute, and perfect occasion dress. Kakie

  11. Image for Marie Marie

    I love your ideas and your energy. You are a breath of fresh air. I appreciate the honesty and value the good ideas that come from it. I also love that your are smaller in stature. I don’t need ideas from a super model height - there are plenty of those all over the net.

  12. Image for KimS KimS

    It looks fantastic! It must be an amazing feeling to walk in and see everything so tidy and available! My closet is almost just like this...I’m definitely going to use your hooks on the wall idea.

  13. Image for Kris Kris

    I love it that you live in a real house and not some mansion with a walk-in closet bigger than my bedroom. Practical storage solutions in challenging spaces--yes!!

  14. Image for Paula Kancianic Paula Kancianic

    At least you can walk into yours! Mine us smaller but could be better organized. I love that you are real and helpful. Your tips seem approachable. Thanks.

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