Repurpose a Closet

Find out how to turn available space into an ultimate storage closet with an easy weekend makeover.


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Start by determining what you need to store, says Lea Schneider, professional organizer and founder of Organize Right Now. Are you a bulk shopper or frequent entertainer? Try organizing your closet around a theme. "You could choose a theme based on your frustrations and then make order out of that chaos," Schneider says. Then, empty the closet of its current contents. "As you do so, ask yourself if you love it, use it, or need it. If you don't, donate it."

Your next step is to group everything you want to move into the closet. Determine its best location in the closet (heavy things at the bottom or rarely used items in the hard-to-reach spots), and figure out what storage aids you need to buy. Schneider recommends thinking vertically and using the closet door to maximize storage space. Dedicate the next day to organizing, labeling, and storing the closet's new contents. Get your household back to normal as soon as possible. "Sometimes, we can pace out an organizing project, but this isn't a good option for a kitchen or bathroom, as both of those spaces need to be used often each day," Schneider says.

For Your Kitchen

Bulk Shopping Pantry
Reserve space for bulk-purchase items such as cases of canned foods and drinks, large packages of paper towels and toilet paper, even large bags of pet food. Keep an accessible stock of bulk-purchased items in your kitchen for everyday use.

Storage ideas: Try on-the-door vertical storage, ready-to-assemble wood shelves, and wire rack add-ons.

Holiday and Entertaining Storage
Place seasonal items such as dinnerware, place-card holders, holiday cookbooks, and decorative accessories on the top shelf of the pantry. Make room for any little-used barware such as extra wineglasses, decanters, bottle toppers, or ice buckets.

Storage ideas: Use a hanging shoe organizer for napkin rings and a towel bar that holds tablecloths and runners.

Baking Center
Keep baking sheets, pans, tins, cookie cutters, and other baking molds easily accessible by utilizing horizontal and vertical storage options. Be sure the space has a shelf that can accommodate a heavy stand mixer.

Storage ideas: Enlist vertical slats for baking sheets, cooling racks, cutting boards, cake pans, and more.

For Your Bath

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Guest Supply Closet
Include extra towels, soap, tissues, toilet paper, toothpaste, and toothbrushes for visitors' use. Organize towels by size so they are easy to identify and restock after use.

Storage ideas: Unwrap a bar of soap to keep the closet smelling fresh and use a wine rack to store rolled towels.

Fun-in-the-Sun Storage
Stash things that get a lot of use in the summer, such as swimsuits, beach bags, towels, hats, and sunglasses. Place sunscreen, aloe, and insect repellent in an easy-to-see spot so you don't forget them when you're packing.

Storage ideas: Use door hooks to hold swimsuits and cover-ups, as well as a floor shoe keeper for swim shoes and flip-flops.

Medicine and First Aid Center
Secure occasional-use items such as allergy pills or cough syrup, humidifiers, vaporizers, and heating pads on high shelves. Store general first aid items, including bandages and ointments, at an easy-to-reach level. Keep hazardous items out of the reach of children -- install a lock to ensure safety.

Storage ideas: Designate areas for each member of the household and store items by use such as cough and colds, pain, and first aid.

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