Great walk-in closet ideas?
April 10, 2009 7:20 AM   Subscribe

What's the best low-budget item you've ever bought or built for your walk-in closet ?

We have large walk-in closets but don't have the funds for proper dressers. What kind of closet organizer can hold jeans, shirts and sweaters and has a drawer or bin for socks and underwear?

Right now I'm focusing on my 7 year-old son's closet. He has a four drawer IKEA dresser that's falling apart and we need a replacement solution. I'm not going to spend another $200 for a dresser that won't last. He also has the builder supplied wire shelf clothes hanger. It would be a lot more useful if it was lowered by several feet. I was thinking maybe I should rip it out and lower it so I can install some inexpensive shelving on top using shelving standards. Has one done this before?

I know basic woodworking so I'm not opposed to building something custom but I'm not good enough to build drawers. I'm open to all ideas though.
posted by qsysopr to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Cubbies. Cubbies. Cubbies.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:31 AM on April 10, 2009

I installed basic wire shelving (from Lowe's). It was easy and relatively cheap. I bought similarly cheap, shallow plastic bins for socks and underwear. These are just basic plastic bins, not designed for anything in particular. The result: Shirts hang on the rod below the lowest shelf. T-shirts and such are folded on the shelf. Plastic bins with socks & underwear also rest on the shelf. So I don't have any drawers or dresser and am very happy that way. It's quick and easy to put laundry away and find what you're looking for.
posted by PatoPata at 7:34 AM on April 10, 2009

We outfitted my children's closets with more of the wire shelving and drawers. They sell them in pieces so that you can configure your own system. I think we spent about $150-$200 per closet but we got to design it and make it work for us. The wire drawers are particularly nice. They are very deep and hold a lot! The design and configuring took the longest but we wanted to be sure to use the investment wisely. Maybe you could do a combo, wood, wire system to help save money. They have been in for about 5 years and still look and work like new, but my kids aren't very hard on them. YMMV. Good luck!
posted by pearlybob at 7:35 AM on April 10, 2009

Our system was from Lowe's too. Not any name brand, just the cheapest they sold.
posted by pearlybob at 7:36 AM on April 10, 2009

Where do you live? If it's near a decently big city, I'd also look into freecycle. I've seen some decent dressers on there, at least around me.
posted by inigo2 at 7:59 AM on April 10, 2009

You could get fabric shelves that hang from the rods (something like this, although I prefer the kind that has a back) for pants, shirts, socks, sweaters, undies.

Then make a second short hanging rod (drill holes through a thick dowel), hang it from the high rod, and put in-season shirts on the lower one.

To make a bigger project out of it, track shelving is more sturdy and versatile, and you can hook clothes rod brackets into it. (I'm thinking of the stuff where you screw two scored tracks vertically onto the wall, and hook shelf supports into them at whatever height you need.)
posted by lakeroon at 8:01 AM on April 10, 2009

I have one of these hanging shoe bags in my closet. It's very handy to roll up pants and stuff them into each cubby. They also sell them at Ikea. and they come in larger sizes for sweaters and stuff. My friend uses them to hold her her t-shirts, or other items that do not need to be hung.
posted by hooray at 8:06 AM on April 10, 2009

What about just installing some shelves? They actually have an advantage over a dresser, because you can see what's on them, even if it's folded. If your son is habitually messy, this could encourage it, but it might work. Very easy to do, too. Put a couple of nice, open-top boxes on one of the lower shelves for socks, underwear, etc.

It might be slightly neater if you add a small "lip" on the front and side edges; this might help prevent things from sliding off, but more importantly it can serve as a guide to your son for being neat -- if he folds/puts away everything so that it's inside the lip, then it's neat enough. Plus it will seem more "finished" than just plain shelves.

This will work best if you use wooden shelves, I think. They're just nicer and more durable. Your son can help sand them. They will serve you well after you get that dresser, too.
posted by amtho at 8:15 AM on April 10, 2009

I echo lakeroon about getting another rod. I hang tops on the upper, then hang pants (folded over) on the lower. Get a bunch of matching non-slip hangers then it not only looks organized with very little work but you'll more than double the space. You can go further by getting organizers that hang from the rods, but in my experience I found the small cubbies limiting.
posted by spoons at 8:27 AM on April 10, 2009

I got one of these for my daughters closet so she could reach her clothes. Very inexpensive and easy to use. I also got one of these for socks/underwear/pajamas/jeans. I'm not trying to spend a lot of money on a kid closet. :)
posted by shmurley at 8:30 AM on April 10, 2009

I thought this sliding pants rack looked pretty awesome
posted by chrisamiller at 8:36 AM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

To be really frugal, you could pick up milk crates (you can usually just grab them outside of convenience and grocery stores), lash them together with $2 worth of zip ties, and make a custom-sized cubby wall or shelf. (NB: if you make it tall, zip-tie it all together and then bolt it to the wall so it doesn't fall over on your kid!)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:56 AM on April 10, 2009

Yaffa Blocks. We use them for a lot of stuff, including clothes and towels.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:34 AM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I got a closet system on craigslist, with shelving, hanger bars, and wall strips that hold brackets, extra parts on freecycle, and added a bunch of wire cubbies, also from craigslist.
posted by theora55 at 12:59 PM on April 10, 2009

I'll say "shelves" again because they're so useful. Wire ones are fine but not necessary (unless you live somewhere where clothes just sitting in a drawer will mildew). Buy only the wall brackets for a couple bucks and cut some lumber to fit. You can reconfigure them as usage/clothes/child height changes.
posted by Ookseer at 1:00 PM on April 10, 2009

If you have Craigslist, you can ALWAYS find well-built (albeit usually beat up) older dressers, pre-particle board, on it for $20-$100. If it's in a closet and you don't care, you can just clean it and use it, or refinish it for a really cool piece of furniture.
posted by nosila at 2:15 PM on April 10, 2009

I just put an open shelf/bookcase looking thing about 15 or 18 inches wide in the center of the back wall of our closet and put 2 short closet rods on either side, top and center. since no long clothes hang in my kids closet, it made barrels of room. it looks like a solid block of hanging clothes with shoes and miscelaneous crap in the center bookcase
posted by Redhush at 6:42 PM on April 10, 2009

One more thought on this, a cheap and easy way to get shelf space is the lowest-cost IKEA bookshelf, if it'll fit underneath the hanging rod.
posted by lakeroon at 9:41 PM on April 10, 2009

I'm wondering what happened to the dresser in the first place to destroy it? I've had some Ikea dressers for like 6 years and they are fine. Of course, I don't have a kid... :)
posted by reddot at 5:01 PM on April 12, 2009

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