...because home doesn't happen overnight.

This is the first post in a series I’m devoting to all things closets. Since we downsized, I think the majority of questions I’ve received have had something to do with how we edit / where we keep our belongings. I sat down at the computer last night to dive into a post addressing all that but quickly realized it was too much for a single post. So, in an effort to keep things concise and address different closet situations, I’m going to share images and info of each and every closet in our home in separate posts over the next few months. {You may notice a few useful reoccurring themes!} Also, this is me lighting a fire under my own arse to assess and improve a few storage issues. Yep, even with all the purging and organizing I’ve done, there are two closets – one wardrobe + the boys’ closet – that just aren’t working as efficiently as they could be. But today I’m showing you the master bedroom closet and there’s nothing master-ish about it.

mb closet 1

We tore down walls in the main living area to provide a more open feeling but there has never been / never will be plans for enlarging the bedrooms and bathrooms. That means the small closets that we inherited with the house are staying small. We’re committed to living with less and making the most of the space we do have. The master bedroom closet is a good example so let’s start there.

mb closet 2

We removed the closet doors and replaced them with floor-to-ceiling curtains. This gives us easy access to closet contents and allows us to utilize the closet to its fullest potential. Doors on hinges would open up into the room and affect furniture placement. Sliding or folding doors can only be opened so far and would leave us with limited access to closet contents. Pocket doors would have been a good option but we didn’t have enough wall space and we were leery of working with the original plaster walls. A sliding barn door is another option but, again, we didn’t have enough wall space for a door + furniture. With the curtains open, we can see and get to everything in the closet all at once. We’re able to step into the closet since the curtains are hung outside of the closet. This makes it function somewhat like a dressing room. I can actually dress inside the closet with the curtains shut! Using fabric “doors” on our closet literally opens up the small space and gives us options for storage.

mb closet 3

We installed a closet organization system after purging and assessing our needs. With the doors removed, we set to work editing down our clothing to only the things we wear regularly. In our previous home, it was very easy to hold on to items we didn’t wear / like / need because we had the space for them. Here, we don’t have room for stuff like that. We don’t even have room for maybes or somedays. At first, that might sound like a sacrifice but, I’m telling you, getting rid of excess clothing is so freeing! I can only wear one outfit at a time anyway, right? Basically, we donated anything we hadn’t worn in the past year and items that were stained / stretched out / torn were tossed. This closet holds all of HH’s and my clothes. Winter + summer apparel…it’s all here.

Giving up closet space doesn’t mean we’ve given up on style. HH and I spend less money on clothing now because we only buy items when we need them {not just because we have a coupon or a holiday / event approaching} and we value quality over quantity so we’re investing in pieces that last longer, are versatile and reflect our styles better. It’s been a very eye-opening and happy experience to live with a tiny closet.

With our clothing edited, we set to work taking inventory of what was left and assessing our storage needs. We decided we wanted to keep all of our clothing in the closet {not in any furniture in the bedroom} so we came up with a plan to provide sufficient shelving and hanging rods for our clothing. We purchased ClosetMaid supplies from a home improvement store and customized the closet to suit our needs. Essentially, we divided the closet down the middle. The left side is HH’s; the right is mine. We have space for hanging and folded items. {I still want a folding board for the perfect fold!} Smaller items like socks, belts, sleepwear, bras and underwear are kept in wire drawers. I do have a tote of handbags on the top shelf but now that I see it, I realize I haven’t opened it in a year so the contents will probably find themselves at Goodwill soon. And that’s the thing with living out of a small closet…you really do SEE what you are / aren’t using and so editing is always an ongoing process. I keep trimming my wardrobe and gaining empty hangers. It’s kind of fun to discover just how little I need and, contrary to my initial thoughts, I don’t feel like I’m missing out or compromising my style in the process.

mb closet 4

We upgraded to matching wood hangers. I’ve been married 10+ years. I’ve birthed three babies. I’ll be 35 next month. And, yet, nothing has made me feel more like an adult than switching out our mismatched plastic hangers for wood ones. So this is what it feels like!

A few weeks ago, I went through our closet and counted hangers. Sounds like a good time, no? Then I took it a step further and broke it down into pants, tops, skirts, etc. I counted what we had and added 5 to everything to give us some flexibility. {So, say HH had 12 pairs of pants hanging up. I added 5 to that and decided he would need 17 pants hangers.} We ordered our hanger supply via Only Hangers and when the boxes arrived, I couldn’t wait to put them to use. I spent a good two hours rehanging our clothes on the wooden hangers but it was oh-so-gratifying. I feel like I’m getting dressed in a fancy boutique in the mornings. Everything lines up perfectly and our hangers don’t get tangled up anymore. It’s awesome. It’s one of those things I wish I would have done 10 years ago.

mb closet 5

We incorporated laundry hampers into our closet organization system. We have a pull-out hamper for lights and another one for darks {not labeled in real life} in our closet. They keep clothes off the bedroom floor & furniture and it keeps me organized and on top of laundry. When the hampers are full, it’s time to do laundry. The fabric bins are removable {they are attached to the wire pull-outs with velcro} but I usually leave them in place and empty their contents into a laundry basket so we can keep using the hampers while I tackle the dirty laundry. It’s a good system and it works! Pull-out hampers wouldn’t have been possible with doors on our shallow closet so I’m glad we ditched the doors.

mb closet 6

We added overhead lighting. Our closet didn’t come to us with lighting. We had our electrician add it during renovation. There is a switch just outside the closet, hidden by the floor-to-ceiling curtains. The lights aren’t anything to look at but they are so functional. The closet is very dark without them – even during the day. It’s great being able to see what is actually in the closet.

mb closet 7

We keep our shoes elsewhere. There are no shoes in our closet. We have a wall-mounted shoe cabinet next to the bedroom closet, we have a shoe basket in the mudroom and we have a shoe rack and hanging shoe organizer in the garage. Not only does this system free up space in our closet but it helps keep the house cleaner, too. We don’t usually put on shoes unless we’re leaving the house and as soon as we get home, off they come.

mb closet 10

Implementing all of these things has given us a fully functional, albeit small, closet and an organized bedroom. Two things that make for some pretty sweet dreams.

This post brought to you in part by Only Hangers. I utilized hangers from the natural + chrome line. House*Tweaking readers can take advantage of a 10% discount by using the code “housetweaking” at checkout until November 16th. Happy hanging!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking


Your closet is huge in comparison to mine! And my children’s closets are teeny tiny. It’s a good thing we don’t have the money for large wardrobes, or we’d be in trouble.


I think any closet you can stand in without being suffocated by clothes does not qualify as “teeny-tiny”; mine is less than 1/2 that size! I have a dresser in addition to the closet; I’m pretty minimal but I like to have SOME choices! :) (This closet is actually an upgrade, though; in the previous house I lived in the closets weren’t deep enough for hangers!)


Well done – very nicely organized. Instead of tossing your worn/stained clothes, you should consider recycling them. You can usually recyle old clothing at the same facities that accept clothing for resale. You just need to separate the good from the bad and tell them that they are for recycling when you drop them off. The charities sell the worn clothing to manufacturing companies.


I think it’s cute that you think this is a small closet. We have closets so shallow our hangers have to hang at an angle for the door to shut.


Wow, loving the change in your closet. I can’t believe how much you downsized. I don’t have large closets either and purge items about 4-5 times a year. I wish my husband would be willing to get rid of more of his clothes. It’s a project I’m working on this winter to better utilize are closets. Why do you need 6 shirts that are exactly the same? I keep asking my husband that. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of your posts!


Great post!! We also have that shoe cabinet and its great……but I love those knobs!! Mine are dark! Did you paint them?


This was the perfect post for me to read as I set off to do some closet cleaning and purging this weekend. Best of all, my husband is out of town to leave me to my own devices, which makes me more efficient, not to mention brutal! I love the grown-up hangers.


Yes, I spray painted them gold!


Yikes! I guess closet size is relative.


Oh, I do take them to donation / recycling centers. I didn’t mean toss them in the trash.


We use the wooden hangars for coats and heavy sweaters in our front closet.
I find that the super skinny flat plastic ones allow for more space/things to hang. ( the fuzzy ones are icky, we have the smooth ones) and yes its so nice to open the door and see it all organized :)


I’m glad I’m not the only one that doesn’t have a “master closet”! Where did you get your rug? I’m looking for one like that for our master, but I’ve wondered how it feels to bare feet? Is it too straw-like/itchy? We have hardwood as well, and I’d like to have something


I’m glad I’m not the only one that doesn’t have a “master closet”! Where did you get your rug? I’m looking for one like that for our master, but I’ve wondered how it feels to bare feet? Is it too straw-like/itchy?


I would love a post on what you actually have in your closet. My small closet is stuffed fit to bursting despite regular purges, and I always struggle to work out what I’m going to wear! Something like how many tshirts/ jeans/ dresses etc. And what a brilliant idea not to keep shoes in there, they take up such a lot of room. Great post, thanks!


I think so closet purging is in my future tomorrow! And wooden hangers. I’m thinking I might need to do some posts about living in the small now. Were did you get your “closet doors” – I’m on the search for patio door curtains :-)

Great job – can’t wait to see the rest!


I’m surprised you went with the bulky hangers with such limited space. I bought a dozen from IKEA intending to be all grown up and sophisticated, but as soon as I hung stuff on them I realised I had used easily twice the space, if not three times. Now they are only for my husband’s freshly ironed shirts, everything else is on nicely matching (and slim!) plastic hangers.


I save my old T-shirts and make rag rugs for the bathroom, kids rooms, etc.


Such smart ideas! Similarly, we made the switch to velvet hangers, and it has made all the difference and saved so much space!!

I love the whites/darks laundry hamper idea. We don’t have space in our closet for that, but when we do our renovation I’m definitely going to incorporate those. No more sorting laundry on the floor!


Hi I was up last night reading ur post and it dawned on me my house is much smaller than urs and it looks like an episode from Hoarders. I want to start decluttering our life NOW. I feel overwhelmed each day because of the mess and clutter and I want my family to be happy and relax at home not try to runaway from it every chance we get. I want to start with my kids needs first I have a 2.5 year old baby girl and a 4 year old “big girl” my girl is in school and already brings piles of paper work each day and even gets occasional homework. I have no place for her to do home work or store school supplies and paper work that she brings home from school. Where do u store ur kids work and where do they do homework? I dont see a defined space for that in ur home it looks so tidy and pretty. I want to have a designated space for this but I dont want it to scream kids study area. I am feeling overwhelmed and need to work on my whole house one room at a time starting with the girls rooms. They each have their own Hoarders tv show in their bedrooms :-[ I would apreciate any input.


Looking great! kudos to you!


So did you make those curtains or find them somewhere? If the latter, can you share the details? I have very tall windows, and the tallest standard sizes are not tall enough.


Great organization tips! I use the laundry separation too– we use a 3-piece soft-sided recycling bin set from IKEA for lights, darks, and delicates.

Thanks for the tip about sorting out worn clothing to charities– I knew they could be made into rags, but I always thought places like Goodwill would turn their nose up at ragged-y stuff. Now I know better!


I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with a closet that is smaller than hangers! Our closet is about 11 feet long, and almost 13 high, but we can only use the small sections in front of the two doors because it is so narrow. I feel like every time I organize it I get rid of excess clothing, but there is still not enough space.
What were the builders thinking making a closet so narrow?!


The curtains are from IKEA. They offer longer lengths and come with no-sew hem tape but I sewed the hem on mine.


My two older children are in school. Layne is in 3rd grade and Everett is in kindergarten. I hear you on the slew of papers coming home. I’ve found the best way to handle the onslaught of paperwork is to address it as soon as it comes into the house. The first thing my boys do after getting off the bus is empty their backpacks. I sort through the parent communication papers while they start on their homework. If there are special art projects or A+ tests, I ask the kids if it’s something they want to put on display. If so, they can hang it on the fridge or on magnetic boards I have hanging in their room. The rule is, one paper up…one paper down. This keeps things from getting cluttered but still allows them to take pride in their work. Of course, if there is something super special I will take it up to the attic to store in a designated folder. I really only try to save a few things from each school year though. We don’t have the space to store any more than that for three kids.

My kids do their homework at the kitchen island although my oldest will sometimes retreat to his top bunk to do his reading assignments. At this age, it’s nice to have them in the kitchen doing homework while I clean up dishes or prep dinner so they can ask me for help if they need to. We have a kitchen desk off to the side with a bunch of cabinet space. That’s where I keep writing and art supplies. The dining table would be a good place for them to do homework, too, but they don’t use it that much yet. As they get older, I’m sure there will be a greater need for privacy when doing homework. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.




Overstock! It’s the most money I have ever spent on a rug but I’ve never regretted it. Quality jute can have a silky feel to it. Ours isn’t itchy or straw-like at all. If anything, it feels like a mini foot massage due to the nubby texture.

I love how you organized your space! We also keep all our clothes in our closets which I love. In our rental we had one smallish closet for the two of us, which was a little tight. Now we have two so it feels like so much room :) But keeping tabs on what we really wear and passing on the rest keeps it that way.

I love closet organizing ideas. Can’t wait to see the rest of yours.


I’m sorry if I missed this, but what closet system did you go with? I’ve been on the hunt and am having trouble deciding!


Cool! Thanks! I’ll check that out.


Wait! Did you see that they have petite hangers? Best idea ever – not just for us petite gals but for kids when they get past kid sized hangers but the adult ones are too big… genius!


It’s an off-the-shelf ClosetMaid system from the local home improvement store.


Which hangers did you buy for your clothes? There are so many and it looks like almost all of them are sold in boxes of 25…thanks


YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! I am soooooo excited! I am one of the people that have asked you to tell us how you edited, can’t wait till you get to the boys room! And kitchen! Yeah!


Thank u for ur input. I appreciate you taking the time to read and answer my questions I know u r a busy bee. I think that its the same way I am trying to address the issue with the paperwork, right away, display a couple and only keep some special ones for every year. Its what I had in mind to do. So far we r doing homework on the coffee table because its only little bit and she is a vertically challenged like her mommy :-) I just bought a really nice solid wood cabinet for the living room for extra storage so I think I will be storing supplies there since its near by our coffee table. U know u should turn this into a post I bet a lot of your readers would love to know your ways of keeping the house looking minimal but still cozy with three kids. On a different note I think u r doing great and I love ur home. I love every room but right now I am crushing on your minimal, cozy bedroom retreat. Our bedroom is a bit smaller than yours and we have two dressers in there Im thinking that removing our closet doors for some breezy curtains would help us too. Anyways thanks again for everything.


By any chance do you recall the style or name of them?


That is what I thought by looking at it, but I can’t find it in 24″ lengths at my HD or Lowe’s (which is the depth of my closet). Did you trim it? I’m wondering if a hacksaw or some other tool like a Dremmel would do the trick…


where did you get the sconces- love them!


Wayfair but I’ve seen them on Lamps Plus too!


I can’t tell you how many times I have gone back to this post for ideas/reality check . . . we have a closet that looks to be the same size as yours and just put in a closet system and added an interior light. Big difference! But my husband and I EACH still have a dresser of clothes in the room, too (also looks to be similar in size to yours). TOO MUCH! I am very inspired to downsize my wardrobe, but still find it baffling that you can both fit all your stuff in 1 closet – all seasons, work/dressy clothes, everyday clothes, exercise clothes, undies . . . so impressive. I’m purging, but not there yet!


It’s taken us 3+ years to get where we are now. Every year we edit a little more and our closets become roomier and roomier. You will get there – just keep at it!


I loved seeing your storage and your closet! So beautiful and organized! I’m so impressed! I live in an older home and have a similar size closet and it looks so crowded! Inspiration to purge!

Would love you to post more details on clothing choices! What works for you at this stage!?! How many shirts, t-shirts, workout, skirts, pants, jeans, dresses, sweaters, etc! You always look adorable in pics but, your closet is so empty it was surprising! How do you pull it off?

Can’t wait for your kid closet posts!?!

I love the storage posts and organizational post you do!

PS Your home is so decorated and cosy! I love your style!

~ Ali


I have space issues too, and I really like these: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/closet/hangers/nonSlip?productId=10023850&N=81019

They’re so skinny. Even skinnier than plastic.


Our closet is even smaller, but we keep off-season clothes in the basement. I love the wire shelves, they really make the most of the space. But, do you not have a dresser?


We have a small dresser that we converted into a desk for HH to work from home sometimes. The top “drawer” is a keyboard pull-out and the remaining drawers are empty!


[…] is the second post in a series I’m devoting to all things closets. {You can see the first here.} Since downsizing and adding another person to our family, the majority of questions I receive […]


[…] is the third post in a series I’m devoting to all things closets. {You can read the first two here and here.} Last time, I shared one of two freestanding wardrobes in our mudroom. That wardrobe […]


Ahhh… I love wooden hangers! Right now we’re on a search for baby-size ones that don’t cost a million dollars. Also, I cringe when store people ask if I’d like to keep the flimsy-plastic, size-marked hangers- you CRAZY?!


[…] post in a series I’m devoting to all things closet at my house. {Find the previous posts here, here and here.} Today I’m taking you on a tour of Mabrey’s closet. Of all the bedroom […]

[…] Buy and paint closet doors – or curtains? Like this. […]


[…] a series I’m devoting to all things closet at my house. (Snoop around in more of my closets here, here, here and here.) Today I’m giving you a peek at our linen closet. It’s not much […]


[…] I’m brainstorming ideas for this bare wall. I think I’m going to hang a few open shelves for display and storage. (The Ikea bag has brackets in it that I’m testing out.) I want to add a trio of hooks for the boys to hang their pajamas, library bag and other crap that usually ends up on the floor. I found the two Nate Berkus baskets at Target yesterday. One basket for each boy. At the end of each day, they can quickly grab a basket and round up all the books, toys, socks, etc. that have found their way into the living room. That’s the plan anyway. I’m also going to hang longer closet curtains from a rod above the closet like we did in the master bedroom. […]

[…] Buy and paint closet doors – or curtains? Like this. […]


I’m sure somewhere on this blog is the answer to this question, but I cannot find it for the life of me. Where did you buy all your white curtains!? Ikea?



Yes, Ikea! (Except the patterned ones in the nursery. They’re from West Elm a few years back.)


[…] *https://www.housetweaking.com/2013/10/25/making-the-most-of-small-closets-master-bedroom/ […]


[…] closet and share its contents and how they’re organized. So far, I’ve shared the master bedroom closet, the mudroom wardrobes (here and here), the nursery closet and the linen closet at the end of the […]


Thanks for the inspirational post. My husband and I have recently moved from a 300 sq foot studio with one closet and we redesigned it with an Elfa system. They are expensive but we don’t have Closet Maid where I reside. I think the baskets were the absolute best as you can see everything and the stacks don’t move when you pull things from the bottom.
We have a storage closet in the basement and hung an Elfa bar in it to store off season and occasional wear from it in those clear airtight bags. This keeps them from wrinkling and they stay fresh. The off the floor bar preserves the space on the floor of the storage room and there is a shelf on the top of it.
I look forward to following your progress.


[…] – Snoop inside my closets here, here, here, here, here and […]

[…] Buy and paint closet doors – or curtains? Like this. […]