Home Annie's Home Renovation My Big Girl Dressing Room: Closet Remodel

My Big Girl Dressing Room: Closet Remodel

This is the third closet I have designed for myself and I think I’m really getting the hang of it—no pun intended . . . .


In this closet, space was at a bit of premium. It is large by most closet standards, but I definitely had to spend time planning how to allocate the space to accommodate the many items I needed to have readily accessible. I initially had planned to work with KraftMaid cabinetry, as I had used them in my last house, but as we got to the planning stage, it became clear that I would have much better use of space and aesthetic control by building custom than by trying to work with  factory-built cabinets. I also wanted to be able to paint the cabinets, and that was not an option with factory-built cabinets. In the end, the cost difference was not significant enough to sacrifice functionality.

My first step was to make a list of exactly how many I have of each item—for example. shoes, jeans, sweaters, shawls (a big one for me), sports clothes, belts, underwear, sleepwear, random favorite items that defy description, hats, bags, suitcases. You get the idea.

So, in making the list, I actually counted all my shoes, boots, and sneakers. Then I took measurements of how much linear space the average pair took up, and I came up with an overall total for how many linear feet of footwear storage that I would need.

Next I counted my shawls and struggled with how best to display them. I originally wanted to have them all hanging on a waterfall effect of closet rods, until I started to draw on paper how many of these waterfalls I would need—WAY TOO MANY. Regrouping, I decided I was going to have to store them folded. I have arranged them by color family—blues, pinks, neutrals, etc. This helps me quickly identity the shawl that I want for any particular outfit.


This is the entry to the closet. Two units of shoes on the left and hanging space for long items directly in front. The packing table is located in the middle of the space. There is a suitcase-storage cubby located behind the packing table that I get to from the right side of the long hanging area.


Here is the view from the other side of the closet. The packing table was a requirement that I was not willing to compromise on. I travel all the time, and even with a great closet, I kept having to lay out all my clothes on my bed before putting them in my suitcase. And since my dogs sleep on the bed, it is usually covered with dog hair! The packing table helps to, among other things, minimize my time with the lint roller. I upholstered the top of the packing table with a thin layer of foam and a cream-colored leather.


Here you see my short hanging area. The top is for shirts and the bottom is for skirts, pants, and longer tops. To the right are my folded items, mostly sweaters and knit shirts that don’t do well on a hanger. I like to keep my shirts sorted by color, and, as you can see, I wear mostly white shirts!


As you move to the right you see the second window, my cubbies for jeans and T-shirts, followed by the drawer wall. Note that I cut a piece of Homasote to size and covered it first with batting and then with an apricot dupioni silk that worked nicely with the glass chandelier. I use the board to pin various keepsakes, invites etc.


Above you can see what is in each drawer. This came about from my taking stock of all the items that needed a home in the closet.


My jewelry has never been so organized! Thanks to a few specialty pieces from Wayfair.


Organizing the belts with these handy, sizable, snap-off dividers from the Container Store keeps them uncluttered and easy to find.


Here you see the same snap-to-size dividers used in the bra drawer, and some handy-dandy, flexible, diagonal diamond dividers, also from the Container Store. These dividers keeps small items like socks and undies tidy and easily visible.  No digging for the right thing!


Here’s the packing table in action. I gather what I want/need for a trip, lay it out, and tweak until I get the correct assortment of shoes and shawls, basics and bottoms, toiletries and hanging items. Then I pack it all up and am ready to roll.

There are six drawers in the packing island.  They contain, sleepwear (two drawers)  exercise clothes (two drawers), travel drawer (see below) and an alternate/seasonal drawer.


The bottom drawer of the packing island is my travel drawer. This keeps all the items that are used only when I travel handy to the packing table—passport, electrical converters for various countries, camera, earphones, extra cell phone and iPad chargers, travel-sized toiletries, packable sun hat, travel exercise bands, inflatable neck pillow, and last but not least, my extra bag (by mcmeekin). I tend to come home with more than I left with, particularly if I am traveling overseas, so I have learned to add a duffel that zips to 8″ x 12″ and expands to accommodate my fabulous finds.  It is so much easier than racing around on your last day to find an extra bag to fly home with! Another key item is a handheld suitcase scale. I am an overpacker—shoes are usually the problem—so I need to keep my bag under the airlines’ 50-pound weight limit.


Above the entire closet there is a ledge that holds all my handbags and totes. I have an IKEA stool that I pull out to grab or put away a bag. Finally, I added picture lights to offset the shadows that are created from ceiling lights. They also make the objects seem more special, like paintings in a museum.


Was this article helpful?


kim mckay smoak August 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Really like

Mary August 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Well done! This must do wonders for your head and your lifestyle. I love the idea of a travel drawer. Mine is a small wicker “suitcase” on top of my armoire, but it’s hard to reach, so things tend to settle in my real suitcases. A dedicated drawer would be so much better.

Barb September 18, 2013 at 7:42 am

love. love. love. xo

tara dillard December 8, 2013 at 7:30 am

Bittersweet. Love your closet, seeing all your things. Cringing to think if I had the same closet would it be as full? Hopefully not!

Funny to acquire so much with joy then want to liberate myself from the things acquired.

Garden & Be Well, XO TAra

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Carson Anderson August 3, 2014 at 11:33 pm

I love your jewelry organizers! I would love to use those for myself! I looked on Wayfair and found the item to the left but I can’t seem to find the item the right? Is that on Wayfair too?

Fresh American August 4, 2014 at 8:14 am

Hi, Carson! Aren’t drawer organizers amazing? They really do keep everything corralled and looking great. All of Annie’s in-drawer jewelry organizers came from Wayfair, though it’s been more than a year since they were first purchased, so they may not sell the exact models these days. Try this search page on Wayfair for similar items: http://www.wayfair.com/filters/Jewelry-Boxes-l503-c417061-q~in+drawer+accessory+tray.html

Fresh American August 6, 2014 at 7:59 am

Annie’s drawers are about 17 inches wide, but definitely check the Wayfair product listing for exact dimensions, to make sure you get the best fit possible. Best of luck with your new organizers!

Carson Anderson August 4, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Okay yes! I found them! One more question! So
How wide is your drawer? I don’t want to order this and be dissapointed because it didn’t fit!

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Namrata December 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm Reply
April January 2, 2015 at 2:12 am

I think it’s hilarious that you have drawers labeled “jetsam” and “flotsam.”

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Shehla April 8, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Oh my goodness, your closet is amazing! I’ve seen this pictures on pinterest when I was remodeling my closet, but I never thought they were from the same closet, this is fantastic!

My jewelry is organized similarly, but I made some DIY organizers. Tutorials are on my blog, if you’re interested.

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Allison August 15, 2015 at 12:19 pm

I love the way that you store and display your jewelry. Have you had any trouble with your pieces tarnishing? I would like to purchase the same jewelry set up as you, but tarnishing is a big concern of mine!

Fresh American August 17, 2015 at 10:45 am

Hi, Allison! We hear you: dealing with tarnish is one major drawback of having a great jewelry collection. Because tarnishing is a normal chemical reaction, especially on silver jewelry, it’s almost impossible to prevent it completely. However, there are a couple of ways you can go to keep it to a minimum. The longest-acting solution is to store your jewelry in anti-tarnish bags, like these: http://www.riogrande.com/Product/Intercept-Anti_dash_Tarnish-2_dash_Mil-Plastic-Bag/401114?Pos=3. You can also use a silver polishing cloth, which leaves a protective surface on the metal to preserve the finish longer: http://www.riogrande.com/Product/Argentium-Silver-Care-Cloth,-5-x-7/337048?Pos=1.

When tarnish eventually appears (and it will in time, sad to say!), you can use a chemical silver dip to remove it. We prefer an all-natural solution, however. Simple place the piece in an aluminum pie tin, pour a couple tablespoons baking soda over it, then cover the piece with very hot water. Swish it around with tweezers, or, once the water has cooled a bit, pick up the piece and scrub it gently with a soft-bristled brush.

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annieselke July 27, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Hello Debbie and thanks for your question,

I had that packing table custom built but you could get the same effect by using back to back base cabinets with drawers and then adding a counter top. Note, you would just need to put a finish panel on the front of the piece to cover the lie where the back to back cabinets meet. I used a layer of poly batting with a piece of leather and used a frame moulding on all four sides. But a counter top really would do the same thing.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

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Tara M April 16, 2018 at 1:43 am

Love this! So neat, & tidy. I love when everything has a place¡ I need you to come over & organize my closet..errr my whole home actually! Haha

Gifts SG May 1, 2018 at 10:12 am

Lovely layout, I just wish that my house got the space for this. Envy.

Nicole May 1, 2018 at 11:32 am

We wish we had a closet like this, too!! It would totally transform how we get ready in the morning!

Simplicity Gifts January 27, 2020 at 7:14 am

Lovely interior. you have a great collection.

Erin February 18, 2020 at 11:04 am

Thank you so much! We take such pride in our work, it’s nice to hear your lovely comments!

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