the family closet

Well, it feels really great to have our closet back.

That makes one of the four spaces we decided to turn upside down in a when-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie beercanmoldpocalypse ’14 back in it’s place… and I have to say it was worth every. Single. Moment. Of chaos.

Here’s what it looked like before we started the great purge last year as a part of our Lazy Gal’s Guide series:

I still look at this with shame… and think about how far we’ve come.


And here it is, now.

We knew it was time for a change… and this change has been a very slow process, but I can honestly say our closet now works for us. I walked into our closet {that was once our dumping ground for all things photoshoot/companycomingsoon/catch all transitional space} And told Jamin I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Our bathroom was now non existent and our bedroom had a giant hole in the wall and floor … I needed space, order and sanity. So why not pull apart the closet, too?

If we were ever going to do something about this little space, now was our chance.


If you remember this last summer, we merged our closets, to make more space with the kids in their own rooms. It was better than it was initially… but it was still cluttered and chaotic.

At first, left their play clothes in their dressers, but ended up moving everything, now that we have the space. If you’ve ever considered doing a family closet for your small kids and it works for you… game changer. With the laundry. With getting ready… with space for their toys in their own rooms. Totally worth it.

emersons_space boys_room

In the meantime, it was also worth it to have this in the kids’ spaces.


Before, our closet had basically been a dumping ground. {Next on the list = cleaning up the garage-you would die if you saw it} So when we cleared it all out, we were left with a builder’s-beige-wire-everything-florescent nightmare.  The placement of all these shelves felt like such a complete waste of space. And it had great potential.


So with a little bit of elbow grease, we changed it to this.


We found this fun rug, here.

And snatched the little yellow garden stool at a Joss and Main flash sale. Though it may end up back with the kids in the home school room… Emerson is particularly fond of it for use with her readers.

The blue color is Benjamin Moore’s China Blue. {Die, builder’s beige. Die.}


We knew because of everything else we had going on, that we didn’t want to build a lot of shelves. Or paint them. But we wanted all of the wire out-We were over it. So we built onto a few Expedits with a gigantic compromise, and added from there. {I’ll have more of the details coming up.}


The striped baskets you see are from Ikea, as well. Those are used for shoes and basic storage… though I think one will become a laundry hamper very soon… an easy spot for the kids to dump their clothes, and for me to keep up with them.


I was amazed at how much space folding items can lend you. I think its a little more work up front, but now that everyone’s clothes are done, it’s just a matter of keeping up with the laundry. I prefer to fold most of our things, and have found that hangers usually end up with unwanted bulges in the shoulders. We have a few items that don’t need to be folded, but for the most part, it created this entirely different look where we could actually see things.




Getting dressed is no longer a chore. I don’t fling clothes around helplessly searching for that one item after my fifth panic attack over being late. I can even see all of my jewelry, belts, scarves… you name it and we have a place for it. {Rocky has found a great new home amongst the jewels from his Christmas spot over the fireplace.}

And my favorite part? The florescent light is gone. I replaced it with this vintage find that once graced our laundry room. It feels like I’m standing in the middle of a nice dressing room, instead of somewhere that a hurricane took out compounded by horrid lighting.

Swankay. {Thats southern for swanky.}


We’ve had four random mirrors sitting in our garage for about three years now… we put two together and built a frame around them for a full-length mirror {you have no idea how long I’ve wanted one – it’s the little things – tutorial coming up} and the other two will be used in the bathroom redo. Tada! Who knew what resources were right at our fingertips. A great argument for hoarding. Kiddingnotkidding. ;}


It’s a family closet without feeling like a family closet. We still have our space, and it’s manageable. And pretty. All at the same time.

Even if my dresses are wrinkly from being hauled all around the house while we did this. ;}



So from bed linens to my wedding dress {keeping it real} and everything in between… our family of five finally has a hard working, functional space for all of our clothes.

We can breathe. We can find things. Light. Tunnel.


It felt a little funny taking photos of our clothing… and the photos don’t really do the change justice, but we’re so thrilled to have a working space we had to share!

Let us know if you have any questions or something you definitely want us to cover. Have an inspired day!

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Responses to the family closet

  1. What a difference! I bet you feel 10 lbs lighter! Looks great!

  2. I love, love, love, this closet!!! We moved into our house a year ago and have some fabulous builder grade wire shelves in our master closet. You have given me a vision of how splendid and functional our closet could be. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

    • Thanks, Amber! I have no idea why we always hold off on the most personal spaces til last… but its a good argument to do things like this first… for the sake of feeling better about everything! ;}

  3. Amy says:

    wow, they look amazing!!! Can you come over to my house? 😉

  4. Kyla F says:

    This is beautiful! It truly does look like a ‘swankay’ dressing room at a fancy little boutique. Yay for simplifying! :)

  5. So gorgeous! We are about to start working on our own closet, this makes me feel better! :) I love the shelving- so functional pretty!

  6. marie says:

    This is awesome!

  7. Krystal says:

    Stop it! Stop tempting me with ideas for my home!!! Jk… This is awesome. I recently learned about folding clothes instead of stashing every last thing on a hanger. Now if I can just get my husband to understand that yanking out the garment from the middle of the folded stack is aneurism inducing…. :)

  8. cindy says:

    wow, what a transformation! It does make sense to have a family closet! the beginning photo looks a lot like ours but the transformation looks like it grew in size! wow….can you pass along your dimensions?

  9. TJ says:

    I had consolidated all my three kids’ clothes into our downstairs coat closet. It was sooo much easier for getting ready and keeping the laundry put away. Now, my 11-year-old wants his stuff in his room so he can get ready ALONE.
    Hopefully, he will be able to keep it organized (fingers crossed…)

  10. OMG this is one of the best closet makeovers ever! I love the use of the expedits and the bead board! I never thought of a family closet but that is such a great idea….less work when putting away clothes as well. I just love everything about this redo. Great job!

  11. Kristyn says:

    Where did you get the white shelves for the folded clothes?
    Everything looks amazing!!!

  12. Catherine says:

    I absolutely LOVE the idea of a family closet. Having to go from room to room to drop off clothing drives me a little nuts. This looks soooo good!

  13. Summer Hogan says:

    Wow Ashley, it looks fantastic. So clean, organized and stylish! Love it.

  14. Britt says:

    Ashley! You always post my immediate concerns! It’s crazy. I think I somehow send you vibes to help me out because this has happened many times within days over the last couple years I’ve been following! :-) The closet looks fantastic and so functional!! I know you mentioned some baskets for shoes, but is that for the kids or all? I just saw maybe one pic of your shoes and looks like they’re stored up high. ? Do you now iron everything because it’s folded? And what about dresses or dress clothes/skirts/pants? We’ll dine I’m sure the weight lifted like never before! A closet is a sacred place for sure!

    • Hey Britt! We have a center section in the middle of the hanging clothes for their shoes. Jamin’s shoes are at the top with mine, and I have a big basket for my things like flip fops and flats that won’t really get damaged when put in a basket. I may or may not be a bit of a shoe horse. ;} I don’t really have to iron that much. I’ve been surprised at how much I don’t have to iron. The only exception is dress shirts, and we had to iron those all the time anyway because I wait too long to put the laundry away… whoops. ;} The dresses/skirts {mine and emmy’s} that would need to be ironed are also in the middle hanging spot… but a lot of my dresses were made of a stretchy material that pulled when put on a hanger – so this works out nicely to just fold them neatly in a little cubby. They {surprisingly enough} really don’t wrinkle. And if I give them a quick once over with the steam/iron we’re good. Thinking about moving the iron to the closet, too…

      I hope that helps! ;} Let me know if you try it! It’s a game changer with getting ready and putting laundry away. I kid you not. It’s different for everyone but it’s pretty great for us!

  15. Adrienne says:

    It looks amazing!! With two little boys, I can see how that would make getting dressed much easier!

  16. susie says:

    Did you take your door off too? I was just thinking about taking ours off then it would open up the other side of the closet that is always hidden behind the door!

  17. Lori says:

    This is so inspiring! I MIGHT just have enough oomph to tackle ours!! I do have a couple of questions…….would you mind sharing the dimensions of your closet (maybe even a floorplan)? I am soooo bad with perception, depth, what will fit, etc. and I get these great plans and they never come out as anticipated because my vision didn’t fit the reality. It’s so helpful to know other space dimensions when I’m trying to lay it all out.

    I also wonder where your shoe racks are. I see them in one of the pics, but can’t figure out where in the grand scheme of things they are. I think I need a whole wall just for shoes! 😉

    Thank you so much for sharing!!

    • Hey Lori! I am so sorry for the slow response. The closet is about 13 (l) x 6 (w) and in one (small) place – it’s shaped like a backwards L – 8 (w).

      The shoes are in the middle place between the hanging clothes, in a basket underneath, and on the top (you can see those in the photos) I put a lot of my flats in a basket so they wouldn’t be damaged and it saved a lot of space. I hope that helps!;} Change your closet! You will NOT regret it.

  18. Jami Nato says:

    ummmmm, i like this a lot. the idea of a family closet. and just everything.

  19. Nicki says:

    “Die builder’s beige. Die.” Best line of the post!
    The space looks great!

  20. Gloria says:

    Having closet envy right now. Do you have any suggestions for implementing this in a regular closet (24″ x8 ??’) You know the long skinny ones that have a single rod going the whole length. It is my husband’s closet and has three sliding doors so you only see 1/3 of the closet at a time. Very unfriendly? Yours is beautiful and I realize what a lot of work you did. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Lizzy says:

    I love the idea of a family closet! We do something kinda similar. It’s amazing the organization ideas that mostly stem from my laziness. :) I have a second floor laundry room with 3 dirty clothes hampers labeled darks mediums and whites. Then I have six shelves that go from floor to ceiling for all of our clean laundry baskets. (I have 4 kids and a hubby so we each get our own clean laundry basket.) When the laundry is done I fold it and put it into each family member’s clean basket. They can either leave it in there and get dressed in the laundry room in the mornings or bring it to their closet where they have drawers to put it away. The only thing we hang up is Church clothes, and sometimes even those stay in the clean laundry basket. The kids have to immediately put any dirty laundry right into the laundry room hampers, none of it should be in their rooms. My laundry usually gets put away in my closet, but the hubby barely gets to it so his clean laundry basket is usually overflowing until I give him a little reminder on the weekend. :) Shoes remain in the mudroom. We switch them out according to season but anything from the current season is there, right next to the back door.

  22. tara says:

    this is crazy good.
    i’m so copying the idea for the pegboard jewelry holder.

  23. ANN W says:

    WOW! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for the inspiration!!!!

    We have NO – yes I said – NO closets in our house. We live in a barn that an area has been converted into our home – and the person that did the renovations put in NO CLOSETS! I have been struggling until I saw your “brain child” of a family closet!!!

    We have been planning on adding on closets – but dreaming of “phase 2″ when you are daily living in “phase 1″ of your home – just wasn’t working!!!

    After reading this post – we went out and got shelving units from Ikea – and put them up this weekend – you saying it was a game changer – OH WOW – you are so not kidding!!!!!! Since doing it I have not been able to wipe this smile off my face!!!! The words “game changer” echo in my head! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!

    THANK YOU so much for the idea – thank you so much for the ideas that have simplified my life and allowed me to live in the “now” and embrace “phase 1″ of our home – and not keep wishing and wanting closet space and feeling totally over-whelmed and un-organized!

    I cannot thank you enough!!! If anyone is on the “fence” about a family closet – jump off that fence – it will change your life forever! Simplify, easy to put laundry away, everything in one place. AMAZING!!!

    I can now tell when my son is out of play pants – I see that shirt of my husbands that needs a button put back on – yeah the one that has been buried in a drawer for weeks! Not to mention the wonderfully organized stacks of clothes – HEAVEN!

    GAME CHANGER is an understatement – thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  24. Karad says:

    Very nice and if you use all white hangers or all the same color you will feel even more boutique/streamlined 😉

  25. Tammy says:

    I love the organization, where did you get your shelving units?