Improvised and Inexpensive Closet Organization – Mom’s Place

Yep, another closet. Everywhere I turn, there they are. Even at Mom’s. Back in October I took a little trip to visit Mom in Wisconsin. It was too cold to enjoy the outdoors (26 degrees for my a.m. run), and Mom goes to bed early, so I was itching to find a project. My shopping options were limited since she lives in a small town. There was a dollar store, a Shopko, and down the road a hardware store. I made use of all three for this little fix-up.

Mom and her dog, Beamer – they are a cute pair.
26 degrees, but the sunrise was beautiful!

I hadn’t planned on doing a before and after while on vacation and had only my cell to take pictures. And the lighting was not so good.  But you’ll get the idea.

Anywho, I spied a really messy closet (I lit up like a kid on Christmas morning!). Actually, two closets that are kind of one. It’s an odd set-up. I deemed the right side a broom closet and the left side a storage closet. Mom was hanging her coats on nails in the broom closet, stacked her cookbooks on the shelf above, and had a ridiculous number of plastic bags tossed in with a lot of other stuff.

The storage side was even worse. It’s a good-sized closet given the size of her apartment, but there was a lot of wasted space. There are two shelves along the back wall, and the rest of the space is open floor. Not even a place to hang coats.

The split closet was a mess. Mom needed help!
Coats on nails and cookbooks piled above.

So the first thing I did was install a tension rod supported by end brackets. Back up, the first thing I did was ask Mom if I could organize her closet. Then I installed the tension rod. Finally she had somewhere to hang her coats – and all of them, not just a couple. Above that, I attached a wall-mounted coat rack (similar to this one) for her purses. I did some good old cleaning out and organizing (like putting the cushion for the sofa bed on the sofa bed) and things were looking better.

Coat rack and place to hang purses!

I bought some white plastic bins from the dollar store to wrangle the smaller, everyday items Mom was always searching for and made labels from a paper grocery bag and string.

Dollar store bins handle small items.

I pulled everything out of the broom closet, and without the coats hanging on nails, there was room for – of all things – the mop and broom. I straightened up the cookbooks by putting the loose recipes in a bin and setting the books upright.

Finished product – not perfect, but much better!


A little funny, but not surprising, that I was organizing while on vacation. Even when I’m shopping I’ll tidy up products on the shelves. I can’t help myself. But, when it was all said and done, Mom loved it. She still uses the bins and is so happy to have a coat rack. I was kept busy and Mom is happy (and a wee bit more organized). That, folks, is called a win-win!