big boy closet progress

After debating all our options six ways to Sunday, we ended up deciding to go the easiest (or at least no spackling and painting) route – option 3 of the closet configuration options I laid out last week.

Big Boy Room Closet Plan with Added Shelved on Bottom

So, essentially, we decided to just add some shelves at the bottom for extra storage for all the items that don’t need to hang. (The tower and hanging bars already in there are a ClosetMaid kit from WalMart that we got for around $35-$40 about 8 years ago and added an additional hanging bar to.)  Again, here is where we are starting from.

Big Boy Closet Empty

And so it goes, here is the saga of our closet shelf installation…

Almost immediately after we reached our decision about which way to go, I started thinking maybe I should also lower the top hanging bars (and inset them a few inches) to make things a little easier for me to get to since kids’ hangers/clothes are smaller and add a shelf above them.  And while I was at it, I wanted to reduce the height of each cubby in the existing tower by about 2 inches to make room for an extra cubby.

Big Boy Room Closet Planning Master PlanAnd, I was having such a hard time deciding on the exact height of each shelf that we ultimately decided to spend a little more money and install vertical tracks on the back wall to allow me to change my mind on the shelf heights without having to empty the closet to spackle, sand, paint, and re-drill new holes.

So, I gathered my materials from Home Depot for phase 1 (adding the shelves): 4 70″ Rubbermaid Twin Track Uprights, 6 12″ x 36″ laminate shelves, 12 11.5″ Rubbermaid Twin Track Shelf Brackets, and 5 Rubbermaid Twin Track Universal Hardware Packs.

While I was at Home Depot, I also picked up 6 Martha Stewart fabric drawers in red (Barn) to use in the existing tower.  I gave J the option between the red (Barn) and blue (Azurite), and he picked the red ones.  I picked these particular drawers because of the label pouches on the front.  I love labels…  (They also sell those drawers/bins at Home Decorators Collection.)

I took the shelves over to Michael’s parents’ house with my measurements to get Michael’s dad to cut them down to about 30″ each (from 36″) on his radial arm saw.  He wrapped them in some heavy duty masking tape before cutting them to prevent the laminate from splintering too badly, then he buzzed right through them.

Big Boy Room Closet Shelf CuttingOnce we got back home with our newly shortened shelves, I popped out the bottom 2 hanging bars so they wouldn’t be in our way when we were installing the tracks.  Then, Michael and I got started on installing the tracks.  The install was fairly straight forward except when a gianormous pregnant woman is the one trying to shoot the laser level beam up from just above floor level…  Thankfully, there are no pictures from that part of the process :)

Big Boy Room Closet Tracks Installed

Once the 4 tracks were all installed on the back wall, I put the brackets into their preliminary places, put the shelves in, and realized the bottom right shelf wouldn’t go all the way in because the wall angled in a smidge in the back.  Boo.  We would have to go back and have Michael’s dad trim it a little for us.  So, I went ahead and put the 6 red fabric drawers into the tower. Big Boy Room Closet Shelves Installed

O, and as you can see from that picture, I also went ahead and added a few of his hanging clothes to measure the exact height that we could move the top bars down to.  When I did that, I ended up ruling out moving the bars because I realized we needed to leave one side as it was because he still has some longalls/jon-jons that need the full amount of room already there.   I was still tossing around moving the other bar and adding the shelf above it as planned, but I started to realize that it was going to look weird with them at slightly different heights and it wasn’t going to be worth the effort to move the bar when I could just add the additional shelf between the other shelves and the hanging clothes.

So, yay.  Phase 2 (moving the top two hanging bars down a few inches and inset a little farther) cancelled.  Less work.  Woohoo.

And at that point, I also decided that phase 3 (moving all 6 shelves in the center tower and adding a 7th shelf) could wait and may not end up being necessary at all.  I want to wait and see if we even need the additional bin before going to that much effort.  Yay.  Even less work.

But, I also decided we needed to add another 3 shelves (new phase 2? or phase 4?), so we still had to go cut those but not nearly as much work as moving the hanging bars or moving all the shelves in the tower would have been.  And, I also realized the shelf that is too long in the bottom right will work just fine higher up.  So, we only needed to cut the 3 new shelves, instead of cutting those 3 and trimming up the one that was too long.  Yay.

So, I purchased 3 additional 12″ x 36″ laminate shelves and 6 additional 11.5″ shelf brackets and headed back to my in-laws’ for Michael’s dad’s cutting help.

We pretty much ended up with exactly what we designed as option 3 before, plus 3 extra shelves.

Big Boy Room Closet Map Actual PlanI’m still playing around which the height of the shelves, but that’s pretty much what it’s going to look like in the end.

Over the weekend, I pulled everything out of J’s nursery closet and dresser and brought it into his big boy room.  Now, I’m in the process of going through all of it to determine what still fits him, what needs to go back into storage until his baby brother is ready for it, and what doesn’t quite fit him yet and needs to wait in the basement.  So, right now, his closet looks like I left the doors open (we have those bi-fold “locks” that slide over the top to keep him out) and he made a mess of it all.  But, I can’t blame that mess on him.  But it’s a mess in the name of organization :)  I mean, I could have just put away all his clothes in there but I only want to put things in there that fit right now so it will take a few more days of me getting his attention long enough to have him try things on.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to show you the end result in the next few days.  Big bucks, no whammies.  Man, I’m ready for this closet to be done.  And for us to phase out J’s activities from the nursery so he won’t be using it for anything other than occasional playing in there by the time the baby arrives.

Is it crazy that I’ve spent way more time and energy planning this closet than we probably spent on all of the other closets in the house combined?!  It sorta feels like it.  But I also want it to be super-organized and easy for everyone to find things since I know I won’t be the only one needing to get in there to put away laundry or to find J’s clothes and dress him in the coming months…

How do you keep your kids’ closets (or your closet!) organized?  Got any great tips we should incorporate?