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CHEAP Closet Organization Tips

Last weekend Goose went to his parents to help harvest (yes, harvest…big tractor…lots of flat rolling wheat landscape…the kind of harvest often only seen in books).  Peanut also went with him which left me a little extra time to organize and clean house.  My big project for the weekend–Teacup’s closet.  

It was driving me crazy.  First of all, there was not a lot of room for storage.  Second, with the constant changing of clothing size, there was no place to put the clothes she was outgrowing.  And finally, any time she needed the next size I would have to ask Goose to get in the attic to get another box.  No more!

Enter the closet organization makeover.  To give you an idea of what I was working with here’s what her closet used to look like.

Blankets falling out every time I wanted to get something.  Boxes falling off the top shelf.  Lots of miscellaneous items tossed half-hazardly about.  And to top it off, a lot of wasted space.


I knew I wanted to create a better system for organizing her ever-changing wardrobe so I began with storage.  I had several paper boxes of all different colors and brands.  Knowing that having boxes of the same color help to create a unified look, I decided to try my hand at creating some type of cover for the boxes…but it had to be cheap…real cheap…because my budget for this redo was only about $20.  The conclusion:  newspaper.

Homemade Mod Podge

I gathered my homemade mod podge (1/2 school glue + 1/2 water) and went to work.  At first I put the newspaper on whole.  I didn’t really like that look especially since it was hard to get it to lay just right.  Thus, I changed to tearing the newspaper in pieces and creating a collage affect.  I think it turned out a lot better. It helped to hide a lot of imperfections that way too.

Completed Paper Mache Paper Box

Cheap 4×6 Photo Album Pages

I added some colored rope (found half off at Hobby Lobby) for a handle and printed off some labels on the computer.  Since I wanted to be able to change the labels easily, I cut the pages out of a cheap 4×6 photo album out and trimmed them to size before pasting them on the box.  Now if I ever need to change the label, I can just pull the paper out of the top of the photo cover and replace it with another.  Easy.

Box labels:  18 months Summer, 18 months Winter, Keepsake, 12 months Winter, Attic, Giveaway

Using an unused utility shelf on the lower shelf in the closet (which just happened to fit perfectly) I now had room in Teacup’s closet for 10 boxes!  I was sure to label a couple boxes “Attic” and “Giveaway” for easy storage of the ever growing pile of hand-me-downs as well as one for her Keepsake items, and each stage of clothing for the next 12 months divided by season.

Shipping Boxes

Next came finding a way to organize socks, shoes, and pants.  While I had every intention of finding some cute baskets for the bottom of the closet, I could not find any at the stores I went too that were either sturdy enough, large enough, or cheap enough to meet the need so I ended up going to the local UPS store where I purchased 3-10″x12″x6″ boxes.

I again added the labels and cord, but for a cheap alternative.  I think they turned out great.  Now as Teacup gets older and starts to dress herself, she will easily be able to access and put away all her clothes.

Homemade Labels

With that done, I then tackled her hanging clothes.  For labels I create some 3″ circles on my computer, printed them on cardstock, pasted duplicates back-to-back, and then laminated them.  So far they’ve worked well and are sturdy enough for what we need. Our labels:  Pajamas, Shirts, Onesies, Skirts, Dresses, and Sleep ‘n Plays.

Hanging Shelf Organizers

Finally, I tackled the linens with a hanging sweater shelf to take advantage of all that unused space to the right of the closet.
For using trash and other recycled items around the house I think it turned out pretty nice.  To say the least, looking inside her closet now puts a smile on my face instead of stress lines and that alone makes it totally worth it!

So, how do you organize your closet on a dime?  Got any tips?  Be sure to share them in the comments below.  
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.  1 Corinthians 14:33
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  1. says

    Looks great! Good job on organizing! I love that you did this so cheap, mostly with things you already had. That is usually my budget too :) I also love that you make your own modge podge, I didn’t know you could do that (I only recently found out about modge podge, bought my first bottle a couple weeks ago and waiting for time to make first project)

  2. says

    Great job on the closet Kathy! So many great ideas. I love how you used the vertical space. Also love how you used 4×6 album pages so you can switch out the labels as she grows. I’m impressed with how you used so many things you already had. Did you create your labels? They are so pretty. What program/software did you use for them?

    • says

      Thank you. I created the labels in Publisher with the use of some free digiscrap found on digiscrap.com. Great resource for finding blog backgrounds and digital scrap booking kind of art. Glad you liked it!

  3. says

    This is simply adorable! You get the prize for the creative gene AND a medal for using it. I love organization!

  4. says

    Holy mama mia, you are a genius! I love the newspaper boxes and I would never have thought to use those cheap little photo things to hold the labels. Using the rope for handles was awesome too. This is a GREAT closet redo!

  5. Anonymous says

    I love this!! I have been waiting to find baskets for a good price but I never do SOOOOO I’m going to steal your idea but I think I will try cutting some pretty pics (maybe even words) out of old magazines! Thank you so much for inspiring me (a single, out of work mom) and especially for posting that modge podge recipe! I am so ticked that I actually paid $10 for it a while back when that’s all it is! You rock!

  6. Amy@ebker.com says

    Is it just my eyes or do the newspaper covered boxes have a pink tint to them? Was wondering if you put a dash of pink paint in the modge podge or was it just the lighting the day you took the pics? Curious :)

    • says

      Maybe it’s just your view…or my limited picture taking abilities. No, I didn’t add any dye to the mod podge…could have I guess. Might have made it look extra fun. Good idea for the future. I will say that many of the boxes were red underneath so that may also leave a bit of a pink hue too. Hope that helps!


  7. says

    Nice work! Don’t you love those little clothes divider tags!? I think they are awesome for those young months when they are growing at an insane rate! :) haha I also loved your giveaway box; I need to implement that! Thanks for sharing on Saturday Show & Tell at Cheerios and Lattes last weekend! We love having you join us and hope to see you again this weekend! See you soon!
    Mackenzie :)

  8. megan says

    This looks great! I really need to make clothes divider labels like this! Thanks for sharing!

  9. says

    I googled ‘kids closet organization ideas’ and found this post (via another blog post)— and so glad I did! I have two girls that share a room (3 yrs, 21 mos) and I have such a hard time keeping up with always switching sizes/seasons, etc…. not to mention just putting away laundry. haha. We are doing a major home organization weekend starting tomorrow and we are on a tight budget so these ideas are SO helpful. Cute matching baskets can be a budget breaker for sure — now I will just make my own. And the idea to use a utility shelf in the closet is also something I never would have thought to do. Thank you!

  10. says

    Great re-do, hope its still giving you a smile! I have used newspaper as gift wrap and painted the birthday girl/boy’s name on it in red paint and add a red bow – – [or newspaper bow]. Red paint seems to really go well with newsprint! The gift wrap can be used for everyone’s gifts at christmas and kids can have a grand time painting it with stencils, glitter, etc. Newspaper rocks as you have just proved! :)

  11. Jennifer says

    I really like this, its cheap and you can use things that you already have, AND its not a permanent idea. I’ve seen a ton of things online that seem to be all a perm thing, like uh drilling holes (lol), I’m a bit OCD putting nails, screws, whatever in my walls, because I might want to change things.. so I sorta don’t have anything hanging up in the house. In one room, but that’s it. I slightly now don’t like them there ha. Any times on how to decorate each and everything? Books, pictures, etc? I got the idea on clothing closets.. I have no sense of style on decorating for me with the home lol Ideas help a ton!


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