In my ongoing mission to organize my life and effectively utilize every spare square inch of storage space in our home, I'm always on the lookout for a nook or cranny that can be transformed from space-user to space-saver without sacrificing the aesthetic. At first this task was an easy one, as very little efficient storage existed in our home, but as we've slowly overhauled each room of the house, we're beginning to reach a place where a little more storage, especially for clothing or accessories, is a bit harder to come by.

Most notably, our efforts to add a wall to wall closet on a previously unused and empty wall in our bedroom doubled or tripled the amount of storage we had for our clothes. I now have space for long hanging, short hanging, off season tubs in the storage above, and fully adjustable shelves for my shoes, t-shirts, and purses.

While this closet space is a dream come true in our bedroom, the space it starting to feel a bit pinched, even after I purge items for donations with the changing seasons. You see, I have an admission, I've become addicted to purses! For some women it's shoes or jewelry, but for me, I don't know what it is or how it happened, but over the last few years I somehow developed an affinity for bags. I've always liked handbags in some capacity, but never allowed myself to purchase them. I think it started when I found a few good deals at Marshall's or TJ Maxx. Those first fateful purchases broke the seal and allowed the true me to emerge. Now I can't seem to help myself, when I find a good closeout deal and can work up a decent justification for why I need a green faux ostrich purse...I can't help but snap it up!

This moderate addiction (I guess we'll call it that) brings me to my next problem. I don't have anywhere to adequately store the purses I own. I need access to these guys on any given day depending on my outfit, and I want them to be in a place where I'm able to easily see what I have. Therefore crammed into the top of my adjustable shelves just isn't a practical location. 

Rather than solider on and deal with my growing collection frustration,  I decided to do something about it. I picked up a few hooks!

Yep, hooks. Several packs of brushed silver single hooks from Target. These also happen to be the same hooks we used for our basement stairwell turned coat closet project last year, and have found they're an attractive yet affordable option.

I determined that the best way for me to store my purses in an easily accessible location without sacrificing any usable closet space was to affix them to the back of my main closet door. That would allow me to see the purses without needing to take up shelf space from my shoe and folded storage area.

With my mind made up, I had my most difficult aspect of this project ahead of me -- convincing Alex. I had to somehow help him understand that drilling holes and screwing several hooks to the back of the antique and salvaged doors we'd searched for over five long years and Alex spent upwards of 20 hours stripping, squaring, and hanging in their custom openings in front of our custom closets absolutely *needed* to have these hooks attached to them. This was my strategy:

It wasn't easy, but what can I say, I'm a good negotiator. After much discussion and a remaining resistance on his behalf, I may have stood in our bedroom revving the drill, making noise that sounded like I had started the project sans measuring. Alex may or may not have flown down the hallway to see what damage I was causing, and then at this point, may or may not have agreed to allow the project to move forward unimpeded. Let's let him pretend he had a choice.

I got to work, with my darling husband's assistance, with the intention of knocking this little space saving task out of the way in just a few minutes. This way it could be a quick and easy way to feel like I accomplished something that improved our storage situation.

The first step was to measure each purse to determine the rough height we'd need for each, which turned out to be approximately 14"-16".

Lulu was skeptical of my measurement results.

After figuring out what I'd need for each purse, I measured the back of my right closet door to determine where each hook should be located. I figured I'd start the first hook about 2" down from the top of the door, and then each successive hook would be located about an additional 14" down the door.

After I had a rough idea of the space needed for each purse, I marked a few upper spots on the door and made my trusty sidekick hold up some purses to make sure everything looked the way I wanted it to look.

Happy with the arrangement, I broke open my packs of Target hooks and began marking their final hole locations on the center line of the door.

With the holes marked, I drilled pilot holes in each location...

...and then secured the hooks to the door.

I hung up a purse or two on the hook to test the placement, and also closed the door at this point in order to triple check that the bags wouldn't interfere with their ability to close.

Once all of the hooks were in place, I proudly hung my array of colorful purses on the back of the door where I can easily peruse them each morning and grab the one that works best for my outfit.

How simple is this project? What's better, if my addiction to purse purchasing continues I have a whole other door where I can attach a few hooks. Perfect!

Not only did I put this new storage solution into place, but I spent a few hours cleaning out my closets. I packed away my winter items, and swapped them with the off season clothes I store in plastic tubs above my closet. I also carefully went through old purses and wallets, and found a few gems in the process. Hmm, I guess this level of organization was overdue.

All in all, I made room for storing my larger handbags, freed up additional space in my shoe closet, and put together three large bags to donate to people who need these items more than I do. 

I'm thrilled with how the closets turned out. With just a few hours of effort and less than $20 for the new hooks, I have an organized, clean, and functional space.

Do you have any little nooks or cubbies around your house that have allowed you to maximize your storage? Any creative solutions I can use to squeeze just a little more out of my space? Any other spring cleaning tips or tricks? I'd love to hear what you've got.

Comments 12

Comments

Cheryl
5/2/2013 at 1:23 PM
Not sure I could switch bags that often - too much stuff to transfer!
Wendy
5/3/2013
I had the same problem too, so I've started storing my purse junk in two smaller makeup kits -- one for cosmetic items, and the other for other small misc. This way making a daily/weekly changeover is a snap!
Will
5/2/2013 at 3:23 PM
What's the outbrain thing? I read the description and still have no idea.
Wendy
5/3/2013
Outbrain thing?
JC
5/2/2013 at 6:07 PM
For some reason, I was picturing Alex all huddled up in the fetal position in a corner, rocking back and forth, mumbling incoherently to himself at the thought of putting holes in the wonderful antique doors. But in the end, they're forever going to be closet doors, and it's on the inside, so it's not too big of a deal. I have thought about mounting towel bars to the back of the bathroom door, since they'd be easier to grab from there, but once I get to that point, I'll probably chicken-out.
Wendy
5/3/2013
Ha! It nearly came to that, but luckily he caved. :-) These doors were really beat up when we found them, so I'm not too worried about a couple small holes. I'm sure there are purists that would disagree!
5/3/2013 at 10:17 AM
This is why I HATE having sliding closet doors. Doors have such great potential for storage. I am going to have to do something about this. Currently, my purses are in a plastic bin that slides under my bed.
Wendy
5/3/2013
I never thought about that with sliding doors! Plastic bins are great alternatives though!
lindsey
5/3/2013 at 11:36 AM
You can buy brushed nickel look 3M command hooks that don't require a nail hole (Michaels always has them and you can use the coupons). They definitely don't look as nice as real metal but no holes. I have some in my office and they've worked to hold my coat up all winter.
Wendy
5/3/2013
Great suggestion, thanks Lindsey! I didn't know the command hooks are available in brushed nickel. Definitely a good alternative for spaces that you can't/don't want to drill holes!
PY
5/3/2013 at 12:09 PM
On changing bags: get a bag organiser! I basically just remove it from one bag and put it into another without losing anything.

I used to use a over-the-door purse organiser with clear pockets which means I don't have to put any stress on the handles.
Wendy
5/13/2013
Great suggestions! Thanks, PY!
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