In this post: Do you have dishes that don’t fit in your cabinets? This closet design makeover offers a creative approach to DIY closet shelving for extra plate storage.⇒
This is not the post you’ve been waiting for.
That one is coming soon. And by ‘that one’ I mean the one where I share my entire dish storage system. (ETA: that link is now live.) It’s probably the question I get asked more than any other. “Where do you store your dishes?”
I used to have a very simple answer to that question, comprising very conventional storage options. A china cabinet in the dining room, our kitchen cabinets, and later on a butler’s pantry. I maintained that system for years and it passed the organization test, in that it was easy to find things, easy to access them and easy to upkeep.
But that was before I indulged my plate addiction…
As it turns out, in recent years the system started to break down. It wasn’t just plates, but stemware, napkins, napkin rings and more. My tabletop decor started to expand beyond the limits of my existing storage space.
So before I could share with you this fabulous and workable system, I had to whip it back into shape. And while I was working on that, I realized, I needed to co-opt some additional space. Oh sure, I’m a believer in editing your things and passing on what you no longer use. But between the things I collected and some china I inherited, even a good purge wasn’t going to solve the problem.
So I started to re-look at the space in my home.
Today I’m sharing organization ideas for a closet makeover to suit your unique needs.
This isn’t the first time I’ve re-adapted a closet to work better for our lifestyle. We’re empty-nesters and we live in a relatively new townhouse, so it’s equipped with an abundance of modern day closet space. That’s a blessing, believe me, I know. Our last home was built in the 1940’s and until we did some renovation, the closet space was nearly non-existent.
But even in a home with an array of closets, they’re not necessarily set up to work optimally for your needs. When we first moved in, we converted a spare closet, at the end of the entry hall, into a butler’s pantry that you can see above, which is next to our dining room.
We have a large double closet for coats at the back entry, and a second double coat closet, shown above with the doors open, that happens to be situated across from the kitchen and the dining room. Mostly it’s been used for a few spare coats and lots of empty hangers for when guests come to visit. It also became a weigh station for things that were on their way somewhere else.
I’d been thinking about renovating the closet to add shelving to at least one side, because the unused space was the perfect spot for the spillover of my extra dishes. I just wasn’t ready to spend $1000 to have a closet company come in and rework the space.
And that’s when I started to think about using a more creative – and affordable – approach to converting the closet into an area that would more appropriately suit my needs. At the top of that list was a place to store the stacks of my various plate sets.
The 8-Cube Organizer was the perfect solution and once I found that piece, the entire set up of the closet began to take shape. I could have fit even two of these units in the closet, but I preferred to leave hanging space for my tablecloths and runners on the left side of the closet for easy access.
What’s perfect about the organizer, unlike many shelving units, is that the depth of the piece is ample enough to accommodate my dinner sized plates. And because I wanted a place to not only keep the plates, but also individual compartments so that I didn’t have to pile multiple sets together, I added the ‘H’ Cube Storage Shelves to some of the square sections to increase the available shelving.
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On the top of my wire hanging shelf I added rectangular water hyacinth baskets. They’re light and pretty and provide additional storage and they happen to fit perfectly with four across the closet. I love that if you need something you can just grab the basket off the shelf.
This is where I’m keeping my napkins and napkin rings organized, but they are also great for storing an array of other items, including extra sets of casual flatware.
One of the obvious advantages of the cube organizer is that you can customize the set-up to fit your demands by adding cube bins as pull out drawers. If, for instance, you don’t have a closet to spare, this would work just as well in an open space. Keep as many shelves open as you like, or fill them all with bins if you prefer a more closed look.
Even though mine is in a closet, I chose the fabric storage bins I loved the most, as I found the tassel pulls to be utterly adorable.
(These are no longer available but there are several great options at the link above and in the resource guide below.)
Like the baskets, the bins offer storage for a broad range of items, and in keeping with the tabletop category this closet is dedicated to organizing, I’m using them to corral candles, both pillars and tapers, as well as candlesticks, votives and small hurricane lamps.
If you have an abundance of one thing and less of another, there’s no reason to keep your closets set up the way a builder thought you should. If you look at your spaces with fresh eyes, you might be surprised at where you can recover an extra bit of storage and use it to accommodate the life you actually live.
And if you don’t need an extra closet and just want ideas for storing your dishes within the more typical places, stay tuned because I promise I will have ‘that post’ coming up soon!
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.
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