This $15 Solution Will Add a Ton of Storage to Your Closet, and in the Most Unlikely Spot

published Jul 21, 2022
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Credit: Emma Fiala

Our family lives in New York City, in a pre-war railroad-style apartment that is over one hundred years old. We love our apartment’s charm, location and layout, but if we could snap our fingers and change one thing, it would be to add more closets. (And maybe add a dishwasher and a washer/dryer, but for now, let’s stick with closets.)

We have three closets in our 750-square-foot apartment. Two closets are located in one of the bedrooms and the third closet is located off of our kitchen. We’ve had to think strategically about how to maximize our precious closet storage space and make it functional for our family of five. One smart solution only cost $15, and it made a huge difference.

But First: Why We Have a Toy Rotation Closet

All three of our girls share a play space that measures 6.5 feet wide by 14 feet long, and there isn’t room to store their toys in the same space where they play, or they will run out of floor space. Closet space in our apartment is limited, so several years ago we made the decision to turn our kitchen pantry into a toy rotation closet. (I wrote all about that here.) We set up their toys and art supplies in our kitchen pantry, and that helped to maximize the space in the playroom for play. We want our girls to have access to their toys, but they don’t need access to ALL of their toys at the same time.

To maximize storage space in the toy rotation closet, I installed floor to ceiling shelving on both of the side walls. These shelves organize small toy sets, art supplies (which I store in my favorite small storage bins!), board games, and learning materials. I  considered adding additional shelving to the back wall of the pantry, but the wall is severely bowed in the middle. I determined that shelving on the back wall wasn’t an option, so I considered other methods.

Credit: Tyler Moore

The Game-Changing Storage Addition: A Pegboard!

Instead of more shelves, I decided to install a pegboard to the back wall. While the pantry shelves were great for art supplies and toy storage, the shelves weren’t the best use of space to store office supplies, household supplies, and tech equipment. Pegboards are inexpensive, easy to install, and can be customized to organize a variety of small items. (Cubby writer Chantal Lamers is also a fan of using pegboards in closets. It’s one of her many small-home storage tricks.)

I installed the pegboard roughly 3 feet from the floor so that our 3-tier art cart could fit underneath. The space between the two sets of shelves on either wall was 24 inches, so I was able to install a pre-cut 24 inch x 48 inch piece of pegboard. From start to finish, I was able to install the pegboard in less than 30 minutes!

Credit: Tyler Moore

I attached two 24-inch strips of wood to the back of the pantry wall, one for the top of the pegboard and one for the bottom. I was able to get my wood strips custom cut at Home Depot. You can get wood cut to custom length at Home Depot, free of charge, as long as the cuts are longer than 12 inches. Then I screwed the pegboard onto the upper and lower board strips.

Once securely attached to the wall, I was able to add pegboard bins, cups, and baskets. These accessories fit 1/4 inch pegboards and provide valuable storage on the back wall. They also allow the space to be customized in so many different ways. Win!

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