Elsie’s Low Waste Closet Renovation

Hello, friends! At long last, I am here to share my closet with you. It’s one of the first spaces we completed shortly after moving in, but I took my time styling it and organizing for many months after. I’m excited to share it with you today!

But first, here’s a walk down memory lane …

The obvious perk of my before closet is that is HUGE. I almost peed my pants when I saw it for the first time! I knew it could easily become a dream closet with a little bit of TLC. After customizing my last closet, I had a good idea of just how much is possible with a little bit of DIYing.

So what exactly did we do? I sketched out which parts of the closet we could keep and update and a few parts to demo and replace (like the storage along the back wall). Collin removed what wasn’t going to be used, then built a few new shelves and storage pieces—like an area for long dresses and the cubby shelves along the back (learn more about building cubby shelves here). Last, he trimmed out everything, giving the old dresser a look of inset drawers and crown moulding along the top to tie it all together. While I don’t know the exact price of this project, I can tell you that building it out, it was hundreds (if not thousands) less than a whole new closet system for this size closet would cost.

Since the closet is located in our main bathroom, there’s a chance we will reconfigure it down the road. Currently, I have no idea as I haven’t even started to dream of that design much less start planning it. That’s just one more reason I was motivated to repurpose what was there instead of installing a whole new closet system. I also really enjoy the creative challenge of low waste renovations. In my early years of blogging, it was the only option I had due to being on a tight budget. But over time, it grew into something I love to do because it makes me proud of improve what is there (when possible) instead of replacing.

Anyway, that’s enough backstory! Are you ready for some photos? I will show you section by section.

My first section is shoes. The original closet came with this shoe shelf, which I adjusted to accommodate three shelves of boots along the bottom and smaller shoes higher up. I hide all my athletic shoes and slippers under the long dresses section as well.

Along the back wall, we added floor-to-ceiling cubby shelves. I like that they are very versatile and I can store anything from stacks of jeans and tees to my roller skates (which I now have to keep hidden from my children, lol) and bags.

Mirror/West Elm, Pouf/Shop Lucky Collective, Baskets/Target, Rug/Vintage (similar here), Wood Hangers/Amazon.

On the left side, I have hanger sections for tops, skirts, short dresses, coats and jumpsuits.

I collected all these fun headbands during my quarantine last year. They are inexpensive and I found most of them on Etsy. I love how they make an outfit look more polished and more intentional.

Headband Organizer/Amazon, links to some Etsy headbands: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Just curious, did you collect anything or develop any unusual hobbies during 2020?

I have a couple special occasion bags (which I proudly purchased used). I store them on these cubbies and am excited to pull them out for real-life date nights this coming year!

I love the built-in drawers. I store underwear, jewelry, yoga sets, and lounge clothes in these drawers. Above the drawers, you might notice I used the extra tile we had from my coffee station in my office. It’s so pretty and since this was a teeny little space, I was able to add a tile backsplash there made just from remnants.

I love the look of this acrylic necklace display. There’s one on behind the door as well.

Thanks for taking a tour with me. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer! xx- Elsie

P.S. My sweatsuit is from The Home Edit x Summersalt collab (top and bottoms). Funny story: My kids BOTH said they wanted an outfit just like mine on the first day I wore it. I wish it came in kids sizes, too.

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Project Assistant: Collin DuPree. Photography: Amber Kelly. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Your closet is an absolute dream! Love that you promote low waste, second hand shopping and Etsy finds! Thank you for sharing, Elsie! xx

  • I love how you are working with what you have rather than gutting everything and starting from scratch.

    My quarantine habit is collecting trash. I take lots of long walks with my kids and dog to get them out of the house while their dad works remotely and I pick up litter as we go.

    I have a garbage-picker-upper stick so I don’t have to actually touch the garbage. It’s actually a great hobby! I get plenty of fresh air and exercise and I’m convinced that honing my ability to spot string cheese wrappers and juice box straws in the playground mulch is good for my brain.

  • Such a luxurious space! Also – where are those AMAZING pink lace-up boots from???

  • But… but… wait… where are Jeremy’s clothes? Is this really just your very own closet, all to yourself?!

  • I LOVE all the space!! We just got a whole wall of wardrobes installed and I thought I’d have more space than I needed, but I’m struggling to fit everything in. This closet is a dream

  • Wow! It looks amazing! I’m also a little jealous, lol, do you not have to share with your husband?
    Seriously though, great job! ❤️

  • I just wanna see an Elsie dress or jumpsuit collection post because I love the colors/patterns I’m seeing! Also, dreamy closet and accessories. Love love

  • I bought a bottle of liquor every time I wanted to buy a plane ticket in 2020 and couldn’t. I have installed an additional set of shelves and bought a hutch and I still need more room! 🙂

  • Looks so good! 2020 habit, getting up a couple hours before the kids to have tea, garden, read. Whatever the weather permits! Xo

  • LOVE that you mention ” proudly used” We feel the same way. Beautiful closet!

  • Love this closet, very organised but pretty and I think I could have my coffee in here, or a glass of wine, and just CHILL.

    I collected many wine bottles during 2020, wonder if anyone else did….I am going to check your site now to see what crafty thing I can do with them 🙂

    Seriously, your closet is beautiful, and so is your new home xo

  • Yessssss!!!! I have been so excited for this reveal since you talked about it on the pod and called it your rom-com closet. It’s gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  • This is gorgeous! I love the emphasis on re-use and low waste. I’m planning a renovation right now that will make closets where there aren’t any, but I still plan to use materials sourced from 2nd hand building supply stores (hello Rebuilding Center in Portland <3) and also 2nd hand furniture. Anything can be “built in” if you attach it to the wall and add trim! I do have a question though- when you open that door with the necklaces on it, do they swing around and get tangled or slap you in the elbows?

    • That’s amazing. And you are right- adding built ins is very easy!!!

      The necklaces aren’t a problem at all, no 🙂

  • Lovely teamwork! How inspiring to be so organized; wish we had that kind of space, and maybe the hats. I think I may need a fedora in my life again. Where are yours from?

  • Ummm ok, your closet is GOALS. What a dream closet. ? Thanks for sharing it Elsie!

  • I might be the first (def not the only one!) but where are your gorgeous hats from?!

    • Hi! They are from Lack Of Color and also one is a LOC dupe from Urban Outfitters. XX!

    • Hi! It’s Seaside Villa by Behr (same as our front door) XX!

  • Oh it’s so lovely, Elsie!! Congrats on another stunning revamp. I truly appreciate the “use what you have” mentality to offset the waste potential in a makeover and strive for the same myself!

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