{Organization On A Budget} small home BIG IDEAS For An Office-In-A-Closet

Organized office in a closet. Budget organization ideas from Simplicity In The South

I have a love/hate relationship with organization. I hate the process of getting there, but I love the challenge of finding solutions to problems.

After seeing that Taylor’s Vintage Industrial Bedroom Reveal made it into my top posts of 2012, I realized that I never went into detail on how I organized Taylor’s closet-in-a-office.

Organized office in a closet by Simplicity In The South

To bring you back to how it all began, here is the closet before it’s vintage industrial makeover.


It’s been almost five months since I surprised Taylor with his redecorated bedroom and I have to commend him on keeping it neat.

Let me clarify that…neat for a teenage boy. Oh wait, I need to re-clarify that since he just turned 18…neat for a young adult male. I occasionally have to leave him a reminder note that his laundry basket is not a moving target and that any clothing left on the floor will not make it to the laundry room.

I hope that by organizing his room, I can instill in him some skills that he can use once he’s on his own at college next year. (insert a sniff and a tear here)

When organizing a space, I keep these three things in mind:

Contain It, Label It, and Reduce Visual Clutter

Since Taylor’s room is only 10′ x 10′, there is very little room for a dresser, much less a desk. The solution was to use the square footage from his closet to make an area for him to do his homework, watch TV, and play his X-Box.

There is also storage for his everyday clothes, books, out-of-season clothes, and two large boxes a little extra room for things that I need to store for myself.

So, without further ado, I will share how I organized this space by starting at the top of the closet and working my way down.

I had someone at our local home improvement store cut a 12″ wide shelf for me. To beef it up, I added a piece of 2.5″ wide molding.

These particular boxes are no longer available from Ikea, but the Kassett Boxes that sell for $9.99/2 pack are very similar.

Just like in my laundry room reveal,

if you are short on space, go vertical or go home.

Organized office in a closet. Storage in Ikea boxes.

I used business card holders to hold the printable number labels from Graphicsfairy.com. Why, yes, there is a method to the madness. This card hangs inside the closet and has coordinating numbers so I can remember which box holds what.

Organized office in a closet. Index card for storage boxes.

These baskets are also from Ikea, but they no longer carry them.

organized office in a closet with baskets

I made the basket labels by using off white card stock, this awesome old typewriter font via Fuzzimo, and the same template I used for the Wisteria catalog inspired place cards found in >this link<.

Organized office in a closet. Labeled baskets.

I bought this vintage carpenter’s tool caddy 14 years ago and it has held tools (yawn!) in our storage building.

carpenters caddy before

It got sanded, whitewashed and re-purposed as a desk organizer.

Organized office in a closet. Vintage carpenter's box for office organization.

An Ikea Mackis box (this is similar) sits inside the carpenter’s caddy. It has been distressed so it would look like it belonged to the vintage caddy.

Organized office in a closet with distressed Ikea Mackis desk box

I made his TV stand from a laminate shelf and screwed in doorstops as legs. It helps to free up space and hide the wires that run behind the TV.

Organized office in a closet. TV stand made from doorstops.

Speaking of wires…they are my nemesis. Velcro ties and tags help keep me somewhat sane.

Organized office in a closet. cord management

I made a kick pleat skirt to hide the visual clutter beneath the desk. The only part that is sewn, is the center stitch. I can sew a mean straight line. The pleat was made by folding and then stapling the fabric to the back of a board. The board was then nailed to the front of the desk top. The hem was done with fabric glue.

Organized office in a closet by Simplicity In The South.

Underneath the skirt are these Antonius drawer units from Ikea. The galvanized bin from Lowes holds clothes that Taylor has outgrown and will be handing down to his two younger brothers. The wooden box stores school work.

Organized office in a closet. Hidden storage for clothing in Antonius drawer units from Ikea.

Little metal rimmed tags label the drawers.

Organized office in a closet. Drawers labeled with metal rimmed tags.

How do you feel about organization? Is it on your hate list or do you look forward to getting things in order?

Just in case you’re new here, you might want to see some other projects that I’ve done in this bedroom:

Vintage Industrial Boy’s Room Reveal

DIY Restoration Hardware Inspired Cage Pendant Light

How To Make Galvanized Metal Curtain Rods Made From Plumbing Parts

Planked Wall Treatment

Design Board for a Vintage Industrial Boy’s Room

tricia tag

This project made it to the finals!

I’m sharing this with some of my favorite blogs such as:

The 36th Avenue
Design Dining and Diapers

Tater Tots and Jello

The DIY Showoff
Thistlewood Farms

Uncommon Designs
Liz Marie Blog
Beneath My Heart

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  1. I so wish I had an office closet…love every single detail!!!

    • Thanks, Jessica! This might end up being my craft closet and office once Taylor goes to college. I sooo need a sewing table and a place to store all of my craft supplies!

  2. The wood paneling walls in the closet are just gorgeous. I really love the way this turned out. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pure genius!!! I love your blog, and I LOVE this post! Greetings from Argentina!

  4. holy smokes, tv stand from door stops=genius. the whole transformation for “young adult male”=fabulous. love it all!

  5. I love the entire office/closet! The shelf with the doorstop legs for the tv is brilliant!

  6. Happy sigh after reading your post. It is so very organized and so rational. Loved it.

  7. you have skills my friend!! it looks so orderly!!

  8. So tidy and handsome and wonderful! I love it! The walls are fab and the idea with the TV shelf is so dang clever.

  9. What a wonderful space! So pretty AND so organized! Thanks for sharing your great tips too! AND thanks for linking up at Happy Hour!!!

  10. Love your style. Great blog design too. Nice to meet you.

  11. I just found you through on Happy Hour on Crafty Scrappy and I love your son’s bedroom! I have a 16 year old and he needs some organization in his life and this is so cool! I’m now following you.

    Happy New Year,

  12. Oh my word- I LoVE this room! I’m getting ready to work on my boys room and this is just the inspiration I need! Thank you for sharing! Here from tt&j

  13. Wow! I love your office area! The tool box is awesome and the rustic wood wall in the background is beautiful with all the added color in it! Thanks for sharing your ideas, the labels are also another great touch!

  14. Just saw your project featured on DDD and had to stop over for a look. I seriously love everything about this closet makeover. I love the materials and products you used and the great use of space! It’s just perfect!

  15. So many great details! It seems to be easy to use and very easy to keep an overview over all his stuff. And those colors are always a winner! It sucks, though, that IKEA always discontinues the best things, right?

  16. hello!

    love the site! where is the laundry basket from?

  17. I found your blog through PInterest. I clicked over to find more info on the things I was pinning and low and behold here sat your sweet blog. You have a new reader!

  18. Wow, that’s organization at its best! I love how neat everything looks, the plank wall, the pendant light, everything! Stopping by from Monday Funday.

  19. I love the office sign and the wall! We recently moved my desk to a cupboard too and I love it.

  20. Essa idéias são muito bacanas e criativas. Adorei as cortinas ” escondendo” ou diminuindo a poluição visual, conforme a necessidade do momento. Beijos

  21. What an amazing space!! I love the wall

  22. What did you use for the actual desktop?

    • Hi Debbie! The desktop is a 4×8′ sheet of melamine. I had it cut at the home improvement store. To cover the raw edge of the melamine, you can buy a roll of iron-on laminate. The desktop is supported with 2x4s horizontally run along the back wall and side walls of the closet. The drawers underneath also support some of the weight.

  23. One of the best closet offices I’ve seen. You did a fantastic job!


  24. I love it! One question…what about hanging clothes, such as pressed shirts, pants etc. Where do they go?

  25. This is awesome! What a great way to organize and simplify while remaining stylish.

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  27. Love what you did with the baskets for videos, books, etc. Looks good and can fit into “drawer-type” space. Thanks!

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