Before & After Renovations

I Stole My Three-Year-Old’s Closet, And I’m Not Even A Tiny Bit Sorry

This is not my closet; it’s Ashley Tisdale’s. Mine doesn’t have a chandelier, alas.

I was talking to a colleague the other day about a very particular manifestation of mom guilt: the home-and-decor-related type. In short: On top of the other ways that you feel like you have to prioritize your children’s needs (all of them), you also feel like you have to prioritize them when it comes to how you set up and decorate your house. And if you don’t?


I am something of a specialist in parenting-related anxiety, but this is one spot where it’s never really hit me. My own parents – for better or for worse – weren’t childproofing types; their basic attitude was “If I tell her not to touch a thing, she should not touch it, and if she does anyway I guess she’ll learn.” Now, this perspective doesn’t come without its problems, but still: beyond the very basics, I more or less adopted this approach when I had my own kids, and never really set up my house as a haven for young children, either. Our dining room table has corners. Tiny, breakable things sit on shelves that are reachable by small hands. I even have cream couchesfor god’s sake. (OK, that last one miiiiight have been taking it a bit far, because I also have dogs and a husband. Ugh.)

The latest example of this “It’s my house and I love you a lot but you’re welcome for getting to live in it” attitude: I stole my three-year-old’s closet. And I am not sorry about it at ALL.

Three-year-olds do not need closets as much as their (wonderful, spectacular, long-suffering, and otherwise mostly selfless) mothers do.

See, here’s the thing: My daughter’s closet backs up directly into mine. And what was in her closet was a little shoe rack, some toys that she hid in there in gross defiance of my parental wishes…and a ton of my clothing, because the volume of my clothing ownership exceeds the volume of my own closet. What this meant: there was a closet in my house that wasn’t being used to its full potential. And I come from New York City, where poor closet utilization is a full-on disgrace.

So I stole her closet.  (And yes, I am aware that she will want it back when she hits age 10 or so. We will deal with that day when it comes; until then, I have seven years of walking into my closet and spinning around in circles in it just because I can.)

Here’s What I Did

  • First, we knocked out the wall that separated my closet from my daughter’s closet.
  • We used the existing shelving to line the walls, and installed inexpensive metal pipes to serve as clothing racks.
  • For lingerie and socks and such, I pulled in a mostly-unused mirrored cabinet we already owned (note: if you’re planning on doing your own renovation, make sure to consider the existing furniture you’ll want to put in first – that way you can build the rest of the plan around it).

walk in closet master bedroom layout floor plan

  • One of the mirrored closet doors from my daughter’s room went into my new closet. You know, so I could look at myself wearing all the clothing that I now have access to. (The other mirror was hung on her wall, and please do not worry about her little three-year-old happiness level; what I did to her room to reorganize it and redecorate it in the wake of this stolen-closet situation is gorgeous, and I’ll show it to you in a bit.)
  • For shoe storage, I found a pouf at HomeGoods (that’s also where the little table and green lamp came from) – it holds a solid 20 pairs of shoes, and there’s space for purse storage in the middle.
  • On the ceiling, just for fun, we laid reclaimed wood and corrugated metal left over from our bathroom renovation, and installed a couple of can lights with fancy little diamanté accents. (Nobody will ever notice this but me. That’s ok.)

And here’s the final product:

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In other news, it is impossible to take an attractive photograph of a closet. But I think you get the picture.

So, so many before-and-after renovations are here, if you’re bored on a Friday.