Storage Solutions: Entryway Closet Makeover

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Storage Solutions: Entryway Closet Makeover

Is your entry closet the cabin catchall? Sports gear, sandy towels, flip-flops, pet rocks – you name it, it gets tossed in there after the day’s adventure. And given the state of things in there, it’s tempting to close the door to conceal it all. But maybe there’s a better way.

The typical entry closet has one rod mounted at a height of 80 inches, and an upper shelf.  So all that other stuff family members shed when they come inside? It piles up on the closet floor. If you have to lean against the door to avoid an avalanche, it’s time for a door-ectomy.

Seriously. Doors are meant to be opened and stepped through. A door on an entry closet that measures 28 inches deep just creates blind areas at the sides and top that are hard to reach. And it conceals – not deters – clutter. Removing the door and reconfiguring the space can give you more functional and accessible storage. It can also make a tight entry seem more spacious, especially if you can’t fully open the closet door without hitting another door.
The first step to a cabin-worthy closet
Take everything out. Assess your stuff. Store out-of-season attire elsewhere, say, in the garage. Pare down. Can surplus outerwear be donated, or kept in a bedroom closet? Is there a better place for skis? Decide what stays, choose grab-and-go organizing bins or baskets, and enlist everyone’s cooperation.

The Door-ectomy
1. Unscrew the hinges from the door, starting at the bottom. It will be easier to unscrew the hinges from the jamb without the weight of the door.  
2. Unscrew the door hinges and the strike plate (where the latch goes) from the jambs.
3. Fill the holes (mortises) with wood putty. Sand flat when dry. Paint or stain.
Grab & Go
Organizing options abound for your open closet space: roll-out bins, drawers, storage benches and more. Mix and match to suit your needs. What works for you may be as simple as adding an old dresser for gloves and scarves, or as streamlined as a mini-mudroom with personalized lockers or cubbies with baskets. Consider:
  • Shelving for the blind side(s).
  • Hooks at the back, or all around the perimeter. 
  • Seating for pulling on boots, and a sturdy boot tray below.
BEFORE & AFTER – Removing a closet door and reconfiguring the space can give you more functional and accessible storage. (Click photo to enlarge.)
Cason and Shelley Smith, The House of Smiths, www.thehouseofsmiths.com
FINISHING WORK – After you remove the closet doors, strike plate and hinges, you’ll need to fill the holes with wood putty (aka wood filler or wood paste), sand flat, and then paint or stain.
ORGANIZATION TOOLS – Baskets can help keep things neat and tidy.