How to utilize the dead space in a closet

March 11, 2021

Hey there! Now that the garage is all decluttered and organized, I've been focusing more on the changes in our mud/laundry room again. 

I shared my plan for adding a ton more storage and other changes to make this room work even better for us a couple weeks ago. I'm so excited about these changes! They've already made a BIG difference in here. 

I've moved things around a bunch -- including moving some things from the garage that just work better inside. I'll show you all of that soon! This week I've been focusing on the closet we have in here: 
Whitestone paint light blue gray

My dream was always to have a big closet in our mud room! When I saw how big this laundry/mud combo was going to be, I knew we'd have plenty of room for a closet. My favorite part is the OUTLET I had put inside. Game changer. 

Anyway, when we moved in a few years ago I just started chucking things in there as we got settled: 
messy cleaning closet


A few months after moving in I went through it all and got it organized...much better: 

mud room closet for cleaning supplies

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I made this a spot for all kinds of things! Laundry items like the ironing boards, cleaning supplies, all the brooms and vacuums, and even gift wrap items like wrapping and bags. You can see the whole organized mud room closet here

Now that I've been moving things around, I went through this closet again. It was still looking really good, but I knew I wanted to move the cleaning supplies into the upper cabinets instead. I also got rid of a few things we don't use anymore. Like that SpotBot carpet cleaner -- it was my BFF for years, but now we have so little carpet we just haven't used it. (And for any animal messes we have now, this cleaner is AMAZING!) 

I knew I could make better use of the space in this closet! That dead space at the ends of closets like this has always bugged me. Unless you are filling it with clothes, it's usually an awkward spot that can be utilized MUCH better.

YEARS ago I realized I could add some shelves to that spot to make it work better for us. This is a great project if you're a beginner at do-it-yourself projects! There's not a lot to them, especially when they don't have to be perfectly finished like in other rooms. I've shared how to make these floating shelves many times over the years. (See how I added them in our bathroom at that link!)

You just need to secure your supports (a 1x2 is perfect) into studs or anchors on the back wall and sides, then nail a board into those. Before I started in here I removed the door trim on the inside of the closet so I could bring the front of the shelves right up to the edge: 
removing door trim

I kept that piece so I could add it back later. 

This tape trick is awesome when you're caulking on a painted wall! Tape it off first and then caulk -- remove the tape before the tape dries and you'll have a perfect line and no mess on your wall:
using painters tape when caulking

I was going to leave these pretty basic, but then I realized they'd look so much better with some trim on the front. So I added that. I planned to leave them unpainted...but then I realized how good they would look in white. And this super simple project turned into two day process. 😂

After the first coat of paint, the underside of that top shelf was bugging me. Of course it was: 
shelves at end of closet

I ended up cutting a piece of luan to fit underneath to hide the supports. 

I also cut down the door trim (that I had taken down) and put it back up in between each shelf. And then filled holes. Caulked everything. And finally did one more coat of paint. This is how you turn a 90 minute project into one that never ends. 

But it was worth it! They look really good: 
DIY shelves dead space at end of closet

I didn't add bottoms to the other shelves since we can't see that part. These shelves are about nine inches by 24 and add a TON of storage! If you aren't using the ends of your closets I highly recommend this little project. 

Remember how I organized so many garden tools and garage stuff by hanging it all on the wall? I did that here too! I hung everything I could: 
organized mud room closet

Those Command broom holders are the bomb. We had one and I picked up a couple more. For everything else I used hooks we had. 

I almost did another set of shelves on the right as well, but I needed a spot for a dryer rack and step stool I wanted to hang. It's SO nice and cleared out! 

Oh, and I added some battery-operated motion sensor lights I found at HomeGoods the other day. I hung them around the inside door trim. I kick myself that I didn't have lights added to our closets! So far this light strip is working really well. (These motion sensor strip lights look to be the same thing.) 

I can't wait to show you the last part of this little closet makeover -- I'll show you that next week!

Here's where we started in here a few years ago: 

And this is what we have now: 
using dead space at end of closet

I'll be back next week with more! 

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  1. I love your shelves. How would you build these shelves if you had a hanging rod (like in a bedroom closet)? These shelves would then be quite handy for things you don't need access to every day!

    1. In our last house we had a hanging rod/shelf. I just built them underneath it! (There's a link to it in this post if you want to see.)

  2. This looks so good, clean and organized. What are your suggestions for the tops of closets? We have those white sire shelving but there is just one shelf at the top of the closet but about two feet to the ceiling. Everything gets shoved on that top shelf and then topples down. I can’t add another shelf because the door opening blocks it and makes it difficult to access.

    1. Those are tough! I feel like there's so much unused space up there. You could maybe add more shelving on the sides, up higher. But it would need to be for stuff you don't need to get to as often.

  3. Thanks again for a great looking project and helpful idea! did you attach the from rail board to the side cleats from the front and fill the holes? Did you use nails or screws? Thanks!! looking forward to finishing my wire rack shelves soon! (1 day project = 1 week for me- : ) )!

  4. Thank you! Yep, I just put a small piece of trim along the front and nailed it into the supports on the sides. I used nails for that part and attaching the top shelf, but screws into all of the support pieces.

  5. I'll bet it was soo fun to put the items on these new shelves! I know how satisfying that feels to me. Chrissy

  6. Thank you for continuing your blog! While I watch stories on Instagram, I really enjoy reading and seeing your photos!

  7. Oh wow! Your closet storage is everything! Thank you for sharing. Great job!

  8. I love this! How deep is the closet?

    1. Thank you! I'm not sure as this was our old house, but it was a standard depth.


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