A Small Kids Closet That Doubles As A Play Space

The closet in the spare room used to be packed with things like luggage, wrapping paper, gift bags, and a bunch of other clutter that had to be dealt with in order to free up space for actual playing and Clara-storage (since this is now the playroom/big girl room instead of a room full o’ junk).

So we took everything out (except for the photo albums & yearbooks up top) and it magically disappeared.

Just kidding, it ended up in the guest room closet.

Which actually seems ok since we’re on year three of living here (CRAZY!) and we haven’t noticed any guests using the guest closet at all, so it made sense for us to put that valuable real estate to work for us. There’s actually still a little room for hanging things on the bar if we shove all the bags to the left or the right, so we might do that if we’re expecting company, just in case. But for the rest of the time it’s more functional to see my gift bags all spread out so I can grab one nice and fast.

And the good news is that once the door is shut, our guests don’t have to be subjected to all of the items that lurk behind it.

And after the addition of a few Clara-things, the closet in her big girl room is now nice and useful – both for games and for storing a few not-her-size yet items of clothing (get it? they’re her big girl clothes in her big girl room). It would be fun to paint the closet walls a playful color (coral? teal?) so maybe we’ll get to that sometime.

In the meantime, we just added a friend or two. You know for closet ambiance. Like her monkey (he likes to hang out).

The addition of a few toys essentially creates another play-zone in the house (Clara already plays a lot in her big girl room thanks to her play kitchen and her little table for stuffed animal tea parties, (not to mention fake naps on the daybed) but the closet is yet another little spot that she can sneak into and enjoy.

Down on the floor we have a few things that I picked up for the Macklemore Challenge. Remember the $1 chair that used to be a faded old yellow-brown color? And the cradle that had some burns and scratches along with a pretty musty odor?

Well they’re looking (and smelling) nice and fresh now…

They were both easily revived thanks to some cleaning, priming, and fresh paint. For the chair I used Valspar’s Gloss in Classic Red (which is a paint and primer in one). And for the cradle I used Rustoleum’s Universal All-Surface spray paint in gloss white (which also has a built-in primer).

I actually have some more plans for the cradle (rhymes with bom bom bringe) so I promise I’ll keep you posted! It definitely won’t just be all basic and white for long…

But even though the cradle is only half done, the newly cleared-out closet is getting lots of play.

I’m actually learning that as Clara grows it’s nice to have a few zones throughout the house for her to “discover things to do” instead of plopping every toy in one basket in the living room. It seems like the change of scenery from room to room holds her interest more, and I like that there aren’t ten million jumbled toys in one spot to clean up (by delegating them to different areas, most of the time they stay in those new zones so there’s just a little picking up in a few rooms instead of a giant pile of mixed toys on the living room rug).

So that’s the story of our quick little closet overhaul. What have you guys been transferring and organizing? Any other closet clear-outs going on? If you have a guest room do you keep the closet completely bare in case someone wants to hang something? Or do you use it since most of the time you’re not housing guests and it’s valuable storage space? We just realized the other day that we only have five closets in this entire four bedroom house (our 800 square foot one-bedroom apartment here in Richmond had four) so it’s a wonder we ever had an empty one at all!


  1. says

    Oh, there are lots of things in the guest room closet at my house. :) I did leave room to hang some clothes and put a few things on the shelf, but the rest of the area is used. I figure since guests are only here once in a while, it would be better to utilize the space for what we needed. I suppose if we had someone staying for an extended period of time, we could make more space for them. So far, it hasn’t been a problem.

    • says

      Yes, I think you’re onto something with the extended period thing. If my mom came for a week I’d clear out some space for her and stash things in our closet just for that time!


  2. says

    I love the cute touches like the monkey and the little nook of toys! Also, I need to find a Painting 101 video because every time you roll or spray paint an object it looks about a million times better. The only time I’ve spray-painted, I ended up with blue floor and dirty hands. Ugh. And I’m nervous to roll paint! Eek!

    • says

      We love to spray paint outside on a not windy day and mist mist mist things. Three to five super light coats of misted spray paint are much better than one heavy drippy one!


  3. Sarah says

    Love the closet! Wish our place had more normal people closets (one contains a staircase to the rapist basement, as we call it, so it can’t be used as storage and the others are more like mini rooms with low ceilings. So dwarf style bedrooms…). I guess we’re lucky to have closets at all considering the house was built in 1919.

    Also, what is hanging above the ceramic animal hooks?

    • says

      The personalized things with her name, etc will move into her big girl room when she finally stops sleeping in the nursery (don’t want to strip that room when she’s still in there) and the general nursery items and objects will stay in there, hopefully for future baby to enjoy! Of course we’ll freshen up the room so Baby #2 isn’t just in a room full of “leftovers” (depending on the sex there might be lots of changes, and even if we have another girl I’d love to switch things up for a new look). You know kids rooms are our favorite!


  4. Chrissy says

    I recognize that you are storing a ton of curtains from Target’s collection in blue and orange on the top shelf of the closet. What are they for? I bought the same ones!

    • says

      Those are actually flat packed storage boxes that I got super cheap. Just have to assemble them all (in my head they’re the key to being super organized… will report back if it ever gets done…)


  5. says

    Oh the glories of guest bedroom closets. Since we also live in a ranch house from many an era ago, the closet space is small. So all of my clothes live in the guest bedroom. We call it my “dressing room” when guests are there. But it’s definitely not as cute as Clara’s!

  6. Kara says

    I’m jealous that you still have days down there where you can still spray-paint outside! I’m impatiently waiting for the first non-windy, non-rainy, over-50-degrees day when I can run out and free my spray-paint-maniac self.

    Painting up the closet a fun color would be so much fun! Maybe mix in a pop of contrasting color on the edges of the shelves and maybe the rod in there for a fun mix – like a teal closet with coral strips!

  7. says

    My daughter is the same with zones. We just moved into a 2 story house and I realized when she’s cranky sometimes it just takes moving to the other floor. (really, we should play outside more but it’s been raining a lot!)

    We also put most of her toys in her big girl room that she hasn’t moved into yet. I think she transitioned into the new nursery in the new house better without all of her toys to look at when she should be falling asleep.

    My mom very much likes having hanging space, so we have some room in our guest room closet. One time when she came we must not have had enough hangers in there because the next time she brought me some…

  8. Emily says

    I know that you said you’d talk about what your plans were for the space above the hooks, but I see that you’ve already put something up and I’m so curious about it! I see your 1-4-3 dominoes on the bottom, but what’s happening on the top?

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