It’s One Room Challenge day again! If you’re just joining the fun, I am currently taking part in the One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda at Calling It Home. The challenge gives bloggers 6 weeks to complete a full on room makeover, with guest participants sharing their progress each Thursday. I have decided to tackle my sons’ shared room, which we’re giving a “Let’s Go Adventuring!” makeover. So far we’ve talked about the plan, some cute bed options, and painting a fun stripe on the walls. Today I’m diving into how to create an organized kids’ closet!
When we moved into our house, I quickly decided to declare war on all of the wire shelving. I didn’t like the way it looked, it didn’t maximize the closets’ potential, and it wasn’t my favorite for holding stuff, so we’ve been replacing the shelving one closet at a time.
The Cs’ closet when we moved in… with the dreaded wire shelving!
My go-to for simple shelving is IKEA’s ALGOT system… you may even say I’m a bit obsessed with it. The boys’ closet is actually the 5th (!) closet we’ve used it in between our two houses. (You can check it out in our old townhouse’s pantry, master closet, and craft room closet and in our new house’s pantry.)
Since I’ve used the ALGOT system in so many posts, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to measure for and select the pieces, so I wanted to break it down step by step to make it easy to understand.
How to Measure for an IKEA ALGOT Closet
In true IKEA fashion, they sell each piece of the ALGOT system separately when you buy it in the store. This is great because it gives you more options to create the exact closet you want, but it can also be a challenge because the possibilities are endless– how do you know which pieces to choose? Hopefully these steps will explain how to figure out exactly which pieces would be best.
Step 1- Measure your closet.
You will want to measure your closet’s width, height, and depth so you know exactly which size pieces to choose for your closet. So for example, my boys’ closet was 64″ wide x 96″ high x 24″ deep.
Step 2- Decide on your shelf depth.
The shelves for the ALGOT system come in 3 standard depths: 7 1/8″, 15″, and 22 7/8″.
(Note: When I talk about depth, I am referring to the distance between the back of the closet and the front of the closet where the door is. Be sure to pay close attention if you are choosing pieces on IKEA’s website because sometimes they call the “depth” the distance between the left side of the shelf and the right side of the shelf, which is what I am calling the “width.” Sometimes they don’t. Confusing, I know. Pay attention to the shape of the shelf they show you when you choose the different options, and you will be able to tell which side they are referring to.)
If I look at the measurements of my boys’ closet, I probably could have fit the deepest shelf, but just barely. I prefer to have more room so it’s easier to reach things in the back of the closet, so I have always used the shelves that are 15″ deep.
Step 3- Determine the width of your pieces.
(Remember: When I say “width,” I am referring to the distance between the left side and the right side of each piece.)
The ALGOT shelves (and most other pieces) generally come in 3 standard widths as well: 15 3/4″, 23 5/8″, and 31 1/2″. So to get the maximum storage out of your closet, you will need to figure out the combination of widths that comes closest to your closet’s width without going over, making sure to account for brackets. This sounds confusing, but it is actually fairly simple.
Let’s take my boys’ closet as an example. Their closet is 64″ wide, so first I thought of this combination:
23 5/8″ wide shelf + 23 5/8″ wide shelf + 15 3/4″ wide shelf = 63″
This one was close, but with three shelves, I would also need room for four brackets. I like to add an extra inch in width for each bracket just to be safe, so if I add that to my 63″ I get 67″, which is too wide for my closet.
Instead, then, I went with this combination:
15 3/4″ wide shelf + 23 5/8″ wide shelf + 15 3/4″ wide shelf = 55 1/8″
This combination may seem like I’m wasting a lot of space in my 64″ wide closet, but when I add 1″ for each of the four brackets, I end up with 59 1/8″, which leaves me just a little over two inches on each side, which is a comfortable distance.
Step 4- Determine how many uprights you will need.
The uprights are the pieces that are anchored to the wall. They allow you to place your shelves and other pieces at varying heights to get the exact combination that works for your needs. You will need an upright to attach the right and left sides of each shelf. If there are two shelves next to each other, they can share the upright in between them.
So in my example above where I am using three shelves, I will need four uprights. The uprights come in three heights: 22″, 33 1/8″, and 77 1/8″. I always use the 77 1/8″ because it gives me the most options for the height of my shelves and accessories.
Step 5- Determine how many brackets you will need.
The brackets are the pieces that attach your shelves and accessories to the wall uprights. They come in corresponding depth options to the shelves. So in my example, since I am using the shelves that are 15″ deep, I would choose the 15″ brackets as well.
Like the wall uprights, you will need a bracket on the left and right side of each of your shelves. If you have two shelves that are beside each other, they can share a bracket. So for my lower row of shelves that has 3 shelves, I would need 4 brackets.
My higher row of shelves, which also has three shelves, will need 4 brackets too, for a total of 8 brackets.
Step 6- Select any special accessories.
Once you have your main pieces chosen– wall uprights, brackets, and shelves in my case– you can choose any add ons you may want to use. For my boys’ closet, I obviously needed some clothes rails so I could hang their items, so I chose the rails that corresponded to the widths of their shelves. All in all I ended up with four clothes rails that were 15 3/4″ (since I had a total of four shelves that were 15 3/4″) and two clothes rails that were 23 5/8″ (since I had a total of two shelves that were 23 5/8″).
Whew! I am not math-brained all, so the first time I tried to figure out which pieces to use for our closet system, my head was spinning! Once I got the hang of how the pieces worked and realized there really were just a few options for width and a few for depth, it was a lot easier to wrap my head around it.
Because it might be helpful, here is a complete list of the pieces we used for our closet:
- 4- 77 1/8″ uprights
- 8- 15″ brackets
- 4- 15 3/4″ x 15″ shelves
- 2- 23 5/8″ x 15″ shelves
- 4- 15 3/4″ clothes rails
- 2- 23 5/8″ clothes rails
How I Organized My Boys’ Closet
The ALGOT system was the perfect starting point for my boys’ closet. It’s a small space and I had to fit clothes for two kiddos, so the two rows of clothes rails really helped. I have a tall 7 year old and a tiny 5 year old, so it worked out perfectly to put the 7 year old’s clothes on the top row and the 5 year old’s clothes on the bottom row so they both could reach.
Each boy had three types of clothes in the closet: dress shirts (which I hung on the leftmost clothes rail), sweaters and sweatshirts (which I hung on the middle clothes rail), and long sleeved t-shirts (which I hung on the rightmost clothes rail). Within each type of clothing, I organized the items by color so it would be easier to find the pieces that matched with the rest of their outfit. #matchingishard 🙂
I was able to fit in some bins for out-of-season clothes on the top shelf, stuck their shoes on the floor, and they had an organized and functional closet!
The rest of their clothes– t-shirts, pants, underwear, socks, and PJs– are stored in their shared dresser. I initially tried to hang their pants, but I think because they were smaller than adult-sized pants, they kept slipping off or sliding to one side of the hanger, so ultimately, keeping them in drawers was the best option for us.
Want to see the before and after? (My favorite part!)
I love that the space is so much more functional now! Having the Cs’ closet neat and organized is so helpful because they can always find the clothes they want, there is a place for everything, and it keeps the rest of the room from getting cluttered. I can’t wait to share the big reveal of the entire space with you in just a few weeks!
If you’d like to see the progress the rest of the One Room Challenge bloggers are making on their rooms, you can check them out here. And if you want to catch the progress on the boys’ room from the very beginning, you can do so in these posts:
Thanks for following along! Have a wonderful week!
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