Clever organization doubles as storage and wall art

When I moved into my one-bedroom apartment last spring, I didn't want the large walk-in storage closet to become crowded with random clutter. So, with a shower rod, some 3M hooks and a shoe shelf, I created a walk-in accessory closet.

A cylinder popcorn container
A recycled cylinder popcorn container is used to hold curling irons and a hair straightener. Photo by Jasmine Maki, Accent staff.

When I moved into my one-bedroom apartment last spring, I didn’t want the large walk-in storage closet to become crowded with random clutter. So, with a shower rod, some 3M hooks and a shoe shelf, I created a walk-in accessory closet.

As my handbag and jewelry collection grew, I added more hooks to the walls. I loved the clever display of my accessories, so I looked to Pinterest, started saving empty containers, gathered otherwise useless, items and found more ways to organize my apartment, and in turn, my life.

Transforming the closet

An extendable shower rod became the perfect hanger for my scarves. It allowed for just the right fit across the back of the closet. I looped my scarves around the pole one by one, which allowed for quick organization and created a colorful backdrop for the closet.

Tension rods can be found for as low as $4 at department stores, depending on the size. Various 3M Command Hooks can also come in handy during the organization process. Small plastic hooks can be purchased in large packs for as much as $5, while more decorative hooks can be bought individually for as much as $10 a piece.


I bought an assortment hooks to hang my hand bags on one wall and jewelry on the other.

I placed three metal 3M Command hooks on one wall at varying heights, so the handbags would hang just right. Then, I placed small white and wire hooks in two lines on the other wall. I left space below some of the hooks to allow the longer necklaces to hang uninterrupted.

I placed five small hooks side by side on the small leftover portion of the wall in my closet for my ultra thin belts. I used three hooks with slightly more space in between to hang my wide belts.

You can use these hooks to hang a wide variety of accessories such as hats, belts, handbags and jewelry. I used another below the light switch to hang my umbrella.

They can also be used in other rooms to hang sports medals, backpacks or kitchen utensils.


For my shoes, I took advantage of the empty floor space and lined each pair side by side against the three walls. I color coordinated my closet, starting at the back with boots and ending with my summer heels and flats at the front of the closet.

I found an extra shoe shelf for about $15 and placed it at the back of the closet for my colorful summer shoes. There was just enough space between the shelf and the wall on either side to help support my tall boots.


To organize your own shoe obsession:

  • Take advantage of floor space and work your way up if necessary with an inexpensive shelf.
  • Use an over-the-door shoe hanging system for flip flops, flats and thin summer shoes. Plastic or fabric shoe organizers can be purchased for as little as $10, while metal shoe racks can cost $20 to $40.
  • Color coordinate and arrange by style.
  • Place recycled plastic bottles in boots to help hold the shape. Use old wine bottles for taller boots.
  • For additional support, stuff crumpled newspaper in the leg of the boot. Leave the stuffing in the boot’s place, so you remember to replace it at the end of the day.

Jewelry, accessories

The last addition to my closet was a hanger for all my smaller jewelry and accessories. Drawing inspiration from Pinterest, I put two push pins on either end of the wall above my necklaces. Then, I tied a piece of yarn tightly between the two pins. The bracelets and watches with hooks were easily looped around the yarn. Clothes pins were used to hang earrings, and clear shower curtain hooks were used to hang slip-on bracelets.

A full length mirror hangs on the back of the door and another sits just outside the closet. I love how all of my accessories are in one place, allowing me to quickly accessorize my looks before heading out for the day. And, the closet is my first stop when I walk in the door, so my shoes and scarves always get put away without creating a mess in my apartment.

Bathroom sorting

With my accessories sorted, I wanted to organize my toiletries, makeup and hair accessories in the bathroom. I found an old five-pocket rollup bag my mom had from selling Herbal Life many years ago and hung it on the back of the wall.

I divided my items into five categories: everyday makeup, special occasion makeup, hair tools, hair accessories and nails.

Again, I used a circle shower curtain hook, which kept my various hair bands neatly secured.


With very limited counter space and just a medicine cabinet, I had to take advantage of the cupboard below the sink. I hung a wire two-shelf rack, which I found in the clearance section at TJ Maxx for $10, over the cupboard door and used it to organize more products and tools. I combined my hair sprays, gels and mousse with my body sprays in the top shelf. On the second shelf, which was low to the floor, I put my hair crimper and curlers. I may not use them often, but now they are organized and out of the way.

For my two curling irons and hair straightener, I used a tall recycled cylinder popcorn container. The items fit a bit snug, but their cords are all contained, which leaves room for more items below the sink such as cosmetic travel bags and cleaning supplies.

Everyone has different amounts and types of products, but recycled plastic containers of different sizes often can be helpful in organizing various items.

Funky wall art

In the living room, I decided to take a bit of a risk and try something unexpected. I used three push pins to hang black hangers on the wall, displaying the newest issues of my three favorite magazines. When I found the idea on Pinterest, I wasn’t sure if I liked it but thought I’d give it a try anyway.

Turns out, I love it. The display acts as wall art and allows me to keep track of all my latest magazines.

Below the hangers, I display the older issues of the same magazines on a movie case, which helps tie everything together and keep the wall hangers from looking out of place.

On an adjacent wall, I echoed the push pin and string idea from the accessory closet. This time, I used clothes pins to display all my favorite photos from Instagram. The same concept can be used to hang children’s artwork, important notes and reminders, holiday cards or school awards.


Next up: The kitchen

Next up, I’d like to organize the kitchen. I got a little jumpstart on the project by using three recycled Folgers coffee containers to hold my baking supplies. After washing the containers, I wrapped them with white scrapbook paper and used a thin black marker for the labels. It was a super simple project, but it saved me a bit of money. Store-bought flour and sugar jars can cost $20 to $40 a set.

Quick organizing tips

  • Wash and save plastic and glass containers. Store them in a closet for later use; you never know when they’ll come in handy.
  • Use recycled Folgers coffee containers to store baking supplies or various items.
  • Place recycled plastic bottles and wine bottles inside boots to help hold structure.
  • Use plastic shower curtain hooks to neatly secure hair bands or bracelets.
  • Color-coordinate clothes and shoes to create an organized display.
  • Hang colorful yarn on the wall and use clothes pins to display photos or important notes.
  • Search discount stores and clearance aisles for cheap organization
  • Look to Pinterest for inspiration and don’t be afraid to try something new.

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