Loving Your Rental : Vancouver Island Edition

Today I have the lovely Sheila Zeller, a fellow design blogger and renter sharing us her fabulous tip in creating a feeling of home despite renting.

Ever meet someone that is beautiful on the outside but also radiates beauty from within? That is Sheila. I have only met her a few times {she lives across the straight on Vancouver Island} but I feel so drawn to her, she had such a beautiful outlook on life, and she beams. 
Glad to call her a friend.

Just because you rent doesn't mean you need to suffer with poorly organized closets! Watch how Sheila shows us how they organized their closet in their current home.

When we were in our last home we installed a Rubbermaid closet organizer (here), which worked really well for us. And since we were renting, when we moved, the closet organizer came with us.

Enter the room we chose for us in the new rental, and this is the closet within.

Yet another single rod, one shelf system. In our opinion, a serious waste of space, and a system that doesn't work for us.

Why? Because this is what we had to find a home for...

'Ours', hung temporarily on a rolling clothes rack during the closet system installation.


Could you tell this pile was 'his'? What was your clue ;-)

And 'hers'...

And this doesn't include dresses, skirts, and shoes!

So we set to work taking the existing system down...

...which we re-installed in the basement for additional off-season coat storage.

We had to make some changes to the organizer configuration from the way we had it installed in the other home (here). The other closet was a bit longer, and had a set of built-in shelves at the same end that you see here.

But not this one. So we put the shorter bar on this end instead, which we use to hang pants at full-length.

We kept the double bars in the same location as before.

But what we completely changed is the addition of the baskets in the center of the closet. Did you notice, these are the same baskets that used to be in our laundry room in the last home (here)?

The only other addition is the basket on the floor (which may, or may not stay). That one wasn't in the old laundry room, but it was used in a closet in the last house.

We actually had to put the closet together in two stages, because we needed to buy the brackets and shelving material to set the baskets on. But we wanted to install the system to this point first.

So this is a glimpse of stage one before the shelving was installed. The clothes were hung up temporarily in the interim.

One of the crucial components of this closet system is the tie rack. This is what happened to the ties while we were in limbo between closet systems.

They were hung over the quilt rack with the quilt of many colours... (I wrote about the quilt here). Imagine trying to pick out a tie first thing in the morning from this rainbow of colour!

Here's a look at the tie storage now.

The rack actually slides out.

Like this...

Much easier to work with!

So in the end we have a similar configuration with some trade-offs, but with a closet that is far more functional than the traditional single rod, single shelf system you so often find.

The point of this post is just to show you how a Rubbermaid closet system can be redesigned into a new space, and still deliver equal functionality. And with this post what you also get to see is how baskets were re-purposed and integrated to optimize the usable space of this closet.

Do you have a closet system in your home? Would you be able to take it with you and redesign your new closet space with it if you moved?

Related Posts You Might Like To Read on Sheila's blog.

Thanks for sharing this amazing tip. I too have installed closet systems in past homes. Lucky for me we had them in our current home but I have moved shelves around to accommodate our needs.
Just because you are renting is doesn't mean you need to suffer with a poorly organized closet!

XO Barbara


  1. Thanks for posting this, I really, really need to do some work on my closet. I'll look for Rubbermaid over here on the Island... oh and that's cool you've met Sheila! One day I'd like to meet her and you too (she lives about an hour away from me!) - isn't the bloggy world so small?

  2. Love how organized this closet is! Beautiful work by Sheila ;)

  3. Isn't Sheila great! Her closet is fabulous now!! I own my closet but it's about a quarter of the size. Hubs and I live in two closets, one that is actually downstairs. Ridiculous but for the love of an old house you do what ya gotta do.

  4. I didn't realize that Sheila was a renter. I think that just like your landlord Barb, theirs must be thrilled to have such amazing tenants taking great care of the home. Great job Sheila!

  5. It's so important to set up your space right no matter if you're renting or you own. Love Sheila's tips and photos!

  6. Luckily our apartment has a third room which was set up with built in cupboards all around. My guy uses that room as his dressing/storage/ironing room and I get the wall of closet in our bedroom. It was what made us choose this apartment.

  7. A big 'thank you' Barbara for featuring this closet redesign. I'm happy to share tips I have learned, because I know it can sometimes feel bitter-sweet to be renting. But in the end I really believe your home is what you make it, and that means living fully within it while you're in it! Can't wait for the next 'Loving Your Rental' post! xo Sheila

  8. This is SUCH a great series. I never gave thought to installing a closet system in our rental and we really could use one! Or three.
    Such an awesome idea.

  9. So jealous (in a good way of course) I need 2 closets done just haven't taken the time to do it.

  10. Hi what is the system you used to do this and where did you get the baskets?


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