Category: Before/After Projects

Closet Clean-up

Just because you have space, doesn’t mean you need to fill it.

Don’t wait until your closet looks like it could be on the next episode of Hoarders before you address the issues.

Maybe you have too much stuff, or it’s just disorganized. Either way, I suggest that every few months you visit your closets and do a quick closet clean-up.

Recently I was invited to help my niece organize and tidy up her closet.

Yes, I’m the crazy person who thinks that an invitation like this is a positive thing.

I love to organize and tidy spaces up.  The type of cleaning that doesn’t require scrub brushes and cleaning supplies!

My sister’s house is newer, so the closets are much easier to organize and store things than I’m used to in my house.

At first glance, my niece’s closet looks pretty bare, albeit a little disorganized, but not messy.

before closet clean-up

Looks can be deceiving.

I introduced my niece to the six tips for organizing a closet, my tried and true method for organizing spaces.

Once we removed everything from the closet, it was quite a shocker to even her what all was in there.

Yes, all of this came from inside that empty looking closet.

clothes from closet clean-up
Clothes from the closet to be sorted

Many of the clothes we took out my niece was not even interested in keeping anymore. She didn’t like them anymore, or they didn’t fit. We honestly paired her hanging clothes down to less than a dozen items.

Her donation and sell pile were quite large.

donation pile from closet clean-up
Giant pile to be sorted for donation and sale


We sorted all of the other miscellaneous items out after we emptied the closet and assessed what she wanted in the closet. One of her main goals was to get her craft supplies organized in her closet so she could see what she had and easily access them.


One of the most important steps in organizing a space is looking at the space and taking time to decide how that space needs to function for the individual/family.

Once we had removed all of my niece’s things, and we had gone through what she was keeping we spent a lot of time talking about her needs. We took some breaks so we could get fresh eyes to look at the big open area.

For this project, the only thing that was “new” was the hanging shoe rack which I had purchased second hand for a couple of dollars. Everything else we used was repurposed from inside her closet or around the house.

Throughout the process, there were quite a few giggles. For instance, when we discovered how many fake and 3D glasses she had. Apparently, she had a big need for them, or more likely she had no idea how many pairs she owned until they were all organized together.  (side note: we did the same thing with my daughter’s Minnie Mouses….oops!)

glasses found in closet clean-up

My niece may have some pack rat tendencies, but never fear there is a way to help all pack rats.

In the end, my niece was very pleased with the outcome, and I had a lot of fun helping her.

after a successful closet clean-up

The hardest part of this project for me was stopping with the closet.

Once I get started, I want to keep going. Her desk was a bit disorganized, and she let me help with it for just a short time. If only she would let me finish that area.

Organizing is addicting, and when I see a space that needs tidying, I struggle to stop myself.

It was a privilege to be able to help my niece organize her closet, and in doing so, I learned a little bit more about her. She invited me into her personal space, and by doing so, I was able to see a different side of my niece. I had no idea how creative she was or how much she really enjoyed crafting.

A person’s space whether that is an entire home, a room, or a closet can tell a lot about a person. Including what they value, what their talents are and their goals.

What does your space say about you? And what do you want it to say about you?

What is stopping you from making that happen?

A Laundry Room Overhaul Part II

laundry-room-overhaul-2If you have not yet read “Laundry Room Overhaul Part I” be sure to read that first. This is the conclusion of a laundry room makeover. We pick up this overhaul where we left off, step 4.

Step 4: Assess what is left into three piles: KEEP, THROW AWAY, DONATE/SELL

This is where the bulk of the time went on Saturday. It was exhausting for everyone, not just my mom. We positioned my mom at one table with a chair and she had a garbage bag and two boxes near her so she could sort items. My sister and I kept bringing more things to the table as she worked through it. We helped her, but ultimately it was her decision on what was kept, thrown away or given away.

This sorting and decision making took hours to complete. It really is the bulk of any organizing/decluttering project. It can be and was physically and emotionally taxing.

At one point as I was organizing piles to bring to my mom she shouts from the kitchen,

“Don’t mind me, I’m just throwing away your childhood in here.”

Ouch, except it didn’t sting, it just made me laugh.

Apparently, my entire childhood was tied to the plastic popsicle molds she had stored in her laundry room cupboard for over 30 years.

There was so much laughter that day.

Here is our conversation about one of the TWO fondue sets we found.


A Laundry Room Overhaul Part I

laundry room overhaulMy first victim client for the organizing side of the business was my mom and she had a laundry room that desperately needed to be tackled. The laundry room is what you see the minute you walk in their back door, which is how most people enter their house.

My mom graciously “volunteered” to be my first client. Honestly, my mom and dad could be my only client for an entire year. We might get their whole house organized and decluttered in that time. (Love you Mom and Dad!) My parents own a large 2 story, 5-bedroom house that they have lived in for over 40 years and raised 5 children. This means there is a LOT of stuff in that house. This is not at all surprising given that they have never moved since they were married.

While I hate every aspect of moving, it is good because it makes you look through your stuff to pack it up. I know that if my parents had ever moved they would have a lot less stuff. The other problem with not ever having moved is that their children were never forced to come and claim the items they left behind. Every one of us kids has been out of their house for over 11 years. I know there are still items in that house that belong to each one of us.

I want to be clear about something as we delve into this project with my parents. The state of their house is not unique, it is commonplace for families who have never moved. Add the fact that my parents may, possibly, be “pack rats” and you have a home organizers dream come true. There are endless projects.


Makeover your linen closet in 4 hours or less

Do you ever wonder how to organize your linen closet?

I have tried several different ways of organizing ours. I finally found the one that is most functional for us, and it’s only because I decided to take my own advice.

    linen closet makeover before Linen closet makeover before


In the past, every time I organized this closet I would move things around and group like things together. I always liked the outcome, but it wasn’t easy to find things quickly. Plus it never seemed to stay organized.

The trick to success this time was removing everything – I mean everything – from the closet.

linen closet-empty


Hack your drawer- see all your clothes at once

hack your drawers

Do you find that you tend to wear the same shirts or pants in your dresser over and over again? Sometimes you may even wonder where your favorite shirt went. I bet if you look it’s probably hidden in your dresser drawer underneath all of the other clothes. So how can this problem be fixed?

Is there a better way to organize clothes?

The way that most people put clothes away in their dresser drawer is to put one item down and then lay the others on top of that until they can’t fit any more if they want to close the drawer.

That is exactly how I put my clothes away too—until 3 years ago that is.

I really don’t even remember where I came across my new way of organizing my dresser drawers, but I saw it and decided I should give it a try.

So instead of laying shirts down on top of each other, you fold them like normal

(it doesn’t matter what normal is too you – my husband and I strongly disagree on this one)

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Just fold them the way you used to when you put them in the drawer on top of each other.

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Then fold them in half again.

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Then put them in rows.

If you want to see the shirt’s graphic, manipulate your fold appropriately.

You will find that you have more room in your drawer AND that you can see all of the shirts at one time. Now instead of wearing the same shirts over and over again you may choose different ones because they are all equally visible.

That favorite shirt of yours will no longer be missing (well unless you really did misplace it).

Our dresser drawers are shallow so depending on the size of the shirt it may require an extra fold, but most new dressers would not require that.

This process of folding and sorting also works for shorts, pants and pajamas. I completely overhauled my dresser drawers and have not gone back.

A question I have been asked many times is what happens when there are less items of clothing in there; don’t the piles fall forward or mess up?

This has potential to happen; however, usually the other shirts will just spread out a bit and not fall.

Also, I find that we (okay really it’s Brian) do laundry enough that I don’t ever have an almost empty dresser drawer.

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The whole process can take you less than 30 minutes. While you are folding each item to put them back in the drawer consider whether you want to keep the item as well.

You may find this is helpful in ridding yourself of clothes you may not love or wear anymore.

Spend 30 minutes and then give it a week to see if you like it.

The worst thing that can happen is you don’t love it and you spend 30 minutes and go back to your old way of doing things.

Best thing that can happen is you love the new way, you find yourself wearing more of your clothes and spending less time searching for clothing items when you are getting ready.

6 Tips for Organizing a Closet

Never have a messy closet again with these 6 simple tips to an organized closet.

Even though it’s a mild Midwest winter it still means hats, gloves, scarves, boots, snow pants and coats. There are only four people in my house, but I think we may have enough winter gear to keep the whole neighborhood warm.

Inevitably, this means winter clothing is thrown into the front hall closet – if I’m lucky.

Often times they are discarded at the door or around the house. It only makes matters worse that Amelia enjoys walking around the house wearing hats, gloves and coats hers and everyone elses. It’s a favorite pastime of hers.

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Our front hall closet houses all of this gear along with our coats from other seasons and an assortment of other odds and ends. I was frustrated with the closet and decided it was time for an overhaul.

It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t functional either.

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6 Tips for organizing a closet or similar project: