Organized Life, Happy Wife

With our new closets going in upstairs, I’ve been re-evaluating our downstairs storage situation and moving a few things around. And … patching a few things up. Remember when we re-did our floors, last July. Yeah, as in 8 months ago. 😀 Well some of the trim still had splash of dark stain messing with their mojo. Like this

How to fix ugly closet

Not very handsome. Since we’ve been hauling a lot of stuff out of these closets as of late, I’ve been able to see these blemishes a bit more up close and personal than I’d like. So, since we already had the paint brushes out to tackle all the upstairs trimming that was happening, we decided it was high time to spruce these bad boys up again. See how much better it looks with a coat of paint? (two, actually)

Painting Trim in Closet

Alas, when you start to improve one area, it can make the others suddenly look a bit dismal. Like the closet walls. Dingy dive, I tell ya.

I looked around in our basement and found the wall color (Behr, Wisdom) and decided that if it was good enough for the room, it was good enough for the closet. Plus, I had just enough left of it to paint the closet while leaving a dash behind for any future touch ups.

Organizing Small Closet

Now that the closets were all painted and pretty, I felt the tug of homegoods calling me. Baskkeettss – I need basskkeetts. Am I the only basket fiend around here? I see a blank space, and I see a basket. I think I have a condition.

See? Baskets galore in this joint.

Baskets for Kitchen Storage

Since this room is used for our Airbnb guests, I decided to mix it up and get a larger hamper like tote for visitors that stay a bit longer and might want to do some laundry while they are here. Plus, it’s cute to boot and only set me back $12 at HomeGoods. Holla!!

IKAT Laundry Bag

Our front closet was also looking a bit bare in the storage category, so I came back with this multi-use tote to schlep our extra winter essentials in. Our cold weather grab bag. Helps that it’s got summer stripes adorning the side. Almost makes me feel like spring is right around the corner 😀

Striped Storage Tote

And shiver me timbers, when I was sorting through the basket aisle at HomeGoods I found something that looked familiar sitting there just asking me for the taking. Why yes, those are our pillows from down in the basement. 😀 Jay was like, but don’t you already have those, and I was all like, yeah, but ya never know when I might want more and by that time Homegoods won’t be selling them and I think I should grab them just in case, so I’ll have them next time I need them! #Horder

IKAT Pillows

See, look how cute they look adorning our cane chairs. At $8 each, I had to grab them for future accessorizing needs. 😀

Pillows Made in USA

Now, since my urge to fill a cart at HomeGoods is never ending, I’ve developed a little sly system for keeping myself from going broke. First, my mantra is if I don’t see myself using it (i.e. if I don’t know where I want to put it), I don’t get it. William Morris holds the key to my heart – “Have nothing in your house that you don’t find to be beautiful or useful”.

Ok, yes. The pillows may have broken rule #1. Dang. But, in my defense, I can see them in my future, so I got em. Plus, they were a steal…. 😀

My second cost saving tip – shop the clearance racks! I.E. steal of a deal pillows! Although things are already marked down at HomeGoods, I try to check out the clearance sections first, to see if there is anything that catches my fancy.

My final mantra, use dem’ credit card points, baabbbeeeyyy. Now, Jay and I are pretty low to moderate spenders, but non-the-less, we accumulate some bonus points from time to time. Instead of just letting them sit there and collect dust, I usually get a gift card to a store I know I’ll enjoy shopping at. And yes, that store is 90% of the time, HomeGoods.

Next up on my organization hit list.

Organizing Small Entry Way

Mmm… yep. In need of some HomeGoods assistance if ya ask me 😉

Mission Organization

Remember this guy? Well let’s just say the ball starting rolling over here on mission organization after creating the weekly planner I showed y’all last week. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was moving ahead gang busters on all sorts of fun organization things. 😀

Target Greenroom Gold Binder

Different things motivate different people. Throw a big fat check box in front of me and it’s game time and every time I check off a box, I’m pretty sure the neighbors here me say it – BAM. That. Just. Happened.

Best Weekly Planner

On Saturday, I started with fun things like my undies, which had been terribly unorganized since the last time I cleaned out my closet. Since I literally had underwear still in my arsenal from high school (HIGH SCHOOL) I thought it was high time to purge and just let some of them go. That’s hard for me cause I really hate to throw something away, but when they’ve got a hole in them the size of China, I fear you just gotta bite that bullet and let em’ go.

How to organize closet

Look how much better my baskets look now that I can fit all my junk in my trunk. No more overflow, just nice, neat, organized undies. BAM.

How to Organize Closet

While I was at it, I decided to tackle the notorious kitchen junk drawer. We all got em, it’s easy to spot em 😀

Here is the before. Tons of crap, tons of stuff we didn’t need.

Organized Junk Drawer

While I was cleaning up yet another room (I know, on a roll), I spotted these little drawer organizers. By George, just what the doctor ordered!

Cute Drawer Organizers

So I organized all of our junk drawer essentials into these cheery little yellow inserts. Better, yes?

Drawer Organizing Ideas

All this organizing makes me want to go out and buy some baskets, stat. Any one else out there as capital “O” obsessed with cute storage as me?

I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite locations for snagging good deals on baskets and containers to stay organized. Digg in, my friends. 🙂

Inexpensive Basket Locations

  1. Crate & Barrel: Heritage Hill Jar
  2. Container Store: Rugby Stripes Bin
  3. Lucky Clover Trading Company: Wire Mesh Basket
  4. IKEA: Kvarvick Collection
  5. HomeGoods: Jute Basket

Pillow Fight

Oh man, I’ve been thrifting again and I’ve got some mad spoils to share. Mostly, more linens 🙂 Oh, and more art. 😉 Last time I went to Kiwanis I stocked up on new sheets for the bed, but alas, these sheets were without one essential element – pillow cases.

So our extra set of pillows looked like this. Oye.

Old Pillow Cases

Rather embarrassing, especially when you have extra peeps coming through your house via airbnb. So when I found this group of bad boys for a buck a pop, I couldn’t say no.

Pillow Cases From Thrift Shop

Although not all of them are in sets, I think they will work well for spare pillows for when we have extra people in the house. I also like that they are all neutral enough that we can mix and match them with other sheet sets and not feel like they are sticking out too much. Normally, I wouldn’t go for a pattern, but I love the soft floral options we found along with the solids.

After the pillows were looking so nice and new, I thought it was a good time to tidy up the linen closet and give them a good new home. Malcolm helped. 🙂

Orange Tabby

This is how everything looked after we had them stocked away. Much better.

Organized Closet Tricks

Here’s a shot of the purty little pillows looking mighty nice organized up top.

Organizing Pillows in Closet

During our thrifting trip, I also picked up this sweet little art print, which we currently have up on the front foyer table. It adds some texture to a space that had a lot of dark wood going on right now. I think I may be starting a gold obsession over here. 😀

Antique Gold Frame

We also got a frame for the orange boy’s baby picture. Only set us back a buck and it’s the nicest little spot for us to admire his infinite cuteness.

Small Gold Frame

Has anyone else been out thrifting over the holiday? Share what you snagged!

C is for Closet

Not sure what the deal was, but I’m pretty sure that people in the 1940’s were either small humans with miniature clothes or they had a quarter of the stuff we had. Probably the latter…. One thing for sure though, ever since we moved into our house last year, we’ve immediately determined that we’d each need our own closet and since there is only one closet per bedroom, Jay got bumped to the guest room and now he actually keeps all his stuff in the basement since it’s closest to the shower he uses to get ready. So if you’re picking up what I’m putting down, it’s not the best system.

Here’s my current closet. It works … but it’s small.

Organized storage closet, Painted closet

So one of the things that makes us feel like doing cartwheels about the attic conversion is that we will have MEGA closets. Not a walk in, mind you, put super spacious compared to our current configuration. Plus, they will both be in the same room so no one has to truck it down a flight of stairs, which is an added bonus.

When configuring out the attic space, we figured the most organic spot for the closets would be in the knee wall along the front right side of the room.

Adding Closets to Knee Wall

Since this space already has a nice, open hall there, we thought it would make sense to have this be the main clothing storage location.

Our first order of business was to sketch out some quick measurements to make sure everything would be more or less centered along the wall. We knew we wanted (2) closets, and that each closet would be 60″ in length.

How to Frame a Closet

With the space we had left over, we have about 12″ between the wall and the closet and another 12″ in the space between the two closets. In all honesty, that spacing felt a wee tight – but if we went to the next size closet down, we’d be looking at a 48″ opening vs. 60″ – so it was a trade-off we were willing to make.

The great thing about using the attic as living space is that all of the knee walls offer prime time space for storage. The closets will actually be able to go FOUR FEET back, which means we are going to be able to schlep some serious junk in this trunk. My closet is currently like a foot and a half by 3 feet, so color me PUMPED to have this big of a storage chest for all my clothing goodies.

Insulating an Attic Closet

In addition to all the insulation we put between the rafters we opted to add an extra layer of foam insulation (R-5) around the closets and behind the walls to get us a bit toastier up in our b-room. Since all we had to do was grab these sheets and screw them in with drywall screws, this insulation step was vastly easier than the cutting we had to do for every single piece to fit it in between each rafter, a la the picture below. That was a hairy beast, my friend.

How to use foam board to insulate attic

For the actual framing, we just used some 2×4’s ($2.50 each) to create a basic structure for the closet. Since we won’t be having any monkey’s jumping on this bed closet, we were not overly worried about it being super structural, so we just popped a few in to give the drywall something to adhere to.

How to Frame a Closet

Our main concern when we were installing the framing was to make sure everything was square, to prevent any issues with the doors fitting, etc as we go along.

How to Build a Closet

Another tricky little detail with this whole get up was that we had to install a side access door so that we could get to an area in the back of our attic where the ceiling height is a bit lower. Good for storage, not good for beds and bathrooms and built-ins.

Before, we had an access panel that was just chilling in the middle of the room. See the wooden door on the left, below. Yeah … that’s where you got the the storage area in the attic before. That just wasn’t meshing with my whole chic attic vision.

Attic Conversion

So … the closet space seemed like the best place to pop a door in as discreetly as possible. It’s a bit of a small door, like on your hands and knees kind of door, but in all honesty, the space it opens up to is not much better. Really, we just wanted to be able to get into the room in case we had a roof leak, or a mouse scratching, one of those wonderful scenarios. 😀

You can see the access cut out below, and the door (which has not been attached yet) is off the the right. Once this area is drywalled, you’ll just see a little door there, and not a big hole. 🙂

Side Access Door in Attic

Now that we’ve got the spaces all insulated and framed, they are looking like this.

Adding Closets to Attic Knee Wall

A his and hers if I ever saw it. 20 square feet of closet space = much, much better than 5 square feet. Actually make that 20 square feet times two, since we will each of our own little closet that could. Woot.



Cleaning Out My Closet

Actually, cleaning out my husband’s completely non-functional, very frustrating, always bursting open at the seams closet. Can ya tell I’ve got some pent up frustration here? When we moved in, Jay and I had to each claim a closet in the downstairs bedrooms, since the smallish closet we have in our current Master was really not enough for two. Barely enough for one! Jay took the guest bedroom closet, along with a dresser we moved over into the room, pictured below. Sure, he is bigger than me, but I thought he was sitting awfully pretty getting the dresser and the closet, when I had to fit all my dubs into only the closet. Just sayin.

Guest Room – Dresser and Mirror

Fast forward 7-months, and it was obvious that something just wasn’t working with Jay’s clothing storage needs. When he was on a business trip earlier this month, I identified the main culprit as his shoes. His dozens and dozens of shoes that he wears maybe once a year. UGG. Not the way I function. Unless I use it often, it usually gets the heave ho. Each has it’s pros and its cons, but man, trying to get him to give up something (like a pair of shoes, he never wears), is like pulling teeth around here. Let’s just say the man is attached to his footwear.

Shoe Storage
All Jay’s Shoes

So after proposing that he rid himself of a few pairs of shoes, and coming up against a brick wall, I moved on to the next best thing. Schlepping them in another closet. He he. We have a (actually pretty nice) cedar closet in our basement, which I deemed the perfect new location for all his shoe needs. Sometimes a girl has to make executive decisions around here.

Closet Organization
All Jay’s Shoes

So after hauling all Jay’s shoe’s out onto the bed, things were looking much improved in the closet and a bit simplified. Just a note – see the green shoe on the far left, bottom side of the photo. That is Jay’s old running shoe. He lost the right footed shoe, but still insists on keeping the mate, just in case the other one lands in his lap. The total non-hoarder in me is cringing at the thought of keeping this shoe around, but I’m telling ya, I’m not dealing with a negotiating party over here! So…. the pair-free shoe lives to see another day. In another closet.

Closet Organization
Closet Before

Since the shoes were compromising all of the above closet storage space, his whitie tighties and socks and biking bag took up all the ground space. I caught this closet on a good day. After a few days/weeks of neglect, this stuff would creep out of the closet and Jay would never shut the door, so this closet would just start to slowly take over the entire room. Not going to work. Nope.

How to organize a closet
Organized Closet

After asking Jay which shoes he needed, on a daily basis, he whittled down his daily duds to the two pairs above. His biking shoes, and his running shoes. He’s an active guy, what can I say. 🙂 And, since he bikes in daily, Jay keeps his working shoes at work, which helps a bit with the closet clutter as well. Now he’s got his undies, his white under-shirts and his socks stored above, along with his two designated pairs of shoes. Yes – I can handle this! Progress!

Organized Closet
Closet Floor

Now the only thing on his floor is his biking bag, and his hamper. Ah. That is a sight for sore eyes! Pretty soon I intend to give his closet a similar paint make-over (a la my closet reno), but for now, I am peachy keen with a little extra organization.

A Horse of a Different Color

Unless you like your horse’s Pepto Bismol Pink, that is. With a faux finish, might I add. Now that the new storage has made the closet more functional, it was time to spruce this baby up and take it to the next level. It’s not good when your closet induces rage every time you open it up – grabbing your clothes in the early morning should set you off on the right foot for the day, and the pink party in there was just a little to much for plain jane me. Here it is in all it’s post paint glory.

Pink Closet Before
Faux Finish Closet

I mean just look at this trim. First, it’s magenta, which is like really bad, and then, it’s totally not painted to the edge. Not cool, not cool. Yeah, it’s a closet, I get it, but seriously this thing was ug-ly. My mission was to bring some cheer and organization to this hopeless space.

Trim Before
Trim Close Up

First, I raided our downstairs stash of paint samples and found one that was sufficiently neutral, and sufficiently full enough to cover the like 20 sq feet in the closet. I found a winner with our basement color (Behr Truffle White) and started slapping that good ole’ paint up. I was so giddy at the prospect of progress that I failed to snap a picture of the white trim getting all purty. As you can see, white > pink, no?

I found that using Frog tape works very well for making sure the floor looks nice and spiffy, and along the top section of trim I’m able to just carefully paint it. I do think that the darker the color, the harder this step is, so there are times I put painters top on the top edge as well, but this is the closet, and I was happy enough with how it looked so I just powered through to get er done.

Paint Triming
Triming Out The Closet

Here it is, looking a bit better. Definitely no longer rage inducing.

Organized storage closet, Painted closet
Closet Organization | Progress

The storage Jay built is already looking much improved with some new paint, and NO MORE pink! I decided to put all my dresses along this side wall as well, since I don’t wear these daily, they can be a bit out of reach.

Closet organization, closet storage
Closet Organization | Progress

Now that we made some extra room in the closet, I decided to add in my hamper, so it was not cluttering up our cramped Master bedroom. Plus, it encourages me to actually put my clothes in the hamper, since I see it every time I open the door for my clothes. 😉

Hamper in closet, organization
Closet Organization | Progress

And just look how much better the trim looks. Yummy white trim. Simply delectable. Love me some Benjamin Moore Simply White. Ben’s in the HOUSE.

Benjamin Moore Simply White
Benjamin Moore Simply White

So for now – this closet is checked. off. the. list. Plus, added bonus, it costed zero dollars. Used paint we had in the house, and scrap wood for the storage. Holla!!

This post is part of the William Morris Project at Pancakes and French Fries.

Closet Confession

My closet, oh my closet. If there is one thing I miss about our old house, it is our much larger, much more functional closet space. I know that I can work with the one I’ve got, but it’s been really tricky so far, and overall, this thing has been on overflow mode since we moved in. It’s been looking like this, cringe.

Closet Before Organization
Closet Before

Jay, was smart enough to demand a dresser for his extra duds. Once I realized how dire our closet situation was in this new house, I quickly gave him the boot to the guest room, and I’ve been using the closet in the Master for all of my clothes. Since the Master is so small, there really isn’t room for a dresser in there, so I’ve been resorting to only using the closet. Every time I pass the guest room I have pangs of envy when I see that big dresser just sitting there chalk full of his swag.

First I tried putting the tupperware guy above in the closet, after purging a solid amount of my clothes, I found that this solution worked ok, BUT I knew that the space could be optimized even more with some minor shelving modifications. So with desperation in my voice, I went to recruit the hubby, and low and behold, he had the PERFECT fix. I knew I kept him around for a good reason!

First, we grabbed some wood from our scrap pile. Lucky for us, the FIRST piece (the dark brown one) was just the right dimension in width, so we were able to us that as a template. And THEN low and behold, the larger piece we had was also the correct dimensions, so we didn’t have to do any cutting. Huzza! I’m taking that as a sign from the closet gods that mission organization is divinely ordained.

Closet Scrap Wood
Closet Scrap Wood

See how perfect that piece fits in there! I was impressed, and Jay was relieved, so it made for two very happy campers.

DIY closet storage
Closet Storage

Now that this chunka chunka burning wood was installed, we just needed to slap some white primer on it to get it ready for the final coat of Benjamin Moore Simply White, which is the paint color we have for all our trim. Since this shelf will have a decent amount of basket moving on it, we did a light sanding prior to help the paint stick a bit better. Plus, adding the coat of primer should help that effort a bit as well.

Priming wood shelf
Painted wood Shelf

Here it is after I grabbed some baskets to store the clothes in. I’m trying to put my t-shirts, sweatshirts and pj’s in these bins. So far, they have been pretty accessible and SO much better than that huge tupperware tote that was just chilling in the middle of the closet before, and preventing me from properly accessing all of the other areas of this closet.

Closet storage shelf, with basket, DIY closet shelf
Closet Storage Shelf

Next up – time to ditch the pepto-bismol pink sponge effect and paint this sucker!


Conquer the Closet

So I think every home has at least one spot where crap just gravitates toward. Our house, has multiple crap magnets, but we are officially down one cause I tackled the closet! Since we moved in, I’ve just been stuffing things in there. Things that totally don’t belong there. Like paystubs, old prescriptions, toilet bowl cleaner. Yeah – let’s just say it was a catch all. Here is a lovely image to help you understand how much this closet was just not functioning.

Cluttered Closet – Before

Inspired by the William Morris project over at Pancakes and French Fries, I decided that today was the day. To Conquer – that – Closet. So I started by grabbing a selection of baskets from our stash in the basement (another area in dire need of being conquered, alas, not today). And I set to work purging this baby of all it’s unnecessary items. Funny, I thought for sure we would have to take a trip to HomeGoods or Ikea to get some new storage for the closet, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a solid stash hanging out in the basement. I found that the one great thing about moving, is that you can go shopping in your house, cause ya land up hoarding random things all over the place and finding them later. It’s awesome.

Closet organization
Baskets | Closet Organziation

I started by just emptying the whole kit and caboodle out so that I could systematically tackle it. When we were packing to move to this house, I actually found that I really like organizing items into a defined space. I was the master of packing boxes. I swear, it’s like another being zapped into my body (I’m talking Quantum Leap, here – do you remember that show!?) Just like that, like vrooom – and a jolt – and this new identity takes over. I would just look at the box, and all the stuff around me I’d have to pack and it just all magically fit. The closet felt like the same type of challenge. Defined amount of space, lots of random crap to fit in. I was up to the task. My alter ego that is, was up to the task. Of course, the Orange Tabby was there for moral support.

The orange tabby helping
Malcolm Helping

I started up at the top, and just worked my way on down. Here are some close-ups of the finished closet. Found some pillows just laying around, figured the linen closet was a good place to put em’ 🙂 We have mostly linens and medicine stocked away in this cabinet, so I started compartmentalizing everything into separate totes to organize.

Closet Organization

Here is the long and lean shot of the space. Much improved! Feels good to check that beast off the list!  Only took 3-months. Let’s see how long it lasts.

Linen Closet Organization
Linen Closet Organization