Category Archives: Closet

2014 Spaces to Organize

I haven’t been able to put together a comprehensive plan for the organizing projects I’d like to work on this year. So I thought I’d get started right now with a list of the most pressing, nagging, annoying projects I’d like to tackle and share it with you here.


OfficeOur office is the first room you see when you walk in our house and there are no doors to close it off. It’s listed as a dining room on the floor plan and it’s right off the kitchen and main living area of our home. I both love and hate that about it. I don’t get a lot of time to sit in my office so it’s convenient to access but that also means that things get dumped here. When we moved in, I immediately installed my Elfa shelving, unpacked the boxes and created a raised desk surface that is counter-height (and did little else). It’s helped to keep the little man out of our stuff but now he’s able to climb onto my chair and access everything…and does…daily. *sigh*. I did not invest a ton of time in creating systems because 1) I didn’t have the time or the energy 2) I like to live in and use a space before I try to optimize it’s functionality. Additionally, I haven’t quite figured out how to incorporate a craft space into our home. I like to do crafts with my son but also want a space for my own projects and supplies.


Kitchen Breakfast CabinetDue to my profession and the fact that I tend to let go of things easily, the kitchen is pretty well organized. There are some areas I haven’t touched since we moved in so they’re in need of attention. We have been here a year now and don’t have any plans to move anytime soon, so I think it’s ok to start settling in. Plus, with a toddler in the house, there are things we can phase out (baby dishes and cups, etc.) and others we need to make room for. Finally, I thought I would use our breakfast cabinet as an example to post here, so I’ve been neglecting it for a while.

Storage Closet

Storage ClosetWe have an oddly placed storage closet in the main living area between the dining area and living room. The previous owners used it as a pantry but we have all of our pantry items in the actual kitchen. It has ended up becoming a catch-all and it’s pretty cluttered and non-functional right now. Plus, as Max grows and gets into more things it’s become a place to quickly stash items I don’t want him to have access to, where the old “home” no longer works.




Play Area/Toy Storage

Play AreaPlay Area Kitchen






We are lucky enough to have a pretty large living area where we were able to incorporate a bit of toy storage. In our previous rental home, I tried using the sunroom off of our main living area as a play space for the little man but I learned that we all prefer having his play space in the main living area of the house. It has worked out pretty well so far except with his birthday and Christmas occurring within three months of each other and the fact that he is changing so quickly, we are in need of a purge.

Max’s Bedroom (Books & Stuffed Animals)

Max's BR- Books & Stuffed AnimalsLions and tigers and bears, oh, my! Where in the world did all of these books and animals {there are more in the living room play area} come from? I will remind family that he doesn’t need anymore stuffies, he’s got plenty to love. And, I’ve put in a request for only classic books. It’s time to let go of the lower quality items and the ones he’s outgrown and make sure to assign a home for the ones that stay…and that may require a build. But it will be simple…I hope!

Garage Workshop

Garage WorkshopLast year, I made over a corner of our garage into a workout space for my husband. I’m thrilled that he has a space that functions specifically for something he loves doing. However, I want in on it! OK, I have already taken over the rest of the space, but it just needs to be *much* more functional. Yes, that’s my brand-new sliding compound miter saw sitting on the floor. Let’s just say I underestimated the footprint required for it to operate. It fits on the bench but requires more clearance for the saw to slide, so I’m planning to incorporate a miter saw cart into the workbench design. I have a vision for the space but have budget and time constraints {plus, a bajillion other projects I’d like to accomplish} so it’s one step at a time.

My Wardrobe/Closet/Dresser

MBR ClosetConfession of this Professional Organizer: this is my Achilles Heel. I’m lucky enough right now to have enough space to store and organize my clothing. But my problem is letting go…yes, even professional organizers struggle with this. I’ve found that even the super-organized have at least one area that they hold on to too much. I have heels but no place to wear them {and history including several serious ankle sprains that make it painful anyway}, suits and work clothes that may or may not fit but I don’t need them for my current job of Mom CEO. Speaking of the mom job, my body seems to have settled in to it’s new normal- thank goodness! I have been so frustrated trying to keep up to my fluctuating wardrobe needs since I became pregnant with my son three years ago. Finally, things have been tight for several years after I gave up my corporate consulting gigs so I’ve been reluctant to let go of anything because I can’t afford to replace it. Well, just because I can’t afford to replace it doesn’t mean that I wear it, does it? I AM READY. I want to let go of the old so I can make room for the new, or even just make room for the things I do wear and love.

Phew, when I started writing this list I thought it was going to have two or three things on it but I had to stop myself at six! Now that we’ve been in our house a year, I’ve deemed it time to make it H-O-M-E. This is the first time in a looooong time I’ve been ready to do so. During the last several years, we’ve moved quite frequently, sometimes several states away and sometimes down the block to homes with garages and yards up to 2200 square feet to postage stamp patios or balconies as small as 1100 square feet and no storage…oh, and we had a baby. So our focus has really been on surviving and making it day to day or week to week. Now that we’ve settled in, figured out how we use the space and have ideas for how we’d like to improve it. Is there a space (or more than one) in your home that you are desperate to make more functional? Which room is it and what is/isn’t working for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Having a Tough Time Letting Go of Stuff?

hangersWhen I think of organization, the first word that comes to mind is flow. According to Merriam-Webster, flow means to move in a continuous and smooth way. Think of water flowing from a stream- if there are barriers, it will overflow. If not, it will continue to flow to the river and on to to the ocean. And, even when you don’t see any disruption in the surface, the water is still flowing and moving. Now try to apply this concept of movement or flow not only to getting stuff done but also to the flow of stuff into (and out of your home/life). While we often don’t have many obstacles to acquiring things, whether it’s paper, books, toys, clothing, gadgets, etc. we often have barriers to letting go. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the top three obstacles to getting and staying organized. It’s important to focus on finding ways of letting go that work with your personality and way of processing.

I mentioned one method for letting go in a post last month and thought I’d share another today. If you’ve watched any of the home organizing shows on TV you’re probably already familiar with the “hanger trick”. This comes in very handy when deciding what to let go of in your closet. In my experience, most people don’t have an accurate picture of how often they wear something or when they wore it last. This method will provide you with visual evidence. It’s much easier to let go of something when you know that you haven’t used/needed it.

Hanger Trick

First, hang all of your hangers in a reverse position so that the open part of the hook is facing you. After wearing and washing an item, hang it back up and switch the hanger to the standard position. If an item gets pulled down but not worn, make sure it goes back on the hanger in the reverse position. Then, in 1/3/6 months or whatever time frame works for you {put a sticky note in your closet to remind you of your designated deadline}, scan your closet for any items still hanging in the reverse position. I highly recommend putting those in your donate bin. Obviously, seasonal items need to be addressed in the season they are worn.

Basket Trick

OK, so what about clothing and belongings that don’t live on hangers? My basket trick is a variation on the hanger trick and works in a similar way. Take your sock drawer, for example. Simply dump {or place} everything from your sock drawer into a bin or a basket. Each time a pair of socks gets worn and washed, return it to your sock drawer. At the end of a month or so, whatever is left in the basket needs to go, again seasonal items may be an exception. This method can work with just about any item that you use on a regular basis. Come to think of it, it can work well to thin your DVD collection, craft supplies, paper/digital files, etc. You just may want to extend the time frame and have the ability to store the “holding basket” in a closet or out of the way space.

While you’re at it, check out this fantastically helpful post on closet organizing by my friend, Geralin Thomas. There are lots of nuggets that you can put to use. Though, I’m not sure about the list from The Pocket Stylist {even for a wardrobe illiterate like me} but I do love Geralin’s advice on MIA’s!

My wardrobe is definitely my hot-spot in that I have difficulty letting go. Are you with me? Or do you have a different hot-spot? Or is all of your stuff your hot-spot?

31 Days of Real Life Organizing

Last week I posted about whether or not your organizing measures up to what you see & read in magazines, blogs and on Pinterest. I feel strongly that you deserve to have a home that is organized, warm and welcoming for yourself and others who live and visit there. In addition, I am just as convinced that you can have that without putting the rest of your life on hold. There are lots of simple ways to start making progress towards that goal. I’m sharing what I’ve learned on my journey as a professional organizer and in organizing my own home.


I just learned about TheNester’s 31 Days Annual Writing Challenge and I thought it would be a good way to push myself to write more on the topic. I realize I’m a day late but I figured it’s better to get started late than not to do it at all, right? {a bit of foreshadowing into my second post…}

So for the next 31 days {well, 30, since I’ll post two today}, I’m going to share insights, projects, tips and tools on Real Life Organizing.

You can follow my blog in your RSS feed or follow the 31 Days of Real Life Organizing on Pinterest or you can even pin this post so you can refer back to it throughout or at the end of the 31 days.

Once it’s published, I’ll link up each day’s post in the list below:

  1. How to Get Started Organizing at Home
  2. Perfectly Organized
  3. Oops! 9 Most Common Home Organizing Mistakes
  4. Get Organized. Get Inspired.
  5. How Long Will It Take to Get Organized
  6. RA-RA For Organizing Paper!
  7. The Four Step Foundation for Real Life Organizing & Free Printable
  8. Redefining The Inbox
  9. Are You a Perfectionator?
  10. Get Organized in 15 Minutes or Less?
  11. My Top 10 List of Organizing Myths
  12. Get Organized. Get Inspired. {Useful & Beautiful}
  13. 11 Reasons Your Home Organizing Projects Fail
  14. Create Clutter-Free Holiday Decor: Halloween Edition
  15. How To Organize Product Manuals & Warranty Information
  16. What Organizing Isn’t
  17. How Long To Organize a Room?
  18. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room
  19. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room- Part I
  20. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room- Part II
  21. My Favorite Containers- The Basics
  22. Organizing Rules For Results
  23. 3 Reasons To Think Outside The Box {Or Bin or Container}
  24. Get Organized. Get Inspired.
  25. Take Action On Your Paper Piles
  26. Loathing Laundry?  4 Reasons We Love to Hate Laundry
  27. Organizing Quickie in the Closet
  28. Baby Steps for Tackling Paper Clutter
  29. How Do I Get My Spouse Organized?
  30. Organizing Solution for Kids Activities and Gear
  31. Simplify For The Holidays

Ciao for now!