Instant Upgrade: Closet

Is your closet looking “meh” and blah? Would you like for it to inspire you to have an awesome, productive day? Keep reading for some quick tips to give your closet an instant upgrade. Also, most of these suggestions are FREE!

  • Get rid of wire hangers. Get those extra wire hangers out of your closet now! They are taking up valuable space and are ugly. And unnecessary. Take them back to the drycleaners where they will be welcomed.
  • Recycle empty shoe boxes. If you’re not using the boxes to store your off-season shoes then get rid of the boxes. I know it’s tempting to hang on to them “just in case” but what are you waiting for? They take up space and collect dust. They are super easy to recycle if you take out anything plastic in the box.
  • Put a small trash can in your closet. Every closet needs a small trash receptacle for clothing tags, paper filler, old tissues, and unnecessary receipts. Otherwise, that trash ends up on the floor making your closet look messy and unkempt. Get a cute, petite trash can to hold the little trash pieces and make your closet look like a boutique.
  • Hang up your belts. Trying to hang a belt on the neck of a regular hanger takes too much time to put on and take off. Save yourself the energy and take better care of your belts by investing in a belt hanger. You’ll be able to see them all together and pick one out in 2 seconds when you’re dressing in the morning.
  • Re-group your clothes. Sort your hanging tops by sleeve length and then by color. Hang your skirts, pants, and dresses together by length. Just creating some uniformity will ease your visual clutter and give you a sense of calm.
  • Get appropriate & adequate hangers. While I love the velvet hangers for blouses, dresses, and trousers there are other hangers you may need to get for specific clothing. Skirts and shorts should be hung on hangers with clips at the waist band. This keeps them from getting wrinkled. Heavy coats need a wooden or heavy plastic hanger. Men’s suits are best hung on a suit hanger to keep the jacket and pants together and wrinkle free. It makes me crazy to see skirts flung over a hanger or multiple items on one. Each piece of clothing needs its own hanger!
  • Adjust your lighting. Maybe your bulb just needs to be changed but keep the lighting strong in your closet. Most of us have lower ceilings so we are stuck with a flush mount. But, there may be more than one bulb in there. Make sure you’ve got enough light so you can see what you’re about to put on. Those navy and black pants can look awfully similar!

Take a few minutes to make a few adjustments and you’ll be on your way to an upgraded closet in no time. Plus you’ll feel better being able to see exactly what you have in your closet. And your clothes will thank you by becoming less wrinkled. 😉

Happy organizing!


One Room Challenge
                  One Room Challenge

Yay, it’s here! The big reveal for my Closet Makeover! I can not tell you how excited I am that I did this whole project but that I had you here to keep me motivated and on target. It is so easy to let projects slide, especially ones that are for ourselves. We tell ourselves that nobody is going to see it so why bother but it is important to take care of ourselves and have our homes and closets be our refuge.

Closet Makeover Before

closet makeover before
Closet Makeover Before

SO here is where we started:

  • organized but not very pretty
  • lots of piles of shoes #homelessshoes
  • piles of sweaters, jeans, s horts, you get the picture
  • no easy access to bags
  • extra piece of furniture
  • dark corners with lots of dust!

And this is where it all got better. First we started by clearing out the stuff I no longer wore, needed, loved, etc. That included this dress from the early ‘90’s.

closet makeover before
Bye bye old dress that I haven’t worn in 20+ years

I pulled down the old, yucky shelves and patched holes. Yuck. Painted the walls and ceiling a lovely light lavender and changed out the light fixture.

Pretty new light fixture--very hard to photograph
Pretty new light fixture–very hard to photograph

Pretty shelves and a pretty color!

Then came the new shelves and drawers. Hallelujah!


Putting it all back was actually a snap because I’d already measured and knew where everything was going.

It’s always nice to have a spot for some artwork and pretty arrangements. I now have a convenient place for travel bags and the essential safety pins & extra buttons.

Sweaters get stacked by type so they are easy to find and even easier to put away–which is half the battle with organization.

Purses and a few sentimental items.

Sweaters stacked by type: turtlenecks, v-necks, crewneck, etc.

Shoes are SO much easier to see and put away. I love that I can sit in my chair when I put them on or off.

Short hang skirts and blouses grouped together by type and sleeve length

Here’s my longer items like dresses and jackets. Belts hang here, too.

And there is room to spare! I love having an empty shelf. It gives me room to breathe.
And there is room to spare! I love having an empty shelf. It gives me room to breathe.


Inserted a rug and a small chair and it’s all done!

Yay! It's done! I love my new closet!
Yay! It’s done! I love my new closet!

Have you been following the other One Room Challenge participants? Major eye candy here! You can find me reading these the rest of the week. It is so inspiring to see what others have accomplished, especially the DIY projects. I’m inspired to try more makeovers in other rooms of my house!
In case you were wondering where everything came from here are the sources:
Chair & rug:

Light: Home Depot

Shelves & drawers: ELFA from The Container Store

I’d love to hear what you think of the Closet Makeover in the comments below. Are you ready for your own makeover?

Happy Organizing!

Neatsmart Closet Makeover – Week 5 ORC

One Room Challenge
                            One Room Challenge

Welcome to week 5 of the One Room Challenge: Closet Makeover—only 1 more week before the big reveal! If you haven’t seen the other weeks’ posts, you can catch up here with Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and my sad Week 4 with no progress pictures. 🙁 Check out the other participants while you are catching up. There is some great inspiration here!

Left side of closet with shelves installed
Left side of closet with shelves installed. I’m loving the slight lavender wall tint. 🙂

Much progress has been made due to the shelves being installed (and photographed!)! As I mentioned before, I chose to go with white wire ELFA from the Container Store. They are definitely an investment but an investment in yourself and your sanity is always worth it. Knowing exactly what you have in your cliset and where it all goes is PRICELESS.

And if you can make it a littler prettier and more reflective of you along the way, then that’s all the better. Everything in your home should be a reflection of who you are 😉

Right side of closet with ELFA shelves installed
Right side of the closet. Notice the door to attic crawl space. I couldn’t cover it up but it’s not pretty.

ELFA is great because it is highly customizable. The problem is, you have to know exactly what you have to determine the types of drawers or shelves or hanging space you’re going to need. Week 3 was all about taking measurements of my clothes, shoes, and accessories to know what kind of storage I’d need.

I LOVE the rug in the closet as well. It’s my favorite color and just adds a little luxury in an often overlooked spot. I got it at

One room challenge, organized closet
       Happy colors = happy closet

Some other closet considerations most people forget about are:

  1. Where to store luggage and tote bags. These items aren’t clothes so we tend to not include them in the space allocation.
  2. Where is the closest place to sit to put on shoes? I was fortunate and could add small chair. Yippee!
  3. Is there a trash can nearby for tags, pocket lint, and trash? I’ve organized many a closet that didn’t have a trashcan nearby so this just ended up on the floor.
  4. Where is a hamper for my dirty clothes? They need a home, too.
  5. Where do I put my change? (see #3—this also ends up on the floor a lot!)
  6. Where do I put extra buttons that come with my clothes?

Closet essentials
Closet essentials: safety pins, extra thread, & buttons

If you learn nothing else from reading this post, learn this: you MUST have a designated place for storing buttons, beads, sequins, and safety pins that come with your new or cleaned clothes!

IF you don’t have a home for them they will be scattered throughout your entire home. Then, when you need that extra button or a safety pin, you’ll have no idea where to find it.

You can use something as simple as a jewelry box, glass jar, or tea tin or you can get fancy and pull out a china or crystal bowl. Just use something! I guarantee this will save you hours of frustration over your lifetime.

orc-5-3I can’t wait to show you the final project at next’s week’s reveal! I’ve still got some tweaking to do to make it all work. Have you been following along with the other participants in the One Room Challenge? These are some amazing transformations that are happening right now!

Happy organizing!

Neatsmart Closet Makeover – Week 4 ORC

One Room Challenge
                    One Room Challenge

Welcome to week 4 of the One Room Challenge—only 1 more week before the final unveiling of my Closet Makeover! There is nothing like a time deadline and other people watching to keep you from slacking off help you achieve a goal. If you want to catch up, here are the previous posts: Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3.

For me this week was all about the dirty work that I love in theory but hate in practice because it always takes twice or 3x the time, makes a bigger mess, and has some weird obstacle that makes me want to quit. Sound familiar?

This was my to do list from last week


  1. Take EVERYTHING out of the closet so I can… ✓
  2. Take down current shelves ✓
  3. Patch holes ✓
  4. Paint ✓
  5. Select & install new light fixture ✓
  6. New closet installation (this is supposed to happen on Tuesday) ✓
  7. Put clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. back where they are supposed to go. This is also a good time to look at cloths a 2nd time to see if I REALLY want to keep them. ✓ (But I’m not sure if everything will stay where it is)

Let me tell you, everything took 3 times as long and was a bigger pain than I planned for but it all worked out in the end. Plus I learned how to change out a light fixture and not get a divorce in the same weekend!

Taking everything out of the closet was major! I had planned and brought my rolling rack up to hold most of my hanging clothes but I swear they took up more space here than in the closet. There were baskets full of shoes, folded clothes, stacks of bins, and just random clothes tossed around because….


This is HUGE! This was a great lesson for me to remind clients that if you don’t have a home for things they will end up EVERYWHERE and you won’t be able to find things in time to get dressed! The visual clutter added to my stress level because nothing was where I expected it to be. My beautifully organized closet did not exist. It certainly was wearing my last nerve (and my husband’s) that there were clothes draped over the bathtub, on the counter, and on the floor in complete disarray. I thought it would be a fast turn around but that was not the case.

Remember I had decluttered before all of this started, too. Or so I thought….:-)

Pulling down the shelves took a little longer than expected. You never know until you get started, though, because there is no reason to remove your shelves just for fun.

Patching the holes was not so great, either. I don’t think I’m going to win any Miss Spackle awards any time soon.

I did decide on a lovely color, though, which made me very happy. SW Inspired Lilac looked like just the slightest purple on the chip but, like you decorators know, on the wall is darker. I’m happy with it but I have to remember that lesson: it always looks darker once it’s painted.

SW - White Iris
                                         SW – White Iris

UH OH!!!

It’s at this point in writing this that I realize I have zero (0) photos to go with this post. Yep, Z.E.R.O. Zilch. Pas de tout.

Anyone in the blog world will tell you that you MUST have photos or you’re a moron and nobody will read your post. I wouldn’t blame them. I took plenty of photos…..on my Instagram story. I just neglected to download them before they disappeared. #duh  So I can’t show you the great “I’m making such awesome progress photos.” I’ll share what I can but you’re going to have to trust me on this one. *major sad face*  🙁

organized closet, closet makeover
This is one of the few pictures I have. Painting has been completed!

The painting has been completed, new light is installed and I’m ready for shelves and bars to be installed as well. My chair and rug have arrived. I mentioned this earlier but I’ll say it again: I chose ELFA on my own and received no compensation for using or mentioning The Container Store. While I use their products ALL THE TIME for clients, I also chose this product for myself. They are expensive. No question. But for me the expense is totally worth it.

organized closet makeover
One of the few pictures I did save.

organized closet makeover
Terrible picture of the new fixture.

When I can find what I need in the morning quickly, I save time and am not harried. Knowing exactly where everything goes and having a home for everything is priceless. My sanity was starting to sway a little bit having clothes and shoes all over the place and not even close to being in order. I am not OCD but anyone can tell you that visual clutter leads to mental clutter.

Invest in a system that works for you. ELFA may not be the answer but you’ve got to find what works for you and your budget. IKEA has some great closet organizing solutions that work great. I’ve worked with clients who use shoe boxes and whatever hanger they can find due to budgets and they make it work. Just get a system so that you can:
• Put clothes & shoes away easily. If you don’t have a home for it how do you know where it should be?
• They are hung or folded or simply placed so you can use them with minimal fuss
• You can see what you have. If you don’t know what you have to wear, how can you know what to put on in the morning.

This whole project is all about making life easier for myself and a beautiful closet is just what I need to make my mornings stress-free.

What would make your mornings easier? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

GO see the progress on all of the other projects in The One Room Challenge. I bet THEY have pictures!

Happy organizing!


Neatsmart Closet Makeover – Week 1 ORC


So how many of you are familiar with the One Room Challenge? If you are, skip to 2 paragraphs down. If not, let me explain: it’s a 6 week challenge for people to make over a room in their home. There are designers, tastemakers, and style mavens who are invited to participate but also mere mortals can link up as well to show their on designing and making over a room in their home. It’s really fun to watch the process of redesigning a room take place right in front of your eyes. It’s like a slowed down version of an HGTV-design show but with real people. To learn more about the ORC history, click here to visit Calling it Home.

One Room Challenge


For me, it’s all about the closet and, like you and clients I help, it’s all about accountability. We all want to make changes and see progress but sometimes we need someone to hold our feet to the fire and force us to actually get it done. Having 6 weeks, and no more, to share what’s going on whether it’s going according to plan or not, is the point of the project.


Did I mention I'm not a photographer?
Did I mention I’m not a photographer?


As much as I’d like to say this will be a piece of cake, I need help, too. I’ve been planning on redoing my closet for years now. Let’s just say we’ve got a “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” kind of situation going on here. The professional organizer’s closet isn’t so pretty. Yes, I have good hangers and a shoe rack but I’ve also got a bridesmaid dress that I’m not wearing again, expensive, uncomfortable shoes that give me the evil eye, and emotionally charged detritus #thatijustcan’tbeartopartwith. I’m going to have to take my own medicine and hire myself (ha!) to get my closet made over and organized.

Embarrassing lack of order here.
Embarrassing lack of order here.

The process I’m taking myself through is exactly what I take clients through.

  • Discuss goals, timeframe, and budget. What does an organized closet look like to you? Everyone has a different concept there.
  • Go through every item in the closet to determine if it needs to be kept, stored elsewhere, donated, discarded, etc
  • Once the excess has been removed, you can start to design the solution. Now you know what you’re working with. The solution will meet client’s lifestyle, personality, and design aesthetic.
  • Get any necessary supplies
  • Put it all together
  • Stand back and admire

There may be some “rinse and repeat” steps that you have to go through in the above list but that’s the overall process to get an organized closet with me.

Help! I can't even reach the top shelf nor can I really see what's up there.
Help! I can’t even reach the top shelf nor can I really see what’s up there.

This is not the smallest closet in the world but it is also not the largest. There is a slanted ceiling to content with and I’m going to have to take the door off temporarily so you can see both sides. Oh, and there’s a door to attic storage that this dresser is currently blocking that will need to be removed. While it is one of my favorite pieces of furniture, it shouldn’t be put in a closet: It needs to be out where it can be admired. 🙂

And what’s so fun about this challenge is watching other designers’ and bloggers’ room transformations. It’s ah-mazing  the level of creativity that is out there. So click here to look at the others participating.

I’ll give the list of problems and the plan to handle those challenges next week. I hope you’ll enjoy reading and maybe pick up a tip or two! 😉 Happy organizing!