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!


Beautiful & Functional Pantry Organization

organized pantry
Julie’s pantry before
pantry organization
Pantry side view before

Neatsmart had the pleasure of working on a fun and challenging pantry organization project. Julie Silber, owner of Décor Joy, a company that provides a turnkey system for running an interior design business, contacted me seeking organization help for her pantry, junk drawer, coat closet, and other storage cabinets. Her family had just moved into a gorgeously renovated home but had downsized significantly so were missing some closets. ;-0

Because all of these spaces were found in public areas of the home, she naturally wanted these areas organized but also to be aesthetically pleasing.

It was a perfect fit for Neatsmart’s philosophy of seeking, preaching, and teaching that organization should be beautiful. It all just needed to coordinate aesthetically since doors would be open and visible. We wanted to make sure it all matched with Julie’s design theme of “beachy and happy.”

Fortunately, Julie and I share a love of baskets which made our collaboration all that more fun. After discussing a few options, we zeroed in on these water hyacinth style baskets. These were great in the pantry because they were open on the top, came in a variety of sizes, and are built with a frame so they are sturdy.

While the pantry shelves were adjustable, it was important to have the shelves the same height so it would be easier on the eyes and a consistent view.  “Measure twice, cut/buy once” is the mantra to learn here. Also, it’s important to create the categories of food that work for the client’s organized pantry to function well. For Julie, it was “breakfast, savory snacks, sweet snacks” and so forth.

We needed to have a section for the dog food and treats to be grouped together, a section for coffee, paper napkins, and plastic ware.

They are big cereal fans and like a lot of variety on hand. So while we wanted to have the shelves all the same height, it made more sense to have a shelf below the counter dedicated to cereal storage. This now needed to balance the other side with the canned goods. We found a balance between function and appearance by using bamboo lazy susans for the canned good storage.  We also used one for storing cooking oils to keep them in easy reach.

organized pantry, baskets
Bread & snack boxes, bamboo lazy susans

Like me, Julie and her family like their snacks so we added the pop of turquoise with the bread and snack boxes. Placed within easy reach, they provide a place to keep snacks, like muffins and cookies, away from the dog, Rocco, a sweet Great Dane, but not completely out of sight where they might be forgotten.

Baskets with chalkboard labels
Baskets with chalkboard labels

And since we were organizing for a family, it was essential to have the baskets labeled with what was stored in each one. We used chalkboard labels, tied with baker’s twine, and paint pens to get the look that was not only easy to read but coordinated with the design. If everything just looks good but you can’t find anything or don’t know were things go, you do not have an organization system; you have beautiful chaos. We wanted everyone to be happy with the organized pantry plan and these tags were a big part of that plan.

Here are the products used for this project:

Container Store:  Water hyacinth baskets

Amazon:  Bamboo lazy susans

Amazon:  Bread & snack boxes

Julie did the beautiful styling of the middle section since this would be visible from the kitchen and other public areas. I especially love her combination of canned goods with mineral water bottles and cookbooks.Even though there is a pocket door that you can use to close off the pantry, in reality it would probably be left open. We were able to combine form and function and make it easy to maintain as well.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this pantry in the comments below. Do you use baskets in yours?

Happy organizing!