Uncomplicate your outerwear

I trust you put away your Halloween decor this week. What’s nice is that pumpkins can segue nicely to Thanksgiving but you do have to get rid of the spiderwebs and other scary stuff. Just make sure it’s clean and dry before you put it away in your clearly labeled “Halloween Decor” box. 😉

Speaking of putting things away….when was the last time you decluttered your outerwear like winter coats, hats, gloves, and scarves? My guess is you put all of these away last year not even thinking if you would still be wearing it this year. Or you just closed the door on the coat closet 9 months ago and didn’t give it another thought.

This week, I want you to spend 15 minutes going through all of your winter outer wear. This means coats, gloves, hats, and scarves.

  1. Does your coat fit? Does it need repair? Will you wear it again? Does it need to be cleaned?
  2. Ditto for your kids’ coats. They grow so fast they may have outgrown last year’s coat already.
  3. Check the pockets of your coats for money, tissues, hair ties, and any other treasures you may have forgotten about. You’d be amazed at how much cash I find in coat pockets when organizing closets.
  4. Do the gloves and mittens have mates? Match them up if you can find them.
  5. Are these scarves and hats ones that you would wear and use again? 

If you answered “no” to any of these questions regarding wearing again, it’s time to donate to someone in need. If it’s just taking up space in your closet and you won’t use it, pass it on to someone who needs it. What you’re ready to let go of could be exactly what someone else needs!

You can donate gently used coats, gloves, hats, scarves to local charity and drop off sites. Check with nearby churches and synagogues who may sponsor coat drop offs for other charities like MUST Ministries in Marietta. You can also search for a local retail locations or non-profit that is accepting donations for the One Warm Coat Project.

Just spend a few minutes this week going through your outerwear and donate what you and your family no longer need. Your closet will thank you and so will a stranger who needed to stay warm!

NEATSMART CLOSET MAKEOVER – Done!

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

orc-5-1
Pretty shelves and a pretty color!

Then came the new shelves and drawers. Hallelujah!

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

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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.

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

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Purses and a few sentimental items.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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: Overstock.com

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 Overstock.com.

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….

THEY DIDN’T HAVE A HOME

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 3 ORC

One Room Challenge

This is the half way point of the One Room Challenge and my closet makeover yet I’m not sure I’m half way to completion—yikes! Here are my posts for week 1 and week 2 if you need to catch up. I’ve got a lot of things to do in short succession and this is where careful project management is key to make sure I follow the critical path.

Here is what I’ve done thus far:

  1. Designed the overall look I wanted
  2. Purged what I no longer need—probably the hardest part of this whole project.
  3. Assessed needs for medium/long hang, short hang, shoes, bags, luggage, accessories, etc. This included measuring stacks of jeans and shorts as well as the linear length of hanging clothes.
  4. Detailed design work with with the Container Store for ELFA solution. This is a personal choice, not a sponsor-influenced selection.
  5. Ordered & received rug and chair for closet.

One room challenge, organized closet
Rug for the closet has come in. This makes me really happy. Your closet should make you happy, too.

One room challenge, organized closet
Chair for the closet came in, too. I’m lucky because I’ll now have a place to sit down when I put on my shoes, which is important for any closet or dressing area.

And this is what remains:

  1. Take EVERYTHING out of the closet, including the furniture,  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.
  8. Put door back on
  9. Final touches!

So 9 items to do over the course of 3 weeks doesn’t seem so bad but in any home project you have to account for delay and things beyond your control. I haven’t picked paint colors yet and that is something I usually labor over a long time.

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My drawings with measurements and calculations of what I’ll need. Bottom right is the plan for the right wall.

However, it HAS to be done by Tuesday because the new system will be installed then. Deadlines are good for me but they also give me anxiety thinking things like, “will this really work?” “Am I going to like this?” “Did I measure correctly (gulp)?” “Should I have gone with platinum finish instead of white?”

organized closet, folding clothes
I had to measure just how much space my shorts would take up so I could figure out how many drawers I would need.
It’s pretty easy, you just fold, stack, and measure.

organized closet, one room challenge
Same process for jeans & anything else that will be folded. Now you can really see what’s in your closet.

One Room Challenge, organized closet
How much space do I need for shirts (short hang)? Line them up and measure across. I did the same for skirts & pants and added the numbers together.

One thing I’ve been stressing over is not only the color of the closet but also the walls themselves. I’ve always thought that a wallpaper would look great and be a fun addition but I just didn’t get my act together in time to select one. I was anxious thinking about where to go, what it should look like, who would install it on short notice, etc. You can practically cut the anxiety with a knife.

But I have to remind myself that it is a closet and it doesn’t have to be perfect—life isn’t perfect. You make the best decisions you can with the information you have at the time and go with it. If you delay waiting for it to be perfect, you’ll never get it done. You just keep spinning in circles getting nowhere.

Let me go find find my fan deck so I can select a paint color! I definitely want a light color since there’s not a ton of light in the closet and the clothes will absorb a lot. Right now I’m thinking of…

SW Glimmer
SW Glimmer

SW Snow Drop--is there any difference?
SW Snow Drop–is there any difference?

Too purple?
SW White Iris–Too purple?

This is why choosing a paint color is stressful! What do you suggest? I’d love to hear in the Comments below. 🙂

Have you been reading about the other transformations going on?  There are some amazing projects taking place. I’d rather binge-read all of the updates is than watch TV!  Click here to look at the others participating.

Happy organizing!

Neatsmart Closet Makeover – Week 2 ORC

One Room ChallengeThere is a lot of work to be done here. While it’s a small closet and relatively ok in terms of organization, I have a ways to go. I started the week off on a good foot by taking the door off. And that is just part of the problem. I’ve got a door on one side that takes up a third of the space on that side of the closet, a door that goes to attic storage plus a slanted wall that means I can’t put any storage there. I’ll only have 2 walls that I can use for hanging and shelves.

u.g.l.y.
u.g.l.y.

Your closet should not cause you stress when you open the door. There is enough to challendge you on a daily basis that “fighting” or “fearing” my closet should not be on your radar. It seems like a simple notion but I guarantee that if your morning dressing routine is easy, the rest of your day will be better. Or put another way, if your morning routine gives you anxiety, the rest of yoru day is going to be a serious challenge.

The first task in any organization project is to get rid of what is extraneous. That could be trash, donations, or things that just don’t belong this space. So I’m asking myself these questions about each item of clothing:

  • Do I love this?
  • Do I wear it?
  • Does it suit my current lifestyle?
  • Do I need it?

If the answer is “no” to any of the above then the following questions are then asked to determine what to do with it:

  • Is there someone else who can use this?
  • Could I try to sell it?
  • Should I donate it?

This is where a lot of people lose steam and give up. Going through each item in your closet, trying them all on to see if everything fits, and then just thinking about what to do with the rejects is massively overwhelming. If this is how you feel, don’t worry. Most people do. Making decisions is hard and when you factor in an emotional attachment to clothing (I wore this on our honeymoon, I used to be this size, I was a runner at one time) it makes the purging process that much harder.

orc-2-2You have to remember that time passes and your circumstances change. For example, You may no longer be working in a corporate job so you probably don’t need as many suits anymore. Even if you go back to that type of work, those clothes may or may not fit you. Let someone else who needs them NOW use them.

Or maybe you were a smaller size a few years ago and you’ve been working on getting back to that size. Those smaller clothes are a reminder of where you are not. Let someone who is that size NOW use those clothes. When you get to that size, you can reward your efforts with a new replacement.

Another hurdle is holding on to the reminder of a previous lifestyle. Maybe you were an athlete in college, or participated in some fun activities like swing dancing or ice climbing a while back. You worked hard and should be proud of those accomplishments. But getting rid of those clothing reminders doesn’t mean you are closing the door to that time in yoru life nor does it erase the memories. Take pictures of these items or even frame them if they are so meaningful. But you can pass them on if they are no longer part of your lifestyle today. It’s ok. You’re still a rock star/ athlete!

80% of the time, you should probably just donate the item but there are cases where a relative or friend might be a good recipient for something that doesn’t suit or fit you.

Sometimes you can sell the item if it’s relatively new and not worn. You can consign at a local store or use an online service like Poshmark or ThredUp. You can also post items on Facebook selling groups to sell locally. My caveat for trying to sell is to think of the time and effort you have to put into photographing, listing or posting, and responding to inquiries. You will find that your time is much more valuable than the item you are selling. Not always, but frequently. Our perception of the value and what the market will bear can be a wide canyon.

closet-design
Here’s the general plan: ELFA shelves and hanging, new light, new rug, and a place for shoes.

 

Once I’ve purged the excess, I can move on to the next phase: Measure. I’ll measure the height and width of the walls first to know how much space I have to put rod and drawers on the walls.

Then I have to measure how much space the various types of clothes take up. This is fun! No, seriously. I’ll measure for the following figures:

  • Short hang: shirts, skirts, pants, jackets
  • Long hang: dresses, long skirts, coats
  • Folded items: includes t-shirts, shorts, jeans, workout clothes, pajamas, underwear
  • Shoes: how much linear space do they take up
  • Other shelf requirements: purses, tote bags, hats, etc.

Purge first then figure out what you’ve got to work with. I love it!

Have you looked at the other transformations going on?  Click here to look at the others participating.

Happy organizing!

How Clutter Costs You Money: Closet Edition

DSC_0016
Not bad, but not great either.

Continuing with our topic of how clutter costs you money, we now move to the closet. Look at your closet the same way you look at your pantry: do you know what is in there? Are clothes neatly folded or tossed into piles? Do you know what is clean and what is dirty? Does everything fit? Does anything fit? Do you wear the same things over and over again and skip over other items consistently?

Taking care of the clothes that you have will save you money by not having to replace items constantly. A suit, for example, doesn’t need to be cleaned very often but aired out after wearing. If you leave it on the floor or in a pile it’s going to have to be sent to the cleaners prior to wearing again because it will be wrinkled and smelly.  Going to the cleaners costs money in terms of time and the actual expense plus you don’t have that suit for a few days. Frequently people pull something out of their closet to wear only to realize that it needs to be repaired. It goes into a pile or back in the closet thereby remaining un-wearable. They buy another one instead of repairing and add to the general clothing inventory. Wouldn’t it have been better to repair the item? Yes, it would have cost less money and you wouldn’t have multiples of the same item, confusing you as to what is wearable and what isn’t.

Do your clothes fit? Do you save multiple sizes of clothes “just in case…?” Staying a consistent size will save you money by not, again, having multiples of items in different sizes. I’d suggest a size larger and a size smaller is the maximum range you want to hang on to and even then pay attention to what you wear consistently.

Can you see your clothes? Do you have to go through piles to find a particular item? Keeping shirts, trousers, skirts, jackets, etc. on hangers will help keep your clothes not only in order so you can see them but wrinkle free, too. Sweaters, tee shirts, and other knits should be neatly folded so you can see them easily and, again, kept wrinkle free. Shoes should be paired together

Knowing what you have,  keeping it wearable, and organized saves you time, the non renewable resource we all want more of, by not having to stress over what to wear each time you get dressed. I know a lot of parents teach their kids to lay out their clothes the night before school so they know what they are going to wear the next day and don’t have to fuss with it in the morning. Adults should take this advice for themselves to eliminate the morning rush, time-wasting-cycle of trying things on, realizing they don’t fit/ are dirty/ need to be fixed/ let’s try something else. The time spent on this cycle of decision-making can be easily eliminated by clearing and organizing your closet. Eliminating situations that can cause anxiety will greatly reduce your (and anyone else’s living in the same home) daily stress level, which means more time for enjoying activities that you want to do, less money and time spent shopping for things you already have, and less time on wasteful, circuitous activities like figuring out what to wear. You have better and more important things to do!

LC closet after 4
Everything in its place

Clutter free closet
Clutter free closet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have to go in your closet every day and how you start your day sets the tone for how it is going to progress. Start it on a positive, clear, and confident step so that they rest of your day is productive, enjoyable, and fulfilling. Remember: neat really is smart.

Happy organizing!