Closet Cleanout – at it again!

Do you know what I like about cleaning out my closet? Practically nothing. However, I happen to love the results, so I make myself re-evaluate my wardrobe ever few months. I’ve been pretty diligent over the last year about getting rid of clothes I don’t wear anymore. I think I had cut the amount of items down by more than 1/3. Here were a couple of my methods:

-I had done the ‘hanger trick’ and turned all of my hangers around. If a hanger was still turned around at the end of the season, that meant I hadn’t worn the item and I had to get rid of it.

-I had tried every single item on and asked myself “Would I buy this again right now?” If the answer was no, away it went!

-I realized that there were a few things that I had been hanging onto that I loved but had a stubborn stain or irreparable tear. I made myself weed these items out because, though I may have loved them, I would always notice the ‘problem area.’

These methods got me pretty far in my purging. Yet I still felt there was more I could do. I had found the website of a very popular Japanese professional organizer named Marie Kondo who has an intriguing way of looking at possessions and of paring them down. She is insanely popular in Japan and elsewhere in the world. While some of her methods might seem overly strict, there is a great basis to the way she works. She asks you to evaluate every single item with the question “Does this spark joy?”  The theory is that everything has the potential to bring you joy….or not. When you honestly ask if an item brings you joy, often the answer is no. Why do we hold on to so many things that don’t bring joy into our lives?

I decided to go through my clothes again using this method. Even though I thought I had gotten rid of the things I didn’t like, when I asked if each thing sparked joy, I realized a lot of things brought me nothing positive at all. I was able to get rid of 50 more items from my wardrobe. 50!

I also realized that my drawers were out of control and needed to be re-organized. For several years, I have rolled the clothes in my drawers because it makes it easier to see more of them. But if you still have too many clothes, they tend to pile up. I knew I needed to go from this:

Konmari and Clothes 1To this:

Konmari and Clothes 2And in the drawers, they look even better:

Konmari and Clothes 3I plan on using this method to clean out my clothes a couple of times a year. Then I’ll know that everything I wear brings a little joy to my life.

~Erin

Playroom Closet Makeover

It’s time for a playroom closet makeover and reveal. I am super excited about this project.

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (10)

It was another room to tackle at my in-laws house and it was fun for me in a lot of ways:

1) This was a fairly big project and I LOVE a challenge! And who isn’t ridiculously excited about organizing a playroom closet? Wait, I’m the only one?

2) This is now the place where my kids play when we visit my in-laws so there was an added benefit for me too!

3) I also got to help go through so many toys that belonged to my husband and his siblings while they grew up. How adorable is that?!

So let’s start with the before pics of this daunting task:

Left side of Playroom closet - before

Left side of Playroom closet – before

Right side of playroom closet - before

Right side of playroom closet – before

This is a large closet and the door is in the middle so when you walk in, you can go to the left or the right. Or, NOT go to the left or right because of all of the stuff. The space was filled to capacity and partly dark because you couldn’t get to the burned out light bulbs to change them.

The first step was to take out everything! This took a long time and resulted in the main playroom area looking like this:

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (3)Holy Moly! My initial thought was that we would never get all of that stuff back in there. Then came the realization that if all of that stuff had to go back in there, I wasn’t doing my job. We quickly started a sell/donate pile that eventually grew to about the size of a dinosaur.

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (12)There was also a pile for trash that started growing out in the hallway.

After everything was out of the closet, we looked at our organization options. There were three existing shelving units that were perfect for toy storage. There were also 5 large storage bins and 2 of these were completely empty!

We got our general layout in mind and put the storage bins and shelving back in the closet with nothing in them, just to make sure we liked the flow and that everything fit well. We also moved a smaller shelf from the playroom into the closet.

We decided the left side of the closet would be mostly focused on non-toys. There was a large file cabinet with activities and papers that we pushed back against the wall. There were also numerous boxes of items that my husband and his siblings needed to go through because they were filled with their memories and personal storage. All of those items got piled up next to the file cabinet. Now obviously these need to be gone through, but my mother-in-law was the only one there with me and it wasn’t her stuff so we designated that as a safe zone for the clutter. We did try to make it as pretty as possible. Here is the left side now.

Left side of playroom closet - after

Left side of playroom closet – after

You can also see the small wood shelf which now holds clear plastic bins of toys. These separate smaller items like toy cars, dinosaurs etc. They are great because the kids can see exactly what is inside each bin without taking it off the shelf. There are also a few baby/ toddler toys on lower shelves which my one year old can pull off and play with.

Since this closet has an angled ceiling, I thought it might present a problem with fitting everything in. However, it turns out that the 5 large storage bins fit perfectly underneath the angled edge. You can even open the lids without them hitting the ceiling. These bins became storage for larger items. One for stuffed animals, one for balls, etc.

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (11)

The best part is that one of these bins is still empty so if another storage need comes up, there’s an option!

The right side of the closet is my favorite part. We put the 2 large shelving units and the smaller shelf on this side. The small shelf is now for books and board puzzles.

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (10)

One of the large shelves is for games and the other is for misc items (though they are all grouped and/or containerized).

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (7)Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (8)

Basket for dress up hats

Basket for dress up hats

I am beyond thrilled with how this turned out. The space is clean, bright and organized. The best part was that when my 3 year old went in there, he stayed in there for more than 2 hours playing….in a closet! See, even 3 year olds rather be in a space that is organized!

Ok, one more time with the Before & After photos!

Left Side - B&A (3) Right Side - B&A (3)I love it!

~Erin

Closet labels – gone right or wrong?

I recently made some clothes dividers for my kid’s closet. I was inspired by a few different versions from Pinterest and blog land. As I searched I realized how popular these are becoming. Most of the one’s I found have sizes for baby clothes, such as Newborn, 3-6 months, etc. However, I decided this was not the direction to go (even though I have a baby) because I don’t have more than one size hanging in the closet at any one time. So I decided to go by type of clothes. Here are the categories:

-Short Sleeve, Long Sleeve, Pants, Jackets

Since I have 2 boys, I wanted a set for each of them, so I needed 8 total dividers. First I bought some wooden O’s at Hobby Lobby and got out some craft paint I already had:

I painted the backside of the O’s, which didn’t go quite as planned. I have mentioned before that my craft skills leave something to be desired and I have actually had these craft paints in a ‘craft supply drawer’ for about 5 years. So some of the paint was a little dry and didn’t cover well. I figured that was ok because they would be the backside of the labels. However, it still looks like my 3 year old did this part of the project.

Then I traced the O’s onto scrapbook paper and cut out the paper.

Then the plan was to Mod Podge the scrapbook paper onto the O’s, sand down the edges, and put a coat of Mod Podge on top. Easy right? Well, not so much. When I tried to cut out the paper with an exacto knife, the paper was a little rough around the edges. Sanding will take care of that, I said to myself. Well, I just started sanding away more and more of the paper so I threw my hands up in disgust at my sandpaper and left it on the floor of the garage.

When I put the Mod Podge over the top to seal it a little bit, it just left visible streaks on the paper instead of drying clear and smoth. Maybe it’s my Mod Podge naivety and I just don’t know what I am doing, but I definitely did not like the finished result at all. It looked sloppy and jagged.

Luckily I had only done 4 O’s in the first round, so I made some tweaks for round two. First off, I decided not to paint the backs of the 2nd set.

After I had traced out the O’s, I Mod Podged them on and LIGHTLY sanded the edges. Then I just used a clear coat spray on top. This added a little protection but there were no brush strokes.

Time for the labels! I just made the labels in Word. I did some on transparent paper and some on cardstock, so I could see how each style looked.

You can see how I did labels for the 4 sections, but I also did the letters ‘E’ and ‘O’ because I was making a set of each kid.After I had glued almost all of the transparent letters on (just using a VERY light layer of Mod Podge), I realized I liked the cardstock on Evan’s better. Too late! I had already done 3 out of 4, so one of E’s got the cardstock and is now mismatched. Then I did a quick once over with the spray sealer.

You’ll notice that the ‘short sleeve’ label is on the left side while all the others are on the right. This is because the short sleeves are on the right side of the closet and everything else is on the left, so I wanted to make them as easy as possible to read.

You can definitely see the rough edges, but I do like the overall look. When I first started this project, I was daydreaming about how I would write my blog post on it. I would leave you with all sorts of encouraging words and inspirations like “These turned out better than I imagined” or  “This was so easy and fun” or “I love how quickly it came together”. Buuuuuutttt…..they didn’t turn out nearly as good as I thought they would, it was not an easy project and it took FOREVER! But I”m still proud of myself for pushing through the project and again, I learned a lot from my mistakes. And I actually have some great ideas and lessons on how to improve them for next time. Yes, I am already plotting a project redo!