Organization: Closet Makeover

The day has finally come where I reveal my new closet! I know you guys are probably getting tired of hearing about it, but I can’t help it.  I am so in love.  I will start by saying that I highly recommend Closet America.  They were so great to work with from the designer to customer service to the installers.  It was a great experience, and I would totally use them again.  The finished product came together last week, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.  It looks exactly the way I had envisioned it in my head.  It is going to make organizing all of my things so easy.  We went with white for a couple of reasons.  One is that I like the nice clean look of the white, and the second reason is because it was the least expensive.  The natural light from the windows in the room in conjunction with the white, really brightens the space. 

As you walk into the room, you see the island and shoe rack right away.  I am so obsessed with the island.  There are 4 drawers on each side of it, and I am not 100% sure what I will put in all of them yet. I am thinking it will probably hold jeans, leggings, and t-shirts. The top drawer on one side has double layer jewelry trays.  It is one of my favorite things in the room.  All of the drawers have the slow automatic close when you push them slightly, which is really nice. Then the giant shoe rack is right behind the island between the two windows.  I am super excited about it.  My shoes are going to look so good displayed on it.  

The wall to the immediate left (same wall as doorway) when you walk into the room is currently blank. It will be the location of my antique vanity with a mirror.  It fits perfectly into that space.  The left side of the closet contains shelving and clothes racks for various lengths of clothes.  The shelves are adjustable so I can make them larger or smaller depending on what I decided to put there. Again, I am not certain how I will organize everything until I get it all in there and see how it flows.  I may remove one of the bottom shelves and use that space for my tall boots.

The wall to the immediate right when you walk in (same wall as doorway) has a tall tower of shelves. This is where I plan to put my purses and bags for display.  There is also a pull out valet rod for hanging clothes for when I am pulling outfits to photograph or to prepare for then next day or even when I am packing.  

The right side of the closet contains more hanging space with a few shelves. This is where the bulk of my clothes will be hanging.  As you can see the racks are various lengths to accommodate dresses and things that are longer and things that are shorter in length.

The whole system is very clean, neat, and modern looking.  I really love that there is still plenty of space even with the island. I was worried that it would take up a lot of space and it would feel cramped, but it doesn’t feel that way at all. Of course there are a few things that we still need to do to the space for it to be complete.  At the top of the list is to put blinds on the windows so that I don’t give everyone in the neighborhood a good morning show every day! The second thing is to install some kind of chandelier because there is no overhead lighting in the space.  There is great light in there during the day from the windows, but I definitely need some lighting for the evenings or early mornings.  The one other thing that I want is a large, full-length mirror. Obviously, it is not going to be in there because there is no place to put it, but I need a full-length mirror somewhere.  Overall, I am very happy with how well it turned out and I can’t wait to get all of my clothes and accessories in there to see how it all comes together.  It really is an organizational freak’s dream come true! LOL! I absolutely love it!

Anchored and Organized,

Freedom from Possessions

Today is the day! Today is the day that we take possession of our new house from the previous owners who have been renting it from us since closing a couple of months ago.  I could not be more excited to get in there and start making it our home.  We are not moving in right away because we are having some work done there first.  I think I am most excited about tomorrow! Closet America is coming to turn a little sitting room in the master bedroom into my dream closet.  I cannot wait to see it all come together.  I have already met with a designer and designed it just the way I want it, and they are installing it tomorrow! If you are new to my blog, my closet is my sanctuary.  It is my happy place and the place I go to think, to have a mental breakdown, or just to get away from all the noise of life. It is a very important room for me. Closet America is also going to be transforming the mudroom into a functional space with a bench, coat hangers, and storage.  It is going to be amazing! I have never had a mudroom before and I am super excited about it.  It is pretty small, but it is big enough for our needs.  Then next week, we have someone coming in to remove the carpet runner from the main staircase and stain all of the wood flooring on the main level a darker color.  There was an area in the sunroom that had been destroyed by a rolling desk chair, so we had to refinish the floor there anyway.  Our thought was that since that had to be done, we might as well just go ahead and stain it all to a color that we preferred.  It is going to be gorgeous and give the house a much needed update. 

We are also planning to paint all of the kitchen cabinets white to give it a more modern feel and maybe add new hardware. We are going to attempt to do this ourselves.  I have been all over Pinterest looking for ideas and instructions on how to DIY it.  Hopefully, it will turn out the way I am envisioning it in my head. I want to eventually update the counter tops (I hate the current one) and backsplash, but that is going to have to be a project for later down the road (according to my husband). The only other thing that has to be done before we move is painting two of the bedrooms. They are currently painted pink and purple with a wallpaper boarder in one room and sponge-painted flowers all over the other bedroom.  That will not work for either of my girls.  We will likely do that painting ourselves as well.  I know we can handle painting the walls because we have done it many times before.  It’s just the cabinets that make me a little nervous.

Once all of these projects are done, we will begin the move-in process.  We have until the end of April to be out of our current rental so we have plenty of time to get everything moved over to the new house. We hope to be finished with all of the renovations by the end of March and then begin moving in at the beginning of April. I envision us loading up one room at a time and carrying it over and unpacking it before we move on to the next room. I am sure it won’t work quite as I plan, but that is what I am going to try to do.  

I am so thankful that I have been working on purging things over the past few months in preparation for the move.  I think it is going to make the move so much easier to manage. I am thankful for this blog because it really forced me to do the hard stuff so I could share it all with you. Getting rid of so many things has really been freeing.  I am far from finished, but I think I have really made a good dent in most rooms.  I have not yet finished the mound of teacher stuff that I talked about last week, but it is a lot to do.  I have the kitchen and office left to do, too.  Hopefully, I will get it done by the end of the month. Even if you aren’t about to move somewhere like me, I highly encourage everyone to go room-to-room and purge.  Think about the things that you own.  Do you really need them?  Are they bringing joy to your life or are your possessions weighing you down? I know that I was being weighed down by a lot of things. I was holding on to things for no other reason than to just hold on to them because I might need or want them one day in the future.  They were serving no real purpose in my life other than taking up space.  I had it in my head that it was okay to have all of this stuff because it was put away and it was organized.  You all know that I am all about being organized and having a system. All the organization in the world is not good if you are being ruled by what you own, by stuff. Go ahead and get rid of it! You don’t need it! 

What do you do with all of the stuff? If you need the money, there are tons of options that you can tap into to sale your items that you are letting go of.  You can sell on Facebook Marketplace. A lot of areas also have a resale Facebook group where you can sell things locally.  You could post it on ebay or Craig’s list.  You could sell it at a second hand store in your area. You could have a yard sale.  There are so many options.  However, if you don’t really need the money, I highly encourage you to donate. That is what I have been doing. Donate to a women’s shelter in your area. Some schools will take donations of children’s clothes for kids that need it or for the school nurse to keep for when kids have accidents or fall in the mud at school.  Organizations like Goodwill, the Salvation ArmySamaritan’s PurseThe Purple HeartDress for Success, and so many more all accept donations for a good cause. Some women’s groups will also accept donations.  Find an area of need in your community and help to make someone else’s day a little brighter. Free yourself from your possessions and make a difference for someone else!

Anchored,

Organization: Professional Purge

The time has come when I have to begin the purge of all of my teaching supplies.  Because I was a teacher for 17 years, I have accumulated A LOT of stuff.  You always hear that teachers have to spend their own money to decorate and supply their classrooms, and I am here to tell you that it is true.  Any decoration or poster or anything else found in my classroom over the years was either purchased by me or made by me.  As a special education teacher, many of the materials and books I used for teaching were also either purchased or created by me. I have probably spent several thousands of dollars and a countless number of hours on my class over the years. It is really sad that teachers are forced to do that, but I can tell you that I would do it all over again because I wanted the best for my students. I wanted anything that I could get my hands on that would help them.  I wouldn’t change that for the world.  Now, because I was a special education teacher and taught multiple grade levels at once, my collection of teaching tools grew exponentially each year. Every kid was different in what they needed and every year/group of kids was different. I would need different things to reach them.  I never wanted to get rid of things because I never knew when, or if, I would get another student that would have similar needs and be able to benefit from it.  Needless to say, I now have at least 50 boxes of school stuff that I have been carrying around since I quit teaching full-time almost 4 years ago.  

Since I know that I will not be returning to teaching, at least for now, I really do need to thoroughly go through every single item in every single box and get rid of things. There are so many things that I can likely take to local schools that other teachers could use.  It certainly isn’t doing me or anyone else any good for it to sit in my attic or basement taking up unnecessary space.  I have to really reduce the amount that I have.  It is time.  It is going to be really hard for me to let it go, but I know that it is something that I have to do.  We just don’t have the space for it. How do I even start? The task is so overwhelming to me that I have put it off for almost 4 years.  The pictures don’t even fully show the scope of how much stuff I have and need to go through.  I don’t even know how to determine what to keep and what to give away.  It is going to take me days to get through it all.  I have to do it.  That’s what I keep telling myself.  I honestly think that this purge is going to be the hardest one that I have done yet.  I thought that purging my clothes would be the hardest, but now that I have done that, I think this one will be the hardest. It will definitely take the longest amount of time to complete, that’s for sure. 

Is there another profession out there that requires you to have your own supplies and stuff? I don’t think I know of one that requires this extent of stuff.  Do other professionals hang on to things for years? Probably not! Why do teachers do it? I don’t know a single teacher that doesn’t. If you aren’t a teacher, you may not have professional things that need to be purged, but there is something that you are hanging on to that you need to let go.  Maybe it is memorabilia.  Maybe it is items from you college or high school years.  Maybe it is a crazy collection.  There is something. I encourage you to go thorough it and let stuff go.  If I can do it, so can you. As I have said before, I am learning not to be controlled by my possessions.  I am learning to let things go, and it is so freeing.  It is time.  Just make yourself do it because I know you can. 

Anchored and Organized, 

Organization Hack: Playroom

Today I am tackling the playroom.  My kids have gotten older and they don’t really play with the majority of the toys in the playroom area anymore.  They are both basically glued to their electronics most of the time.  I think it is about time for me to get rid of all that stuff.  Since we moved into the rental, the playroom area has been a disaster as you can see above.  It is down in the basement so I just avoid going down there. The girls made attempts when we first moved to unpack and put stuff away, but they quickly gave up and just left a heap of partially emptied boxes everywhere and stuff all over the floor. My job today is to go through it all and really get rid of the things that they never play with.  I always find it is best to do this when they aren’t around because they can’t whine and tell me that they will play with it one day and convince me to keep it for sentimental reasons.

Since I am sure you really don’t care about what I am getting rid of, I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks that I have found that have helped keep our playroom manageable over the years, especially when they were young.  Now, our playroom is not Pinterest worthy or some fancy room you will see on HGTV.  It is real world.  It is played in, and it is loved.  Most of all, it is functional and doesn’t cost a fortune to organize.

This cube shelving thingy is probably the number one best thing ever in the history of playroom organization! LOL! This was actually given to us by some friends that were moving and didn’t want to take it with them.  I told my friend that she was insane for letting it go, but inside I was screaming with joy that she was.  This unit came from Ikea. If you can afford it and have the space, I highly recommend it.  It is the perfect solution for keeping toys together and contained.  We use the fabric bins (Walmart) to store everything. When my children were younger, I took pictures of the things that went in each bin and velcroed it to the front of the bin.  My kids then knew exactly where to put things when it was time to clean up. It was also easy for them to grab a bin and carry it with them wherever they were playing in the room.  

This smaller shelf (similar-Target) with the pink and purple wooden bins (similar-Target) was the first storage piece we had in the playroom before the big unit came along.  It came from Target years ago and is no longer available. Ours has served its purpose for many years, but I have decided that we are letting it go.  It will not come with us to the new house because it is pretty banged up and in need of repair from all of the moves. The only reason I am showing it to you is so that you can see that you can do a similar organization system with a small bookshelf. You can also see that some of the pictures are actually still stuck on the front of these buckets even though we no longer need them or use them.  

To make the pictures for the bins, I simply pulled out a few items from the bin and snapped a picture. It was just enough items so that the kids understood what went in the bin. I sized them on my computer into small squares. Then I printed them all on heavy cardstock paper.  After I cut them all out, I laminated them with my small laminating machine (Target).  You can always cover them with clear contact paper (Target) if you don’t have access to a laminator just to give them an extra layer of sturdiness and protction.  Then I simply used Velcro dots (Walmart) to attach them to the bins. I used Velcro so I could easily switch them around as new toys came in and old ones disappeared.   This system really does help with clean up for little ones. 

Now, you may be asking what you should do with the larger items that don’t really fit into the bins. Well, I have a solution for that too. These large plastic tubs (Target, Walmart) are great for playrooms.  They work really well to hold things like stuffed animals, play sets (ours were Littlest Pet Shops, LalaLoopsies, and Shopkins), legos, and so much more.  They do come in various sizes, but the largest ones are the ones we use.  You can find them in a variety of colors and you can even embellish them with vinyl like the one you see here or you can also add a picture on them like the bins so your kids know where things go.

To organize art supplies and American doll accessories, I use the plastic drawers like this one or this one at Target.  As you can see, my kids stuff them to the brim, but they know what goes where.  These are another thing you can add pictures to so that kids know where to put their toys away. For things like markers, crayons, and colored pencils, I use these smaller three drawer sets(Target).  This tower is made of two sets on top of each other. Again, you can label them with pictures or vinyl if your kids can read. 

I have found through my years as a special education teacher and a mom, that labels are the best thing to get your kids to keep things organized.  Whether you use photographs like I did, toy logos from the Internet, or words for kids that can read, labels make it so much easier for them to know exactly where things go. Having an organized system just makes everyone’s life easier when you have little kids. 

I am about to head back down to the basement to finish purging the thousands of toys down there that my girls are way too old for.  I hope to have just the cube system left standing and the rest ready to sell or donate. Wish me luck!

Anchored and Organized, 

Organization Hack: Laundry

I want to start by telling you that we are snowed in AGAIN today, and it is still coming down in a steady stream of big white fluffy snow! It sure has been a snowy year for us back up in the northern part of the country.  My husband says that he is over it, but I love it and so do the girls.  I think they love it mostly because they are out of school, but they do love playing in it too.  I love it from afar. I love watching it come down and the beautiful blanket that covers the ground and trees.  

Is there anyone out there that actually loves doing laundry? I know I sure don’t. I have developed a system over the years that makes it easier to manage and get done efficiently. The first step comes with laundry hampers.  Each of my girls has their own hamper (Target and Walmart) in their rooms to collect their dirty clothes. Don’t get me wrong, many of their dirty clothes end up on the floor and not the hamper, but when I call for their dirty clothes, they can easily put them in the hamper and carry it down for me. One great purchase I made years ago was for a sorting hamper (similar-Target) in the master bathroom.  It has 3 separate bags so that my husband and I can sort the clothes as we take them off.  One bag is for towels, one is for whites, and one is for colors.  This is how we sort them, but you can sort them in whatever way makes sense to you. When it is time to do laundry, I have my girls bring their hampers to the laundry room and I roll ours down.  Next, I combine all of the clothes by sorting them into piles on the floor in the laundry room and everything is ready to be washed.

Before I tell you what I do once the clothes have been washed and dried, let me tell you about some of the organization things I have in the actual laundry room.  Now, I do not have the kind of laundry room you see on Pinterst or HGTV! It’s not pretty, but it is functional.  Maybe one day I will have a Pinterest worthy room, but it is just not on the top of the priority list for me. First, I have a small rolling cart that typically fits between the washer and drier. It doesn’t fit in the set up in the rental house so it’s next to the dryer. On this cart is where I store all of the cleaning supplies including the detergent, spot cleaner, gentle cleanser for leotards, washing machine tub cleaner, bleach, etc. It is easy to access and can be rolled out so that I can easily get to all shelves.  I also store my brooms and mops in the laundry room in this house.  Right now they are stuck behind the rolling cart because of the lack of space in the rental.  However, I typically keep these things in the pantry in the kitchen.  I just don’t have the room for that in this house. Next, I have a clothes drying rack that pretty much stays up all the time because of all of my daughter’s leotards and gym shorts and other things that can’t go in the dryer. Then, on top of my washing machine, I have two important things. One is a cute small metal container that collects all of the change and other little trinkets that I find in the bottom of the washing machine, and the other is a plastic storage container (similar-Target) that collects all of the socks that have lost their mate until the mate can be located. Finally, I store several things on the shelf above the washer and dryer. One large plastic tote contains extra paper towels and toilet paper.  A second tote contains our old towels and rags used for cleaning or for the dog.  This is also where I store a bucket containing the bathroom cleaning supplies so that it is easy to grab and carry to each bathroom for cleaning, and I also have a basket of cleaning supplies for the floors.  The last thing I keep on this shelf is a basket that contains all of the dog’s stuff. It has extra treats and all of her bathing supplies since she gets her baths in the deep sink in the laundry room. Keeping things together in totes, bins, or baskets keeps things organized and easy to access. You can certainly get matching or cute wooden baskets to store all of these things in to make it look nicer if you want.

Now, back to laundry. Each one of our family members has their own laundry basket.  A couple of them need to be replaced, as they are old and broken.  I would like to replace them all with 4 of the same size baskets, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Right now, my husband and I each have a large basket and the girls each have a small basket. This was fine when they were small and their clothes were small, but now everyone really needs a large basket. Each family member has their own color (purple, yellow, blue, white) and everyone knows which basket belongs to them. These are stored typically on top of the dryer. When I am in the middle of doing laundry, they are spread out on the floor and wherever there is room, which is tight in our current laundry room.  As soon as clothes come out of the dryer, they are immediately sorted into the appropriate basket.  Then when I am done washing and drying everything, I fold the clothes one basket at a time. When I am done folding, I place the clothes back into the basket for each person to carry upstairs to put away.  I will be honest in telling you that I am not perfect. There are many times that the clothes don’t get folded the same day that they are washed.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.  It may be a day or two before it all gets folded and then another day or two before everyone gets their stuff put away. It is what it is!  We do our best, but life is crazy! The good thing about having it all sorted though, is that it is easier to find something that you need if it hasn’t been put away yet. 

As far as my pre-move purge is going, I did do a little purging in the laundry room by getting rid of cleaning supplies that we don’t use, pairing down the number of old towels and rags, and emptying out the sock bucket of socks whose matches have been long gone and there is no hope for a return.  For the most part, the laundry room was already in good shape.  Now, the question becomes what area to hit next.  I am thinking about the playroom area of the basement for next week.  I have to work up a lot of strength to make myself tackle that mess! Until then, let me know what areas you are working on.

Anchored and Organized,

10 Moving Tips and Tricks

If you read my post yesterday, you know that the past few days have been a little busy and stressful.  Because of that, I have not been able to continue my purging to share with you today. Hopefully, next week I will be back on track. Instead, I thought I would give you a few tips and tricks to moving in an organized way.  As a military family, we have moved 6 times in the past 18 years. To some military families that may not seem like a lot, but we got lucky and got to do 3 tours back to back in the same location.  Anyway, the point is that I have had a lot of experience with moving. For all of our moves up to this point, the Navy has paid for a moving company to move us and pack up all of our stuff.  You would think that having someone else do all of the packing and moving would make moving easy.  That is not the case, at least for me.  Yes, it is probably the OCD in me, but I have to do a lot of prep beforehand.  Some of these tricks I learned the hard way and some I got from reading other blogs and some are just me being obsessive. Here are my biggest tips if you are preparing to move. 

  1. Zip Lock Bags (Amazon) are your new best friend when in comes to moving in an organized way.  I feel like I should own stock in Zip Lock. When it is moving time, I bag up EVERYTHING! This includes small toys, kitchen utensils, spices, undergarments (Who wants some strange men touching your underwear and bras?), socks, and anything else you can think of.  Anything that can be bagged up will be.  This just helps keep items together.  Remember my jewelry post and my junk drawer post and how I use the little containers to store stuff?  I just put the whole container into zip lock bags.  That way, all that I have to do is pull it out in the new place and put it away. I even use those huge 2.5 gallon bags (Amazon) to put larger items in like the large divider in my junk drawer. I basically go through the kitchen drawers and dresser drawers and dump everything into a bag and then put it back in the drawer for the movers to pack up.  I do the same in the playroom with toys. Trust me, this will make your life so much easier when you are unpacking and it keeps things from getting lost. 
  2. Take pictures of the backs of your electronics (TV, DVR, speakers, computers, etc) so that you know how to hook them up when you get to the new house. You can even take pictures of serial numbers on all of your electronics so that you have it in case an item gets lost or damaged.
  3. Use colored Duct Tape (Amazon). Designate a separate color for each room. After the room has been boxed up, put a strip of duct tape on all of the boxes in that room in the same color. For example, every box in the master bedroom gets blue tape, and every box in the kitchen gets red tape, and so on. This helps the movers and you easily identify boxes and the location it should go in the new house. I will even use that color duct tape to tape a note to the door of every room to easily identify which room the boxes go in.
  4. Remote controls always get lost in a move.  Before the movers come, I gather all of the remote controls and place them all in a zip lock bag and put them into one designated box.  This becomes my hardware box.  All cords, chargers, and things of that nature go in that box. 
  5. Another thing that goes in that box is all of the hardware from the furniture.  As the movers take a bed apart, I collect all of the screws and pieces needed to put it back together.  I then put them all in a Zip Lock bag and label them.  Again, this makes it so much easier when you are at the new house and are trying to put furniture together.  
  6. Keep the hardware box with you. Do not let it go on the moving truck. This way you will know where it is when you need it. 
  7. Keep out one set of clean sheets for each bed you own and a set of towels for each person in your house.  Put them in a Space Saver vacuum seal storage bag like these (Amazon).  Do not let the movers put this on the truck either.  Keep it with you. There is nothing worse than moving into a new house with boxes everywhere when you are exhausted and want to go to bed and you can’t find the sheets, or you need a shower and cannot find a towel. 
  8. I personally do not let the movers take my photo albums.  My wedding album, my daughters’ scrapbooks, and our Disney photo albums all come with me.  I do not want to take the risk of those precious memories getting lost. 
  9. Post it Notes (Amazon) are also my best friends when it comes to moving.  These come in to play when you get to the new house. When I get to the house before the movers arrive with all of my stuff, I walk through every room in the house deciding where each piece of furniture is going to go. I will then write what the piece of furniture is on the Post It Note and place that note on the wall that I want that piece of furniture put.  For example, both of my girls have a bed, a desk, and a dresser in their rooms.  I will go in their new rooms and place the Post It on the wall where I want the movers to put each of those three pieces. This makes it easier for the movers and it saves our backs from having to move them all to the correct place after the movers leave.  I also do this in the kitchen for myself. Yes, I am obsessive, but it works for me.  I will look at each cabinet and drawer and decide where I want all of my things to go. Then I will put a Post It Note on each of the cabinets and drawers labeling what goes there.  This way, no matter who is unpacking the kitchen (it’s usually me), they know where stuff goes. It makes unpacking go much faster this way.
  10. Remember you don’t have to do everything at once. Take your time and put things where you want them to go to avoid moving stuff around later. I always try to unpack one room at a time. It is easier and makes me feel more accomplished when I can complete a room.

Those are my best tips for having an organized move.  The key is Zip Lock bags, a hardware box, and Post It Notes. I am not looking forward to our move in a few weeks.  The Navy will not be moving us since we are just moving a few streets over in the same area.  That means we have to do it all ourselves.  Thankfully, we will have several weeks to do the move and can do it slowly. My plan is to move room by room. I will keep you posted on how that goes and if I can add any further moving tips. Moving is a daunting task, but if you get yourself organized beforehand, things are much easier. I promise!

Anchored,

Organization: My Closet Purge

Last Friday we closed on our new house.  YAY!!! As I have mentioned before, we aren’t moving in right away for various reasons. One of those reasons is that we want to do a few renovations before we actually move.  One renovation involves my closet.  I think I have made it clear by now that my closet has always been my favorite area of the house.  I really do go there to hide when I am upset, angry, or just need time to think and pray. It’s my sanctuary. I know I am strange! The new house already has his and her walk-in closets, but they are pretty small.  My husband, surprisingly, plans to use both of them for himself. He doesn’t have a lot of clothes since he wears a uniform every day, so that should tell you that they aren’t that big.  Anyway, this all clearly means that there isn’t currently enough closet space for me. There just so happens to be a little “sitting room” tucked back in a corner right off of the two walk-ins that we will never use.  That room is going to be converted into my closet. If you haven’t guessed by now, I am super excited about it.  

A few weeks ago, we went to a home show at an expo center nearby.  While we were there, we stopped at the Closet America display and talked to the people there.  They were offering a deal of 25% off and free installation.  Then, if we booked the consultation that day, we got an additional 5% off.  Of course we jumped on that and booked the consult for the day after closing.  We planned for them to do the closet and the small mudroom area downstairs.   They told us to expect the consult to be at least 90 minutes.  You guys, the consult took 4 hours! I am not at all complaining because I loved every part of it, and I highly recommend Closet America.  The designer was so awesome to work with, and she really got my vision for the space. She also said she probably had as many clothes as I did which made me feel a little better. I’m not alone in my addiction!

The consult started with our designer taking very detailed measurements of every wall, every angle, and more.  When she was done we sat down with her to go over all of the finish and knob options and to kind of talk about what I was looking for.  I had brought her pictures of my current closet so that she could get an idea of the amount of storage that I needed.  Then, she went to work designing and asking me questions along the way.  When she finally turned her computer around to show me what she had come up with, I was floored! It was so cool.  She could even show it to us in 3D.  From there we walked through each wall and made changes and adjustments as we saw fit. We went back and forth on whether or not to leave space for one of my antique vanity tables against one wall. We ultimately decided to have it incorporated into the design so we had to make some more adjustments to compensate for the racks and shelves that it was taking away on that one wall. We continued to tweak it several more times until we came up with the final design. I am so freaking excited about it! I will say that we did pick the least expensive finish and drawer pulls and knobs to keep the cost at a minimum, but it is still going to be amazing and better than any closet I have ever had.   It includes shelving, drawers, hanging racks for different lengths of clothes, a shoe rack highlighted between two windows, and a small island in the center of the closet. I cannot wait to see it all come to life! 

Having this cool design motivated me even more to purge and get rid of stuff.  I have been putting off purging my own clothes, but this gave me the kick in the behind that I needed. I began the long process this past weekend.  I will say that it is VERY HARD for me to get rid of my clothes, shoes, and accessories. You all have seen my current closet (if you haven’t, you can check it out here), and you know that I have a TON of clothes. That is my weakness.  Some (my husband) may even say that it is my biggest flaw. I can’t help it. I love clothes.  I do! I know that it is over the top and excessive, and I really am working on it. Isn’t admitting that you have an addiction the first step to recovery??? I was originally planning to use the Marie Kondo method of pulling everything out and putting it into a pile to go through like I did with my daughters’ closets, but I just don’t have the time for that. Instead I pulled out sections at a time and went through them.  I am proud to say that I filled up not one, not two, but three large black trash bags full of clothes to donate. That was just from the hang-up clothes alone. I did not even get to go through pants, shorts, t-shirts, scarves, purses, or anything else yet.  Now, if you were to walk into my closet right now, you would think that there is no way that I purged anything because I still have so much, but I really did.  I will admit that it was hard.  There may or may not have been multiple pieces that were thrown on the floor to donate and then hung back up multiple times, but I am really proud of myself for the amount I ended up letting go. It really is a big deal to me. My plan is to finish the rest of it this week, but I am not sure that will actually happen with all that we have going on.  Once I have been through everything and removed the items that I am getting rid of, I plan to go through it all again one more quick time to see if I can let go of a few more things.  I really don’t want to be ruled by my possessions.  I really want to let stuff go, but as I’ve said, it is difficult.  I clearly have an addiction that I need to work harder at overcoming.  Baby steps! I am getting there slowly but surely. 

I cannot wait to show you all the new closet once it gets done and we move in. It really is going to be amazing! Until then, I will keep purging!

Anchored and Organized,

Organization Hack: Linen Closet

Today I took on the task of organizing and purging the linen closet in my bathroom. Honestly, it was already fairly organized. Everything had it’s place, but there were a lot of things in there that I really just needed to get rid of, clean out, or throw away.  First, let’s talk about what is currently in my linen closet.  Of course I keep the obvious things in there, but there are a few other things that I store there as well.  Check out this list of all the things that were in there prior to the purge.

Towels, Washcloths, Hand Towels

You might find this surprising, but I am not so fancy that I have all matching towels and stuff.  I tend to change the colors of my bathroom each time we move so we just have a hodgepodge of colors.  I even still have some of the towels that I was given for college over 20 years ago! They were some of the best towels and they are still in amazing shape. Somehow, my husband and I have internally decided which towels belong to each other.  I have my few that I always use and he has his own few that he always uses.  It wasn’t planned that way, it just sort of happened.  

Sheets

A great tip for storing sheets that I use is that once they are all neatly folded, I store them inside one of the pillowcases so they all stay together as a set.  When I am ready to change the sheets, it is easy to grab and whole set and go.

Extra Pillows

My husband and I both are pretty particular about our pillows.  We will buy one and sleep on it for a bit and then decide we don’t like it, and then we have to buy a new one.  Once we find one we like, we stick with it for a while.  We may use it for a year or two and then decided it’s time for a new one.  We end up with a million pillows because we are constantly changing them.  Thankfully when we moved to this house, I got rid of a lot of them so there are only a couple left. 

Throw blankets

We are a throw blanket kind of family. If any of us are watching tv or sitting on the couch, we have a blanket across our legs.  As I sit here and write, I have a blanket on me.  Even in the summer, I will have a blanket on me if I am sitting. I don’t know if it is a comfort/soothing thing or what.  I feel like I would be someone that would really like a weighted blanket.

Disney Bag

We are also a Disney-loving family. I cannot even count the number of times that we have been, especially when we lived in South Georgia and it was only 3 hours away.  The point is that we go often enough that we have a little bag that always goes with us to Disney and pretty much stays packed.  It includes things like change for the penny pressing machines, those cooling towels for the HOT days, sharpies for character signatures, first aid kit, Mickey ears, and so much more. Maybe I’ll do a Disney tips and tricks post one of these days.

Travel-size items

I actually had THREE plastic containers of travel stuff (toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, disposable razors, deodorant, shaving cream, etc.).  

Foot Spa

I wanted one of these so bad at one point in my life, but I think I have actually used it maybe 5 times.  I mean who realistically has time to sit with their feet soaking in a tub for any length of time? Not me!

Scale

This gets slid out and used daily by both my husband and me, and we regularly use is to keep track of my youngest daughter’s weight. It has to be easily accessible.

Curlers

Yes, there were hot curlers and Velcro curlers in there from the 90’s! Why I have held on to them all these years, I have no idea!

Candles

I love candles. I love burning them while I am getting ready in the mornings. Something about it is soothing to me. I also use a wax burner sometimes too.

Necessities: bars of soap, toilet paper, Clorox wipes

This is pretty self-explanatory, I think.

Iron and Ironing Board

This will probably make you think I’m nuts, but I iron clothes every single morning. I cannot even throw on an old t-shirt without ironing it first. I think this goes back to my OCD tendencies. I cannot get dressed without ironing my clothes every day, so keeping this in my bathroom is essential for me.

It may not look like a lot in the before picture, but there was a lot of stuff in there. The very first thing I did was pull it all out.  The bathroom floor was covered with stuff everywhere. Then I went through all of the towels including the ones that were newly washed and not folded yet.  As I mentioned my husband and I have our sets of towels that we both use, but there are a ton of towels that neither of us ever use. I decided to pull all of those out and added them to the growing donate pile.  I got these really nice baskets at Target to keep things organized. There was a pack of several smaller ones and then large ones were sold separately. They come in other sizes and colors, too. I actually need to grab a couple more. I folded all of the towels so that I could roll them up and stand them up in the baskets.  I made two baskets of towels and separated them into his and hers.  Then I designated baskets for wash clothes, hand towels, and sheets. I love how it looks so nice and neat in there now.

Bug spray is BAD! Stay away!

Next, I cleaned out the Disney bag. Let me tell you what I found!!! It was all in a Thirty-One bag. There was a can of bug spray in there that was inside of a zip lock bag. Apparently, the bug spray had leaked out.  You guys! That stuff is dangerous! I am so glad I only use the bug spray that I make with my essential oils now. The stuff had completely eaten through not only the zip lock bag, but it had also eaten through the bottom of the Thirty-one bag, and had eaten up the plastic around the wire shelf it was sitting on! I cannot even think about all of the times that we sprayed that stuff on our bodies! Anyway, I had to create a new Disney bag and throw the old one away.

Yes, that is a bag of fake hair on the floor! It’s from my daughter’s dance recital one year.

Then, I went through the 3 boxes of travel supplies and first aid stuff.  I ended up throwing away so many things that were expired, almost empty, and things that we just don’t use.  I got it all down to only one box of travel stuff and one small box of first aid stuff! Yay, me! You may ask why I keep a box of travel stuff. Well, the answer is because we travel a lot, and we don’t want to carry full sized bottles with us so I always have stuff on hand in travel-size whenever we need it. 

Finally, I just decided to purge.  I am getting rid of the foot spa, curlers, towels, and some of the blankets.  It feels so good to let that stuff go.  I really don’t know why I have been holding on to some of it for so long.  I mean the hot curlers? Really? Velcro curlers? Seriously? What was I thinking? If you don’t know what those things are, I’m sorry.  They were things I used on my hair back in the nineties. I’m old, I know! Do I even donate those things? Do people still use them? Should I just trash them?

Now my closet is even more organized than it was, and it is full of only the things we use! Letting go of stuff is way easier than I thought it would be. It is so freeing. I still have to do the girls’ linen closets, but they should be pretty easy. I haven’t decided what is next on my list of things to do for next week.  It may be books or the kitchen.  Stay tuned!

Anchored and Organized,

Organization Hack: Bathroom Purge

Continuing with my cleanout and purge before our move challenge, I decided to tackle my bathroom this week. While my bathroom was already pretty organized, there was a lot of stuff that needed to be thrown away.  I had one pretty deep drawer full of old makeup still in zip lock bags from our move here 6 months ago. I have no clue why I was holding on to all that makeup that I never wear.  It was certainly time to purge.  I also had several Bath and Body Works products that I had either gotten for free or as gifts that I will never use but hated to just throw away.  Then there were random hair products that I don’t use and lots of almost empty bottles that just needed to be trashed.  Basically I was holding on to things for some crazy reason that I don’t use anymore or that I will never use. I think that is a woman trait or something: holding on to things because you may need/use it in the future. Surely I am not alone in this. Please tell me I’m not! In my current mindset of simplifying my life, I am ready to let go of all the junk because that is essentially what it is, just a pile of junk that has no real value to me. 

Whenever I am in a cleanout mood, I always pull everything out.  That way I can see what I have and the amount of space I have to put it back into. Let me tell you, there was stuff everywhere. I am not really sure how I fit it all in the drawers. I would say that probably 85% of what you see in the pile above ended up in the trash. There were samples that people had sent me, really old makeup, a flat iron that is broken, and so much more useless stuff!

I started with the cabinet under the sink.  This area was already pretty organized using these tiered pull-out baskets from Target and an old shoebox, but there were definitely things there that I needed to get rid of.  The shoebox contains all of my body washes and hand soaps.  I think I told you all that I stock up on my favorites every year during the Black Friday sales.  I have enough to last me the whole year. Shoeboxes are a great way to organize your stuff without having to spend any extra money. If you wanted to, you could even cover it with cute contact paper to make it look even nicer.  Keeping things in the shoebox just makes it neater looking and keeps it all corralled in one place. The top basket contains my lotions and shaving supplies, while the bottom basket contains all of my travel size items (travel sized body washes, lotions, shaving creams, toothpaste, etc). We travel a lot with the girls’ sports and we are always needed travel-sized things. I like to keep a supply on hand since my girls inevitably will tell me 10 minutes before we are scheduled to leave that they need something. I love how neat and organized it looks.

Then I started with the drawers.  I took everything out of the drawer, one drawer at a time. Then I went through each item to determine if I really needed or used the item.  If not, it was either set aside to see if my girls would want it or it was thrown away.  There was a lot of make up that was really old so I just chucked it.  I love using these little containers from Target when organizing drawers.  You may remember these from my junk drawer post and my jewelry organizing post.  They fit in most drawers and are just a great way to keep things organized. I have them all over the house. The first drawer houses all of my extra Rodan and Fields products for when I run out of something.  I like to keep extras on hand so that I’m not in a pinch when I run out.  You know me, always prepared! The second drawer contains all of my nail stuff. I love how the containers keep my nail polishes all together and upright. The third drawer contains the things that I use daily like toothpaste, deodorant, and makeup remover wipes. This is the top drawer right next to the sink for easy access. The fourth drawer contains all of my tools.  You may notice two hair dryers in there.  One of them is a backup.  Several years ago as I was getting ready for work, my hair dryer died with half of my hair still wet.  It was like my worst nightmare! Since then I always have a back up hairdryer. Are you noticing a pattern here? Always have extra; always have a backup. That’s the OCD in me coming out again. The fifth drawer is the one that got purged the most. It was filled to the top with old makeup, and it’s a pretty deep drawer.  As you can see there is not much left in that drawer now.  I went through each thing and thought about how old it was and whether or not I ever planned to use it. Much of was thrown in the trash.  This drawer now contains the makeup that I don’t use every day but do use occasionally and my makeup brushes. Finally, the sixth drawer contains my hair stuff like my brushes, clips, rubber bands, etc. This is the top drawer right next to where I sit to get ready for easy access. I love how all of the drawers now have only the things I need and use.  No more clutter! No more junk!

The makeup, hair products, and skincare products that I use every single day are kept on the counter. I have a wooden basket that holds all of my makeup and hair products.  I purchased it years ago from Target. Here is something similar.  Then all of my skincare products are housed on a cupcake stand that I got from TJ Maxx a couple of years ago.  I love this option from Amazon. I will be upgrading mine when we move because I would prefer the stand had a solid bottom versus the wire. Some items won’t stand up on the wire and the spaces. I am also kind of digging this rustic look as well. If you are feeling crafty, you can even make your own with items from the dollar store like candle stick holders and plates.

The Aftermath

It feels so good to purge. Getting rid of unnecessary stuff makes me happy. This simplifying thing is a lot easier than I thought it would be. I really thought it would be harder for me to let things go, but I have to say that I am doing pretty good so far. I know the harder things are coming, but I am saving those for last. Up next week, the linen closets!

Anchored and Organized,

Organization Hack: Purging Clothing

I mentioned to you on Monday that I was able to get a jumpstart on my cleaning and purging over this past weekend since we were snowed in.  If you remember from last week, I am doing this in order to simplify our lives, to not be ruled by our possessions, and to prepare for our move to our new house in a couple of months. I decided to start with my daughters’ clothes. Following Marie Kondo’s method, I had them both take every single item of clothing out of their closet.  Instead of doing every article of clothing they owned at once like she recommends, I started with just the clothes in the closet.  My youngest was first up.  I can tell you that she wasn’t very happy about the project to begin with since she would have rather been outside playing in the snow, but I must admit that once we got going, she warmed up to the idea.  She’s my fashionista so talking about clothes is fun for her. I did not have her take everything off the hanger.  I just had her make stacks of the clothes with the hangers still on them. I figured that would make it easier to hang the ones we were keeping right back up.  She has a lot of clothes that were handed down by her sister, and the two of them couldn’t be more opposite when it comes to clothes and style. My oldest is very athletic and really has no interest in style and clothes and prefers to wear more athletic clothes or jeans and a t-shirt.  This becomes problematic when I attempt to save money and pass clothes down.  I would say that my youngest refuses to wear at least 80% of what her sister wears.  The point is that there are tons of clothes in her closet that she will not wear, and they are just taking up space.

Once all of her clothes were out of the closet in a heaping mound, I had her sit on the floor with me as I held up each piece.  I asked her if she would wear it or not.  I pretty much knew what her answer was going to be each time, but I wanted her to be a part of the process.  She would turn up her nose to most things and tell me no.  Those clothes immediately were taken from the hanger and put aside in a separate pile. I did not want to linger on any of it.  I wanted it to be a gut reaction.  If she was wishy-washy on something, I set it in a separate pile to come back to at the end. The items that were a resounding yes, were kept on the hanger and placed into a third pile.  To recap, we had a NO pile, a MAYBE pile, and a YES pile. Once we had been through the entire mound of clothes from the closet, we went back to the MAYBE pile and revisited those pieces.  The majority of those pieces ended up in the NO pile. From the original pile, I would guess that about 70% of it ended up in the NO pile.  I know some of you would freak out about that thinking there wasn’t much left for her to wear, but I know that the clothes that were put in the NO pile are clothes that she would have refused to wear anyway. My thought was that there was no point in holding on to them.  I will also add that we took into account whether or not certain pieces still fit her or were too small and went through a bag of clothes that were sitting in the bottom of her closet that were her size from her sister that had never been gone through. Now that we were done sorting, I sent her out to play and began the process of folding the clothes in the NO pile and putting them in bags to donate.  I then took all of the clothes in the YES pile and hung them back in her closet.  

When hanging clothes in the closet, there are a few rules of thumb that I follow.  I know most people don’t care, but it matters to me.  It makes my kids nuts and I am constantly “fixing” their closets to match my rules.  It’s pretty much a waste of my time, though, since they just mess it up within a week. To me, this makes it so much easier to locate whatever it is that you want to wear. 

  1. All clothes should face the same direction on the hanger.  For example the front of all tops should face the same direction.
  2. Separate clothes by season.
  3. Separate clothes into categories within each season. For example, dresses (also separate long/short dresses), sleeveless tops, t-shirts, shirts with collars, dressier tops, etc. should all be grouped together.
  4. Within each category, group like colors. If you are like me, you would then put them in rainbow order, but I know that is just me being obsessive. I gave up doing this with my kids.  It is just a waste of time because they don’t follow my system.

Once I finished putting away everything from the closet, I called my daughter back into her room and had her pull everything out of her dresser drawers.  We used the same process as before in sorting the things to keep and the things to give away.  Marie Kondo’s method of folding clothes is similar to what I have been using for years without knowing of her at all.  I fold shirts slightly different than she does, but both ways have the same idea for storing clothing in drawers. You can view the video below to see how she folds. Basically, you fold all of the clothes (from socks to shirts to pants) so that they stand up in a rectangular shape. This way you can store them in the drawers vertically which takes up less space and allows you to see each piece of clothing easily. 

I repeated this whole process with my older daughter who was not into it at all and had to be redirected many times.  Clothing just isn’t her thing. We also went through their shoes and got rid of the ones that were too small for my youngest and set them aside for donation. Then we gathered the ones that were too small for my oldest into a box to save for the youngest down the road. Along the same lines, I store all of the clothes that are too small for my oldest and too big for my youngest in vacuum sealed bags in one corner of her closet labeled by size. I can just pull them out whenever she is ready for the next size. I did get smart this time and went through them with my daughter to see if they were things she wanted to keep or get rid of. That way I am not holding on to a bunch of clothes that she is never going to wear in the future.

After going through both girls’ wardrobes, we ended up with a sizable donation pile. Looking at it makes me happy knowing that we will be helping others who are in need and that we are also simplifying our lives. This process took much of the day to complete, but I believe it was well worth the effort.  That is a sizable load of things that don’t have to be moved into our new house! Now I am in full purge mode and ready to get rid of everything! Look out house, here I come!

Anchored and Organized,