Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Master Closet Makeover: Step 1 - Organize!

I have a confession to make. As much time, energy, and money I have spent on decorating my home, my poor master closet has lacked the attention it deserves and, over time, I lost control.

Spending 10 years in retail had created quite a collection of clothes, shoes, purses, and accessories that have slowly been mounting in my large walk-in closet over the 5 years we have lived in our house.  And I admit to doing something that we all do - freak out at the last minute when company is coming over and throw various items (from papers, books, small kitchen appliances, etc) in my closet.  So when a friend suggested that I enter a closet makeover contest sponsored by local organizing and closet companies Simplicity and Closets By Design, of course I jumped at the chance!

The images you are about to see may be too graphic for young children.  It had gotten to the point where I was worried to let my 1 1/2 year-old son in our closet for fear that he may end up in Narnia.  Below are the pictures that I sent in with my entry and, I really hate to admit it, they were NOT staged.

Far Wall - BEFORE
Shoe Wall - BEFORE

Top Shelf - BEFORE
 As you can guess, our closet was SO bad, that yes, we won the makeover!  I received the news on my phone while my husband was driving and I squealed so loudly that he almost drove us off the road.  They explained to me that the process would be organize, design, and install.  Our goal was to have it completed by the new year.

OK, Step 1 - ORGANIZE.  That should be easy to do, right?  Well, I guess if it were that easy, I would have done it before we had gotten to the-point-of-no-return.  Enter Simplicity Certified Professional Organizers.  Simplicity quickly sent me an assessment questionnaire and I met with Anne Steppe, a professional organizer, at our home to discuss the project, what my needs were, determine where our current system was lacking and what could be improved.

A few days later Anne shows up promptly with another partner-in-crime, Andrea, ready to help me dig through my mess.  They immediately started pulling everything out of the closet and laying it in designated areas for me to sort through and determine what was Keep, Donate, or Throw Away.  The amount of stuff that was literally stuffed in that closet was unbelievable when it was spread out all over my first floor.  I had 3 whole rows of shoes lined up spanning the length of my foyer which had previously been stacked up on 4 small shelves.

In my purse collection I found change, make-up, lipstick that had been misplaced for years, and a $50 Spa Finder gift card that had not yet expired.  SCORE!  Andrea pulled out all of my husband's t-shirts, shorts, ties, etc, and did an inventory of his things for me.  He had OVER 100 t-shirts piled up on our dining room table once she was done.

Andrea refolded all of my husband's clothes, including over 100 t-shirts!

After 3 hours of sorting, we had accumulated 14 trash bags full of clothes, shoes, and purses that Anne packed up in her Suburban to donate to local charities. 

Packed and ready to go to local charities in Charlotte

The next step that Anne and Andrea assisted with was transferring the clothes that were remaining to the new no-slip Real Simple hangers that I had found at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $29.99 for a box of 50. 

After a mere 4 hours, we had managed to pull everything out of my closet, sort, and organize it back in the closet, all while feeling great about the charitable donations I was making (and the tax write-off I was getting)!

Far Wall - AFTER Simplicity

Shoe Wall - AFTER Simplicity
I certainly could not have done this (and clearly had not done this) without the help from Anne and Andrea from Simplicity.  Below are a few tips that they gave me to help keep myself organized and avoid another out-of-control situation:
Organizing Tips

1) If you are starting a large reorganization project, be realistic about how much time it will take and make sure to set aside that amount of time in your schedule.  It took 3 of us each 4 hours to complete the reorganization of my closet, which means it would have taken 12 hours for just me to accomplish this.  If you don't give yourself enough time, it's easy to get frustrated halfway through and lose focus of the end goal.

2) When you buy a new pair of shoes, shirt, or any other item, it must be REPLACING a similar item in your closet. Yes, we all love to have MORE clothes, MORE shoes, and MORE purses, but do we really need everything in our closet?  The average person doesn't wear 70% of what is hanging in their closet at any one moment.  Replacing items versus adding will allow you to maintain a place to put everything, which is the key to keeping organized.

3) Transfering your clothes to one type of hanger will streamline the look of your closet.  It also will help you stick with the idea of using your brand new shirt to replace an old one by allowing yourself to use only the nice matching hangers that you have available.

4) Use small clear plastic bins on shelves to store items such as purses, scarves or other accessories. Clear plastic allows you to see what is inside without having to pull the bin down and the small size keeps it from becoming a bottomless pit that large bins can easily turn into.

More tips are available on Simplicity's blog, with new entries and ideas added weekly to help anyone stay organized!

To read how the paint, closet design, and other fun items were chosen, check out the next entry: Master Closet Makeover: Step 2 - Design!

No comments:

Post a Comment