Organizing My Closet, Part One

Today I am showing y’all something scary… a before that I’m not proud of but an after that I absolutely love.  My favorite blogs are written by people not afraid to be real.  I love posts that show that someone’s life, someone’s home isn’t perfect… posts that show that a blogger’s life is real.  Today, I’m being real… and I’m showing you something that may have some of you submitting my name to Hoarders!  This picture is probably the scariest thing I’ve ever put on this blog… I still (even as I type this), can’t believe that I’m putting it out on the world wide web.  I really think I’ve lost my mind.  Because of that, I’m doing things backwards today.  I’m showing you an after… and then I’m going to explain the before… because this before is SCARY!  Have I gotten your attention yet?

Organized Closet on a budget

The picture above is the after… it’s what I imagined my closet to be when we purchased our home over 5 years ago.  During the early years of our marriage, Mike and I lived in older houses built in the 1940’s and 1950’s.  They had charm and character but lacked big closets and storage.  When we started looking for a new home, we looked at house after house until we found this one… home sweet home.  I knew it was home they moment we walked in and I saw… the huge walk-in closets(!) in the master bedroom.

I’ve never had a closet like my closet before.  Long rows of hanging racks for clothes and built-ins for shoes and other necessities.  The best part?  It was mine, all mine.  Mike has a separate closet in the master bathroom.  Long story short… we moved in and my closet and I lived happily ever after, right???  Not quite…

Craft Storage, Closet Shelves, Organized Closet

Are you ready to see the before… I’m not ready to show it yet!  I need to say a few things before I show you that picture.

Know that my closet and I have a love/hate relationship with each other.  In the last 5 years, I’ve come to realize that while I love all the space in my closet and the storage it affords… I also hate it for the same reasons.  It’s an easy place to hide junk.  Need a place to store clothes the kids have outgrown and Mike and I no longer wear?  Toss it in my closet.  Need to put a few toys away and out of reach… store them in my closet!  Have some books someone (ahem, Mike) isn’t ready to get rid of and don’t want to haul them to the attic?  I bet you know where they went… yep, my closet.  In the past 5 years, my closet became a catch-all for everything we didn’t want to deal with.   It was an easy answer, it didn’t involve taking 10 minutes to pack something into a storage container and move it to the attic and it had a door, so it was easy to hide the mess disaster.  Do you have an area like this in your home??  Please tell me that I’m not the only one who does!

On top of being a catch-all, my closet suffered from my own issues with redecorating.  Like I said, I loved the space, but there were things I wanted to change about it.  I dreamed of new carpet to replace the ugly brown stuff the previous owners placed there.  I dreamed of a new light fixture to replace the boob light that is there now.  And so I let it fester, thinking that once we made the changes I wanted to make to the space, I’d organize and fix it then.   But reality is this… big budget changes to my closet are at the very bottom of a very long list of updates we need to make to our home.  So, instead of dealing with the problem… instead of dealing with the clutter, I avoided it and it grew… and grew… and grew… until right after Christmas, it looked like this:

Seriously, is there a way to make that picture disappear when your mouse isn’t hovering directly above it??  I cannot believe I just posted that.  Let me say this.  This is the worst my closet has EVER been.  After Christmas, it became clear that we had to do something about our clutter.  My closet was the big, bright, blaring red flag.  It was the catalyst behind the Great Purge of 2012.

In tackling my closet, I knew that it just needed to be done.  There would be no new light fixture, no new carpet and no pretty, matching baskets for the shelves.  I needed to work with what I had.  I would empty, purge, clean and organize my closet… and then I was determined to make it a place I enjoyed… without spending a penny.


It took several hours to pull everything from the closet… and then things looked worse!  Once everything was out of a confined area, I was shocked at how much “stuff” we had crammed in there.  The next and most important part of the process was sorting.  I went through every item that came out of that closet and sorted them into my toss, donate and keep piles.  The donate and toss piles were unbelievable!  I tried to get rid of clothes I hadn’t worn in at least a year and stuff that we’d crammed into the closet and never taken out.

Organized Closet after, slipcovered chair, Annie Sloan painted shelves

I was left with a blank canvas… literally an empty room with white walls (and ugly brown carpet).  To create a space I loved, while giving myself the storage I needed for my clothes, accessories and craft supplies, I needed to shop what I already owned.  Some baskets, jars and tins, along with a lot of paint gave me the tools I needed to transform the closet into a functional, organized and enjoyable room!

Purging and reorganizing my closet taught me a important lesson; it gave me a big reality check.  Just because I want to make changes to a space… just because a space isn’t exactly how I want it to be, doesn’t mean that I can’t use what I have and make it a space I can enjoy.  Check back tomorrow for a fun post.  I really enjoyed shopping the house and using what I already owned to transform and organize the closet into a fun and feminine room with the storage I need for all of my ‘must-haves’!

Linking up to:

Savvy Southern Style

Clean It


  1. You deserve a drink for bearing your soul on that one :). Well done! And come do my closet :). Coffee on me when you are available :). This week?

  2. It looks amazing! So pretty and girly – I love it. And I’ve seen that ‘before’ picture before – in my own closet! lol. You’re not alone.
    Great job!

  3. You built up the mess so much, that the picture of it really was not as horrible as I thought it would be. The after really is awesome.

    Isn’t it great not to be weighed down with all that stuff? Great job!

  4. I’m impressed with the transformation! And I’m so jealous you have a master closet that looks like that!!!

  5. I want that closet! You must be so happy with it now. And I love that you used what you had and didn’t spend any money on it. It looks great.

  6. Sandi Campbell says:

    Great job Holly. Look at how much room you have now.

  7. Great Job. This first week of January I have been tackling all of our closets as well. It is a big job and mine is still not completely finished:( Amazing transformation, I hope mine can look as nice as yours!

  8. It’s huge! I can only dream of having a closet like that. I still have to share with the hubby. Nice job!

  9. Catherine Foscato says:

    Awesome! I’m inspired. My closet isn’t as big but just as cluttered…you wouldn’t believe the odd things that get stored there. Great job!

  10. I am impressed that you shared the before picture and even more impressed with how the “after” turned out. Looks like the great purge was a success! Amazing job!

  11. I’m so jealous! It looks fabulous. I wish we had nice big closets in our house. And the before picture…I’d be willing to bet that most of us have a space like that. I know I have at least one! Great job. It was definitely worth the effort. Now can you come help me with my messes??? ~ Angie

  12. It turned out fabulous!!!! You should feel no shame on the before……we have all been there! I kind of am now!!!

  13. Dont beat yourself up over that before. It inspired a gorgeous after. And it is gorgeous. I love that you used what you have. That’s my favorite kind of organizing because it is real. Great job. Great post. Great closet.

  14. That is a gorgeous after!! I love the chair!! And thank you for keeping it real on the before!! I am not sure I’d have the courage to even take the picture of mine right now!! Kudos!!

  15. Holly, I love it! My closet is the largest in the house, but it’s in Ava’s room, so not terribly convenient. And of course, I tend to throw her junk in there, too. I may be inspired for a big change! Thanks for a great post.

  16. What a huge improvement! It’s beautiful. Do you keep peeking in just for the satisfaction of looking at it again and again?

  17. Elizabeth Carter says:

    I’m so proud slash jealous! That is the best feeling in the world! Can’t wait to see it in person. Now you have room for all of those staples we all need so badly :) xo

  18. You have inspired me!!! Thank you!!! I showed this to my husband and he laughed very loud!!! He said “Look she has that goofy blue bouncy horse that we have!!!!”

    Keep up the good work!!

  19. Holly,
    Wow! That’s quite and undertaking! But you tackled the closet marvelously! Thanks for not being afraid to put yourself out there! Saw your post on Hometalk! Great job! -Matt

  20. I.Am.Proud.Of.You………amazing transformation! Thank you for sharing it. Will share my steps as well.XOXO! Rebecca

  21. Robin Turek says:

    I know I have a closet that needs to be purged big time…’s called the mobile home I live in! ha ha You have inspired me to do some well needed purging/decluttering!! I think I even have paint to use and not have to buy it! Thank you for sharing and being real about it!

  22. Debbie G. says:

    Great Job!!! You have given me the inspiration to undertake my closet. You’ll be glad to know you are not the only person who has an area like your “before” photo. I can’t wait to shop my house, use what I already have and organize my closet. Thanks for the inspiration.

  23. Well done! And look, now you can go in and have a seat while you decide to what to wear! :)

  24. Lillace Christianson says:

    Amazing job! And the chair cover is so pretty~~I’m thinking I may have to do that to mine. Thanks a bunch!

  25. My mother in law has a big walk in closet. She has lived in her house for almost 30 years. It is packed from floor to ceiling. She only wears the clothes in the front because she cannot reach anything else. I felt sorry for her until I saw the other closets in the house are just as bad. None of her kids live there anymore so she has stuffed all of the closets.

  26. Wow.

  27. I agree, it needs to be about being real! You aren’t brave, just honest…everybody has something that is in embarrassing disarray! My closet is #3 on my to do list this year {after my pantry and my garage} and your photos give me HOPE! AMAZING JOB! You need to have a girl party in there! I know you smile every time you open the door! Congrats!

  28. I had to laugh when I say your before photo.. looked like
    my closet last year.. I got so sick of it I did something like
    your after and I must say You did a beautiful job! I remember
    the first week I had to sit in mine and just look at it..haha
    It will indeed be a Happy New Year in your eyes…

  29. Wow- what an amazing transformation!! I featured this fab closet on my Saturday favorites! Claire

  30. Wow. Wow to the makeover and wow to the before. Thanks for showing us real. My bonus room looks like your before only ten times larger and I have got to get a hold of it before too long. Your after is beautiful and I bet you feel a whole lot lighter. I will be featuring this at wow this week.

  31. Wow – you deserve that amazing closet after having to sort through all that! Is that a blue rubber bouncy horse I spy at the back of the pile?!

    P.S. if it makes you feel better, my closet is pretty close to your before!!

  32. You are so not alone. Our master closet looks very similar to your cluttered one. It is on my list of must do’s this year. I want our closet back!! Your transformations turned out gorgeous~it sure gives me something to shoot for! Thanks so much for the inspiration to get started.

  33. How lovely this new closet looks….how much like my closet your OLD closet looks! My closet is also on the docket for organizing this year as well and it’s gonna be a JOB! Thanks for posting this beautiful inspiration! =D

  34. Your old closet looks like mine right now and mine is causing me so much stress! We’re in the process of re-doing the shower in the master bath, which will lead to new tile, which I plan to run all the way in through the closet. So….that’s my excuse for not getting it done quicker. Plus, I need a new closet system and I’ll have to repair the walls, which will of course, require a paint job. :)

    I love your “new” closet!! I wish I had that much space!!

  35. I’m so glad that someone our there has a before closet like mine. I LOVE that you are real!!!! Sometimes when looking at peoples AFTER pictures without showing the before makes you feel like you’re from another planet. That everybody has perfect homes and mine is far from it.

    Your new closet is amazing!!!! You deserve to take a nice bath with candles burning and a glass of wine in hand!!

  36. You are an inspiration for me to clean out my closet too! It becomes a convenient place to throw things around the house that I don’t know what to do with when “company is coming”…and then it’s just hard to find time to declutter it afterwards…what a mess. Congrats on being featured over at Savvy Southern Style!

  37. Your closet looks AMAZING!! I love that little slipcovered chair too! So cute!! Thanks so much for sharing & thanks for linking up to the “Clean It” party!!


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