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?
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…
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.
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’!
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