Saturday, July 4, 2015

0 Four Week "Wait-No-More" Organizing Challenge! Week 4 - Master Closet (and a link party)

Truth be told, I am feeling a little sad that this is my last "Wait No More Challenge" reveal.  I know this challenge wasn't for everyone, but it sure did this girl's body, mind, soul and home a whole lot of good! 

Little by little, our master bedroom closet had been falling apart.  Piles were forming, clothing needed to be pared down and just about every last drawer was holding a dirty secret.  I shared those secrets earlier this week here, and although I barely hit my deadline, I was shooting our final photos at 10:50 p.m. Friday night!  Whew!  Down to the wire!

But before I get into the nitty gritty, let's take a look at a few of the before photos:

This room is tucked far in the depths of our lower level and can become easy to neglect since Bryan and I are the only folks to use it or see it.  There is no pressure to keep it clean or tidy, other than for our own satisfaction.  Because our closet area was feeling that neglect, we were feeling frustrated.  Each day when I wake up, I head directly to our closet to select my clothing.  When I lay in bed at night, it is the last space I see before I close my eyes.  This space really does impact us more than we realized, and I knew it was the perfect candidate for our final project of the organizing challenge.  Clothing piles, jewelry piles, missing makeup, messy drawers galore... our closet was begging for some love and attention.

And let's be honest, my hubby uses his wardrobe and a couple smaller drawers and the rest is on me.  I have no idea how clean or messy his storage areas are, and I am OK with that!  He was off the hook for this project with the exception of a little vanity lighting project.  I had a lot of work ahead of me.

As always, I started by emptying out every area of the room that needed to be organized this week.  That included my wardrobe, drawers, jewelry and vanity area.

I was hoping to post more over the course of the week as I worked, but I ended up giving every last spare second of my time to the project and making a big mess while I tackled it all at once.  We had a very busy week, so I didn't even get started on the space until late Tuesday evening.  And I ended up being surprised at how big of an undertaking it became.  By the last drawer, I was definitely ready to be done, but at the same time, I was completely in my element.  I have so much love for taking a messy space and sorting things down, thinking things out and putting small special touches on them.

(funny how I didn't even notice my dresses jumbled in the bottom drawer when I put them away, but seeing them now they bugged me enough to go fix them after writing this post)
This space has really evolved over the past few years, and I think it has gotten better with age.  We started with a blank slate in 2011, and because we were refinishing our entire lower level, we were on a very tight budget.  Our closet area also has lower ceilings due to duct work, so when it came to finding concealed storage for Bryan and I, we were a little limited with options.  We selected two very inexpensive and generic wardrobes from IKEA.  We also added a single four-drawer dresser from IKEA as well.

Slowly but surely we have been expanding the storage, and who knows, maybe someday we will splurge on a "real" walk-in closet design.  But for the most part, we have had no issues with storage space and are content with what we have.  What REALLY surprised me this week, was how much I actually was storing in this space.  After I emptied all of my closets and drawers onto the bed, The pile was almost as tall as me!  (Picture on left below is after I emptied only the wardrobe, I eventually added in all of my clothing drawers as well.)

The photo on the right shows my sorted down piles.  I began by touching every last piece and going through the keep/purge questions.  Anything that I said, "no" to, was tossed to the floor.  All "yes" items were categorized into new piles.  This post is going to get quite lengthy already, I am going to focus more on the sorting/purging/future organization portion of the closet next week.  But I am excited to say that I was able to say goodbye to:

  • 48 tops
  • 23 bottoms
  • 12 dresses
  • 3 belts
  • 4 scarves
  • 10 tank tops
  • 10 pajama/lounge pieces
  • 4 pairs of shoes

That is 114 items!  Say what?!  And I still had so much to store, I was actually hoping to purge down even more.  Where have I been putting it all? #crazytown

Before putting my remaining clothing back, everything was attacked with a steamer and iron.

I did re-arrange things a bit when putting all of the clothing away.  All swimwear went up in the woven basket, only shirts were hung in the closet portion, and I switched up some of the Elfa drawers.

I have used the roll-folding method in the past, and went that route again due to the amount of clothing be stored within each drawer.

My problem seems to be maintaining this system; taking things out and putting them back without disrupting the other beautifully folded and organized pieces.

Shorts and skirts were combined into a single drawer.  Dresses were loosely draped into the lower drawer.  My only complaint with our current dressing room set-up is that I don't have a proper hanging area for longer pieces.

I made, printed and cut new labels to accommodate the changes.  Still loving those adhesive bookplate label holders, Martha!

As I mentioned, I have more wardrobe goodness to share, but it is time for me to move on for now...

Remember my ball-o-jewelry?  No?  Me either!

My DIY jewelry pin board and bracelet holder are back in working order.  And the thrifted white tray is perfect for corralling my earrings.

The jewelry area adds a dash of fun and color to the storage nook, which I am completely gaga over.  And such simple DIY's!  What I love most is that I can easily find jewelry to dress up my clothing each day.  Everything out in the open which makes it really simple to pick something and go on with my day.

Although the jewelry display area was shaping up, I had a lot more to do.  More specifically, a lot of drawers to organize.  I began with my smaller drawers, which were being used to hold my belts and scarves, and the other for my travel toiletries.  I was initially thinking I would have to come up with new scarf storage due to my collection growing.  Turns out, after I purged three belts and four scarves, I had just enough slots in my drawer to roll and store the remaining pretties.

Belts were tossed into a basket on the shelf.

I have been a long time believer in pre-packing my toiletry bag so it is one less thing I have to think much about before I travel.  Because my travel drawer was becoming a dumping ground, my toiletries were temporarily stored in the master bathroom.  Now, they are finally back where they belong!

The box in the front holds my travel toiletry over-flow.

My make-up bag temporarily holds my travel hair dryer and straightener.

I wish I could say that was the extent of the messy drawers, but nope!  They were all jumbled messes!

The top drawer was holding my unsorted sock piles, the second drawer was divided with bins but really had no direction any longer, and the third drawer was a combo of pajamas and paint clothing.

Thanks to some foam core board from the Dollar Store (which I stole from my photography arsenal),  I now have easy peasy drawer dividers.

I also picked up some delightfully scented sachets to keep things smelling nice and fresh in each drawer.

The next drawer kept the original dividers, but now each one has a specific purpose.

And every last sock was sorted, paired and rolled.  Back into our old sock organizer they went!

But the goodness doesn't stop there!  I told you I was a buuuuusy girl!

Updating my vanity area has been on my wish list for quite some time.  I haven't been using it as frequently as I had hoped because the setup wasn't ideal for sitting down and putting on makeup.  The mirror was all wrong from a functional perspective and the lines clashed with the stenciling on the wall,  The lighting from the mini-chandelier pendants cast some shadows and I really couldn't see what I was doing all that well.  Not that putting on my makeup in the bathroom while rummaging through my makeup bag was all that bad... but there is something magical about a vanity.

Both drawers were lined with happy floral gift wrap, and I added a second set of acrylic drawer dividers.

Up until this point, I hadn't purchased a single thing to re-organize the space, but those acrylic organizers are amazing for makeup so I didn't mind the $10 splurge (HomeGoods).  The acrylic keeps things chic, but more importantly, they are super easy to clean.

I also washed all of my makeup brushes and cleaned each item as I pulled it from the powdery bottom of the cosmetic bag (more details to come next week as well).

I am just about to touch on the larger wall mirror, but I also added a smaller desktop version for up close viewing as well (Target).

Now, my absolutely favorite moment in the entire transformation!

Talk about facelift!  I moved the chair out of the way so you could get a good look at the setup; the round mirror paired with new sconces really made the vanity area so much more impactful and useful!

The mirror was a miracle Craigslist find and the sconces were inspired by these, but purchased at Wayfair for a jumbo fraction of the price (and made over of course).

Photographing lit sconces is nearly impossible, but I ended up using "daylight" reveal bulbs and through the frosted glass, they add the perfect amount of light while also deflecting any shadows from the overhead lights.

Everything about the entire setup feels a little too fancy for me (as I sit here and type in my athletic shorts and hooded sweatshirt), but that makes me appreciate this special lux moment in our home even more.  The entire room really feels like a little retreat, and multiple hours later, I am so excited to have it back in tip-top shape!

Now!  Who wants to win a $50 Gift Certificate to Target!!?  I try to avoid it because it is easy to get sucked in to impulsive purchasing of darling home decor items (heck, I have to put myself on Target freezes), but Target does offer some great products at great prices.  Just be sure to shop there with a list!  And their storage is always spot on.  You can't go wrong heading there for any organizational project on your radar.  Using, one link party participant will be selected to win the gift card at the end of this week's challenge (no need to participate each week to win)!  Time to share your Week 4 stories and projects with me!

I really have been in awe of the projects you are sharing each week!  And each party is receiving over 50,000 views!  Let's break the link-up record this final week of the challenge!

I really had a lot of fun this past month getting our time management, cars, bathroom and closet back under control.  And guess what!  The spaces I organized early on in the challenge are still going strong!  Makes me a happy mama and wife!  Truly, they have really been having a positive impact on daily life.   I am so grateful that you followed along and even took on spaces yourselves.  Your comments and encouragement have been priceless to me and why I enjoy blogging so very much.  I will be sharing highlights from all of the parties once the challenge closes.

Although this week was far more work than I initially anticipated, I couldn't feel better about my time investment and all that I accomplished.  Now, I think I deserve a glass of wine, some S'mores by the fire and a ride on the pontoon.  I hope you all are having a beautiful holiday weekend as well.

You can find all of the challenge details in this post here, and also download some FREE project planning printables to help you get started.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

15 UHeart Organizing: Take Away Organized Travel

Summer is the prime time to travel.  And being knee deep in organizing our closet I would love to just toss half of my clothes into a suitcase and run off to a far away land....

But since I am not going anywhere at the moment, I have invited the lovely duo from DIY Playbook blog to share their travel tips instead.  They have really simple yet effective solutions to keeping your travels less about stressing out and worrying and more about enjoying your destination.  I can't wait to give some of these ideas a try in the next few weeks!  Thank you ladies!

We must preface this by saying we certainly are not world travelers. But, we have done our fair share of visiting many cities in the good ol’ US of A. Traveling to a new place is so exciting, but it can also be a bit stressful. To us, being organized while on vacation helps keep these stress levels in check and often times makes the vacay that much more enjoyable. Less time digging through that suitcase = more time enjoying the sights of your destination!

Here are 9 tips to help you stay organized on your next vacation.


Before you bid your home farewell, we recommend taking 15 minutes to whip up a sheet with all of the important information about your trip. On this document you can include the following…

  • Airline Information: Confirmation codes & flight times
  • Rental Car Details
  • Hotel Address & phone number
  • List of Places To See/Eat along with their Addresses
  • Travel Routes
  • List of Key Contacts
  • Travel Agent Contact Information

We know we live in 2015 and everyone can look up these things on their phone in about 30 seconds. But having a physical, tangible, piece of paper with all of your important info on it can make things a heck of a lot less stressful (especially when you can’t seem to get a wifi signal). We also recommend sharing a copy of this document with someone at home. That way someone has details in case they need to find you while you’re away on vacay!


Along with that important piece of paper chock full of your travel info, there is bound to be other important papers you collect along the way. We’re talking boarding passes, receipts, ticket stubs, and just about any other piece of paper that can get crumpled up and stuck at the bottom of your suitcase. Create a plan before you even leave for vacation that addresses how you will keep track of these items. Perhaps it’s as simple as bringing along an extra Ziploc baggie for receipts. Or maybe you prefer to bring a file folder for all of the important documents or sneak a labeled envelope in your bag. No matter which method you prefer, it’s always best to go in with a plan of action.


It’s fairly easy to forget your your cell phone charger or headphones when you’re going on vacation. Heck, we’ve had to run to the Apple store more than once to get a charger while on vacay #oops. But organizing your cords and keeping them in a designated area is the best way to keep those important cords on hand when you’re on vacation. We recommend buying a large pencil case to hold all of your chargers/cords.

Then to prevent the pencil case from becoming a disorganized, tangled mess, we use binder clips and washi tape to keep those cords in check. Wrap your devices in a certain color washi tape, label it, and then use the clothespin to neatly fold up the cord. This also works out great if your travel buddy borrows your charger. Because of the colored washi tape, you’ll know which one is yours when it’s time to pack up and head home!


Living out of a suitcase is never fun. But choosing what to wear and not knowing if it’s clean or dirty is even worse! Make sure you keep your clean clothing & dirty clothing separate. We recommend a small mesh intimates bag for dirty socks & undies. It’s compact and you can toss the entire thing into the wash when you get home.


When your travel group heads home, it can be a nightmare to track down all of the vacation photos everyone took on the trip. We recommend setting up a photo sharing system before you even arrive at your destination. If you’re taking pics on your iPhone, we recommend creating a photo stream and inviting everyone in the group to share their travel photos. If a DSLR camera is more your style, set up a Dropbox folder ahead of time and invite all of your travel companions to join in. Everyone can dump their photos into one common place (almost immediately with a photo stream) so you all can enjoy the memories throughout the trip and well beyond!


This one is pretty self explanatory. Because no one wants to open up their suitcase and see their shampoo exploded all over their vacation wardrobe. For extra credit, throw a few more Ziploc bags into your suitcase... just in case. #bettertobesafethansorry


We’re 2 self-admitted “overpackers”, so this tip is one we can both improve upon. Packing 10 outfits for a simple weekend trip isn’t going to do you any favors while on vacay. Instead do your best to only pack what you need, and you’ll be far less likely to have a chaotic suitcase during your vacation.


When it comes to organization, STAYING organized is half the battle. Take a few minutes (you’re on keep this brief!) to maintain your organization system. Perhaps that means clearing out your wallet and adding that collection of receipts to a baggie. Or maybe it means adding yesterday’s photos to the group’s photo stream when you have a few minutes to yourself. Take some time now, to combat chaos later.


As much as you prepare and plan ahead, you’ll probably forget something during your trip or your suitcase may get a bit disheveled. That’s a-okay! Enjoy your time away and make the most of your precious vacation days. And if you’re still struggling to stay organized while on vacay, our advice to you would be -- practice makes perfect!! Happy Travels!


"Hey There! We're Bridget and Casey, the best friends, Chicago gals, and editors behind The DIY Playbook. Even though we consider ourselves busy girls with full-time jobs, husbands, and never ending to-do lists, we believe there is always time to add personality to our homes. On our blog, we strive to inspire our readers to inject their sparkling personalities into their own spaces with affordable and attainable solutions. We heart Instagram, can't turn down a cup of coffee, have no clue what we're doing in the kitchen, and are beyond excited to be part of the IHeart Organizing team!"
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