Project Closet Organization

Hey All! So, let’s talk about a little, ok maybe a big, white elephant in just about everyone’s house. Yep, that’s right, your closet. (The one in your bedroom) Your closet can be a walk in, the typical doors that slide, or a full size of a room. No matter what type or size of closet you have, it is bound to be a catch all at one point or another. And if you are like me, (dare I admit this) you probably, literally throw random items in there just seconds before company comes or as company is ringing your door bell. Only to have it all fall out later when you go to grab a sweater for the chilly weather. As you think, why do I do this over and over again, I should just organize it. Yea right! Because we all have an entire day to climb through that hot mess! Not likely.

Well, I am going to try to convince you that is it not as overwhelming as it may seem. I know, I know, bare with me. I am going to use my own closet to show you how to get every little inch of real estate in that tiny, or big closet of yours to work overtime! All I ask is to not judge mine, I did a weak attempt at pushing the baby’s toys aside while I took these photos as she was taking a nap.

So let’s break it down into manageable sections shall we? First let’s talk about how high your closet is. Yes, how high is your ceiling. I do not necessarily mean go out and measure it. I mean take a good look at the SPACE. Do you have a lot of unused room above your highest hanging rack? If so, why? I am going to show you a few examples in my own home of good and bad uses of space. (Obviously the bad I will blame on my hubby since it is in our panty, and that is his domain.)

First, I will show you the closet in our bedroom. Again, brace yourselves. I had to take these photos in sections. I am 5’9″ and I use a little mini step ladder to reach the top shelf you will see in this first photo.

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I know, not that great of quality as far as the photo goes, but you get my point. So my first question again was how high is your ceiling in your closet compared to the highest hanging rack? Here you can see I had quite a bit of space and there was already a shelf up there. So first, if you have this space, ADD A SHELF! On the shelf here, to the left hand side you notice I have two baskets. So another question…you know all those “skinny” tank tops, and T-shirts and just don’t hang right, and/or the shirt is not really worth the hanging space. Normally it ends up at the bottom of a drawer somewhere? Ok, well I took those tank tops and T-shirts and have a basket for each. Now when I need them for layering, (or when I don’t really feel like taking the time to fold them) they go in their designated basket on this top shelf that I use my little step ladder to get to. Next to that are bulky and odd shaped boot boxes. TIP: Keep your shoe boxes. This helps keep your shoes from getting extra wear, and providing extra protection. Then you get to see my sweaters, already becoming slightly undone. Well, what do you expect? I’m not a Banana Republic store front with perfectly folded clothing! Point being, I utilized the space above the hanging rack, and organized shirts that are best kept folded into baskets/bins. In this picture, I choose to hang all my shirts together. Call me OCD, but I organize my shirts into colors. I use the rainbow as a guide, with neutrals being hung at the back. Within each color, I then hang the shirts by sleeve length. So first is tank tops, then short sleeves, then long sleeves, and so on. I am not saying that is the perfect way to hang your shirts, I just happen to think in terms of color and this is the system that works well for me.

 

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Ok, this photo gives you a look at the bottom portion of my hanging items. So on the left you see my shirts again, and below that are all my hanging pants. Yes, I even hang my jeans. Why? I will tell you why. I know my faults, and I am a person that wants to open the closet and see all my clothing. I do not want to have to walk all around my room just to collect an outfit together. That being said, I hang everything I possibly can so it is all in one space. Let’s be honest, if I folded my jeans and put them in a drawer, the ones on the bottom would probably not get worn much. That’s just me.

Then you also see I have my shoes all stacked and in their original boxes. Yes, I have a shoe problem. It is beyond fetish! I have dialed that back somewhat. But hey, I’m only human. I guess I should also admit that these are only my winter shoes. Should I go into therapy for my shoe problem? 🙂 This is my Second point. Just because someone made it obvious that where my shoes are was meant for long dresses, doesn’t mean you have to do it! I have my dresses in another closet (My son doesn’t need that closet does he?) because they are seasonal and not something I wear all the time even in the right weather. So we hung my husband’s shirts in that area, and I stacked my shoes below it. I also used the top of my shoe boxes as a little make shift shelf for some purses. It’s the right height, and just made sense to me.

 

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Ok, final photo of my closet and final point about organizing your closets. Here is something that I am sure almost every woman has owned at one point or another. A shoe rack that hangs on the back of your closet door. Yes, I do have a few shoes in this. However, most of the slots are home to other closet items. Isn’t it every girl’s fantasy to just step into a closet and have every article of clothing and accessory within arms reach? Ok, well I tried my darnedest to get that here. I rolled up my scarves and my belts and have them in the shoe pockets. Then I used those Command strips on the right side of the shoe organizer to hang all my necklaces. I am not lying when I tell you that I will sneak in this closet while my infant is sleeping, get dressed head to toe including accessories and come out. I feel like Clark Kent going into a phone booth and coming out as superman, or super mom in my case.

Those were all, I hope, good examples of using every inch of a closet. Here is the not so good. Sorry husband.

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Here is a photo of our pantry. It is actually quite a large space, but extremely under utilized. I know it’s messy, let’s get past that. 🙂 My point here is that there is a TON of room to add extra shelving, or more wire shelf storage on each shelf. These are found at big box home improvement stores. Most are not expensive. I guess I will have to attempt to get the hubby to let me organize this closet and then update you all with a photo. But do you see my point?

 

In our bedroom closet, yes I went overboard with utilizing space. I did that because of what I wanted it to be. I wanted that closet to contain 90% of my wardrobe and it does. Best of all, all articles neatly fit in there without me needing to lean against the door in order to close it. So let’s recap. First, look at the height of your closet and put a shelf just above the hanging rack. Even if you can not fit a bin like I did, it still gives you a shelf to any other items you may have. Second use the space as YOU need it. Not necessarily how it was INTENDED to be used. My shoes fit well in the space meant for long hanging items. Third, Do not forget about vertical space. It is sometimes more important then horizontal space. And if you aren’t sure if there is extra room use this trick. Most closets are painted a lighter color right? And most of our clothes look dark against that color right? Ok, so now go to your closet and squint your eyes a bit. Don’t strain, just squint enough to get a fuzzy image of what is in front of you. Now, do you see any areas with light color, aka the walls. This is an area that maybe underused. Now, take a look again, with your normal vision, at that space you just identified. Can you use it for anything? Chances are, that pocket book you just bought at Marshall’s will look great in that space! Ooops, I mean that very smart purchase of a neutral accessory.

 

Do you have a favorite organizing tip? Let me know! Questions? Type it in the comments and I will help you solve them!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Random Items that Inspire

Hi All! Have I mentioned previously that I am a queen repurposer? And that I like to make up words, like repurposer. I have always been a bit of a black sheep with it comes to an item’s function and its use. I love to find new ways to use an everyday or old item. So much so that at times drives my husband crazy. I have also been known to go off on a tangent about the silliest little detail and its use or misuse. Crazy, I know, but hey it’s who I am. Actually, I do this all the time without thinking about it. I see an item and just start thinking out loud about all the different uses or situations it can come in handy for. I’m famous for making statements that sound like…”hey, wouldn’t it be great if..” or, “wouldn’t this be awesome if we paint it this color and moved it to such and such location”. All this jibber jabber from me makes others heads spin as I tout off idea after idea. And then it hit me! Instead of rambling to someone who has no clue or interest in what I am talking about, why not involve the design and DIY community. Why not capture my ideas via photo while I am out and about and write about it later, here on my blog. So that is what this post is all about.

Let’s also address one KEY element. There is no right or wrong way to be inspired. I read in a book the other day about how a women was on a hike, saw a piece of corrugated scrap metal, and took it home. She cleaned it, took it to some metal work place to have it cut to size. And then she used it in her home as a floor to ceiling piece of art that also acted as a fireplace mantel/surround. What an awesome idea! It wouldn’t be my taste, but very cool way to see art in discarded material and have the courage to use some elbow grease to make it work for her purpose.

I think what is important is to recognize that if something makes you stop to admire it, and this could be anything… A feather floating mid air, an ad for some new hair dye where the model’s hair is moving in a way that maybe inspires you to paint a mural on a wall in your home, or the spring bloom of a flower. Everything and anything can be inspirational. We just have to take a moment to realize that something in that image stopped us long enough to take it in. That, my friends, is what art and design is all about. Seeing something that gives us an idea about how to create our own unique art.

That being said, yesterday I had a little free time. Free time in my world translates to I had about an hour to kill while also carting around our 9 month old and our 4 year old. An hour that did not demand me to be somewhere else or be doing something specific. So I set out to one of my favorite stores to wander aimlessly. And let it be known if I could wander in this store everyday, I think I would. Thats right, Homegoods. I Love That Store! I go in there every chance I can. Not to purchase anything, but because sometimes just wandering around I get very creative ideas for designing. I see items that were obviously picked up by someone only to be put down in another aisle. That is when my eye is usually drawn to those particular items and my wheels start turning.

Here are two finds that stopped me long enough to take a picture and dream before my energetic 4 year old snapped me back into reality.

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To all my color lovers out there. This piece speaks to you. Even if you are not a fan of loud, in your face color. There is no denying that this chair commands attention as you pass by. I fell in love with the color first, then the shape, and finally the clean design of the legs.  I could easily see this in a very fun dining room where the color combination was focused around lacquer black, chartreuse, and mirrored finishes. Imagine a hand blown black glass chandelier and wall sconces! Perhaps a wainscoting that goes 3/4 of the way up the walls, to be finished off with a molding. Then last 1/4 of wall space has some retro, funky wallpaper that is reminiscent of the art deco era, or a fun 70s vibe. By restricting the wall area with this type of print on it to a small area, keeps the print from becoming over bearing in the room. Another idea, maybe the wallpaper is only placed on one wall with a giant over sized mirror leaning against it, and the rest of the room is painted a middle toned color from the wallpaper. Maybe eggplant purple is in there somewhere? The effect would be stunning.

Color does not need to be intimidating. Make one bold punch, and keep the rest subdued and the effect is balanced design. Talk about a conversation piece!

The second item I found was this corbel.

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I would imagine that many folks would have no clue what to do with this item. Let’s break it down one step at a time. First, let’s evaluate the size. This piece is just over 30″ long! So for those who have minimal floor space, this is a gorgeous, stand alone shelf! Perhaps it is just the item an entry foyer needs. Some of us live in wicked old buildings with weird angled walls, or barely usable walls. This would fit in almost any little amount of space and yet be extremely useful. Personally I have something similar, that is about 1/4 of its size. I use it as a plant stand for one of my favorite cascading plants, a golden pathos. Secondly, let’s talk about the color. On one hand, we can look at it and take a lead from the fashion world. Which is having a huge cobalt moment right now. That being said, this color is perfectly on trend. Then, we can also recognize that it is wood, and we can paint it ANY color! Sometimes we are so controlled by our own blinders on life that we fail to see options. I see a glazing over this piece in a lighter blue, letting the cobalt peak through for a vintage look. Or paint it an entirely different color, but let me challenge you to avoid black. That brings me to my final point about this. I will never speak against black, I use it in almost everything. Designing, my personal wardrobe, etc. But when an item such as this, has great detail, painting it black is almost a sin. The wonderful scroll work was created to stand out, not blend in. If you have been trying to push your decorating boundaries, something like this is a great baby step. Take the risk, and use it as is or paint it boldly. What’s the worst that can happen? You decide you don’t like the color and you have to go back to your ho hum comfort zone. That’s not such a bad risk is it?

Both of these examples just show that on any given day, we stop to “smell the roses” so to speak. Maybe it’s something in a commercial, or on your drive to work, maybe it’s something you heard on the radio. The point is, if you are that moved by an item to give it more then 2 secs of your time. Pay attention. It might be solving a problem you have been looking for an answer to. Do you have a favorite place to get inspiration? Let me know!

How to Make it Work

Remember this Table I posted yesterday?

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I do not think I added that it seats 6 and we paid $20!! Amazing. I also added yesterday that it will one day be our dining room table after I sand and paint it a satin black, and then I will add some glazing to it. I always like to have a rough idea, not a firm plan when going about DIY projects. Why? Because almost ALWAYS your project will change, or you will have an inspiration mid project and your out come ends up better then the original plan. I realize this might not work for everyone, but it does work for me. And as the saying goes….if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

 

So yes, we have this table, no chairs, but an awesome solid wood table in a tacky orange stain. After getting it into the house and staring at it every time I walked by it, I had this nagging feeling to use it NOW, not later. So it was my husband’s idea, (good job love) and he suggested it become our dual work/computer desk. Epiphany! Sometimes I swear I married a genius! We moved it into another room, and set it up to be our “command station”. Here it is.

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I have not had a chance to sand or paint yet. I just wanted to be able to use this fun table. And why yes, I do work with candles lit! The warm glow and smell is heaven and relaxes my mind for creating. So not perfect, but very useful and it has already proven to be a great work desk. For now, until I find another treasure to bring home.

Design Business Launch!

I am so excited to launch my very own Interior Design business! This is an extremely exciting time for me. After looking for the “perfect” job to fit neatly around my family’s tight schedule, I found nothing. Not one thing that made me feel good about working away from them. So after going over the idea and working out some details, JMP Interiors is a reality. We are currently working on the website to make sure we get everything perfect and I will be looking forward to sharing it with all of you and getting your feedback!

This is truly a dream come true. I am so grateful to have a supportive and loving family urging me to pursue what has always brought me happiness and fulfillment. I will be taking on projects in Upstate NY as well as Northeast PA. As I get the photos ready, and new projects come up I will be sure to share with this site. Thanks for your support!

Usable Material is Everywhere!

I am a self proclaimed queen repurpose-er. (Is that a real word?) That being said, it is SO hard for me to throw anything out, without racking my brain in ways to use it. This is a topic I can go on about! (And I have, just ask my poor husband) To keep it simple, I want to show you a little glimpse of how my brain works. Here is a catalog cover of a furniture company that regularly gets delivered to our home.

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When I finished lusting over multiple products in their catalog, I took notice to the GORGEOUS chair on the front cover, as well as the heavy weight of the cover paper. It then occurred to me I could easily cut out the image and use it in a design.

And that, my friends, is exactly what I did! The cut out image of a chair I will use in a card design. Check back next Monday to see how I create the card, and the finished product!