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Closet Quick Fix

CLOSETS! Those spaces behind closed doors that can be even scarier than the kitchen sink is after a long day.  Do you have one in your house that you have to cram everything into and shut the door fast before stuff bulges out and it won’t shut?  I did.


This closet has been bothering me since the day we moved in.  The structure of a closet is IMPERATIVE to making it work for you.  You can be as organized as you want, but if you’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole its not going to work!  This closet had floor to ceiling shelving that was spaced less than 6 inches apart.   It is located in our foyer, right as it opens to the living room.  We tried to figure out what the previous owners had used the closet for.  Maybe CDs?  Wine closet? (that’s a lot of space for wine!)  Do you have any ideas?  The space was so small, a DVD sitting upright wouldn’t fit, so we know it wasn’t that.  We decided to make it our media/game closet, with a few miscellaneous items like bedding for our pull-out couch and futon when guests come.  But the close together shelves weren’t working. We had ripped one out some time in the past, and just dealt with the rest.

I even bought baskets that would fit and grouped DVDs and old VHS’s, but I had to lift the shelf above it to pull the basket all the way out, I’m not kidding you…


Then I had an all-out fit with the closet one day as I was trying to get a movie out for the kids.  I could not pull the basket out.  Let me just tell you how angry I was.  I had to apologize for “the way Mommy acted” when I was done.  I decided that although we are working on our kitchen right now and we don’t need another project to side-track us, I could at least do a quick fix on it to get it functioning!  I waited for my awesome mom to come visit for a couple days, and when she did I went for it!

Here’s what I did:

I took every other shelf out.  I decided that less shelves spaced farther was better than more shelves spaced closer.


Then I applied the faithful sheet rock mud :)  Pulling out those sinkers made some nasty holes!


I had to let it dry overnight so that it would sand good for me.  Look how much better it looks already with the shelves spread out!


The next day, I sanded and cleaned away and put everything back in that would FIT.  Anything that didn’t fit and wasn’t needed here, I found a home for somewhere else.  Like the VHS home videos that need to be transferred to DVDs.

I didn’t paint (though it needed it and painting really uplifts closets!), because this was a “quick fix” for us and I needed to get back to the kitchen quickly.  Here’s how it turned out.


Up close of the top shelves.   Notice how even the games didn’t fit right when the shelves were closer together. I put things used the least frequently at the top:


Next few.  The games fit SO much better!  I have one shelf designated to adult games, and one for kids’.  One of our favorite things to do in the evenings is play games, we really play all of these! And the kids’ games and movies are at a level where they can reach them.


And… the bottom of the closet where all the junk used to get shoved in!  You can see the floor now!  Keeping items off the floor makes a closet look so much cleaner.  The only thing I’m keeping there is my exercise mat:


I designated a little “movie” section down low, where the kids can reach it too.  Adult movies in one bin, kids’ full movies in another, kids’ clips of 30 minutes or less in the third (I love having short 10, 15, 20, 30 minute kids’ shows to choose from if I need a shower, to make a phone call, or finish something up).  Blankets rolled up beside the movies.  On the next shelf I have floor pillows and wooden food trays for great movie watching too!


I am REALLY enjoying not having to lift shelves to get stuff off of them, and not doing the “shove move” as I close the door anymore.  I don’t dread getting something out.  And I don’t dread putting things back when we’re finished with them either!

If you don’t have tons of time and money to pour into a little closet like this one, a quick fix with something as simple as reducing (or adding) shelving can make a HUGE difference.  Store stuff in the place you use it.  And DON’T store things that you don’t use!

What are your closets like?  Will a quick fix work for you?

March 27, 2013 - 9:28 am

Margaret V - I can’t get over the difference that quick fix made!

March 27, 2013 - 10:31 am

Simple Spaces - Thanks! I am so happy with it! I think I may have spent 5 hours total on it, if even that. Sometimes all you need is a little tweaking to get things functioning well!!!

March 27, 2013 - 2:12 pm

Betty F - This looks great, Melissa. You are an inspiration.

March 27, 2013 - 2:52 pm

Simple Spaces - Thank you so much for those kind words! I hope that this starts a domino assault on closets everywhere :)

June 4, 2013 - 2:28 pm

Sandy M - Love it! I’m going through my closets right now. Organizing and pulling out things we don’t use or need. (Prep for yard sale!) I keep taking a before picture…and then putting a few things in order and then getting sidetracked or pulled away from the project. FOCUS!! :)

June 4, 2013 - 5:48 pm

Simple Spaces - Its so good that you’re making progress – that is key! Sometimes its good to step away and use the closet for a while, and do things little by little, to figure out what exactly will work. Figure out what will motivate you to finish it. For me, it was that final time I couldn’t get the basket of DVDs out! I was aggravated to motion :) Thanks so much for reading!

Spring Giveaway!

I’m so excited to be part of a giveaway with over 15 other local businesses!  Placenta Works is doing a Spring Gift Basket Giveaway this week.  You can go to the blog and check out the prizes, and enter to win!  Its so easy.  All you have to do is “like” each business page on Facebook, and you can do that all on in one spot on the blog.  Just simply go here and follow the instructions to enter.

Most of these prizes are geared towards mommies and mommies-to-be, but please everyone feel free to enter!  If you’re not a mother maybe you’re a father, a grandparent, aunt or uncle, friend of a mother, or maybe you just want a baby shower gift supply for the next couple of years!  I’m giving away a free organizing consult, who doesn’t need one of those!

I personally know some of these business owners, and like me, they are moms who have come up with a creative way to help contribute to the family income while still being home and present with their children.  We need your help in expanding our exposure to potential clients/customers.  And, we are excited to giveaway our services/products to one lucky winner!

Speaking of motherhood, I thought I’d share a few pictures of my clan.  Being a mother is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, even harder than starting a business!  But definitely the most rewarding.

Here’s a true picture of how I get things done around the house during the day, with this helper:



He likes to help with everything, especially baking:


My preschooler and 2 year old getting some practice being “Daddies”


My oldest child lost his first tooth last year, and has spent most of First Grade missing at least one of his front teeth!  We like to tease him and ask him to say words like “thief” and “leaf.”


Here’s one of my favorites of all 3 handsome boys.  Yes I get to spend most of my time everyday with these little guys.


Go enter the raffle and tell all your friends!  Thanks for reading,


Get Organized. Simply Live.

5 Reasons to Get Organized

Why should you make steps to get organized?  Will the time and money it takes to get there be worth it in the end?

I’m going to give you 5 simple reasons to clear out the clutter.

1.  It will save you money

How many expired items have you found in your pantry – food you once spent hard-earned money on?  How many times have you found triplicates of food items in the pantry because you didn’t know what was there?  Or found 8 cans of bug spray when you cleaned out the garage?  Or you keep buying new clothes, because your closet is so overgrown with dated clothing items that you can’t find the good stuff hanging in there.  And there are so many things you just can’t locate on a daily basis because they are never left in the same place, so you go to the store to buy it AGAIN.  When everything has a home, its easy to take inventory on what you have and avoid excess purchases.

2.  It will save you time

Its time to regain your time.  Who has been late for work because you couldn’t find your keys?  Or were on your way out the door to a meeting, but the things you needed were scattered in 5 different places throughout the house?  Or you’ve missed appointments because you wrote them down on a piece of paper that’s laying “somewhere?”  One of my favorites I’ve experienced: Your child spills his milk on the pile of bills laying on the kitchen table.   Having an assigned place for things, and maintaining a general flow to the function of your household (or even workplace) will save you time and help you maintain punctuality with all your commitments.

3.  It will enhance your emotional well-being

The state of our physical environment has more influence on our emotions than we might think.  Consider the difference you feel on a rainy day verses a sunny one.  There are circumstances and things beyond our control (like the weather).  However, the state of your home is something that you can be in control of.  You can foster peace in your home through clutter-free living.  Walk into the most disorganized and chaotic room in your house, and pay attention to how you feel when you walk in.  Do feelings of anxiety overwhelm you?  Do you feel defeated and out of control?  What about your bedroom?  Have you considered that maybe the reason you’re not sleeping well is due to the physical chaos?  Imagine the difference in your emotional well-being that you would experience walking into the beauty and peace of organization in every space in your home.  Control the physical state of your home, or it will control you.

4.  It will increase the quality time spent with family

How many sweet moments have you missed with your kids because you look around and feel overwhelmed with the chaos and that there is no time to rest and no end in sight?  The thing I love about being organized, is that it allows me more quality time with my family.  After dishes are cleaned up from dinner, we can have a dance party or a wrestling match (comes with all boys!).  Because we maintain a general flow, the kids know what to expect, and even help out with chores and keeping things in order.  When we take time once a week to decompress and let the house go, it doesn’t take long to get it back afterwards.  Because everything has a place.

5.  It will enable you to spend more time doing what you love

What do you love doing?  What do you feel you currently “don’t have time for?”  Getting organized helps you better manage your time, and make time for those things you love!  Isn’t it time you started enjoying life?

Decluttering your home costs time, thought, and money.  Hiring a professional organizer to help you costs money too.  However, you must see these expenses of time, money, and brain power as an investment.  An investment is not simply spending money, it is spending money with the expectation of a return.

Your investment to getting organized will yield a return that far outweighs the cost up front.   As you can see in my above 5 reasons, I’m not solely speaking of money (although being organized WILL save you money).

Our homes should NOT be a place of anxiety and unrest.  No matter what stage of life you are in, no doubt there are a lot of things to remember and keep up with at home.  Isn’t it time you started enjoying your life more?  Have you noticed my tagline?  It’s what I believe, its what I live, and its why I do what I do to help others.

Get Organized. Simply Live.

There’s no time like the present.




Simple Mudroom

So after I went crazy pinning mudrooms on Pinterest last week, I decided I would share mine with you.  Disclaimer:  Its nothing fancy or spectacular like some of the ones I pinned.  We still have A TON left to do on our house, so budget-wise it was low on priorities.  Its behind a closed door too, so simple and functional was the focus.

We moved into our house about a year and a half ago, and have been slowly but steadily making it “home.”  We have GORGEOUS (and expensive) hardwood floors downstairs that we had expanded and refinished last year, so that was the end of wearing shoes in the house.  Lets get real here.  Who’s kids are going to come in the door and immediately take their shoes to a closet in their room to put away, especially if their room is upstairs?   We were keeping (or trying to) most of our shoes upstairs, and you know how well that was working…  With 3 young children, asking them to run upstairs to put their shoes away, or run upstairs to get them before leaving never worked.  I’m all about keeping things simple :)

We mostly used the backdoor, so we needed a solution in close proximity to it.  What we had to work with was a coat/utility closet with a single rack, a couple high shelves, and one low shoe shelf. The kids couldn’t reach the rack to hang up their coats, so I ended up doing it or our entrance looked kind of like this all the time:

The closet also needed to serve other functions, like holding cleaning supplies, the vacuum cleaner, beach/pool towels, backpacks, and  overflow from seldom used kitchenware.

So I came up with a solution that was inexpensive and customized to fit our families needs right now.  Here’s what the closet looks like now:


Below are cubbies I purchased as 3 separate units.


Shoes on the bottom.  The kids can easily pull their shoes in and out.  All of the kids shoes are here.  The boots and shoes that I don’t wear every day I keep upstairs.  Running shoes, outdoor slip-ons and flip flops I keep here.


I needed a solution for coats, hats, gloves, etc.  Since there was no room to hang a shorter rack, I decided to try cubbies for those.  For one, these are seasonal items and I can use the space for something else when its not winter.  Also and more importantly, I figured my kids (ages 2, 4, 6) would be more likely to stuff their coats in a cubby than hang them.  They are not folded or necessarily “neat,” but that doesn’t bother me.  If they will take the time to stuff their coats in the cubby that is fine with me!

With 3 kids, there were 3 cubbies left over.  One was used for gloves & hats for my husband and I, one is currently holding soccer cleats & shin guards, and the last one is my “return” cubby.  I have a very hard time remembering to return things that I borrow from people, so I designated a spot for that.  I also put things here that need to be returned to a store.

As the season changes, the coats will get packed away with winter clothing, and I will use their cubbies to keep their individual bathing suits and beach/pool towels in.  We have a pool, and we live 15 minutes from the beach, so we spend a lot of time in swimsuits in the summer time!

I have a basket I found at a thrift shop that the kids put backpacks in, and the vacuum cleaner just slides in right beside it.


And adult coats just hang right on the rack:


Up high I have cleaning supplies (in easy access baskets), towels, and a kitchen overflow item.  The towels will come down when the season changes.


So there you go!  Its working pretty well.  I had to help the kids make a habit out of putting their outerwear, school bags, and shoes in the closet as soon as they walked in the door.  We made up a song!  “Shoes in the closet, hands in the sink!”  If the closet starts to get messy I ask one of the kids to straighten it out as a chore.  My 6 year old especially loves organizing!

Make a mudroom, drop-zone, catch-all that works for your family.  Sometimes solutions are difficult to visualize, so if you need help creating a space like this you know who to call ;)

Thanks for reading!


Get Organized.  Simply Live.


Kick The “Late” Habit

I posted a few things from my FB page last week regarding time management.  Having the ability to manage your time well is a huge part of being organized.  I think a lot of us go through the day like the clock is chasing us, and we didn’t even have time to put our shoes on before the wild chase began.

I want to briefly touch on a subject of importance that remains “timeless.”  Being on time.  To work.  To meetings.  To dinner dates.  To pick up your kids.  To family functions.  And the list goes on.  Being on time communicates respect to the other parties involved.  It also builds trust. If we want to be viewed as respectable and dependable, and if we want others to respect the boundaries we set, we need to make a habit of being on time to things.

Being late may be the norm for you.  Maybe you’ve lived like this for decades and have accepted it’s just how things are.  I want to challenge your thinking.  If you can consistently be 20 minutes late to things, then you can consistently be on time!  I’m going to say it again.  If you can consistently be 20 (or 10 or 15 or 30) minutes late to everything, then you have the potential to be on time to your commitments.

Here’s something simple to try. Changing something like this will take effort, so you have to make a choice that you want to change.  You will make a series of choices every time you’re getting ready to go somewhere to retrain your brain.

First, figure out how much you’re late by.  Keep track of it for a week.   Use scrap paper, a journal, whatever, (in your purse or wallet or even car) and jot down by how many minutes you missed being on time.  Divide it up by days (separate page or piece of paper for each day).  Along with amount of time you were late, jot down how you spent your time before you left.  Look for the “time stealers.”  Look for patterns.  See if there’s anything you can prep the day before, or earlier in the day.  Are you late only in the morning, or only in the evening?  Are you late to lunch meetings?   Do you walk back in the house several times because you’ve forgotten something?

After keeping track of things for a week, make some necessary shifts.  Give yourself time limits like: I’m going to only spend 20 minutes reading and answering email in the morning before work.  Start making your way out the door sooner.  Look at that tardy time frame you discovered, and tack it on the other end of your schedule.  Add the 10, 15 or 20 minutes to the start.  This may mean: Get a shower earlier.  Wait until tonight to respond to that email.  Finish washing dishes later.  If you’ve formed a long-term habit of tardiness, this will not come natural or easy!  But give it a month or two and you will have a new habit of being on time!

And when you have children, unpredictability is the name of the game.  It takes us 5 times longer to do most things it seems (maybe I’m exaggerating but mostly not!).  So if we need to leave the house at 8:35, then I start getting their shoes on at 8:20.  Because I’ve learned it can possibly take 15 minutes to get them from the door to where we are pulling out of the driveway.

So try this and let me know if it helps you!  If you don’t want to try it and there’s one thing you can take, remember this:    Being on time happens first in the mind.  It’s inevitably a choice that we make with every single commitment.  If you are habitually late, I really doubt waking up earlier in the morning will be the answer (unless you press snooze for 30 minutes and really aren’t giving yourself adequate time!).  Changing your mindset IS the answer.  Most of us have plenty of time to get ready and get to things on time.  And, most of us need to lower our expectations of what we can fit into a single hour in the day.

Thanks for reading!


Get Organized. Simply Live.

March 11, 2013 - 8:27 pm

vicki capps - I guess you know your Mother-in-law well…lol.. I am going to try this. Thanks for posting!

March 12, 2013 - 6:36 am

Simple Spaces - I can assure you many people struggle with this. Let me know how it goes!