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organized closet solutions…

Most of the closets in my home are slowly evolving into something other than a typical closet with a hanging bar and shelf at the top. My home is not very large so organized closet solutions play a big part in making a smaller space work for us. A closet might have a bar across it and a shelf on top but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a solution to make it work better for you! Over the course of five years I have turned some into a storage closet, others a better organized clothes storage closet or still others a cloffice. Empty closets translate to dumping grounds! It works better for me and in the end becomes more useful. Here is what I’ve worked on so far.


boy’s bedroom closet

My two son’s share a bedroom. I needed more floor space in that room and less closet space. I removed the sliding doors and inserted an IKEA Expedit. The closet in that room is so large that I’m able to hang clothes on either side of the IKEA Expedit. The bins act as drawers and hold clothes and toys. As they get older they only get bigger and so do their clothes. Two boys in one room means I need lots of drawers. This system works out great for this shared space. Filling up a closet in a child’s room has also worked for me in that they can’t create a mess in there!

Pre-tween Girls room - traditional - kids - boston - Christina Katos

former closet now a cloffice

My daughter had a large closet with sliding doors in her room as well. I removed the doors and gutted the closet and created a workspace for her with storage and a desk. Her cloffice is the perfect spot for everything from homework to manicures. This also freed up floor space in her room, which is about 10 feet by 10 feet.


broom closet converted to a pantry

When we moved in there was no pantry in the kitchen. There was a broom closet though. With the addition of some shelving I converted it into a mini pantry.


the wrapping paper closet

The guest room in our home has a funny little closet in it. It is about 3 or 4 feet tall so it is not even a legitimate closet. I could never figure out what to do with it until I realized it would make the perfect place to stash all my wrapping paper needs. And the wrapping paper closet was born.

front hall closet

front hall closet

The closet in our front hall was another domain of chaos before one simple purchase calmed it all down. I purged and put things in their place of course and then added a cubby unit and some bins. Weeks later and my closet still looks like the picture above. I swear!

the toy closet

toy closet

The toy closet in our basement was the latest to undergo a makeover. It helped that we had a flood and the toys were 100% purged on their own. Don’t tell my kids I said that.  A simple paint job and some “white, neutral and natural” containers of all materials and sizes brought this closet together.

So that is six closets in my home. I have six left to work on; the linen closet, the kid’s bathroom closet, the large pantry in the basement, the storage closet in the basement, the large walk in closet in the guest room and the master bedroom walk in closet. I have actually begun work on the master bedroom closet and I’m teaming up with Closet Maid to create a new space! Yesterday was demo day. Paint day is next!

the wrapping station closet…

Whenever I wrap a gift I have a little scavenger hunt to do first. I have all the supplies I need I just have to find them. The wrapping paper is in a Rubbermaid wrapping paper storage container which I’ve had for about 16 years. I lost the top in one of our moves. This container sits in a closet in the basement and holds all the wrapping paper rolls and gift bags. The ribbon is found there as well. Gift cards are in a cabinet in the kitchen. The tape is a whole different story. My children are tape hoarders so I’m lucky if I find tape at all. I hide it, they find it. 
Whenever I’m Christmas shopping I never know what I have so I go ahead and buy paper and gift tags only to come home and eventually find out that I still have paper and gift tags from the previous year. It happens every year so I have quite the collection.
I always wrap gifts in the guest room. It is a great place to stash all the Christmas gifts as well as birthday gifts since my children haven’t thought to look there yet. When I was finished with all the wrapping this past Christmas I made uo my mind up to streamline the process a bit and try to keep everything in one place. I was considering a door organizer like the kind found at The Container Store. This could fit in the closet I have in the basement that is dedicated to my things. Right now it is full of fabric, spray paint, batting, and lots of frames and accessories. I wasn’t too crazy about cluttering up the closet or the door itself so I never moved forward on the idea. Then as I was cleaning out the guest room the other day I rediscovered my little red closet. 
This door is typically hidden since the regular door you can see in the left of the pictures is always open. When the guest room was the original playroom I painted to door red and this was a little play space for the kids. I filled it with pillows and a ceiling mounted battery powered light. They loved going in there and hanging out. Before I emptied it out the other day it contained three items. A suitcase, my college portfolio and a cabinet. I moved those to the walk in closet and started planning. There was plenty of room for all the supplies I had on hand as well as gifts for upcoming birthday parties. 
I needed something to contain all the wrapping paper first. I had purchased a wire bin from Home Goods a while back and was happy to discover it holds lots of wrapping paper without damaging the paper. 
Next I needed something for everything else. I was thinking of purchasing the IKEA Raskog but I didn’t want to pay about $50 for something that would be hidden away in a closet. I found a rolling cart at Target meant for bathrooms or laundry rooms. It came with four shelves but I only installed three so that I could fill them with bins, also from Target. 

The top shelf hold two bins. One has scissors, pens, tape and my hole punch. The other holds gift cards and blank cards if anyone feels like making their own. So far the tape has stayed in its place.
The second shelf has one bin full of ribbons and the other with gift tags and gift wrap embellishments.
I did not inset the third shelf so that I had more room for the bottom shelf. I wanted one large container for gift bags and tissue paper. These always seem to be all over the place in this house so I love having one place for them all.

The cart rolls out into the room which means I don’t have to climb into the small closet to find anything.

When I’m all done everything goes right back in its’ place. No searching, no buying duplicates and the former wrapping paper container has found a new home as a wastepaper basket in the garage. Everyone’s happy.

new craft storage central…

Now that I have a bench with three drawers in my kitchen I have myself a new dilemma. What goes in the drawers? I know, not a bad problem to have at all. I thought about putting all my paper plates, plastic cups and plastic utensils in there but I’m happy with all that in the built in hutch in my dining room. Then I thought I’d make the drawers my paper towel and napkin storage. Too bulky and the extra paper goods are better off in the garage right now. 
I was mulling all this over as I got some play dough out for my youngest one day. That is when the lightbulb went off. The cabinets next to the kitchen table are used for all sorts of items. Cookbooks and office supplies are in the upper cabinet, as well as three magazine file boxes. I use those for all the items my kids bring home throughout the year that I want to hold onto. Special projects, artwork, report cards, etc. At the end of the year I buy a plastic scrap paper box like this one from Joann Fabrics. I include their school pictures at the top. Paper, coloring books, markers, crayons, paints and play dough are in the lower cabinet. It is a mess. The kids are in and out of the bottom section all day. I do like that their art supplies are easy for them to access. I thought to make it even easier by using the drawers to hold the bulk of these items. 
So here is what I started with. Behind closed doors it isn’t too bad. The counter is pretty full but in my defense those are items we use everyday. I blame my children for the rest. The art caddy is always in use, and we can’t forget the crayon tin. Then comes all the paperwork, homework and “stuff” kids bring home. I’ve found love letters in my 7 year old sons’ backpack. 

Once the doors are open you are greeted with this…

I emptied out the upper and lower cabinets, then cleaned and purged. Now that I have my craft closet downstairs and my gift wrap closet I was able to redistribute a lot of it. I have a big problem with never putting things away. I just shove little items in these cabinets with plans to eventually put it in the right place. That second part just never seems to happen. So after a couple trips to get everything in its’ rightful place I was left with a lot less stuff and some empty cabinets. 
I moved all the craft items to the three drawers in the bench. It is easy for my kids to access and each drawer will have a purpose. No more random cabinet to throw our supplies into and hope the door shuts. 
One drawer is for paint bottles, watercolors and paintbrushes. Another for supplies like glue, glue sticks, goggly eyes, rulers, new pencils. The third drawer is for all things play dough. Over time this will change of course.

 I was able to clean out and redistribute so many items. All my cookbooks, paper supplies and magazine files boxes fit in the bottom cabinet. This leaves me with a completely empty upper cabinet. Which of course will turn into a new project!

the January cleanse…

As soon as the holidays are over I get the urge to clean. I love putting my tree up but I love taking it down even more. It happens to me every year. This year it became more of a job of decrapifying than cleaning. I went through the kids’ rooms, the living room, the family room, the guest room as well as a couple closets and purged. The guest room had become the wrapping room for the holidays so all the wrapping paper, tape and ribbons were finally put away. The living room was returned to its usual layout and toys were cleaned out. Some might have been secretly discarded. Don’t tell my kids. I love putting the house back in order after the chaos of the holidays. 

Now that the break is over I’m ready to start some new projects as well. I have a to-do list in my head which just seems to get bigger over time. First up are some simple changes to my entryway which I’m itching to get started on. Mother Nature hasn’t been too sympathetic with me and decided that my children needed another two days of vacation in the form of a snowstorm. Painting will have to wait but in the meantime I will just keep purging.

house tour {pre-tween girls bedroom}

The house tour continues again. The room of the week is my daughter’s pre-tween bedroom. I’ve posted a lot of what I’ve done in there to take it from a little girl’s room to something more mature. The cloffice was a big part of the renovation in that it updated the room and kept it fun at the same time.
Here is what the room looked like before we moved in…
After some paint, a window treatment and a wall decal the room looked like this…

Three years later and my now 10 year old decided she wanted a “tween” room. No pink allowed! We painted, gutted the closet, moved furniture around, lined the bookcases with wrapping paper, added sentimental artwork and ended up with this (for a point of reference you are looking at the same wall as the image above)…

There are a couple projects in here that I haven’t posted about yet. More details about this room will be coming, including some projects that are still in the works!

The walls are up!

Framing happened yesterday. There are now walls and if you use your imagination you can see the rooms. Shall we take a tour?
First up we have the door looking into the laundry room. The configuration changed from the original plans. The sink, washing machine and dryer will still be along one wall, but there won’t be space for the Expedit in there so I’ll be using another cabinet I already have for storage. The laundry will be kept in a rolling sorter that can move around and won’t take up too much valuable space. I’ll put open shelving above the washer and dryer.

This section is the kids corner. There is a closet on the right which will have shelving for all the toys. The Expedit isn’t going to stay there. It will probably end up in the garage or utility room. Still working on that one. 

This section of the room will have a wall of two closets. The post you see in the middle divides the two. One will be a basement pantry since our kitchen pantry is tiny. The other will be M.I.N.E! All mine! Sewing maching, wrapping paper, miscellanous decorating odds and ends. Whatever my little heart desires. I’m sure I’ll share some of it but for now let’s just pretend I won’t.

This wall will house our built in cabinets and wall mounted tv. This will be a big feature wall. The built ins are actually going to be a couple of pieces from the IKEA Hemnes line. They are made out of wood not pressboard so they can be made to look built in. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that one!

Below is the view from the stairs. The laundry room and kids corner are to your right, the family room section to your left. The double doors will lead into the utility room and storage room. The door to the bulkhead is all the way to the left, at the back of the house.

So there you have the latest. We are getting down to details and fine measurements now. I’m going to share with you tomorrow some of the decisions we made to cut costs and still have a finished look. Stay tuned!