The Olympic Sport of Closet Organization.

Wait…..that’s not an Olympic sport you say?  Well, I think I deserve a gold medal in it anyway because this weekend I put in some serious effort and strength and heart and soul….just like the American synchronized diving team.  Well, maybe not JUST like them, but……

When you live in a house that was built in 1920 like we do, you’re certain to have features that are a bit unusual due to changes in codes and remodels over the years and also thanks to changes in how people think about what living space should be like.  Despite our Spring 2011 house overhaul where we raised the ceilings a foot and a half, knocked out several walls, rearranged several other walls, added a 1/2 bath, etc., our house is still quirky with the remnants of floorplans-gone-by.  One of the major changes we made during the remodel was the master closet. The existing closet was small and awkwardly laid out and stuck out several feet into the bedroom itself.  So we knocked that closet out to regain about 30 sq. feet of bedroom space and then enclosed part of a hallway and part of the old kitchen to create a spacious walk-in room.  And then I convinced the carpenter to install a custom-built closet organizer that I sketched out instead of buying a pre-made one that wouldn’t have been as sturdy, but would have cost twice the price.  It looked amazing and I knew that once we had it all stained and finished….it would be a dream closet.

But then the construction-fatigue set in.  We were tired of living out of suitcases (we’d been out of our house for 3 whole months at that point staying with my parents, Keith’s mom and stepdad, a time-share condo about 25 minutes from our house, a regular hotel and then finally in our friend Jason’s two-bedroom apartment down the street) and just wanted to move back home without lifting another paintbrush.  So all our clothes went into the closet and stayed there in a fairly disorganized fashion….until last Friday.

I’d intentionally added 14. Stain master closet organizer to my list because I knew that if I didn’t have a specific reason to complete this task, it would never be completed.  I’d originally intended to finish this project before the 12th South Home Tour that our house was selected to be a part of, but then I just ran out of time.  And steam.  It’s so much easier to buy something cute for the house than to DO something like empty, stain, and re-organize a master closet.  But when I realized that the clock was ticking at that I actually had a weekend at home, with nothing on the calendar, I figured I’d better go all carpe diem and get that puppy finished. How did I do it?  Here is a blow-by-blow, just in case you need a guide to do your own closet re-vamp.

1. I pulled all the clothes out of the closet and cleaned the closet (wiped the dust of the shelves, swept the floor, etc.)

2. I put all our winter clothes in Tupperware bins to be stored (And then when it gets cold, I’ll make the swap and put all our summer clothes in storage.)  I also pulled out clothes we don’t use and gave 3 bags to Goodwill.

3. I stained the actual wooden shelves and organizer with a stain that included polyurethane so I just gave it two coats of the same stuff and was good to go!

4. I bought another belt hook from Target and a great wall-hung jewelry box from TJ Maxx to “maxximize” (pun intended) my wall-hanging space and then enlisted hubby to help hang the full-length mirror I’d had propped up on the floor on the wall to reclaim about 4 valuable inches of door-way space. (Plus, I look skinnier when the mirror isn’t at a weird angle.)

5. I made curtains for the random window we have on one wall of our closet.  More on this is a post coming your way tomorrow!

6. I re-orgainzed the clothes I had already stored in bins on the top shelf of the closet and labeled them so we can see at a glance what’s inside before we haul out the step-ladder.

7. I bought wooden hangers and got rid of all the plastic ones that break and the tacky wire ones that bend and poke out of the shoulders of sweaters at awkward angles.   Now our hanging clothes look like the racks in a boutique.

8. I put everything back in the closet and took “After” photos to share with you fine folks.

***disclaimer*** this project took longer than needed because in between each step, I would dash to the TV to see if Ryan Lochte had beaten Michael Phelps (he did) and if the American men had won gold in archery (the did) and if the British swimming darling had won her race (she didn’t) and how the American women were doing in gymnastics (pretty dang good…with a few minor upsets.)  But hey, the Olympics only happen every 4 years and as my niece said in a text message to me during the opening ceremony the other night, “I’m so glad I’m alive to see this.”

Below I’ve posted before-and-after photos like any good DIY blogger would for your enjoyment.  And I also decided to tweak another list item and check it off… be expecting a blog on that tomorrow….sort of a continuation of today since the two are related.  And for now, you can see that number 14 has been crossed off my official list!  Progress!

BEFORE PHOTO: This is as close to a panoramic view of our closet as I could get on my iPhone and limited photo-editing skills. It’s a little choppy, but pretty close. You can see the clothes stuffed in cubbies, cheap hangers, unfinished wood, and yes, my wedding dress which hung there along with my every-day clothes.

PROGRESS SHOT: Another home-cobbled panorama view showing an empty closet and how I’ve carefully taped off everything to be stained. You can also see how the mirror rests on the floor, not on the wall.

Booger once again lended his “quality control skills” to the project as I emptied out the shoe-organizer at the beginning of the project. He was giving my alpaca-fur slippers from the Indian Market in Lima, Peru the evil stare-down. I’m not sure who won.

AFTER SHOT: Again, this is my home-cobbled “panoramic view” of the closet, but it gives you a pretty good idea of what it looks like now. Certainly a vast improvement, in my eyes at least. #goldmedal

Belt and hanging-thingsSide-by-Side Before and After Shot. Ahhh. Much better. And yes, those are my 1/2 marathon medals on the middle hook. #keepingmyprideinthecloset

Mary-Hall did a good bit of organization before her big move, and I’m certain she’ll be doing some more when they settle in a new house.  What organization project have you been putting off that you know you need to just bite the bullet and go for?  A closet?  An attic? Storage shed?  Garage?  I wanna hear all about it.


P.S.  If you notice, today I have 13 days to go….and 13 list items left un-completed.  Yikes.  That’s not very good odds.


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About bethanybordeaux

I fiddle around a bit.

4 responses to “The Olympic Sport of Closet Organization.”

  1. pbrowder says :

    You have convicted me! My closet will have the great makeover soon!!!!

    • bethanybordeaux says :

      haha. i have a feeling your closet is quite well organized already….but glad I’ve inspired you to give it an overhaul anyway. 🙂

  2. Momma Daniel says :

    Am just now getting around to reading this post – a little late. Lovely reorganization job – but are you suggesting (re the 1/2 marathon medals) that we put the “shrine” in a closet too? (you may be the only reader who knows what I’m talking about – I hope). As far as the Booger v. Alpaca slippers staredown – who blinked first? You did actually inspire me to take 4 shirts out of my closet (vertically-shrunk ones). Of course if I were to take ALL the vertically-shrunk and fashionably out-dated ones out, I wouldn’t have any left. Maybe I need you to coach my clothing-ditching efforts
    and go shopping with me!

    • bethanybordeaux says :

      Haha. No. I just don’t have room for a shrine anywhere else.

      Booger totally blinked first, but in true cat fashion, he refuses to believe it and says the slippers clearly blinked first. I can’t bring myself to tell him they don’t even have eyes. Cats.

      We’ll have to have a closet organization day next time I come home. Your fashion sense is not nearly as bad as you claim, but glad I inspired a bit of weeding out and would be happy to help with organizing next time I see ya!

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