Sunday, February 24, 2013

Out with the REALLY, REALLY Old - Closet Makeover

For a while now I have been living in denial of needing planning on a major closet overhaul.  I have managed to be way too, ahem, busy to take on this project but after Christmas I did a bit of after Christmas shopping for myself.  When I drug in all my shopping booty I didn't even want to put it in that dark hole I called a closet.  I wish I could say that was what pushed me into action, but it wasn't.

The final straw came the second week of January when I visited my friend Tammy for our very late Christmas.  I was showing off a pic of some new shoes I had bought, when she wanted to show me some of her shoes.  Yay, this gave me an excuse to snoop  take a peak at someone else's closet without having to ask straight up. 

The Bandalinos that started the whole thing!

When I walked in and saw how organized her closet was, all covert recon I was conducting went out the window and I confessed what a disaster I was living with.  I had major organizational lust.  I think I have mentioned this before, but her house to just TOO neat (there is something not right there,  I can never find any dust bunnies), She was already making me look bad but a neat closet was more than I could take.  I asked where her 10 lb clothes know the clothes for when you are 10 lbs bigger or smaller.  Her reply, I don't keep those.  What?  I thought everybody had 3 sets of clothing.  Oh boy, this was going to be more of an ordeal than I realized.

We were headed out shopping that day so I thought I would pick up some cute baskets or bins to help "inspire" me to start the big clean up.  Tammy's response was that I didn't need to buy anything I need to go home and get on with the purging before she showed up and did it.   I mean if that happened how would she know all the very important items I needed to keep?  Plus, we are kind of competitive and I couldn't have her having a neater closet than mine so, it was on.

I came home and wandered in to see if my closet was really THAT  bad.  I took a really hard look and determined it was WAY WORSE than bad.  One of the goodies that caught my eye was a purple corduroy cape.  My mother made it for me when I was a junior in HIGH SCHOOL.  That's right, it was more than 30 yrs old!  Another oldie was the dress I was wearing when I found out I was pregnant with BDJ (he is turning 24 in March)!    I think I may be a bit of a hoarder.  My first thought about the cape was I can't get rid of that, mom made it.  When I relayed this to my mother expecting to hear her say "you can't get rid of that" what I heard was "good grief, I hated that thing back then, especially after you wore it constantly for 2 yrs, get rid of it!"  Okay, so much for sentimental attachment holding me back.  I guess I should also consider turning loose the jeans Wonder Hubby wore on our first date or the first clothes he ever bought me.   Maybe my closet should only have items from this century in it.

So, I came up with a plan.  I wanted to strip everything out, lay wood flooring, change the lighting and start over.  Since the place was such a disaster if didn't take a lot of coercing to get Wonder Hubby on board.  We were running errands the next day and picked up the flooring and a new light fixture.  Tammy didn't really understand how to motivate me,  that I needed some skin (aka money) in the game to really get serious.  Now, I was ready.

Day One.  This is what the dumping grounds closet looked like before I started.  There should have been an ENTER IF YOU DARE sign above the door.

View from the door

Straight ahead view from door .....sadly my end of the closet :(

I can't believe I am actually showing this mess, but I am hoping the humiliation will keep me motivated to never have another secret like this one.

The long rod at the end opposite the door end

One of the first things i discovered was that Wonder Hubby is a clothes hog and had 4 of the six racks in the closet.  That is just wrong! you see the hulking big gun cabinet at the end?  That's right 4 racks, one storage unit and a big flippin gun cabinet eating up valuable closet space.  I laid down the law to Wonder Hubby and said he could go or the cabinet could go.  He said goodbye to the cabinet on Friday :)

View from back of close toward door end and  closet unit  :(

Shoes, shoes, everywhere shoes......I hated the looking up and down and under to find my shoes.

I was so excited to get rid of this awful carpet.

We also determined I am not the only hoarder in the house. Wonder Hubby keeps everything too.  How about 27 yr old softball jerseys?  Yep they had to go.

View from door end of Wonder Hubby's side

This "hall" light just wasn't cutting it anymore as closet lighting.....gotta go.

This was the disaster recovery staging area.  Day one I purged my side of the closet and divided into summer (which is now stored in the attic in bins), donation, and THIS STUFF IS TRASH.  ]

This pile is Goodwill bound and it is only a small part...none of Wonder Hubby's in the pile yet!

I thought I would struggle with the sorting but I was in my groove.  I pruned with a chainsaw and showed no mercy.  I tossed anything that didn't fit perfectly or that I did not LOVE.  I had serious concerns that I would  be naked when I finished.

The most time consuming part was trying on everything.

Day Two was Wonder Hubby's time to purge.  Getting him started was like trying to set up a NASA launch mission.  Getting him to purge was darn near impossible.  Everything he touched was "really comfortable" or "really good to work around the house in."  When I pointed out that he should keep only enough shirts to match the amount of "work around the house" he does or plans to do he quickly loosened his grip on shirts!  Figures.

After the Great Purge of 2013 it was time to get to the fun stuff.  We had to disassemble the closet built ins and rip out the old carpet

Almost empty
The worst part was pulling up tack strip and nails....well the worse part was the dust and dirt that are in said carpet.  Yuck!  I cannot wait until there isn't carpet anywhere in my house.

Yes, I really do like ripping out stuff!

Finally empty and ready to get started.
First change was a new light  being able to move the lights.

Putting down underlayment. My hoarding paid off and I had just enough left in the attic, $25.00 saved.
For some reason (probably because we were getting tired) I failed to get any pictures of installing the flooring.  

Measuring and adding quarter round
By the end of day two (day 1 for the two of us)  we had purged, ripped out the carpet, installed new floor and re-assembled the closet units. all we had to do was temporarily hang up all the clothes on our bed and we could sleep.  

Day 3 for me Day 2 for Wonder Hubby! lol  

We added all the quarter round and two new shelves and I began to reload the closet.  I wanted to rearrange a bit and take back some of the space Wonder Hubby had crept into with his "comfortable" clothes.  

My end of the closet view from the door.  

On this shelf on this side of the closet I have my winter non-everyday shoes and boots and all my handbags.  

Fully loaded again.....I still have to add some  cute little canvas bins for the t-s and things on the bottom area and for socks.
Wonder Hubby's side

The photo above is taken from the back of the closet  toward the door end.  Finally, the hulking big gun cabinet is gone!  We removed the shoe rack on the back of the door and put up a pegboard for belts, scarves and necklaces behind the door.  This allowed me to put my ironing board on the back of the door and be able to iron inside the closet which is what I had in mind when we built the house.  I added a floor shoe rack.  I wasn't sure how I felt about giving up so much hard fought for floor space but I am loving using this rack for my everyday shoes.

Above the shoe rack we put up a full length mirror but I wasn't looking all that awesome and decided to skip that pic!  I think I am going to paint something inspirational  above it.  The inspiration that keeps coming to mind is this quote from the character Aibileen Clark in The Help,  "You is kind. You is smart. You is important."   I just keep thinking it would be nice to see something like that while you get dressed, especially during swimsuit season (it just might shift my focus from those problems areas)!

Eventually I will get around to adding bins and baskets and make it all pretty and matchy but for now I am so excited about being able to find things and get dressed (really dressed!) that I had to share. 
UPDATE:  I am happy to report that the closet has been complete and in use for over a month now and it still looks great!  Wonder Hubby and I both are so thrilled that we won't leave a stray sock anywhere now :)

Thanks for wading through my decades of clothes closet makeover!

Wow Us Wednesday


  1. I so need to get to my closet too....My house is fairly good size home, but my closet is teeny!...I always justify that by thinking about the "organizational rule" new thing in..and two old things out...I have not adhered to that rule...and yes, we do tend to hang on to those sentimental pieces...I still have the dress that I wore on my first "real date" with my hubby...can't tell you how old it is ... just "old"....Have a great day!

  2. So much better! I had to laugh at your befores - that would have driven me insane!! Having a closet that is too small is such a nightmare. Mine in our last home had a single door, then was L shaped. Crammed more stuff into that tiny thing. Luckily, I never broke my neck when I used the clothes hamper to stand on top of. lol

    Thanks for your sweet comment on DD2's master bath redo. I love walking in there too!


  3. I always enjoy reading about closet re-dos! Yours is a masterpiece! It looks attractive AND functional. Love your writing style!

  4. Closet redos can be so challenging. Looks like you've really nailed it and your closet looks wonderful. Thank you so much for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  5. LOVE - nicely done. I am in the process of doing this now and I hate it. But I will be SO glad when it is done. Thanks for the motivation to continue on! :-)

  6. Wow, this was quite an undertaking! You and your hubby did a great job! I really wish we had a closet that large. :) I applaud you for showing the "before" pics; sometimes that's hard to do, but your "after" looks so good, it's worth showing all the pictures.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you have a great day!


  7. I love this!!! I have an oddball fascination with closet makeovers. I love the before and afters. Yours is wonderful, and I'm with Tammy all the way about the purging. You did a wonderful job of it, and the hard work really, really paid off.

  8. You go girl. I so need to do this...and not just in my closet! It looks great and is very inspiring. There is hope! Have a great day :)



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