Sunday, January 31, 2010

Closet Organizing: Before and After (Bonus: Cute Kittens!)

kitten in closet, before organizing

Someone recently asked me how much organizing you can get done in two hours. While this will vary tremendously from person to person, and situation to situation, here's what Stephanie Hamilton (a fabulous jewelry designer, who knits her jewelry) and I did in her office/guest room closet in a bit less than two hours.

Stephanie has graciously agreed to share some "before" and "after" photos with all of you. The photo above is obviously a before!


closet, before and after - with kittens

Here are two full-length photos - before and after. What did we do? We totally got rid of things that Stephanie doesn't need any more. (I'm finding them new homes, with people who do have a use for them.) We moved some things to other parts of her home, where they were more logically stored. We put like with like - all her jewelry display items, for example - and then put those like things together in containers. Quite an improvement!


closet after organizing, with kittens

That big piece of equipment had been sitting out on Stephanie's desk; we were able to clear some space for it in the closet, giving her more room to work.

We were also able to do all of this without buying anything new; we reused containers Stephanie already had in her home. So this closet won't look like one in a glossy magazine - real-life closets seldom do! But now it works, and that's what matters.

18 comments:

Amy@thecircusmcgurkus.blogspot.com said...

Wow, I wish I could organize an entire closet in two hours! I work at a much slower pace.

sb said...

Very pleased to see you left a space for the cats.

Louise said...

Even the cats are more organized, going from randomly placed to 2-to-a-box. Good job!

Karen said...

Ha, Louise! The photo with the extra pillows makes me wonder how you feel about those Space Bags, Jen. I don't have *that* much stuff to store, but I do get tempted when I see them in the store. Have you ever used them?

Cynthia Friedlob said...

These photos are a great inspiration to so many of us who think that "there just isn't enough time to get organized." Having a pro organizer helping makes a big difference, but even working solo, a lot can be accomplished -- I'm telling myself!

Jeri Dansky said...

Karen, I've never used Space Bags myself. A number of other organizers have mentioned problems with this type of bag developing leaks over time.

Karen said...

Thank you for the response, Jeri. And I apologize for mistyping your name; I need to get to the eye doctor! I read your blog all the time, too...

DebraC said...

Love the cats! Another great transformation. I totally subscribe to the philosophy of making the best use of your existing storage and possessions. More often than not, we don't need to buy more storage or space to get organized. Looks like the cats are pretty adaptable to different storage solutions.

Marie said...

What an aha moment! Even if it isn't worthy of a glossy magazine spread, if it works for you, then you have succeeded.

Hen in Jeans said...

Regarding Space Bags: I do use them for specific items that I don't have to access very often. I live in So Florida, but my kids are in the north, so we still have our down coats. Hanging Space Bag! Comforters I use when the grandchildren visit: Space bags and store in an un-air conditioned storage space. So far so good.

Louise said...

Instead of space bags, I've had good luck with the giant sized Ziplock bags. Fill them with soft items (linens, coats, etc), sit on them, then zip them up.

Once they are squished smaller and placed into the designated space, it doesn't matter much if they leak. They will only expand as big as the space you put them into. And even with a small air leak, they still do an excellent job keeping dust and critters out.

Stephanie said...

I've since let the kittens out of the closet - but they do like it in there better now! Gotta say - working with Jeri was a breeze!

Jeri Dansky said...

Stephanie: Thank you! Working with you was a delight!

Hen in Jeans and Louise: Thank you for your perspectives on Space Bags (and alternatives).

Amy, as Cynthia notes, it goes faster when you work with an organizer! :-)

Sb, DebraC, and Louise: Glad you liked the cute kittens, whose names are Topsy and Turvy.

Marie: Absolutely! If you can quickly find what you need when you need it, you're probably organized enough. Now sure - sometimes the aesthetics matter, too; we all like pretty spaces. But even then, very few of us will have spaces that look like those carefully orchestrated magazine shots!

Nina T. said...

Great work! Love the kittens :P

billf said...

The left closet picture looks like my daughter's entire room! The only time it gets clean is when she's away at college.

MJ said...

Great organizing job. But I'm wondering how MY cats got in someone elses closet!

Free shed plans said...

Great work, but i must admit the cat stole the "show", sooo cute. :)

Pat Clayton said...

Love the tips! I have just moved to a house that is 70% smaller than the previous one and need all the help I can get. I use the back of closet doors to help with storage. You can see pictures on my blog: http://pearlcabin.blogspot.com/