September 30, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Closet Edition

When it comes to home improvement projects I'm frustratingly charmingly impulsive.

When Dan and I were first married we moved into a small split level that boasted a tacky vintage 70s flair. That house was the giving tree of projects. Literally every surface cried out for updating. I’d get a wild hair and the next thing you know I’d start tearing apart a room, pulling out paint cans, ripping up flooring or rearranging furniture. Without much pre-planning or fore thought I’d dive in and go.

My “cut-once-measure-twice… things-are-fine-the-way-they-are” husband would freak out gently question my motives and do what he could to slow me down or redirect my efforts. Since I had momentum and motivation on my side, I’d usually win

I look back and chuckle, but these DIY (do-it-yourself) projects—that inevitably required Dan to get involved—created heaps of conflict in the early years of our marriage. My impulsivity trod over his need to plan and prepare. The end results usually turned out OK, but our clashing work styles needed a makeover!

We're in a new house now that doesn't cry out for updating, but once a DIYer, always as DIYer, and we've done plenty of projects here too, thankfully with less conflict and more pre-planning. But there are still times I’ll wake up with a wild hair, needing to tackle a project RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT.

Monday morning was such a day.

Eleven years ago when we moved into our house, one of the most exciting features were not just one, but two walk-in closets. His and hers. After years of tiny closets, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. This feeling of bliss lasted for about five years. Somewhere in the last six years, though, it began to dawn on me that the closet organizers didn’t provide much in the way of organizing—as evidenced by the chaos of clothes and "stuff."

I thought a closet redo would cost a small fortune so I lived with the clutter.

I guess eleven years was my limit for living with it because I woke up on Monday and HAD to install a new closet system. Right then.

I headed to Home Depot with a handy plan I’d done on the internet and searched for the supplies on my list. Guess what? They didn’t cost a fortune. The total was about $170.

Once home and ready to get to work I hit a snag. In all the excitement I hadn’t considered I had to remove everything in my closet first. Let me tell you, after a decade that was A LOT of stuff! Besides way too many clothes, I found an old bridesmaid dress, my first business suit, my high school varsity jacket, boxes of mementos, old purses and a Christmas present I bought years ago and “lost” in my closet.

If you look closely, you’ll see a dog amid the piles

To help me tread through the pandemonium, I called in the one person I know who could help—my daughter. After hours of watching TLC and HGTV she’s a style/makeover expert.

(Note to self: Be careful what you wish for.) As she picked through piece after piece I had to endure a constant stream of fashion condemnation as the “no” pile grew from a hill to a mountain.

“Mom! Are you kidding me? I never want to see you wear that again!”

“Those are hideous! Did you really wear pants at your waist?”

“You seriously paid money this?”

“Mom, this is why they have stores, so you can buy NEW clothes!”

I pleaded for some sentimental favorites, but reluctantly relinquished most of the items voted out of the closet. *sniff*

Then I hit the second snag. At 5:00 p.m., with only one shelf installed, I realized if I didn't finish the project enough to start hanging things Dan and I would have no where to sleep since our bed was covered in mountains of clothes.

Well, if I do one thing well, it's persevering through a project. I worked diligently all evening and by about 12:30 a.m. declared it a success. Not only was shelving installed, I'd cleared off our bed and made s a path to walk though the room.

Today I finished up with my favorite part—giving everything a home in its new abode. Of course, this included a trip to Lowe’s for some storage baskets. (Is it just me, or do you get excited walking through the home organizing department?)

So, there you have it. It was an intense project, but I’m thrilled with the results…and except for two things that needed cutting, I did it all by myself!

If you’re handy with a power screwdriver and laser level there’s no telling what you can accomplish. Sometimes you just have to dive in and do it.

Before ... I’d already removed the hanging clothes ...just look at the top shelf. Ugh!

After... aaah!... there's even empty space on the shelves


Sue J. said...

When you take the "walk-in" out of the closet, you really don't have what you started with!

It is hard to part with your old stuff. I still can't toss my college radio station jacket; it was my first big college purchase (plus, it has my name embroidered on it!). The home shows' advice--while valid--wasn't making a dent. It wasn't until a mission to take care of the needs of the impoverished was started by a friend of mine that I understood the need and the ease to "pass it on."

Not only do I share our walk-in with my husband, but I also have all of my sewing and photo-scrapbooking supplies in there. I straightened up the sewing stuff, and gave material I wasn't using to a Haiti mission, but those photos! They're all in boxes on my closet-organized shelves, but they should be in albums, enjoyed by family members!! Can Lowe's fix that for me? LOL!

You did an awesome job with your closet re-do. (Way to hang in there, daughter, with your tough standards!!)

And now, what of Dan's closet???

Jody Hedlund said...

Awesome! I love organization! I just don't always have the time to keep up with it, but I love seeing your finished project! It's beautiful! :)

Runner Mom said...

I am loving this!! You should see my closet! It's a scary place-not just at Halloween, but all year long! Send your daughter down here to help, please!! Oh, to walk in my closet again!!


Debbie said...

Good for you Kelli, this looks amazing and oragnized!!

By the way, tell Cody high waisted pants are back!!

Love, Deb

Karin said...

Your closet looks great!

What color is the dog?

Dan said...

To the reader who asked "what about Dan's closet," please re-read the earlier part of this's fine the way it is. As for the longer-term issue, have no fear for our marriage-I have learned to retreat quietly to my corner when Kelli
emerges from the garage with a hammer, drill or screwdriver in her hand. Nothing good can come of obstructing her and there is no mess she can make that I can't help clean up. Oh, and there have been some beauties over the years...

Analisa said...

This was too funny. I have often stood around the mess I made to make something wonderful and thought to myself....why did I start this?

I love home improvements.

Also I enjoyed Dan's comment "....there is no mess she can make that I can't help clean up.
Great attitude :)

Kelly Combs said...

Great job! I love your daughter! It sounds like me! I am good at getting rid of old clothes...because I am good at buying new clothes. :-)

I love organizing, but not a huge fan of Home Depot. I prefer Target. (or even Walmart, gasp!)

Really great job of organizing!

Alexis P said...

tackling projects like that is so much fun and so rewarding!

Love the fact that you got Cody's input on fashion sense too. You two must have had a few laughs.

Irritable Mother said...

I had to search, but I found the dog!
Your closet looks great. And I was thinking, if you aren't busy this weekend, um...Our "storage room" needs tons of help and now that you're an expert, well, wanna come over and help me??? *grin*

Cheryl Barker said...

Loved the dog taking his ease under the piles of stuff :)

Congrats on the spiffy new closet -- way to go!

Tea With Tiffany said...

I wish I had the motivation to do my closets. You did great!

Laura said...

Awesome, Kelli! Just in time for a new season too. Now you can go shopping for some new fall duds! Have to fill up those empty spaces...

Sassy Granny ... said...

My kinda girl! I love order. Shelves, draw organizers, boxes ... they're my idea of a hobby. It drives hubby bats at times, but he's gotten used to it after 43 years of marriage.

Great job.

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

You are my kinda girl! I just love to organize and reorganize. May have to go check my closets out now....

My girls tease me about getting excited over new scents of detergent or fabric softner!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I just cleaned out my closet over the weekend. I even took a picture and will post about it later. Do you know what I notice about your closet and mine?

Boots! Mine are prominently featured in my closet as well, although in much smaller confinement. What a blessing to have some new organization and the "follow-thru" to get it done!

Now, keep it clean might be another issue altogether.

Have a good week.