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Before and After: My Closet redo

Every day my house looks like its been robbed. Its like I’m allergic to closing cupboards or drawers. Every saturday I feel like I’m putting things away for hours. Just putting things away. Why? I don’t know!!!

I want to be a different person – a neat, organized, disciplined person, but at 34 I’m coming to terms with the fact that I, Emily Henderson, will kinda always be a disaster. Don’t worry, clients, i’m obsessed with my job and have people who work with me that are crazy anal, but my clothes certainly get abused because I just don’t know how to properly put them away.

So, in an attempt to make life a bit easier I hired Beth Ziegler from BNeato to design my pathetic, non-functional closet. Here’s how it looked when we moved in and then before she designed it:

ClosetBefore

The truth is we forgot to get a ‘before’ photo of how I actually lived in it before she came. The pic above was after she organized it and took inventory of everything. It was already wildly better, but no where as close to done as it needed to be.

So I’ll let Beth take it away and show you how she turned my closet from a disaster to awesome. Be prepared to get inside the mind of an organizing expert and take these tips as gospel. I’ve never seen anyone have a passion for organizing like Beth. It’s just wonderful to be around and oh so refreshing.

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1. In order to put the new closet in, everything had to come out. We also changed out every single one of those hangers to make way for the fancy new hangers that MAWA gave us to use for the closet transformation.

2. Counting shoes, garments and accessories is necessary so that we’ll know what type and how many containers to pick up.

3. The Elfa team from The Container Store gets to work ripping out the old closet and installing the new one.

4. Starting with a clean slate might be one of my favorite parts of the de-cluttering and organizing process.

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Folding bulky sweaters works great as hangers ruin the shape of knitwear–not to mention they would take up too much hanging space. Bins at the top work well for seasonal clothes or in this instance, Emily’s slips and undergarments for fancier evenings out. They would just be taking up room in her dresser but here, they are visible and accessible when needed.

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Going with one type of hanger really pulls a closet together visually and can save room if you go with thin hangers.

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1. Don’t worry about being fancy for your everyday shoes. Slippers, sandals and flip flops can live amongst one another in a cute, open bin for easy access.

2. By all means, get fancy with everything else. My favorite labeling tool for shoes are Printstagram Mini Squares (only $15 for a set of 48). Just stick some double-sided tape on the back of each pic and affix to your shoe container. For shoe storage, I used shoe drawers  and boot boxes from The Container Store (mens shoe size drawers works best for tall heels and wedges). Insider tip: you can fit two pairs of boots in those boot boxes.

3. Even if you don’t create a custom closet with Elfa, a dresser or small drawer unit on wheels works wonders in a closet. I tend to fold jeans rather than hang them because they are super bulky and take up way too much hanging space in a closet. And if you can, filing clutches in a drawer really makes them super visible at a glance. If you don’t have a drawer, a bin on a shelf also works for filing clutches and thin purses.

4. Meet valet rods. They are great for hanging dry-cleaning before you take it out of the plastic wrap, planning an outfit for work or hanging your PJs for the week–really, the options are endless. And while you can’t see them all that well from this photos, there are hooks on the ends of each of the sides of the closet for ties, belts and scarves. Hooks are without a doubt, the best thing you can add to your closet that won’t cost you a lot of money but will make your life so much easier.

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Going vertical. It’s a thing. It’s usually always a good idea to add another closet rod to maximize space. I love doing this when two folks have to share a closet. It instantly doubles the amount of storage space. You can see in the very first ‘Before’ photo that there’s a ton of wasted space at the bottom. Whenever you see empty space, you’ve got room to grow! The easiest way to create more space is by adding another rod, set of shelves or drawers.

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We really wanted to showcase all of Emily’s really colorful blouses so I used one of the double hang sections to the left here to display these pieces. We also color coordinated all of the clothes. This not only looks good, it allows you to find a red top or black dress in a flash. After doing this, you might be surprised to learn you have a lot of plaid shirts or 20 black tank tops. Consider it an exercise in learning more about yourself for added fun! You also can’t tell from this picture but the shoes on the bottom section slide out from the wall to make grabbing them and putting them back pretty darn effortless. If you can splurge, do it!”

**Alright Emily here, again. I can’t tell you how much easier my life is with this closet. The shoe bins are something that I’ve always kinda made fun of as one of the least ‘cool’ things you can do in your life. It’s just so dorky. But, my friends, that stuff works. Every other day I put my shoes away and I get excited to put them in their own little designated home. Its like a game that I win by matching my shoes to the box. I’m a GD genius.

Beth also put labels on every drawer in my dresser with ‘tank top’, ‘lounge pant’, etc and I actually use it. Now and again I’ll shove a long sleeve t-shirt into the ‘short sleeve t-shirt’ drawer but otherwise I really do stick to it and I just know where to find everything instantly. Its simply wonderful.

I think I may be an organizational masochist; I want someone to tell me what to do, and while it might be painful, I really do enjoy it.

Also those Mawa hangers are really awesome. I was previously a slim hanger (the velvet ones) fan but they break a lot. These guys are so strong, and strangely easy to stick to even though they aren’t sticky.

Thank you so much, Beth. Having someone who has good taste, resources, design ideas and solutions redo your closet is a total luxury (and yes, hard to pony up the dough) but the amount of time it saves me is making it worth it every day. (The closet cost $1200, the labor to install was $400 and Beth works hourly, contact her to get more info).

This post was not in partnership with The Container Store, although lord knows I tried … 😉

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  1. I need organization like this!

  2. Beautiful Closet! Especially the matching clothes hanger is a good idea. Thanks for the great info!