...because home doesn't happen overnight.
06.14.12 / Closet{s}Maid Right

Check one thing off our to-do list. Closets. Organized closets. At least in the master and boys’ bedrooms. I drew up a little sketch of what setup I wanted in each closet and Handy Hubby made it happen. I’ve always admired wooden shelving and solid drawers in walk-in closets, but since our closets’ contents will eventually be hidden behind fabric curtains {we removed the closet doors for good!}, we went with the less attractive but less expensive wire shelving option. Specifically, we used ClosetMaid wire shelving.

I got the kids out of the house for some summer fun while HH tackled the closets. That’s the only way things happen around here anymore. One of us wrangles the kids while the other tackles a project. HH was kind enough to take some in-progress shots for you.

You can read all about ClosetMaid installation here. Basically, HH screwed the top {horizontal} hang track into the wall plate then hung the {vertical} standards from that to get proper spacing before screwing them in as well.

HH found that hanging the standards from the hang track before screwing them into the wall helped him to get the exact spacing needed for the wire drawers and to level the shelves.

That’s the boys’ closet all organized. I didn’t clean up for the pics or style anything. This is what it looks like on a normal day. I’ve mentioned in the past that I am constantly editing our stuff. I probably make two dozen trips to Goodwill every year. Maybe you didn’t think I was serious. But I am. I only keep toys that aren’t broken and that my kids play with on a regular basis. My boys don’t have a lot of clothes either. It keeps me on top of laundry and we save money by not hoarding a bunch of unnecessary clothing. They tend to want to wear the same shirt and shorts over and over and over anyway. Here’s a breakdown on their closet contents…

Honestly, the Legos bin is usually on the floor but I got tired of stepping on random pieces the other day so I threw it up there. Clothing that’s not in season is stored in the attic. Otherwise, I end up with two boys in sweatpants in the middle of August.  Yes, those really are all their summer clothes. I wasn’t behind on laundry when I took these pics.

One thing I rarely get rid of are books. I don’t think kids can have too many books. But if they’re missing pages or not age-appropriate then I get rid of them. I also had a firm talk with the boys about the shelves not being ladders.

There’s a little nook within the boys’ closet. It’s perfect for less frequently used items. Although Everett wears a costume just about every day. The kid loves costumes. If he gets grounded from them {which happens more than I care to admit} he will create a costume out of his regular clothes. Undies make a good face mask, you know.

I stashed them in a hanging organizer at a height where they’d be easy for him to get out and put away. So far, so good. Before their closet was organized, Layne and Everett were leaving their clothes and toys strewn about all day and night. I was going bonkers. But it really wasn’t their fault. They had nowhere to put anything. If you give kids an easy system, for the most part, they’ll use it.

I’m thrilled their things have a place now. For the first time in 9 months, we’re finally back to our nightly routine of cleaning up before bed. That makes me happy. I know I’m probably coming across as a bit prude here but I firmly believe in toys not taking over our house just because kids live here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. My kids focus better and play better when there aren’t a million options to distract them. It works well for us.

Now onto the master closet.

Our closet is shaped a little differently than the boys’ with two nooks on either side. HH and I agreed that they would be great spots for hanging items since we both tend to be ‘folders’ and prefer to have folded items front and center.

HH placed two hanging rods on either side of the master closet with some added shelving above. Here’s our closet now…

Those are all of our clothes. Even out of season items are stored in our closet because {unlike our boys!} we know which clothing is appropriate for which type of weather we’re having. Although, HH has been known to wear shorts in the dead of winter. Weird.

The closet is split in half. Please notice the Steelers garb encroaching onto the top shelf of my side. Ahem. No, really. I can’t reach that shelf without the aid of a chair anyway. I want to get a clothes folding board so our folded things will look nicer. We’re folders but I never said we were good ones. I’d love to have all wooden hangers someday too but the plastic ones work fine.

My favorite part of our closet are the slide-out laundry hampers. HH surprised me with those. I kept saying they’d be nice but HH kept leaning towards floor-to-ceiling shelving and I was okay with that. I about peed my pants when I came home and saw them. They are an organizing girl’s dream!

I’m trying to teach Layne and Everett the difference between lights and darks. Everett’s not quite getting it. But, Mama, those red pants have white polka dots. That means they’re light.

To the left {HH’s}…

HH still needs to find a way to organize his ties and hats. Or maybe I need to find a way for him.

To the right {mine}…

You’ll notice that there aren’t shoes in any of the bedroom closets. That’s because I want to come up with a way to store them elsewhere…somewhere close to the front and garage doors. We follow the ‘no shoes in the house’ rule. Right now, they’re just piled in baskets in the mudroom.

The closet lights pass through the wire shelving better than if they were solid. We like that about the wire.

In case you’re wondering, it cost us ~$500 to add the wire closet organization to the two closets. Money well spent if you ask me. Especially when there’s plenty room-to-grow involved. And the shelves can be re-adjusted as needed when and if our wardrobes change. In a closet, I’m all for function. It doesn’t have to look pretty, just has to work.

Which brings me to another tangent topic. Pretty.

There are so many pretty pictures on other blogs right now. It’s starting to bring me down. Normally, I’m inspired. But today I feel as if our house will never look pretty. I don’t say this to prompt ‘hang in there, girl!’ comments. I say this to let you know that I’m human and that I don’t always like what’s going on in my house. Renovations are taxing. Moving is hard. Unpacking is even harder. Throw in two kids, a newborn and a sleep-deprived Mama and you’ve got the makings of an emotional roller coaster. Please don’t ask me how I do it all. I don’t do it all. I feel like I’m always sacrificing something. Sleep. Time with my boys. Time with my baby. Time with my HH. Time with my blog. Time with the unpacked moving boxes in our garage. Time with my friends. Time with myself. Time with my inbox. Time with projects.

I haven’t been able to find a good rhythm since Mabrey was born. When I’m being a good Mama, I feel like a bad blogger. When I’m being a good blogger, I feel like a bad Mama. I know it will get better. For cryin’ out loud, this is my third time around! You’d think I’d know not to try to do too much too soon. And yet, I still find myself thinking about things I could be doing. Should be doing. I need to let those thoughts go and know my limits. I know where I want to take House*Tweaking and my house, but I also know that it’s going to take time {and sleep!} to get them both where I want them. I also know that there are other people out there with much more serious {health, financial, marital, etc.} problems than my wanna-do-it-all-and-do-it-now-and-do-it-great! mentality.

Sometimes, I need to remind myself of why I started this blog. As much as I enjoy looking at pretty things, I like to see real things. A real house where a real family with real kids lives. Oh, and there’s no real nanny or real cleaning lady. And that real house doesn’t always look pretty.

Okay. Good talk. Thanks for listening.

On a lighter note, we found this fortune in our Chinese takeout three days after we moved in…

It’s hanging on our fridge and it makes me smile.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

99 Comments

14.June.2012

Thank you!!!! Thank you for being SO transparent, and real, and allowing us to relate to you as a mom/wife/woman. Like you said, there are so many ‘pretty’ blogs out there, and personally, they bring ME down sometimes too! At times I feel inspired, but more often then not, I feel inadequate! I find myself asking, “Why can’t I find the time to repaint a lamp and create a custom lampshade, at the same time coming up with a healthy homemade dinner recipe, while also posting about ‘What I wore’ that day. It’s overwhelming! ;-) I LOVE your posts about real stuff, that we can all relate to. And I LOVE being reminded that it’s impossible to thrive in every area of one’s life. It really is all about finding balance. Shifting time and energy to where it needs to go on a day to day basis.

YOU seem to be doing quite wonderfully if I do say so myself! You (and your HH) have built a beautiful home, brought a darling little girl into the world, and are continuing to be great parents to your boys. Add a blog to that list, and I think you deserve a pat on the back friend!

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replied on June 18th, 2012

+1 to this comment! you totally rock! i heart your honesty! :)

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I love a good organization post! And yeah, closets don’t always have to be pretty. You’re doing great though!
I’m a bit surprised by the cost though – I thought those wire hanging systems were a lot cheaper.

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replied on June 14th, 2012

Yeah! We thought they’d be cheaper too since they are cheaper than solid wood ones…even laminate wood ones. But they definitely weren’t anything to sneeze at. Still, they are something we will use several times a day for years and years so I’m okay with $500.

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14.June.2012

Well, heavens, girl. This is the third time you`ve put your body through this!

1. Get some sleep! You can`t do anything well without rest.
2. Whenever there`s something that needs to be done–take a nap.
3. Blog abour sleeping if you want, but sleep.
4. Then, eat something.
5. and Go back to bed.

We will still be here. So will the boxes. Hugs.

PS Thank you for keeping it real. I am definitely feeling the need to limit my exposure to those `magazine ready super-wonderful blog homes. Envy is exhausting. G`night.

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OMG, Dana…..You have hit the nail on the head; I couldn’t have said it better myself. Just the other day someone was asking me if I follow Miss Mustard Seed blog, and my response: “She’s too…..BIG.” When asked what I meant by “too big,” I couldn’t answer, but your blog post is the “aHA” of why I don’t like big blogs–everything is too pretty….too far out of my capabilities….guilt-provoking because MY house looks NOTHING like theirs…..too many followers….too PRETTY.

I prefer bloggers like yourself who struggle with the same day-to-day balance issues as me….bloggers who aren’t afraid to show their vulnerable sides and admit, “Hell, my house is DIRTY right now!” and bloggers who show that they’re not invincible. (That’s why I love your blog!).

When you talk about SACRIFICE, you were describing my life. I am also a mother of 3 (ages 5, 2, and 7 months). I started my blog 1.5 years ago to document the transition of our old 1970’s-ish house into a comfortable home for my family. Now, the blog is geared toward how I transform stuff I find (mostly) at the thrift store into home furnishings in my house. When I’m a great blogger, I SACRIFICE sleep and motherhood, often times staying up till 2 a.m. or more finishing projects or working on my site (then having to get up a few hours later for my 9-to-5 job). When I’m a great mom, I SACRIFICE the housework and my blog.

Just last night after work, I stopped by the thrift store (and made out like a bandit!), but just that act of stopping off to go thrift diving (for personal satisfaction, and for my blog), I SACRIFICED evening time with my family, and felt a little guilty for it.

But, the point in life I am discovering is that to be good at ANYTHING, you must SACRIFICE something else. We simply can’t do/have it all. But the idea, I’m learning, is to rotate the sacrifice, so that one day you suck at being a mom, but you got some amazing housework and blogging done……the next day you sacrifice blogging and get that huge pile of laundry done and play with your kids……..the next day you sacrifice sleep and get that project done………and just keep rotating so that everything has its day of greatness and its day of sacrifice. At least, that’s my strategy. And then keep it movin’.

(Sorry so long! In fact, I think I will blog about this topic! I’m sure we all suffer from this!!!)

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14.June.2012

I’m right there with you with numerous Goodwill trips. I just don’t see the need for a ton of stuff, especially when most of the time a lot of it isn’t getting used. I’ll admit to being a bit of a book hoarder – but clothes (for everyone in the family) and toys get sorted through and donated regularly.

Now go get some rest!

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14.June.2012

I love everything you’ve done, and I so appreciate you keeping it real. I have two little ones and am constantly thinking that I am failing in one category of life or another. You’ve made me feel much better about things. We’re all in this together. :) xoxo

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14.June.2012

Love your blog – and I think it’s a ‘pretty’ one :)
Can you tell me where you got the cubbies in the boys’ closet? I need something like that for all the random toys floating around our house!

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replied on June 14th, 2012

Target a few years back.

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14.June.2012

I could have written that same tangent. I work from home with my two little girls (3 and 1) running circles around me. We are also slowly renovating every room in our house (thank God my husband is a carpenter!) At least once a week I get myself upset that I can’t do it all. When I do get the chance to sit down I feel guilty that I should be doing something else. I just want you to know that your blog has far and away become my favorite. I get SO happy when I see you have posted something new. I know I’m not alone. Most of us are mommies too and know exactly how you feel. We love your blog but understand that family comes first. Thank you for being such an inspiration , Dana :-)

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14.June.2012

Your closets looks great! I love your blog and look forward to reading each new post, but don’t worry about “doing it all,” and take time to enjoy your new house and new family.

P.S. I bought my very affordable and very well made (no rough edges) wooden hangers from IKEA. I’d highly recommend them, and know there’s an IKEA near you. (West Chester, right? I’m a former Cincinnati/Dayton resident.)

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replied on June 14th, 2012

I would love to pick some up during my next IKEA trip! I can always donate the plastic ones.

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14.June.2012

A conversation about not using the shelves as ladders. Definitely a mother of boys convo :)

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14.June.2012

Take some time with your family ! And a quick post with a single picture and a few lines is fine ! (I don’t know about the United-States but in France, when you have a 3rd baby, you’re allowed a 18-week maternity leave after giving birth).I have a very different life : no kids, my hubby works with me (we’re both journalists at the same TV station), we’re tweaking our house big time but I’m the handy one + I have a chronic desease which puts me in bed every once in a while. I blog but not on a regular basis and I read a lot of other blogs (yours is my favorite too :) … so I will give you just one advice : enjoy every aspect of your life. AND GET SOME SLEEP !!
Take care !

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14.June.2012

The too-styled and overly always perfect looking houses are why my interest in Pinterest has waned dramatically! It just makes me feel overwhelmed too. I love what you’re doing and the fact that it is taking time is comforting in a way for the rest of us who can’t fix our house and blog about it for a living and still be super chipper woo woo yeah like some other bloggers (but don’t get me wrong I do love reading about what I feel like is almost a fantasy life!).

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14.June.2012

Love this post! It’s real and attainable and financially feasible. Two closets organized for $500…instead of $500 being spent on the pretty boxes and baskets alone that get hidden in a closet! For your tie problem…Ikea makes (or used to make) a metal wall mounted fold out tie organizer…we had it for my husband in our old closet. I believe it was only around $5 and very compact..you would easily be able to fit it in your closet.

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14.June.2012

I think your closests are pretty! I love your blog because it’s real. It’s not a stylized photo of what we think we want and most of us can’t achieve (and would be afraid to live in!). Your home is real and beautiful. And you’re human, I struggle with many of the same issues you mentioned. I think moms are hard on themselves in general for always wanting to do everything and then realizing we never have enough time. But you’ve got it right…family is the most important thing. Thanks for a lovely post!

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14.June.2012

When I went from 2 boys to 3 it was so overwhelming! It seemed like it took me forever to do anything. I totally get you. Dinner time was a nightmare because it seemed like that is when everyone was crying/whining/grouchy. Forget about going to the store – it was so hard! I wish my husband wasn’t a pack-rat. I can easily live with less, but he likes all of his things – drives me batty!

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14.June.2012

The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room was my favorite book as a child (and is still one of my favorites to read to little ones), so naturally I love this post. As a mama-to-be I truly appreciate the realness of your blog. My home is far from perfect now, so I can only imagine what it’ll be like come fall when the baby is here. I’m loving watching your home come together while knowing that the process is not always pretty.

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replied on June 14th, 2012

We LOVE the Berenstain Bears!! Messy Room is one of my faves!!! :)

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14.June.2012

We live in a small home built in the 1950s so closet space is not abundant. I’ve known we need something like this since we moved in when we were just a married couple without kids. Now we have three kids and this is a must! Thanks for the inspiration and the example. I think you have a great system down. I want you to come organize my house!

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14.June.2012

You and I think alike! I fold my clothes, but not perfectly. I don’t over buy toys or clothes and when I do something else has to go. I go to Goodwill monthly with clothes, toys, books, etc. that seem to always pop up around here that are outdated and worn. I’ve even starting a business helping people ‘edit’ their stuff. I LOVE that everything in my closets is stuff I wear and use and that fit currently. Not ‘gonna’ fit, or ‘did fit’. I resale any clothes that don’t make the cut to a consignment store and that helps me feel good to receive some money for old clothes and recycle them too. I don’t think everything has to always look picture perfect, but I have to know what is in all the piles and make it organized chaios.

Thanks for the blog! I wish I could tell you all the things I’ve changed around my house since I’ve stumbled across your blog in January! H*T has inspired every room in my house!

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Thanks for being real!!! I actually LOVE seeing in-progress homes and not always just pretty homes that are all in place. My house isn’t clean all the time. Life gets in the way. Family is much more important then the house being 100% pretty and in place. I really love how you organized your closet. Wish I had thought of putting our closet organizer in that way instead of the way that we did ours. Oh well. I love seeing your new home come to life. I love to watch the journey. 5 years later and we are still tweaking our home too. It’s never perfect and it’s never exactly what you want. ;) Thanks for sharing Mama!!! :)

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14.June.2012

Thanks for keeping it real Dana :) We’ll still be here once you’ve had a sleep with your beautiful baby girl, sat down with the boys to build a lego fort and checked in with HH. Those closets (and the clear floors that come with them) look very satisfying indeed. I also love the timely fortune cookie – good things take a while afterall!

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14.June.2012

So a few things. First, I love that you showed us your “real” closets and how edited they are. I really need to edit my clothes. Second, our third is due at the end of the year and I’m wondering how I’ll be able to do it all. It’s nice to hear that you’re not doing it either. Third, we’re going to be moving at some point this year…hopefully. We sold our house and are temporarily living with my parents until we can find something new. We got a fortune about how important home is on our last night there. I think it will be interesting to look back in a year and see how beautiful your house has become. Just as the fortune says you’ll move into a beautiful home within the year. It will probably take the whole year and I’m sure it won’t be as beautiful as you eventually want it to be, but it will certainly be more beautiful than it is now. All in time. All in time.

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14.June.2012

I think you were meant to downsize. I am pretty sure I have more clothes in my closet than the 4 of you combined. And now off to clean out my closet so I don’t feel like a hoarder anymore.

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14.June.2012

Lately I’ve been loving the “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You” blog series and I even wrote a post inspired by it because all the great, supposed to be inspiring, posts in blog world were making me depressed. Sometimes it’s hard to just use blogs as inspiration and not feel beat down by them. I love reading about your design process and all the little steps that you take along the way. You have definitely inspired me to make changes around my house!

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14.June.2012

Your family and sleep! The rest will wait.

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14.June.2012

Thanks for being you. What draws me to your blog is not just “pretty pictures”, but it is the sense of real life in your writing. Take it day by day, as slow as you need to go. Don’t worry, your fans will follow along, every step.

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14.June.2012

I always have a hard time finding my routine when my physical environment isn’t in order (although I’ve never added a new baby + two crazy boys + a house renovation into the mix! phew!) It seems you’re on the right track though. Awareness is always the first step.

@Stephanie The Messy Room was my favorite Berenstain Bears book too!

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14.June.2012

Your closets came out awesome! I have been dying to do something with my son’s and our master closet. They are an organization nightmare! We are folders like you so dont have much use for the long single bar that comes in these closets. How deep are your closets? They look deeper than ours but it might be just come off that way in pics.

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replied on June 14th, 2012

25″ deep.

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14.June.2012

Love the organizing system for the closets. Thanks to your prior blog about the Ikea wardrobes my husband now has a better spot for his clothes. Our house doesn’t have a ton of storage space either. I have to tell you that I love all of your ideas. I look forward to your posts. You have excellent style and I cannot wait to see how you finish off the rooms in your house. Your kitchen is to die for by the way!

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14.June.2012

I do not spend a lot of time in my closet, so we also opted for closet maid in each of our closets over something prettier and more expensive. I love them! After a few years, I changed them slightly which was so easy with the adjustable standards.

We are no shoes in the house too (although it took me years to convince my husband that it was worth it!), and I made an efficient shoe storage system last year so we could corral ALL the shoes by the back door. I keep out of season shoes stored away, and the few pretty pairs of dressy heels in my closet, but everything else is there. Even when rogue shoes make their way to other parts of the house, I have a place for them and they are easy to put away.

You can check out our system here: http://homewithcatherine.blogspot.com/2011/07/mudroom-closet.html It’s even easier now that we removed the door permanently :)

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replied on June 14th, 2012

Love the new closet organization. We need a system!

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I hear you girl. Even though we had to wait 7+ months for our foreclosure purchase to close, when we finally got in the house I was just depressed. Everything was a mess, the remodeling ahead of us seemed insurmountable, and just like you I was tired of looking at pretty blog pictures and then coming home to my own construction zone. We’re no where near their yet, but over the past 14 months things are really starting to come together. I didn’t realize it fully until I did our 1 year post, but we’ve come a long way baby. http://oneprojectatatime.blogspot.com/2012/04/anniversary-week.html

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replied on June 14th, 2012

Happy anniversary! Things are looking great.

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14.June.2012

first, kudos on the closets. organized and functional. which in my book IS pretty! second….girl, you are just right! finding balance is a lifelong struggle. as a wife, mother, and grandmother i still get frustrated when i feel i am not doing/giving my all. many days life lives me (you know…instead of the other way around). but here are two eternal truths….the most important work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home and NO success can compensate for failure in the home. i too REQUIRE creative outlets. creating is like breathing. when it’s missing i am gasping. but life and the things we desire in it are sometimes ‘around the bend’ so we have to make lots of twists and turns. and in that twisting and turning we grow and we get stronger and we get smarter. it’s not always easy to tap into those unseen reservoirs of faith and endurance. but you ARE doing it. so i’ll say it again…YOU ARE JUST RIGHT DOING WHAT IS JUST RIGHT!
p.s. do you rent out HH?

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replied on June 14th, 2012

Q: ‘Do you rent out HH?’ A: I should!! That would bring in some extra income, wouldn’t it?!

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14.June.2012

I appreciate “real”, which is why your blog is one of my favorites (and why checking it is high on my list of chore avoidance activities)! I have often looked at these beautiful pantry posts online and thought, “Really? Someone hauls all those groceries into the house and then empties all the cereal into matching containers.” While it looks gorgeous, I guess there are just other priorities in my life. BTW, I love the peek into your real closets. I thought I was the only one who preferred “less” when it comes to clothing options. We have those hanging canvas cubes in our boys’ closet and each boy has his own. My boys wear uniforms to school, which makes it easy: 5 pairs of khaki shorts (or pants in the winter) and 5 polo shirts, one set in each cubby for each day of the week. There is one more cubby for their uniform stuff and we have one set of church clothing for each boy that hangs on the bar. Besides that, there are a couple drawers of underwear and socks (for some reason you can never have too many of those- I have no idea where they go) and a drawer for a a couple of sweatshirts and a few “non-uinform” t-shirts. I do a small load of laundry every day, and I never have drawers we can’t close or closets that are bulging.

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14.June.2012

Getting ready to move myself, and I absolutely preference HouseTweaking over “pretty picture” blogs because the real renovation and unpacking posts are so much more interesting (and relatable… and good for sanity) than endless streams of perfectly styled photos. Those have their place, but don’t stress about blogging about the real business of making a home work! Its why I read :)

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14.June.2012

AMEN! And my husband & I are looking at closet systems. Our closet has a nook on either side too-thank you for the handing rod ideas-that might save us from tearing some of the wall out to make the sides more accessible. THANK YOU!

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14.June.2012

We have those wire shelving units in all of the closets in our home (all 3…). I love them because they’re so easy to reconfigure. I’ve been known to pull apart all 3 closets at once and move shelves, drawers, etc from room to room. Not the prettiest, true. But totally useful!
Also, you’re doing great, really! I only have 1 child and work from home and often feel like it’s impossible to find balance. I think that’s normal. Some days I’m amazed and happy that I get to do it all (work, blog, parent, etc..) other days I feel like I’m not doing anything right. I’ve noticed the amount of sleep I get has a LOT to do with which lens I choose :-).

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14.June.2012

I just want to tell you that had I been in your situation (baby on the way, reno’ing a house, moving, raising 2 other kiddos, leaving your job, handy hubby who travels for work), I would’ve crumbled under all that pressure. Not saying that you don’t have your bad days, but you certainly know your priorities & for that I admire you. I’m a first-time mom w/ a 7 mo old baby girl who catnaps, won’t sleep thru the night, won’t take bottles, & loves to eat straight from the boob……still trying to find balance w/ giving her all that I have while trying not to run on vapors when it comes to my own well-being.

I appreciate how real & candid you always are. Your home (while maybe “unpretty” by Pinterest standards) is already gorgeous to me!

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Love the closets, and even more so love the truthfulness! I can get a tiny bit caught up on Pinterest some days, and it can leave me feeling like I am not crafty enough, not culinary enough… just not enough. We always put our best foot forwards into cyber world, and never show the not so nice parts, which sadly can leave us feeling inadequate and a little down. We just have to remember that those other blogs, where they show their *pretty* closets…. they probably have a hideously dirty basement or garage that they will never show!

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14.June.2012

If you want to see pretty, look at some pre renovation pictures of your house, then take a look around. It is amazing how beautiful it looks!

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14.June.2012

I immediately thought of this organizer from IKEA when I saw HH’s ties. May not be your style, but it would work! http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70108912/

I love your blog. I just had a little one myself in September, and we had to move in with my in-laws when he was 1 month old, then into our new place when he was 4 months old. It was SO. HARD. You’ll get there, don’t put too much pressure on yourself! I can’t imagine doing it with two additional kiddos.

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replied on June 14th, 2012

That hanging organizer is fabulous! It would work great for HH’s ties…that he never wears.

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14.June.2012

I love your blog, its the only “home” blog on my blogfeed specifically because you are so real and down to earth. When I see it pop up its the first one I read! My boyfriend says he can always tell when you’ve posted because I smile. So don’t worry about being the “prettiest” today, you’re giving us something much more real. You’re showing the actual real-time process to make a house a home and that’s terrific. Thanks again!

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14.June.2012

I love your no nonsense take on clothing and toys. I have a friend who’s son got a very expensive wood train set for Christmas with family members contributing parts. She got bummed/angry because her son played with it for a week and then moved on to something else. I wanted to point out to her that maybe the reason her son’s attention span is that of a gnat is because she has two play rooms full of toys for her kids and then more toys in their bedrooms. The kids jump from one thing to another and they don’t put their toys away leaving her more work than she handle.

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14.June.2012

As I was making my way through this post, I paused on the filled in photo of your master closet and was excited to see the Steelers garb! We Boyles wear black and yellow for football season, too! :)

Emily

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14.June.2012

I never knew Closetmaid closets could be so cool! Great job!

And thanks for this post. I had my third baby (we have three kids 4 and under) – a baby girl after two boys just one month before you had your baby girl. We are living in a house we bought last fall full of projects, completely chaotic and disorganized. There is so much I need to do and being a stay at home mom (my hubby is a youth pastor at our church), we are just squeaking by, so funds AND time are so limited!! Like you, no babysitters or cleaning lady, let alone time for this mama to shower! Your post was great and reminded me that I am not the only one who isn’t crossing items off my to-do list as fast as I want. I wouldn’t change this family or this life for anything and sometimes I need to be reminded of that. :). Thanks.

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14.June.2012

3 kids under 3 with my first girl 3 months ago and building a house. I love your blog and wouldn’t read it if you chose your house and photoshopped photos over your family. Organized closets are so comforting!

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14.June.2012

Anyway you can include the dimensions of your closet. We have a similar master closet and I’m wondering if this set up would work better than our current one, but curious to know the dimensions!

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replied on June 14th, 2012

The closet is 91″ wide, 25″ deep. The {previous door} opening is 56″ wide. Hope that helps!

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14.June.2012

Just for the record, I read here for the realness, so please consider that a vote of confidence in what you are doing. Earlier today I saw pictures of a home in which the kids’ bedrooms had vintage typewriters on the desks. Color-coordinated (pink in the girl’s room, blue in the boy’s). For preschool-age kids. And the pictures were undeniably pretty. But ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Sorry, I hate being so snarky and negative, but–I’ll take pictures of imperfectly folded clothes any day.

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14.June.2012

I LOVE the editing of clothing and toys you’ve done! I’m still working on convincing my husband :)

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Good talk. For sure. And even though we’re not supposed to say it, Hang in there, girl! The newborn haze always lifts eventually. That combined with the reno and a move? No wonder you feel the way you do!

PS. Great closets! I love the laundry hampers too.

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14.June.2012

I was only thinking this morning as I made my cup of tea “Sigh, time to sit down and read blogs” (as I always do with my cup of tea), and I found myself looking forward to our upcoming holiday, without computers, so I could have a break from blog reading! How sad is that? All the blogs I subscribe to have beautifully styled and organised interiors, very pretty and inspirational, but also quite exhausting. I find sometimes that looking at all these images merely serves to increase my mental to-do list and detract from my enjoyment of my home and my kids. I think as mums we will always have a to-do list longer than is humanly possible to achieve. Sometimes we need to let it go.
Anyway, I decided that the only blog I was going to read this morning was HouseTweaking (its always first on the list anyway) because your blog is REAL. Spend time with your kids, they do grow up so fast. I need tidiness and routine to be happy too, otherwise I just get crabbly with everyone, but everything else can wait. It took me a good 6 months in our new house to get our new routines going, one at a time. I’m always tweaking them, that’s my full-time job right now. If you find blogging helps then do it, but we will survive if there are weeks without posts!

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14.June.2012

Perfect timing– my husband has been talking about organizing our closets from day 1 of move in and have yet to accomplish that. Those single bar closets are worthless. A couple questions for you 1) M husbands shirts are so long-do HH fit and not drag on the rod below? 2) Do you worry about your clean clothes smelling from having your hamper inside your closet? I want to hide mine but am worried about that? Thanks !! Keep up being you, after all that is all you can be:)

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replied on June 14th, 2012

1 – You can see in the images that HH’s shirts do not touch the rod below. He’s a size M-L depending on the brand. He’s also thinking of adding a shelf above the bottom rod, so I think that means he has plenty of room between the two hanging rods.

2 – I don’t worry at all about our closet smelling like dirty clothes. For the past 10 years, HH and I have stored our dirty laundry in our closet. I don’t like looking at a hamper. Never has the closet become smelly from the laundry. But I also do try to stay on top of our laundry as much as possible. As soon as one hamper is full, in the wash it goes. It might not always make it to the dryer right away or even get folded right away, but at least the clothes are clean. We don’t have that many clothes to have loads and loads of laundry pile up…we wouldn’t be left with anything to wear!

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14.June.2012

We have the same closet system in our master bedroom closet. It is one of the best home improvements we have made. I love the slide out drawers and the openness of the wire shelving. Before that we had wood MDF shelves. If you are looking for a tie organizer, this is the one that we have:
http://www.amazon.com/ClosetMaid-8060-Sliding-Belt-Shelving/dp/B000TYJN8M
I highly recommend it. I think you may be able to get it at Home Depot, too.

I am enjoying watching your house come together and hope you take some of the pressure off yourself to keep us blog readers happy. We will keep reading no matter how often you post!

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14.June.2012

Amen on keeping the house organized… Right down to the legos. Organization keeps my kids and me sane. My youngest, whose last day of elementary school was today :( loves costumes as well. I have a 3 year old niece who changes her clothes at least 3 to 4 times a day… I hear most girls do.. I look forward to seeing a future post of “Mabrey’s Closet” in a few years. Have a great weekend!

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14.June.2012

Love those new laundry bins in the closet! Way cooler than by $10 canvas basket I picked up at target! Can I ask how they work though? It doesn’t look like there is a liner in them….so I’m assuming you have to slide them off the frame somehow and take to the laundry room? And have you washed them yet to see if they shrank? Just curious…

As for the time thing, don’t be so hard on yourself. Three kids and a hubby is no joke! I bounced back rather quickly from my first and second, getting a routine down so I could “do it all” but the third threw me for a real loop. A lot of friends keep asking me how long it took to adjust after my third…..12 mo….no joke! And even then, I feel like I have a productive couple weeks and then I get hit with exhaustion and have to go to bed at 9pm for a week to reenergize. Just do what you can but know what’s most important…your family!

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replied on June 16th, 2012

The hampers pull out just like the drawers. The fabric is attached to the wire unit with velcro so you can remove them and take them to the laundry room although I usually just throw the contents into a single laundry basket since removing the hampers from the closet for even an hour would result in dirty clothes on the closet floor in our house. {It seems we all change/get dressed at different times?!} I haven’t washed them yet but I think they’ll do fine in cold water/low heat.

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replied on June 16th, 2012

Hmmm, think I’ll leave those off my list to add to the closet then. The canvas one we have actually has a net like liner that just folds over the rim. So when the basket gets full every couple days, I just pull the liner out, take it to the laundry room in our basement, and then replace the liner. It works for us but I just thought I’d see if there was something with more of a built in look that would work too. We bought the dark wood closet organizing system from Lowes and LOVE it. It wasn’t much more than the closet maid systems wither….around $400 for our 8×5 “walk in”

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replied on June 18th, 2012

Sounds like you have a great thing going with your closets/laundry hamper already. No need to fix what ain’t broken.

14.June.2012

What appeals to me about your blog is how real you keep it all. I think your house is going to be lovely and I truly look forward to reading about each step of your remodeling process. I also enjoy reading about your day-to-day lives with your family. I’m glad your blog is not as commercialized as some of the bigger names. YOUR blog makes me think that *I* could do some of these things, too, and I appreciate that so much. Please do what you can when you can and we’ll be here eagerly awaiting the next blog post when you’re ready.

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14.June.2012

You Go Girl! Your house/blog is as pretty as any- especially kitchen, bathroom and those closets!! That will improve the quality of life! Sleep deprivation is no joke though and I know how hard it is to resist the urges to get it done. I remember getting way too carried away post partum. Lucky you have HH though. What a guy! And omg, my son wore a superman costume ten months straight!! It was a superman t shirt with a red flimsy cape I half *^#* made and then he wore long johns and underwear over that and little yellow rain boots. It was some phase! Naturally it was the first ten months of his sister’s life. What is it about boys and costumes? Get some rest and keep having fun – we’re all working hard out here, too, and your blog is total relaxing pleasure for us! Thank you

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14.June.2012

Sending hugs and empathy. I too have willingly taken on a crazy life for the past year, knowing that it will be worth it in the end. I know *exactly* what you mean about feeling like you’re doing a terrible job at being a mom one minute, then a terrible job at your work/goals/etc the next. And, I too look for inspiration in Chinese food fortunes. Mine was: “the hard times will begin to fade. Joy will take their place.” It’s on my fridge too. For what it’s worth, I love your blog. At the end of a long day, it’s so much fun to type in your web address and see a new post pop up.

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14.June.2012

I wanted to say that I love seeing your in progress, in the middle of construction shots! It really makes me feel like your house is real. Also, your house is wonderful and I can’t believe your husband has done all of that work! Great job.

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15.June.2012

Love that your home has a designated spot for superheroes.
Always good to have in your back pocket;).

When I saw that the first job you got done was your closets I couldn’t wait to see what you’ve done. What a great job. I love how to managed the hanging storage, it makes so much sense. It looks like you’ve got a place for longer dresses, but your hubby doesn’t, am I seeing that right?

It’s such a relief to see a closet that looks like mine (okay maybe slightly better than mine;) instead of whatever fantasy Sex and the City dreamed up. Believe me what you and you HH have done in such a short time is jaw dropping. I remember when I bought my first house and thought that my experience tweaking the apartments I lived in would mean I could throw my house together pretty easily. (Um, no). For me half the battle is the learning curve on new projects, so without blogs like yours it would take even longer! Just keep doing what you do, when you can do it. We’ll still be here if you have to post a little less often.

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replied on June 16th, 2012

I don’t have a designated area for dresses but I’m short {~5’4″} so knee-length dresses barely graze the floor from the bottom hanging rod. I do own two longer dresses and just hang those from the top rod and they drape down in the corner. Not a big deal.

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15.June.2012

Thank you so much for showing us the reality of everyday life. I, too, get discouraged when I look at other home blogs and see perfectly folded clothes and pristine closets. My closets don’t look like that! No one’s do on a daily basis – not even those bloggers.

Just take it one step at a time and do one tiny project a day – even if it’s just straightening up one drawer or unpacking ONE thing out of ONE box. It’s still progress.

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15.June.2012

I love your closets…and your whole house! How do you edit your clothing down to such a small amount? Maybe you’ve already covered this topic, but a wardrobe post would be appreciated! Do you live in the south – is that why you’re able to have so few clothes?

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replied on June 16th, 2012

Nope, we live in the Midwest. Ohio to be exact. So we experience both extremes of warm and cold weather. HH and I haven’t always been so minimal with our wardrobes. It’s taken us years to pare down. Once or twice a year, we edit our clothing and it seems like we end up with less and less each time. We’ve finally realized that we’d much rather hold onto a few favorite items that we wear regularly instead of a bunch of ‘well, I might wear it if I ever do this/go there….’ It’s also changed the way we buy clothing. Before I would have been inclined to buy something just because the price was right. But now I intentionally ask myself ‘are you going to get up in the morning and want to put this on?’ If the answer is ‘no’ or even ‘I don’t know’ then it stays at the store. I don’t want it taking up precious real estate in my closet. Nowadays, I’m more inclined to purchase quality items that I love and that will stand the test of time. But I’m only making those purchases maybe once or twice a year, so in reality it’s costing me less. I guess I’m approaching my wardrobe much like I’m approaching our downsized home – getting rid of unnecessary filler, keeping/buying only what I love/use, and making deliberate quality purchases over time.

A post on downsizing your wardrobe could be fun! I’ll put it on my list.

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replied on June 5th, 2013

Would love a post on this!

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15.June.2012

The closets look great. Your impeccable taste and the realness of the blog keep me coming back. For me the realness means both the sharing of your feelings and the fact that these projects seem real, because they stay within a budget that is attainable to the average person. Did you consider running the shelves the other direction and adding a single low hanging rod in the boys’ closet nook? I just thought it was ingenious what you did in the master closet in those side nooks and I wondered why you didn’t use the same strategy in the boys’ closet nook. Your posts are my favorite. You have a blessed and charmed life regardless of how it feels lately. I have 3 kids and get stuck in the same mental spot when I’m worn down. I let my “to do” list get way more of my attention than my gratitude journal and it makes me feel awful. Keep your chin up, get some rest, and know that things have a way of taking care of themselves with or without us giving them any extra worry or judgment.

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replied on June 16th, 2012

Great idea! The boys really have no hanging clothing so that’s why hanging storage is minimal in their closet. They needed room to store toys, games, etc. and I wanted to keep the two bookcases on the floor. Running the rods/shelves from front to back in the nook would have given them more shelf and hanging space but the deepest, back part of the nook would have been very difficult for them to reach alone…especially with the bookcases on the ground. That’s always an option as they grow and their closet needs change though!! I could see that setup working better for teenagers since they’ll have more/bigger clothing and longer arms.

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15.June.2012

Both closets are coming in nicely…you’re doing everything so fast…getting settled in with the new house, and blogging so consistently! Koodos to you girl! Any decorating plans for fathers day weekend? Keep us posted!

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15.June.2012

I love a well organized closet! They make me so happy. I can’t wait to see the rest of the home when you are finished!

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15.June.2012

The closets look great! Order makes me soooo happy.

The day that you only do pretty and stop doing real, is the day that I quit reading your blog:-) Thanks for keepin’ it real.

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Oh Dana, you’re blowing me away with awesomeness. I don’t have any kids and am not working right now and still don’t manage to do as much house or blog work as you do. You may do not it ALL, but I don’t know how you do what you do. Your old house was GORGEOUS, and this one will be, too, in time. Until then, enjoy your sweet boys and that precious baby girl and don’t worry about the blog or your readers — we’re not going anywhere, but the kiddos are only little once.

And on a more concrete note…my husband and I debated spending money on built-in shelves in our closet when we were building our home. I think we were quoted about $700 for a change order to put in about ten linear feet of floor-to-ceiling shelves (where we store shirts, shorts, PJs, etc.). That seemed crazy at first, but we realized that the alternative was buying two dressers (at probably comparable cost) so it just made sense to make the investment in really nice closet infrastructure.

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15.June.2012

Awesome post Dana! I’ve been so down on myself lately because I just can’t seem to keep up on the housework, with 2 young rowdy boys and I think the more “perfect home” blogs are eating away at me. I own a staging & decorating business and I feel like I make my clients’ homes pretty but can’t seem to get mine there. While I was making my way through your post I was looking at the photos with relief, thinking, yes, they look good but they also look “real”. I love your staged posts too, but what I really love is that you say when you’ve staged it. Balancing parenting with your passion is tough! It’s important to honor both and not feel guilty if we let our kids watch one more spiderman episode so that we can get dinner made or a quick project done. You’re fabulous!

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replied on June 16th, 2012

Spiderman is Everett’s favorite ;)

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16.June.2012

Hi Dana. You mention that you know where you would eventually like to take HT. What is your vision for HT?

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16.June.2012

Hugs. You’re doing a great job. Your children are safe, happy, and cared for. You and HH have accomplished SO MUCH in the last year, no wonder you feel overwhelmed sometimes.

If it helps, we moved into our house almost 3 months ago, I only have two little ones (ages 2 & 3.5), and my closets are nowhere near as organized yet :)

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16.June.2012

I needed to hear that– thank you. I just had a baby 7 weeks ago and have been feeling low about the state of our home. Babies don’t keep, right? I love your blog.

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17.June.2012

The closets look great – all the essentials including superheros & Steelers! I really like the wire shelving better than solid shelving because I’m a lazy housekeeper – dust falls right through so less time cleaning.

Thanks for letting us share your beautiful family and the fabulous journey of creating your new home. Now go hug the family & take a nap.

Happy Fathers Day to HH.

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20.June.2012

Loved both the closet organization and the honesty in this post.

I started my blog A Farewell To Can’t to make me start writing again daily after leaving my copywriter job five years ago, keep me on track as I try to finish up all our DIY remodeling projects, and also to document the steps I take to banish perfectionism, fear, and anxiety from my life in general . So though I do post some pretty things like my beloved card catalog or my butcher block island, as well as gorgeous inspiration photos, I plan for it to continue to be a “real” blog (as much as I love looking at all the pretty blogs, including yours!). My thoughts are summed up here: GOOD vs. PERFECT: Why Worse Is Better.

Regarding “pretty”, I realized that because of my brain and personality traits (ADD/ADHD, naturally messy and disorganized), I couldn’t always organize things the “pretty” way. Efficiency and ease of use always trump beauty and sometimes even trump frugality. I learned that principle from Susan Pinsky’s book “Organizing Solutions for People with Attention Deficit Disorder”. Her blog post Organizing for ADD/ADHD explains the basics of what I’m talking about. Maybe someone will find it helpful!

I’m so glad I found your blog. I love checking in and I love that you are DOWNSIZING and showing us how that works. And yes, your house is and will be beautiful!

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replied on June 21st, 2012

Love your good versus perfect thoughts! You certainly struck a chord with me.

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02.July.2012

We recently converted an unused reading nook in our master bedroom into an additional closet and I outfitted the interior of that space with a custom-designed ClosetMaid system. I had looked at a couple of other brands and found them to be much less flexible and more expensive. The ClosetMaid stuff is much more flexible (and forgiving) and the online design tool made it fairly easy to plan everything out.

For much closer to $400 than I’d like to admit, I used every square inch of the space inside the new 4′ x 8′ closet. I ended up with almost 20′ of angled shoe storage, about 20′ of hanging clothes rod space, and almost 14′ of open shelving. You take take a peek here.

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02.July.2012

By the way, did you have any trouble finding studs to screw your hang track or verticals to? I have a fancy-shmancy Black & Decker digital stud finder and it still gave me all sorts of false positives! That combined with some questionable measuring skills of the wizards who built our home in the 70s, made to the biggest frustrations. After a few exploratory holes, I was able to make some sense out of what my stud finder was telling me and get everything laid out. (I think the stud finder was getting thrown off by electrical and phone wiring in the stud cavities.)

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replied on July 3rd, 2012

Your closet organization looks great! So tidy! HH didn’t have any trouble with the stud thing like you mentioned. He just tied the hang track into the top plate so he didn’t have to identify studs.

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replied on July 5th, 2012

Because of the spacing of the holes and the wonky stud spacing in our reading nook turned closet, I could only make about 2/3rds of the holes on the hang track line up with studs. So I used Snaptoggle anchors (which are awesome!) for the others. I was paranoid about the weight of the clothes and other stored items so I made sure that all of the verticals were securely anchored into studs. Probably overkill, but I didn’t want to chance anything pulling away from the walls or falling.

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11.July.2014

Hello, where did you purchase the hanging rods that you installed in your closet?

Thanks!

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replied on July 12th, 2014

I think we got all the ClosetMaid organization from Lowe’s. Any store that carries the line should have them!

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02.September.2014

[…] designed and installed a ClosetMaid shelving system to utilize wall space. Baskets and modular bookcases keep things tidy. The woven baskets once lived […]




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