An Organized Life

Part One: Built-ins + Closets

I believe that being organized is essential to a happy life.  

California Closet says, "You'll achieve more. When you're disorganized, there are always barriers that hold you back from reaching your goals. But organized people find ways to eliminate tasks that aren't necessary and to streamline those that are taking too much time. This leaves plenty of time to work on achieving all of those goals on your list."  

I could not agree more! 

Benefits of being organized


  • prevents you from buying stuff you already have (read: SAVES MONEY) 
  • keeps you from spending half your life looking for something you know you have 
  • keeping things stored properly extends their life
  • clutter free = stress free
  • opens up valuable space to store other items
  • you're ready for curveballs in your day
  • it's a healthier way to live
  • you'll feel good about your environment
  • you'll have more time for your family
  • you will be a good example for your kids

I feel like I could go on and on!  There really are no cons to staying organized. It does take effort, but I have found that, if I have the foundations in place, I am much more likely to stay motivated in putting my things where they belong.  

Just because you have a closet, it does not mean that it is efficient storage space. Old houses, like ours, are notoriously short on closet space. If you don't utilize the vertical square footage, your closet just becomes a jumbled mess of junk on the floor.  We only added square footage in one room of our house, and that was in the master bedroom.  In that additional square footage, we put in a closet and a built-in for much needed storage space. I SWEAR the benefits to my sanity have far outweighed any cost in making custom storage solutions on the front end. 

It took a little persuading for my husband to agree that our built-ins should have a little more than just large, adjustable shelving. (His closet has two large chests of drawers, and mine is mostly hanging space.) The built-in is off of my closet and is what I use in place of a chest of drawers.  I needed a space to house socks, underwear, handbags, sweaters, and other folded and stacked clothing.  I needed that space to be something that held my items within easy reach.  I'm only 5'2, and nothing drives me crazier than designs that require a ladder to reach the majority of the storage space.  I'm tired of getting hit on the head by falling debris that I am whacking at with a coat hanger, while practicing my vertical leap!  OVER.IT.  Anywho, I  also wanted a place to house my handbags/clutches where they were easily viewable and stored upright.  If your stuff is stacked in a pile and out of reach, how much will you actually use it?! You won't. 

While our design is a little more utilitarian,  Kelly Wearstler's closet design was the main inspiration behind our built-in design. 

This is how it turned out:


My closet is door on left (giant, ugly T.V. not recommended.). Wallpapered panels with fret work designed by Rachel Halvorson are the doors flanking the middle bank of drawers.


Here you see the inside, which has adjustable shelving for handbags at the top, shallow drawers on left, and shelving on right.


Kelly Wearstler inspiration pics of adjustable handbag storage and shallow drawer design. I love her glass sliding dividers. We didn't go that fancy!


My space

Thanks to great inspiration (a good contractor and designer ), I have a really useful space. 


The interior part was built off site then installed in the casing. It could (I have no idea why) be converted to large adjustable shelving, if someone wanted to remove it. 

{The little blacks things on top of T.V. are supposed to be housed inside doors - honey-do list}

Our bedroom view when you first walk into the space. Built-in on right.  This is not a great photo, but you get the idea of the built-in being unobtrusive in the room design. 


Having a storage space tailored to what I own to store my things has been one of the best decisions I made when renovating our house.  It didn't take that much extra thought to finish our built-in in a way that would actually fit my needs. I think the key is to look at what you have, know what you are trying to accomplish, and to buy storage solutions that meet those needs.  I didn't need a giant drawer to keep my socks.  A four inch drawer takes up way less space and holds socks perfectly!   


Here are some built-in designs that maximize storage potential:


How gorgeous is this??!


I like these door designs. 


{images via my Pinterest}

So much more than just a wall of cabinets!


Taking advantage of vertical space doesn't have to be custom. In Hudson's room, we used a closet system from Home Depot and it has worked well! We measured the closet and chose something similar to this one by Martha Stewart. Baby clothes are tiny (obvi). One tall hanging rack was useless. For very little cost, we increased the closet's usefulness tenfold! 

There is still dead space in the top half of the closet, but for about $150 bucks, this solution can't be beat!


We chose this one with a pullout basket so that Hudson could have easy access to some toys. It has worked out great. We hung an organizer on the full length rod space on the right. 



Our master bedroom built-in design could be recreated on the cheap by using shoe organizers as handbag storage.


Sometimes you just need to reimagine what the storage item can be used for.

I hope you found some inspiration and tips to help control the clutter! Be on the look out for future posts on staying organized at home and what has worked for us!

Hope everyone is having  great week!

Xo, e

In unrelated news, Huddy is going to be TWO in a little over a month. I'm having all sorts of mixed emotions about it. Mostly, I look back at baby pictures from his early months and marvel at how much he's changed. Everyone was right - it goes by in the blink of an eye.  While I am enjoying every leap in development and growth, I'm know I am going to miss that baby every day of my life.  

The love that changed me forever - sweet Mr.Hudson (at 4months and 6months)