Monday, September 16, 2013

119 Our Storage Spaces: Diving In to the Storage Room!

I am going to do my best to condense the first eight hours of project storage room, into a single post.  Wish me luck.

Last week I shared that I have some storage spaces that I need to take care of; the utility room, under the stairs and the garage.  All not so fun in my book, but thorns in my side and spaces that cause unnecessary stresses.  I have addressed all of these spaces in the past, but I haven't done it correctly, and they end up falling back into stash-and-dash rooms.

So what makes this time different?  I am putting all other home projects on hold until we get these right.  Until we truly address why these areas are failing and put in proper systems to fix them.

The first thing I realized is that none of the spaces we are using are given direction or clearly defined.  Meaning, they are duplicating efforts, and when something goes missing, I am not just checking one storage room, I am checking three.  Step one for us was to sit down and assess the items that are in each of the areas currently, and determine where they should ultimately end up at the end of our big overhaul.  Our list looked a little like this:



By defining what we want in each area, it allows us to sort correctly right off the bat.   It also allows us to determine what we need storage wise.

One look at the utility room, and I can come up with a huge list of reasons why it has been failing us for the past two years.  Realize that by me showing you this, I must now go crawl in a deep dark hole that I never come back out of.....


Clearly that huge door in front of shelves has been causing us a lot of problems.  How in the world can we put anything back on the shelves behind the door, with that in the way?  And that door?  It is an extra from renovating our basement.  Not even something we need.  So yes, something we don't even need, has been sitting in our storage room for over a year blocking all of our shelving.  Smart right?

Let's take a closer look at this awful mess and try and pick it apart.  We could do a picture find, my kids love those!



Nonsense I tell ya!  Goodwill finds, paint cans, bins with unknown contents.  And an entire room that is probably dangerous in more ways than one.  Oh, and imagine the climbing fun that occurs when we blow a fuse.  Our electrical panel is back there somewhere.

Behind the door is just as bad, maybe even worse.  Are you ready for this?


Baskets, lamp shades, storage bins, pillows and more pillows.  Thrift store finds and a random paint tray?  I have no words.

We knew this project was coming for a few weeks before we announced it.  I could feel it in my gut.  So I started finding ways to make myself excited to work on it.  I was dreaming up finished walls, an awesomepants work bench with oodles of tool storage and pretty labeled bins all in a row.  Yes, we could make the space amazing!

But these ideas were happening with a skewed vision of what the room could accommodate and forgetting how much was in there, and how bad it really was.  Remember, I typically avoid this space, so I hadn't really taken into consideration what all was happening behind the closed door.

So, all excited, I did a little jig downstairs and swung open the door with the cheesiest of grins spreading cheek to cheek.

And then I paused.

I stood there.

I gasped.

My heart started racing.

I got faint.

I got overwhelmed.

I got upset, and even felt a tear start to form.

I had to get out.  So I ran back upstairs, sunk on the couch and turned on some Netflix.

True story my friends.  That happened.  I got SO discouraged looking at that space, that I had to find a way to tackle my crap head on.  I do that by catching up on my favorite TV series and pretending to ignore it for awhile.  And while I watch that meaningless television, I am really thinking.  Thinking long and hard about what I just saw, and what I am going to do about it.  How am I going to get that excited feeling back that I had before walking through the door?  What can I do to make that room blissful, so I never have to go through those emotions again?

For me, it is a few things:

  • Knowing that it can only get better {the only thing that could make the room look worse would be a sewer back-up}.
  • Being OK with the fact that working on the project was going to have downstream impacts on the rest of our home until it is done.
  • Chatting with my hubby about potential options and creating a plan.  This girl loves to plan.
  • Clearing out the space to see what we really have to work with.
  • Grabbing a bucket of paint.

The second bullet is a big one.  And even though I psyched myself up and told myself that once we emptied the utility room, that stuff would have to go somewhere and I would have to give up my family room and studio for a few days, once it finally happened, that overwhelming feeling came back a second time.

That is right, we blank slated the utility room.  We removed every last item, jotting down each item we were taking out and sorting it immediately into a keep, trash or donate pile.  That was a VERY important step in the process.  I didn't want to have to touch things more than necessary.  Once the utility room was empty and clean, my studio and family room was another story:


Told you this process was going to be messy!  I told myself too.  In fact, it still looks like that this very moment that I am typing this.  I can't say I didn't have moments in which I couldn't breath.  I can't say that I didn't find one of my extra pillow forms and scream curse words into it.  I can't say that I was singing happy tunes and feeling like an organizing fairy princess.  This process has brought out quite a few emotions.  

But grab a paint bucket I did, and the smile eventually came back.

So what did I paint?

The concrete floors.  I have a dry phobia {think ceramic pots, chalk dust and peaches}, and the utility room had one of those dry, dusty concrete floors.  I thought that maybe giving them a fresh coat of paint, would take away that sterile gray look, and slick them up a bit for easier cleaning.


I edged out the entire room with Porch and Floor Enamel, I selected a pretty tealy blue called Great Falls by Sherwin Williams.


Once I was done edging, I used a smooth roller on the remaining areas.


The paint covered really well after the first coat, after letting it cure and dry, I did a second coat of touch-ups.

We knew we wanted to bring majority of our tools into this space.  We have a workbench in the garage, but I couldn't even tell you the last time we used it.  We do majority of our projects inside, with the exception of using the table saw.  So for us, it doesn't make sense to store all of our tools outside.  Doing so, only causes us to stash some in the utility room and others in random piles around the garage.   So I started scouring Goodwill and checking Craigslist for an old, cheap dresser that would fit in our small space.  I came up with nothing.  If you have an icky old dresser, I suggest you sell it now while the time is right.  Are people seriously getting $60 for chipped, 18 year old dressers?  According to Craig and his list, the answer is yes.  Craaaazy!

So what do you do when you can't find a dresser at thrift stores?  You start calling your family.  And our family delivered!  We got this beauty for F R E E!


And it got painted.  And you bet I used one of the bajillion colors I already had on hand.


The pulls were given a coat of Liquid Gold Leaf.



Last but not least, I found an old stool in the boy's bedroom, which they were no longer using to hang their clothes {because now they can reach - sad mama face}.  That got a fresh coat of happy yellow spray paint. 

The last step we have taken thus far, is adding in boatloads of extra shelving.  The key component to this process was ensuring we are using every possible inch of space.  It is also important that our items are simple to access and can slide out, vs. being stacked and hard to get at.  Stacking items essentially creates an extra step when going to retrieve and put things back, so I wanted to avoid that as much as possible.

We ended up selecting two sets of shelving from IKEA; the IVAR and the GORM.  We didn't take this process lightly.  We thought about utilizing the plastic shelving we already had, however, we were losing a lot of space by doing so.  And the shelves really weren't all that sturdy.  We could build something custom, but we figured when time and cost was considered, the IVAR would get us ahead of the game.  By piecing it together, we could get deep {20"}, adjustable {a.k.a. versatile} shelves, that covered every square between the water heater and furnace.  Even the corner, which was huge for us and gaining oodles of extra storage.  The GORM was less expensive and more narrow, so we were going to line the wall behind the door with those.

Hours of shelving assembly and paint drying later, we are now left with this wonderfully blank slate of a utility room!


{That white thing is a discounted lighting fixture we snagged, coated with white spray paint and waiting to be installed}.

Oh how I wish the beautiful floors showed as well in photos as they are in person.  They were such a game changer for the space!

And look at all of that storage we now have!  Say hello to my new paint holders!

Everything is currently empty, including the newly painted dresser.  I can't wait to fill it up with our tools and DIY supplies!


We added some extra pegboard we had from a few extra projects, behind the dresser to keep our commonly used tools more accessible {and easier to put back}.


And yes, gold hardware in a utility room....  I think it adds a splendid touch.

Here is another view so you can get an idea of the size of the room, and how we were able to find shelving that magically fit our needs.


And let's take a minute to appreciate the pop of yellow in the deep dark dungeon of a space.  It is the little things my friends.  And no more excuses for not putting things back on the upper shelves. 


So although I wasn't able to get finished walls and an off-the-hook workbench, I think we found a happy compromise for now!



Of course, the true before and after photos will be when we load all of our junk belongings back inside.  Speaking of which, I am off to sort through it all now.  It may be days before I come up for air... and if you don't hear from me for awhile, send in a search and rescue team.  But these changes we have already made, really did get my heart racing in a happy way, to keep on fighting the good fight!

Until then....




119 comments:

  1. Jen, you are an inspiration. I can't tell you how helpful your blog has been to me in my organization home quest. Thank you and keep the great ideas coming. PS. I love that you admit you have some not perfectly organized spaces, we all do and it makes me feel so much better to know I am not alone.

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  2. Wow! You are right about the blue painted floor being a game changer! It took the space from blah to pretty! I can't wait to see how it looks with all of your stuff back in there!

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  3. I am literally drooling over here. How you turned that space into THAT SPACE is beyond me! Clapping for you, friend. :)

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  4. OMG, girl! I agree with the others the blue floor=beauty! And you're a true inspiration. I just love your blog and the way your write out in true real life honesty! Just know that your tears bring smiles to us knowing that we are not alone in the clutter. Even when you are a pro at organizing sometimes it is overwhelming. But when you start throwing in blue floors, painted furniture with gold accents and IKEA..well that just gets my blood racing to all my "let's do this" parts! Love it and I can't wait to see it all finished!

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  5. Yay! Makes me wanna go paint our floors in our storage area!!

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  6. Hi Jen! This looks great and I cannot wait to see when it's complete. Question for ya - did you prime and/or sand the dresser at all? Or did you go right into painting? I have a dresser and a sewing table that I want to paint and need some advice! Any suggestions?

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    1. I did give it a quick coat of primer. I followed the same steps as when I did my blue dresser awhile back: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2012/07/our-dreamy-studio-dresser-is-done.html

      xo!
      Jen

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  7. I love reading your blog! You have so many good ideas and I love that you shared your before pics! Makes me feel better! I get overwhelmed too and do exactly what you do...step away and veg for a bit! Can't wai tot see the real after pics!

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  8. It's looking great Jen! I love the painted floor! I totally understand what you mean about dealing with the "downstream impacts" of working on a project like this. That's sometimes the hardest part of organizing - the mess gets worse before it gets better! Love how it's coming together - if it makes you feel any better, I have an unspeakable storage space too. Outré inspiring me!

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  9. I can so relate to you describing how overwhelmed you got and how you just had to go watch TV for awhile. I am the same way! Glad to know I'm not alone. Great before and afters! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Jen, I wanted those shelves for our itty bitty storage area. Hubby didn't think they would be strong/sturdy enough. My garage is on my list and we need to get to it REAL soon... before the snow flies. I then want to tackle our mechanical room and storage area. Plus, what do you do with 5+ huge totes of American Girl dolls/clothes/furniture/accessories?? My girl has packed up all of her stuff back in the original packaging. (picture me crying... I so miss that phase. But she will be 16 in the spring. :( ) Plus side.. I have a new 2 panel solid core door on my laundry room!! :) Purty!!!

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  11. Oh, I just love the before pics you posted...so relatable! The shelving you found fits the space perfectly. I love the little dresser you found...can't wait to see how you organize it with the tools. Also, I remember you had the clear paint containers to store your touch-up paints....are those going to be "on display" in this space somewhere?

    You probably have already thought through the areas and have valid reasons for categories, but I had a couple suggestions: I would suggest putting the shipping supplies, blog projects, etc. in the storage room (closer to your office). I would probably store the Christmas stuff in the garage (since it's only used once a year), and sleeping bags and suitcases under the stairs or even the garage(easier access for the kids and away from the water heater in case of a leak).

    Good luck on all big organization task ahead!
    You're great at this, and I think you'll be motivated to clear the area so I don't think those piles of stuff will remain in the family room for long, lol!

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    1. Thank you so much for the tips! I probably should have made a little floor plan of the lower level so it's a little easier to understand. The door for our under stairs storage is actually to the left of my built in studio desk (http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-little-desk-refresh.html) and to the right of our built in studio cabinets (http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2013/05/studio-progress-major-cabinet-upgrades.html), so it is essentially an extension of my workspace. Or will be hopefully. :) When deciding between garage and utility room storage, I not only considered location and how the spaces are used, but also how frequently we access the items in each space. For me, all holiday decor stays together, and is accessed periodically throughout the year. I avoid our garage during cold months so I had to consider that also. Some items in the utility room will be in airtight and water proof storage as well.

      xoxoxo!

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    2. Ahhh, makes better sense now. I don't remember you showing the mysterious storage space next to your studio, so I didn't know what you used it for (I was thinking "under stair storage" was in a different area)

      And living in Wisconsin, I understand weather would definitely be taken into consideration for storage. I live in S. Cali where we only have 2 seasons...warm & warmer ;-)

      And as much as my hubby has a love/hate of me following your blog (likes the ideas, but hates that "I" want to incorporate ideas in our house and he is often recruited to help, lol) - he is excited about this series!

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  12. Jennifer J (from Canada)September 16, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Jennifer - I had to go check my basement (I secretly hoped you were down there) because your before pictures look EXACTLY like my utility/laundry room - right down to the extra door! Thank you for sharing your dark secret - It makes me feel like there is hope and less overwhelmed by the whole thing. Honestly your whole site is an inspiration. Thank you for doing what you do. Love the god hardware by the way! Way to glitz it up.

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  13. This is SO awesome! Can't wait for the after pictures. Just a suggestion - you mentioned finishing the walls, was thinking a cost effective way may be to get some cheap curtain panels from ikea & tension rods might do the trick in hiding what you dont want to see behind the shelves.

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    1. Thank you! That is totally being considered :) As are drop cloths and paneling. Only time, sanity and budget will tell...


      xoxo!

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    2. Or just staple up some drop cloths!

      Looks great!

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    3. Or burlap. That is not that expencive and would look lovely with the floor and the shelves. And just staple it up. Would give it a rustic feel. But I quess you already have a plan...

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  14. Jen, thank you so much for sharing your before pictures. I can totally relate to that overwhelmed feeling. And, I too, have teared up just looking at a project. I can't wait to see what you do with this space. The blue floors alone are amazing!

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  15. When did you sneak into my house to take those before pictures? In all seriousness, painting the floors was a brilliant idea. My husband is going to be so disgusted with me when I say I want to do that because our living space could use some tlc first, but those floors are so pretty I want to do it now. As for getting overwhelmed, I can totally relate. My dvr and computer get a lot of attention as a result. Thanks so much for sharing (you'll always be an organizing fairy princess in my book!) :)

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    1. Haha, thanks Emily! And good luck with those floors (and the hubs) ;)

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  16. Jen, I am oddly so glad that you have spaces in your gorgeous home that look like that :) I can hardly wait to see this space come to life!

    Xo Kylie

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  17. I am inspired to clean out my basement and garage. I would never have thought about painting the floor. What a HUGE difference it made. I can't wait to see the rest of the progress.

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  18. Jen, I have always loved the Gorm from Ikea, but was curious about the corner pieces. I didn't see that on the website. Did you and the hubby make that piece yourself?

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    1. We actually used the GORM behind the door along the back wall. The corner unit was part if the IVAR system: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/93763609/ :)

      xo!

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  19. This is amazing! I love how you are utilizing atypical storage pieces for a utility room and bringing in color! It's also nice to know your before looks like mine and that it is possible to improve! I can't wait to see more!

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  20. Wow! I am currently in the 14 week Home Organizing Project by Bowl Full of Lemons FB group. This week is the garage. I have a 1 car garage, a small utility area that houses the furnace,sump, hot water heater and features an under the stair storage and utility sink, a workshop (my dh's territory) and crawl space and a little backyard shed. I never considered looking at all those areas in respect to storage and utility. What a game changer! I totally need to paint the floor in the utility/workshop area and build or find some steps to the crawl space.

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  21. Ok, this is absolutely amazing! I love how you managed to turn a complete mess (hey, we all have them somewhere in our house!) into something so aesthetically pleasing! Love the bold colors! Would you consider using a screen to cover the water heater though?

    Awesome job, very inspirational! *thumbs up*

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    1. I had a few ideas for that as well, however, we need to access that area frequently {our sump pump is there and always running} and there is actually more storage in a small nook behind there, so I am not sure moving a screen will help us in our quest to keep the space tidy, may just get in the way. :) I am still thinking on it though!

      xo!

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  22. JEN! I am SO impressed! Please tell me that you DID achieve this in eight hours! You've toppled the mountain...only thing left is to build...atop a gorgeous template! Bravo! I'm inspired to take on my garage. :ugh: Eid i just type that?

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    1. Yep! Eight hours broken down into chunks of time {a few hours to clear out, time to paint, time to shop, time to assemble shelves, etc...} :)

      xo!

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  23. Dear Just keep calm and Carry on.....you can do this organization fairy princess! All the best and keep me inspiring!

    Just after reading your post on Friday, I also got excited and started cleaning my Garage as well;)) and Hubby dear was totally confused!!

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  24. Dear Jen - Wow, I am SUPER grateful for your blog, particularly the last two posts! Not only are you a wonderfully talented and creative person, but you are REAL and show us the REAL process. I love checking in to see what going on, and I absolutely HEART your ability to share your steps! I'm sure these spaces will soon be just as divine as the rest of your home - thanks for taking us on the ride!
    A Beantown follower,
    Marlathemom.blogspot.com

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  25. OMG this is a huge organizing project! And you're tackling it like an organizing champ. "I had to get out. So I ran back upstairs, sunk on the couch and turned on some Netflix." That should be tip for when you get overwhelmed with a project, it's certainly something I do that makes me feel better lol.

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  26. When cleaning and reorganizing I always have to remind myself that it always gets worse before it gets better. Once you get over the hump, it's sunshine and rainbows.

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    1. Absolutely! It is funny that I spout it daily and know it by heart, but sometimes it is quickly forgotten when tackling a whole space. :D

      xoxo!

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  27. Love the pics, I even have the same looking tray table in my storage area, hahaha. I need to work on my garage and now I'm wondering if I should paint the concrete floor, hmmmmmnnn.

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    1. The garage floor may require more work as there may be grease stains from cars etc so the process becomes more involved with cleaning and etching and repairing any cracks first. I looked into it and what ultimately changed my mind was that paint would wear off over time from the tires etc and I don't have time to paint the floors every year. So I decided to repair the cracks and seal it. I have a pic on my blog of me repairing the cracks but I had to wait until Wednesday to seal it. I'll probably blog about it too.

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    2. I agree! We have been considering this as well, but it does require special types of paint and lots of prep first. :)

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  28. I love this post!! We all have areas like this in our home (mine has been my basement storage room and extra bedroom/dumping ground), and while I've tackled one room, I still need to work on the other. It's totally about getting in the right mindset, and if you have to take a Netflix break to get there, so be it! As many have commented, I love the painted floor. It makes such a difference in just how the room "feels"! And that refurbished dresser for tool storage- Brilliant!!! :)

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  29. I think we all have a storage room that's gotten out of control. I try not to go in mine unless I really have to. One of these days I'll tackle it.

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  30. I was so going to suggest some stenciled drop cloth panels for your walls until you could get finished walls down the road then I saw where you were already considering it! Love love love that idea! We have this awkward little room off the garage (I believe it was the laundry room before it was moved into the house) that I want to turn into a tool storage area but unlike you, I am not a DIY blogger and tend to fall into the "pin and never do" category so I am trying to find a solution for our space that can make use of the garage and the little room without it seeming like we have a whole room dedicated to crap we never use. I have the typical garage with kids...toys, bikes, scooters...but the room is up stairs so it's kinda out for their storage. We have a room in the basement that seasonal stuff goes in, so I am thinking of using it for all of our house things...vacuum, tools, extra cleaning supplies, paint and having a designated space on the shelf for seasonal items that come up during that time of year (ex. Pool/beach items; snow bibs, pumpkin carvers) that can be rotated after the season instead of housed there.

    Can I ask how much the unit you bought with the corner shelf was for all the pieces? I am thinking that might be the perfect solution for two walls then I could do a piece of plywood, makeshift work table on the other wall in the corner on some old ikea table legs

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    1. You can snag all of the options, prices and dimensions for the pieces here: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/11705/. It is not the cheapest solution, but I love that we could customize it to fit our needs. We went with the deeper size, so in total it was about $270 {5 short shelves, 5 long shelves, 4 corner shelves, 1 corner post and 4 side units, all 20" deep, 70" tall}.

      xo!

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  31. Not that I wish bad things on you, but I am *so* glad you are real and this happens to the best of us (that's you!), makes me feel better about my own storage issues, and love you even more!

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    1. Haha, thanks Kate, I think I understand ;)

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  32. That floor paint is amazing! I didn't even know that existed. And the color you chose for the floor is beautiful.

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  33. Loving this especially that beautiful floor color!

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  34. Hi..this really inspire me to settle down the messy look at my storage room

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  35. This project makes me unbelievably excited. It's safe to say I can't wait until you start stacking these shelves up!!

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  36. This is amazing! I love that you still use fabulous bright colours in a storage room. It makes it a much happier space. Right, I'm off to tackle my utility cupboard (sadly our house can't quite fit a whole utility room)... Feeling so inspired right now!

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  37. Looking forward to your stacking ideas.. I have a shed that needs to be re-stacked and resorted I'm daunted by that let alone what you have done.

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  38. I am so thrilled with your before pictures purely because it gives me hope that my home will one day be as organised (and pretty) as your home.... YAY for storage!!! can't wait to see the end product!!!

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  39. I have never commented ever since I started following this blog last year but I have to say this post spoke to me! =) I just moved and I put 80% of the stuff away and I have the 20% of the stuff just sitting in my living room waiting to be sorted out given away sold and etc... but I JUST CANT GET MYSELF TO DO IT! =( but seeing that even YOU the organizer goddess has to go through this mess in your own home is somehow giving me a glimpse of hope. seriously, that's some mess. 8 full hours of dealing with it?? give you props girl! =)

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    1. You CAN do it! Just breath and take it one day at a time. :)

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  40. i wish we had a space that i was able to do this with! i hate spending money on stuff that might not fit into another house! i wish all military housing looked the same so this could happen! but honestly this post makes me happy, and gives me hope that i'm not the only one with a horrid stash and dash closet!

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  41. This may be one of my favorite posts/series you've done in a long time. I have an attic that looks just like your before picture. Starting in November we are having the attic finished to become my office/craft room. I've had the deadline for clearing it out for work to begin for months now,thinking "Maybe next weekend I'll start going through all of that junk". Well you've inspired me and I'm starting TODAY!!! Please post every tiny detail of your "Operation junk room" project!

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    1. Wahoooo! Good luck Melissa! So excited for you! Sounds like your attic is going to be amazing!

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  42. Wow! This is an amazing transformation--thank you for sharing! You should be very proud of this progress, and can't wait to see the final product.

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  43. I think the most exciting thing about this post is that yes, Jen, too, has a "Monica Closet!!!!!" (sorry if you don't know the Friends reference!) My messy utility room has hope!!!! :)

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  44. You have me soooo inspired to go yank everything out of our basement and start fresh! Thank you!!!

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  45. Well hello there Mon, I mean, Jen :) I can't wait to see the transformation! You add such a beautiful touch to all your projects.

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  46. Wow, this is so motivating! And very timely! We are converting our third bedroom into a nursery at the moment and have all the "storage junk" that used to be in the closet piled in our bedroom while we try to figure out where to put it. Now I have ideas! Thanks! Your storage room looks great! Love the floors!

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  47. I've never thought of painting the concrete floors before! Great idea :)

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  48. I love your blog and LOVE this project - I too have three "catch all" areas and am totally inspired to tackle them now! Can I ask why you decided to not finish the walls? Our laundry/utility room has unfinished walls and I would love to do it, but it seems like a daunting task with all the cords, utilities, etc. Maybe tension rods and curtains are in my future like another commenter recommended...

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    1. Great great question - I probably should have addressed this within the post.

      Before walking into the room, I was sure we could finish the walls, but after looking at it, there are so many areas that really shouldn't be covered up/finished, so that we can easily access things in the future. Also, a lot of the pipes and wires extend out past our studs, so it would turn into a pretty big project installing walls around all of the different components and utilities. Lastly, the end goal for us isn't necessarily to make it super finished and beautiful {up until now, the only money spent on making it pretty is the quart of floor paint and a discounted light fixture}. We are saving pennies for our kitchen update, so at the end of the day, we decided that the walls could stay as is, and we need to focus on budget on making it streamlined and organized. Although not ideal, it just makes sense for us, for now. :)

      xoxoxo!

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  49. I love the pop of color with the blue floors and yellow stool. Looks great. :-) You are very lucky that you never had a fire issue in the utility room!! Our friend's basement started on fire because they were storing things next to their furnace and water heater... be careful!

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    1. Oh no for your friend! That is awful to hear. And I agree, once I started pulling things out, I realized that the room not only needs to be kept better for sanity, but for safety as well.

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  50. Very impressive start, keep up the good work! The yellow stool is perfect, pretty and functional is my favorite kind of thing :)

    Sokru
    sokerimursu.blogspot.fi

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  51. Thanks for sharing your before pictures, it helps me to realize that there is hope for my basement, too!! Can't wait to see your under the stairs storage, that's a problem area for me as well. Thank you so much for your inspiration!!

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  52. Jen, this may be my favorite blog set of posting from you ever because it's so real. We can try and keep our regular areas organized and nice looking all we want but it's true, we all have that storage area that gets stacked up full of stuff. Thanks for showing all that stuff in one small area looking like most of our "real" houses!! Can't wait to see how it is going to look. I really want to tackle my basement storage area now! Love it!

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  53. This is awesome and something I'll be doing soon! Didn't even think about painting the floor, what a GREAT way to add life to an otherwise potentially dingy room. The shelves really utilize the space. I have a feeling you won't be putting even 1/2 of the stuff you pulled out back in, and you'll be heading to Goodwill to drop off instead of pick up! :)! Can't wait to see the finished project!!

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    1. Thanks Sharon! And yep! One great trip to Goodwill already and it felt amazing!

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  54. This kind of nitty gritty storage organisation is my favourite! I love it already and can't wait to see everything else you do.

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  55. YAY for progress! THANK YOU so much for breaking this down. I think the part of this post that helped me the most is that you made a list of what items were going to go in which spaces. I mean, it's simple enough, but I never really gave it that much thought before.

    And I am amazed at how perfectly that the shelving fit in your space. I am actually kind of glad that you are not finishing the walls (since I know that we can't do that in our space due to current financial reasons). It's nice to see that a space with unfinished walls can also look uncluttered, organized, and dare I say, a little glamorous (love the gold!).

    This post and series is such a great inspiration to me!

    PS - I am interested in what show you were watching as you contemplated the space some more :)

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    1. Thanks so much Nicole! And a friend of mine got me hooked on the TV Series "Scandal". I can only watch it when the kids are not around, so it took awhile to get through all of the past episodes, but I finally did and now I can't wait for the new season to start up!

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    2. I have never watched that show. Fall TV is ramping up so you shouldn't have to wait long!

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  56. Seriously, I knew I loved you before, but after this series, I just adore the bejeezus out of you!! Thank you for sharing your "human" side -- it takes a lot of courage to tackle trouble areas head-on in public!!! Also, I totally thought I was the only one who hated the feeling of chalk & concrete floors. You are right on point with the the dry phobia term, lol! This room is amazing & I can't wait to see how you organize everything! Our spare room upstairs is kind of our "garage" & we really need to make it more functional (it looks like a hoarder room right now -- not cool). Bring on the inspo!!

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    1. Thanks so much Casey! I adore the bejeezus out of you too! :D

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  57. Love the before pics....shows that there is a really, real person (family) behind the blog! :) Our last house's basement was a storage dream...hanging 10 x 2.5 feet shelves (3 levels!!!!)lined the whole 30 foot back wall....ah...good times. Now, not so much, but I have tried to keep the chaos at a minimum. It IS hard to do and love to see your solutions! Rose

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  58. You just made me feel sooooo much better. I also have 3 "Monica Closet" spaces that terrify me. Seeing that you have them and seeing you attack them is inspiring me. I will have one done by the end of the week. Now that it's in writing, it's gotta get done. Can't wait to see you final photos!

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  59. Oh my goodness! We totally need to do the same thing with our storage/furnace/laundry room! I hate going in there right now....drives me crazy!

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  60. Honestly Jen,
    I was a little worried for you at the beginning of this segment....which I guess started the other day with your "confessions" post. But OMG girl, that's an amazing tranformation! Really, truly amazing! I totally understand about the Netflix thing too, though I probably would have done every stitch of laundry and dishes and other tidying up as I avoided the dreaded closet...much like I did back in college when I had a big paper I didn't want to write! lol!

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    1. I do that sometimes also! Just clean everything else and hope it makes the other spaces magically go away, lol. And no worries sweet Sara, I got this! :)

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  61. LOVE what you have done with this space! It gives me hope that I can tackle our storage rooms too. Thank you for sharing this!

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  62. Thank you for your honesty, Jen! My basement, garage and attic all look like your utility room in the before pictures. I totally understand that overwhelmed feeling you had! I can't wait to see how this turns out! It looks great already!

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  63. We fitted out a wall in our schoolroom with Ivar shelves to hold projects and Scout/ hiking gear. I love, love, love them! They are sturdy yet open enough that they don't overpower the room. Now I'm just working on filling them efficiently and not with junk.

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  64. I get "garage envy" when I drive by people's homes that have super tidy, organized garages. Now I have "utility room envy" too. Thanks [note sarcasm]. Kidding. Thanks for the inspiration :).

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  65. Love how much more functional that space has become!! It looks great! I JUST did our garage last week and every time I walk in there now I just have to smile!! It makes me SO happy! :)

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  66. Jen,thank you sooo much for being so open and real. Whew, I feel so much more "normal" now! Thought I was the only one with a "Monica Closet" which happens to actually be a basement and attic so I guess that makes me more of a candidate for a "Hoarders" episode. But, alas, I will continue to follow your journey and be inspired to take action. Now, if you only had suggestions to inspire my very anti-organized family...

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  67. WOW! For a seemingly boring space, your really made it a happy one!!! Can't wait to see it once it's filled with your treasures!

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  68. thank you for sharing your monica closet. nice to know every house has one!!

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  69. I really appreciate hearing how you plan to organize a room. And now I know how to paint cement floors. I would love to hear more about how you balance life with home projects or how you Dr with letting other things slide.

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  70. Oh my gosh...thank you for being so honest and open and authentic about this process. I moved back in with my parents earlier this summer and then I got sick with mono, so my bedroom, our upstairs guest room, and my home office look like your utility room did. Thank you for being so authentic...it gives me inspiration and encouragement to face the mounting piles I have to deal with. I think too many people in the blogging world don't own up to the disorganized areas of our homes, and I feel like I can't share it because people with judge. I will start sharing now...we need more openness about our "stuff". Bless you!

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  71. Ok must know what app did you use to add the text and arrows to the photo of your utility room BEFORE???
    Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi Carrie!

      I used Photoshop for that image. :)

      xo!

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  72. OK, I had respect for you before but I have a LOT of respect for you now. Thanks so much for keeping it real and showing us your 'Monica closet'. That's life. If it can happen to the fairy organizing princess, then maybe it's OK when it happens to the rest of us.
    Thanks for being so honest and inspiring all at the same time. Love the blue floor! -Annie

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  73. Hi Jen. This is such a timely, and inspiring article for me! For days I've been meaning to start decluttering/organizing our garage and storage cupboard. I laughed when I read how you initially got overwhelmed and would go and watch TV because that is exactly what I am doing now (TV is on, while reading your website on my ipad!). You have inspired me to start! Thank you and I look forward to watching you progress!
    Lara

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  74. I LOVE this post. So real, and everyone can relate for sure! I am jealous because we aren't in a home I can paint right now (overseas/renting), but maybe I need to start painting furniture! I love how you do so many little things that make sure a BIG difference! xo Morgan

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  75. Thank you so much for this! I love reading your blog, and your min-series of storage spaces is so well timed! We are buying our first house right now, and with closing right around the corner I am anxious about getting moved in and settled. Thanks to your inspiration I already have a plan of where our things will go so that I'm not just shoving stuff away to deal with in a year or two. And with your cute storage space I may be able to convince my husband to let me paint the basement floor :). Thanks again!

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  76. Wow! I am joining you with this project this week (ok over the next few weeks for me)... I hadnt really thought about how haphazard my storage spaces were... say we had guest over and I need to make up our single trundle bed.. i would have to grab the duvet insert from our master wardrobe, a duvet cover from the linen closet, sheets from the storage bookcase in the hall and pillows from the spare bedroom.... hmmmm! Thanks Jen :)

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  77. Thank you for sharing this process. As you, I "know" how to organize a space but the "doing" is so overwhelming and emotional. I love the floor paint - great idea! It really finishes the room! I am definitely going to adopt several of your tips for our furnace room when I tackle it - though I'm terrified to "blank slate" it. Can't wait to see the finished!

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  78. Number one, I think this is so super inspiring for all of us that don't have magazine-worthy homes but wish we did to know that you are real people with real storage rooms like us. Second, I love "Scandal" too! (Saw your comment on someone else's post). Third, if you are planning on selling some of your items that I have seen in these posts, can you list them on your blog site?? LOL! I don't live anywhere near you but man would I love to come to your garage sales!! Ah, so jealous! Keep up the good work! Can't wait to see the finished product!

    ~Kelly

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  79. I love what you did with your storage room! I've been wanting to use those same shelves in my basement where we just have stacked bins. You're right; they are so hard to access!

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  80. Oh this gives me hope for my "storage room" downstairs that has somehow become a dumping spot for anything and everything. Although some of it needs to stay where it is, a lot could be donated. I'm saving this post so I can look back when I feel that tear forming!!!

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  81. I love the progress, but more importantly, I love the process! I can totally relate to getting overwhelmed and psyching my self out before I even start :) Keep up the good work. I cant wait to see it.

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  82. I love this post Jen and that you are sharing it with us!!!
    I love it because most of us have areas of our home like this and seeing you tackle it, is SOOOO inspiring!!!
    It can be discouraging if you think other people are so together they don't have any areas like this that are a disaster and overwhelming....
    I also LOVE that you refuse to let it stay ugly, - also SO inspiring because there are some spots that just seem impossible to make pretty, but I knew if anyone could, you would!!!
    I can not WAIT to see the final results!!!! YAY!!
    And btw, - your post on the hot pink desk tray, - one of my FIRSt thoughts was 'where did she get that GORGEOUS notebook!!! I'm a total notebook snob too! Love the desk idea and want to try something like it!!
    As always thanks for the inspiration!!!
    Rebecca
    thepresentmom.blogpost.com

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  83. I will be moving out of my parent's house into my own home with my fiance soon and I plan on watching your blog like a hawk. I want to prevent my house from as much clutter as possible and I think your blog would be some definite help!

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  84. love loVE LOVE!!! Do you happen to remember what color it is that you used for the dresser??

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    1. Absolutely! It is Behr's Ice Folly. :). xo!

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  85. I think it's great you are focusing on projects like this! Watch it become even more popular than your "prettier" projects.

    I have been eyeing those Ikea shelves for awhile for my attic. Seeing them in your place makes me want them all the more!

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  86. It's been over a week, I think its safe to assume WE ALL WANT A REVEAL!!! :D So, no pressure! Lol

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    1. Thanks Samantha! I do also, haha!

      I ended up traveling for four days last week so that put a small delay in the process, and unfortunately, the scope of this project is pretty huge for us, so it may be awhile, but I will try and share as many updates as I can along the way!

      Thanks for your excitement! xo!

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  87. Where did you get your little mason jars from?

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  88. I really appreciate that you posted a before picture. It makes me feel like you aren't ALL super human. :) Thank you for showing you're not perfect ... it's part of the reason I really love to read your blog.

    I, too, have a "dry touch" issue ... velvet is included in my peach, chalk, ceramics list. :)

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  89. I'm a little late to the party, but WOW do I love this makeover! We're closing on our new house next week, and it has a big unfinished laundry / utility room (which is also where we'll have to store all of our tools since we don't have a garage). Thanks for the inspiration. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the painted floor. Sarah

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  90. I've enjoyed your blog for some time now ... truly inspiring! :)
    And now finally getting around to conquering my boiler room/storage space I wanted to ask what your walls are lined with? Great solution!

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  91. Thanks for your honest, realistic post. So many times when I read an article, it seems like they just wave a magic wand and it was done. I certainly can relate to your before pictures. Wondering what % of stuff you got rid of. I bet that left you with empty spaces on your shelves. How divine. Thanks for sharing!

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