DIY Storage Closet Organization for Under $150

American financial journalist and author Jean Chatzky said,

Every minute you spend looking through clutter, wondering where you put this or that, being unable to focus because you’re not organized costs you: time you could have spent with family or friends, time you could have been productive around the house, time you could have been making money.

She's absolutely right. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind is a cluttered life.

We've been extremely busy here at the office lately. (Noted especially by the fact that this is my first blog post since December 28th.) When work (or life) gets busy, it's vital to have an organized environment to keep things running smoothly. In an effort to continue to organize the office more efficiently, last week, I tackled the storage closet.

The storage closet in its pre-organization state.

The storage closet in its pre-organization state.

Now, the storage closet wasn't in awful condition. Everything was mostly grouped by item type, and nothing was overflowing out of the closet. But it was in a state where we didn't know what we had and didn't have because office supplies weren't easy to find. For example, a couple months ago, I ordered envelope openers because we thought we didn't have any. Not including the extras that I ordered (because apparently they came in a two-pack and I can't read so I ordered two two-packs), we had two envelope openers already. But I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't gone through the entire left-hand side of the shelf they were on.

The main culprit: the daily-use office supplies.

The main culprit: the daily-use office supplies.

STEP 1: EMPTY THE SPACE

In order to really see what we had in that closet (a 96" tall, 67" wide space), I first pulled out everything from the closet.

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I tried to pile everything in one area, but our poor little conference room got overwhelmed, and multiple piles in multiple spaces started to spawn. Here's a bit of a look at what was in the closet:

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STEP 2: VISIT THE STORAGE GODS

I spent some time on the Container Store website, browsing all the goodies they had to offer. After taking some measurements of the closet space and coming up with a fairly solid plan of how I wanted to go about organizing the closet, I hopped in the car and drove the only Oregon Container Store at Bridgeport Village (where I was helped by the mom of one of my good friends from high school - small world, much?).

(Okay, so this actually happened before anything else, but since we're going in order of taking things out of and putting things back into the closet, so we'll keep it as step two.)

(Okay, so this actually happened before anything else, but since we're going in order of taking things out of and putting things back into the closet, so we'll keep it as step two.)

Yes, I bought a shoe shelf - it was the only long shelf and I wanted something that would cover at least half the shelf space. I know I could have just bought two of the smaller ones that are marketing specifically for the office, but it was the same price for one of these as it was for two of those, and it was one less thing I had to try and wrestle out to my car and back into the office.

Yes, I bought a shoe shelf - it was the only long shelf and I wanted something that would cover at least half the shelf space. I know I could have just bought two of the smaller ones that are marketing specifically for the office, but it was the same price for one of these as it was for two of those, and it was one less thing I had to try and wrestle out to my car and back into the office.

. . . six Mini Stackable Storage Bins, two Silver Mesh CD Bins, and two Small Silver Mesh Stackable Storage Bins. Plus, I already six filing shelves, a three-drawer storage container, and a small assortment of various medium and large plastic storage bins that had been sitting in the closet just begging to be used.

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STEP 3: START GROUPING

After taking off all of the packing and tags from my Container Store goodies and setting them up, I began going through my large piles of stuff that had come out of the closet, sorting it into general categories: electronics & tech, paper goods, office supplies, and marketing.

I then started putting all of the electronics and tech away. Because we don't often get into this closet for the tech stuff, it all got stored in places that were not front-and-center real estate: the bottom corner of the closet, the corner of the shelf right above, and the very top right-hand shelf (which you can't see in any of these pictures because it sits above the exterior trim opening of the closet doors and I have to maneuver my body in complicated ways while standing on a ladder to even reach it to put stuff on it).

The paper goods are what we go into the closet for most - things like folders, labels, actual paper, notebooks, and the like - so they scored the most prime real estate. Before organizing the closet, they had all been thrown together in a few different locations, but they weren't sorted by type or use, so I made sure to put all of the envelopes together, all of the folders together, all of the files together, the colored paper, the labels, etc.

The office supplies are generally small items, so in order to keep them from going everywhere, about half of the storage containers I purchased were for them, plus some of the storage containers I already had. This area was more a matter of keeping things sorted with like-items and putting them away in such a way that they wouldn't explode all over the closet again.

And finally, the marketing items (things like plastic stands for business cards and informational brochures) got put on the highest left-hand shelf, also not visible in these pictures, because we use it so rarely

Et voilà, the finished product:

Sooo much better. Looking at this makes my heart happy.

Sooo much better. Looking at this makes my heart happy.

All in all, including my trip to the Container Store, I spent just under $150 and about 4.5 hours on this project, and it made a significant impact on the space and the office in general. My boss loves it, and we now know exactly where everything is and don't have to waste time searching through the closet to find what we are looking for

What about you - What spaces have you organized recently? How did you go about the process? What were the results?

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Design Ideas to Steal from Tiny Homes

In a world where stuff is the hot commodity, space matters. And how space is used really matters. This is why I love the tiny home trend. Not only are these pint-sized houses absolutely adorable, but they are so smart. Here’s why:

WELL-THOUGHT OUT DESIGN & MULTI-FUNCTIONAL SPACES

Because tiny homes are so small, everything about them has to be carefully thought through and purposefully planned. No space can go wasted. The Tiny House has this great list of 30 questions to ask yourself when planning your tiny home. Walk-throughs of the space before it's a reality are common. Every home should be this well-thought out.

(image source)

(image source)

Stairs become both storage and art pieces:

Nooks and crannies become precious real estate and every bit of coveted real estate is used to its fullest (and space-maximizing) potential. I don't know about you, but I'm all for the minimization of wasted space.

LESS IS MORE

According to Living Big in a Tiny House, the average house size in America has almost doubled since the 1970s, while the average household has gone down in size. We have more space and less people to share it with so detaching from those we live with and love has become easier. But do we really need all that space? Not really, or at least, not all of it.

One of the biggest draws of tiny homes are how they force you to have less stuff because you don't have room for it - and tiny house owners say they don't miss having that stuff. How much of what you own sits in storage boxes waiting to be dusted off and appreciated? Can you even park in your garage? 19th century textile designer William Morris is quoted as saying, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." If only we really lived like this. Elle Decor recently released an article entitled 'Where You Hide Your Clutter Says A Lot About Your Personality.' Most of us aspire to not have clutter to hide. Wouldn't it be great if that were the case?

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
— William Morris

Because tiny homes are just that, tiny, there's only room for what you really need. They also cost less and require less maintenance, making them a great budget saving option. Or, because they are so small, you can go all out and get those higher-end finishes you have been drooling over because you don't need to fill up as much space, saving you money. Another great thing about tiny homes is how you can easily make smaller spaces look and feel bigger than they actually are, which goes back to the idea of well-thought out design. Just look at this kitchen:

Tiny homes also require less power to heat up or cool down because they have less space, cutting your power bills down. Living Big in a Tiny House lists many other ways less is more with a tiny house here.

COHESIVITY

Another perk of less space is how much easier it makes it to have a cohesive look and color scheme running throughout the house. For example, this Minnesotan tiny home that's outside matches the style of it's inside:

Tiny homes ooze cohesivity, something that many larger homes lack. Experts recommend having one color scheme that runs throughout your entire home. Not only does this make your home look significantly more put together, but it also makes it easier to shop for and rearrange furniture and decor throughout the home. Just ask Amy of Modern Chemistry at Home. Here are 105 more tiny homes to look at and admire their use of theme.

HOW YOU LIVE, NOT WHAT YOU HAVE

Perhaps the best part about tiny homes is the emphasis on how you live, rather that where you live and what you have. Because tiny homes are so well planned and offer a significant "less is more" strategy, it means you can finally take your mind off of your home and focus on those who live in it. There's an element of living in such close proximity with (an) other(s) that forces you to learn how to work well together. The fact that there's not a lot of space will push you to go outside more, something that is better for your health and overall well-being. 

 

Whether you plan to downsize to 400 square feet or not, these are principles that can be transferred to any home, no matter the size. For more information, check out these resources: Architecture & Design's 31 Tiny House Hacks to Maximize Your Space; Mother Nature Network's Big Perks of Living Small infographic; and, of course, the ever-loved Pinterest.


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Color Theory 101

THE BASICS

The phrase "color theory" may sound like something art students would care about and not much else, but I think any one who ever plans on even looking at paint colors should have an understanding of some basic color theory.

If you have a basic high school education, you probably know that there are six colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. (Science makes the distinction between blues, adding in indigo as a seventh color, but we're going to stick to Art's six colors for this conversation.)

There are cool colors - blue, green, and purple - and there are warm colors - red, orange, and yellow.

Red, yellow, and blue are called primary colors because they combine to make all the secondary colors - green, orange, and purple.

There are also tertiary colors: red-purple, red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, and blue-purple. This is when a secondary color has more of one primary color than the other.

(color wheel courtesy of  pixabay )

(color wheel courtesy of pixabay)

HUES V. TINTS V. SHADES V. TONES

Hue: a pure color

Tint: a hue with white added

Shade: a hue with black added

Tone: a hue with grey added

PAIRING AND COMBINING COLORS

There are many different ways colors can be paired and combined.

Complementary colors are the most basic combination of colors. Complementary colors sit directly across from each other on the color wheel. Basic examples of complementary colors include: red and green; blue and orange; yellow and purple.

Analogous colors are 3-4 colors who sit adjacent to one another on the color wheel. For example, blue-purple, purple, and red-purple. Analogous colors give off a harmonious feeling.

Split-Complementary might be a bit confusing, so follow me on this one: the main color and the two colors adjacent to the main color's complementary color. So say your main color is red. It's complementary color is green, so red's split-complementary colors would be yellow-green and blue-green. (Now might be a good time to scroll back up to the color wheel.)

Triadic colors are 3 colors that are equally spaced around the color wheel. This one can get confusing depending on the color wheel you look at because everyone spaces things a bit differently, but just as a basic reference, the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) are also a triadic pairing, as are the secondary colors.

THE NEXT STEP: COLOR PSYCHOLOGY

Now to the important stuff - colors express emotion. This might seem like a "duh" moment, but not everyone is aware that colors have as strong of an effect as the do. So the following sections will go into a bit of detail about what each color can symbolize and some of the physical effects they may have. (Keep in mind that this is specifically as these colors relate to Western Culture.)

activating, adventurous, anger, antagonistic, assertive, country, courageous, cultivated, danger, demanding, desire, dramatic, dynamic, earthy, elegant, energy, established, exciting, expanding, expensive, heat, hot, impulsive, love, magnetic, mature, motivating, overly-aggressive, passion, powerful, provocative, refined, rich, robust, spontaneous, stimulating, stirring, strength, sturdy, sumptuous, tasty, temperamental, violent, warlike, warm, warning

It is best to use red minimally, as it physically stimulates the heart, raises blood pressure and heart rates, and makes the viewer feel a sense of urgency almost lending to anxiety.

active, affordable, animated, childlike, communicative, confidence, courage, energizing, expansive, fire, food, friendly, frivolous, fruitful, fun, glowing, good-natured, gregarious, happy, harvest, hot, ignorance, jovial, juicy, loud, optimistic, persuasive, raucous, self-assured, sluggishness, sociable, spontaneous, success, sunset, tangy, vital, warmth, whimsical

Orange is friendly and inviting, and it depicts movement and energy. Viewing orange will stimulate the logic center of the brain, but too much of it can cause anxiety.

abundant, autumn, awareness, betrayal, bright, buttery, caution, cheering, comfort, cowardice, creativity, easy, energetic, enlightening, friendly, fun, happiness, hazard, hospitable, hot, illuminating, innovative, intellect, irresponsible, jewelry, joy, lively, luminous, mellow, multi-cultural, nourishing, optimism, original, perky, pleasing, radiating, soft, stimulating, sunbaked, sunshine, surprise, sweet, tasty, unstable, warm, wheat

Yellow gives the impression of happiness and cheerfulness. The purest yellow is seen as child-like, while darker shades are considered more antiquated. Like orange, yellow can stimulate the logic center of the brain, but again, beware of long-term exposure leading to anxiety.

acidic, artsy, balance, bold, calm, camouflage, citrusy, classic, cool, drab, earth, environment, envy, fertility, finance, forest, fresh, gaudy, grass, growth, guilt, harmony, healing, health, hushed, jealousy, jewel-like, life, lightweight, lively, luck, lush, luxurious, military, mold, money, natural, neutral, new, new beginnings, prosperity, pungent, quiet, reassurance, refreshing, rejuvenating, reliable, renewal, restful, safari, sharp, sickening, slimy, soothing, spring, startling, stately, tacky, tart, traditional, trendy, trustworthy, up-scale, youthful

Green is representational of balance and harmony, stability and affluence. In fact, it even stimulate harmony in the brain, between the body and the emotions, which can aid in making decisions quickly and strongly.

aids concentration, aloof, aquatic, authoritative, basic, brisk, calming, clarify thoughts, classic, clean, coldness, compassionate, confident, conservative, constant, contentment, convivial, cool, cordial, creativity, credible, dependable, depression, distant, dreamy, electric, energy, envy, exhilarating, expansive, faithful, fear, femininity, flags, gemstone, genial, healing, heavenly, high spirits, impressive, infinity, integrity, introspective, lightweight, lively, loyalty, masculinity, melancholy, oceans, open, patient, peaceful, protection, quiet, reassuring, refreshing, reliable, restful, sadness, security, serene, sky, soft, sophisticated, spiritual, sprightly, stirring, strong, tasteful, thought-provoking, traditional, tranquility, transcendent, tropical, true, trust, vibrant, water, young

Blue is the best of both worlds - it's calm and friendly but also social. It can curb appetite and stimulate productivity.

abundance, aloof, ambition, contemplative, creativity, curative, dignity, distant, dramatic, enchanting, expressive, fanciful, imagination, intensely exciting, introspective, intuitive, lightweight, luxury, meditative, moodiness, mysterious, nobility, nostalgic, peace of mind, prestigious, protective, rich, romantic, royalty, sensual, sentimental, soul-searching, spiritual, subduing, thoughtful, thrilling, visionary, wealth, wistful, witty

Deep purple is considered to be evidence of wealth and luxury, while paler purple is spring-like and romantic. Purple stimulates the problem solving area of the brain and aids in creativity.

(includes peach and coral) action, affectionate, attention-getting, compassionate, composed, cozy, danger, delicate, delicious, desire, dusky, embracing, exciting, feminine, festive, flexibility, flirtatious, fragile, fruity, fuzzy, gaudy, gentle, happy, healthy, high-energy, hot, immaturity, innocent, intimate, inviting, life force, modest, nostalgic, physical comfort, playful, romantic, sensual, sentimental, soft, stimulation, subtle, sweet, tactile, tender, theatrical, tropical, vibrant, weak, wild, youthful

NEUTRALS

(includes taupe) authentic, basic, bland, boring, classic, compromising, conservative, crisp, dependable, discreet, dull, flexible, inconspicuous, modest, neutral, organic, outdoor, practical, quality, rugged, rustic, tasteless, timeless, versatile, woodsy

appetizing, comfort, conservative, delicious, dogmatic, durable, earthy, experience, friendly, grounded, longevity, natural, outdoors, practical, reliable, rich, robust, rooted, secure, sheltering, solid, stable, steady, supportive, traditional, warm, wholesome

accountable, balance, basic, classic, conformist, conscientious, conservative, corporate, deliberate, detached, dull, dutiful, efficient, enduring, formal, fundamental, gloomy, intelligence, lack of energy, logical, mature, methodical, modest, neutrality, practical, professional, quality, reliability, reserved, resolute, responsible, restrained, sad, security, sober, solid, sophisticated, staunch, steadfast, timeless, unobtrusive

basic, bold, classic, classy, death, depression, dramatic, elegance, empowering, evil, expensive, formality, heavy, intimidation, invulnerable, magical, menacing, modern, mourning, mysterious, nighttime, oppression, powerful, prestigious, protection, sober, sophisticated, strong, stylish, suppression, underworld, wealth

airy, arctic, bridal, bright, clarity, classic, clean, clinical, cold, comforting, creamy, easy, efficient, emptiness, ethereal, fresh, good taste, goodness, hope, innocence, isolation, lightweight, natural, neutral, openness, pristine, pure, silent, simplicity, smooth, soft, spotless, sterile, subtle, warm, winter

White can spark a sense of creativity as it is often viewed as a clean slate.

METALS

bling, divine, dreamer, egotistical, expensive, gaudy, glowing, greed, intuitive, luxurious, opulent, prestigious, prosperity, radiant, rich, self-righteous, traditional, valuable, wealth, wisdom

classy, cool, dreamer, dull, glamorous, graceful, high-tech, indecisive, insecure, modern, non-committal, sleek, stylish

RESOURCES

If you are interested in learning more about color theory and the psychology of color, Pinterest has a lot of great infographics, your local library will more than likely have books on the subject, and you can check your local art school or community college for color theory classes.