August 5, 2013

The $50 Closet Makeover

How to turn your closet into a space you love for just $50! Love this!
Have you ever predicted that a project will take you an hour and be a total walk in the park?

And then 3 weeks later you emerge from the cubicle-size space that has eaten you alive, covered in dust and sweat, and maybe even find a rogue meatball stuck to your sock?


This is the story of our closet makeover.









When we moved into this house, I was ridiculously excited over the large walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Pretty quickly though, I got sidetracked by the rest of the house, and the poor closet was totally neglected for over 3 years. 


Knowing that this space had so much potential absolutely drove me crazy every time I would look at it and see that. As time went on, it got more and more cluttered and just became a space that totally stressed me out. 

There was even a point where one of the shelves fell on the ground, as if to taunt me, and I just left it there. 
For 2 months. 
I rationalized that I had plenty of jorts to get me by for at least half the summer.



And that was the proverbial rock-bottom of my closet story. 
Finally (when I ran out of jorts), I decided that enough was enough and that I must rebuild this little city.

With $50. 
Seriously, I had $50 for this makeover, so if you are expecting me to Lisa Vanderpump it on this one, take it down a notch.


The first step was to de-clutter and remove everything from the closet. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen this picture.


That situation is what I have been staring at in the bedroom for the past few weeks.
I spent the first week just taking everything out of the closet and sorting through it. I made three piles: a trash pile, a donate pile, and a keep pile. The keep pile ended up being really small, and I've gotta tell you. It feels amazing to have gotten rid of most of our stuff. Clutter really depletes me of my energy, and simplifying our closet down to the bare bones feels great.

Once all of our stuff was out, I surveyed the space and decided that painting the trim and walls would be the cheapest way that I could upgrade this blah space.
Also, my striped jewelry corkboard did not thrive as well as I had hoped. Total bust.


So, I spent the second week painting all of the trim white (tutorial here) and painting the walls a gorgeous blue-green (the same color that I used in the master bathroom).


And once again my love for paint was realized. Painting the trim and walls totally transformed this space.
Has anyone else ever experienced the small space phenomenon....where the smallest spaces are the most difficult to paint? And it makes no sense? I've painted my master bedroom 3 times and it took about 10% of the time that it took to paint this tiny box of a room. It puzzles me.

After I was done painting, I spent the next week putting it all back together. 

Here is what the closet looks like from the bedroom (Did you see last week's post about all my embarrassing mistakes while decorating this room?) There are two doors, one on each side, and the closet goes the length of the room.



Here is what you used to see when you walked into the door on the right.
 After I spent a week removing 80 tons of men's tshirts. 
Why do boys need so many tshirts? 


and here is what it looks like today!


We kept the two long shelves on the long wall, keeping my stuff on the right (pants/handbags on the bottom and shirts on the top) and Jesse's stuff on the left (pants on the bottom, shirts on the top).

I also put a single rack on my side, hung near the top, so that I could hang all of my dresses on it. It's high enough that I can even hang my wedding dress on it. 
What is one supposed to do with a wedding dress after the wedding? Have a wedding dress party where everyone wears wedding dresses?
Brave men are welcome to attend.



I wanted the closet to feel kinda like a dressing room, so I added a few extra details. 

I hung a painting by my grandmother beneath the dresses. I found a great frame at the salvage yard for $10 and it was the perfect fit. 


 I love having one of her paintings hanging somewhere unexpected, where I can enjoy it every single day. 
It makes this space so much more special.



And remember the wall I gave up on?



I decided against rehanging that shelf. We got rid of so much stuff that it was no longer needed. In its place, I hung a pretty mirror (that I found here) above the striped bench that I made from an old piano bench.



I also added a furry shag rug. Combined with the bench and mirror, it really makes this space feel more like a dressing room, and less like a closet. 
In normal life, there are usually two laundry baskets, one on each side of the bench. Jesse does his laundry. I do mine. We are 12 years going strong with that magical recipe of laundry equality.



Since I didn't have a huge budget to go out and buy all new organization stuff with, I decided to organize our stuff with items we already owned.
I started out by using all of the same type of hangers, and organizing by color.
And then eventually added these magical little hangers.

Our closet has stayed clean and organized for almost a full week now. Miracle.



For hanging handbags, I used leftover hooks from this. You can also use shower curtain hooks that you can get anywhere for about $5. 


I used two mirrored trays, both from thrift stores, to house my jewelry. I used one for bracelets and rings.
I spray painted that one frame blue awhile back. Not my finest spray paint moment.


And one for earrings.


I used a coat rack to organize all of Jesse's ties, belts, and the occasional smelly hat. 


And then I found a white plastic shoe rack at Target and spray painted it chrome silver to look like metal.
It's no dream shoe situation, but it's better than their former home, which was in a pile on the floor. 


Also, handy trick I just read about the other day. Did you know you can use pool noodles to stuff in your boots and make them stand up? I'm totally doing that soon.


And that, my friends, is the closet! 
(Complete with abrupt end.)

It was a small makeover that took three weeks off my life, but ultimately it's been one of the best updates I've made to this house. There's something about this space that just makes me happy.

If you're feeling overwhelmed about where to start, just know that that is totally normal. Closets are overwhelming by nature. They can't help it. Try starting with the three piles: trash, donate, keep. Take everything out of your closet and put each item it the pile it belongs in. When the closet it empty, look at it as a blank canvas and try to treat it as you would any other room. 

Decorate it, paint it, dance in it....doesn't matter.
You'll be glad you did!




How to turn your closet into a space you love for just $50! Love this!




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73 comments:

  1. LOVE it!!! I am blessed enough that I was able to purchase some organizing materials but I'm lusting after painting our master closet very soon (the whole 33wk pregnant and needing to finish prepping the baby's room thing keeps getting in the way!). It looks great Virginia, love how it seems like a dressing room vs a closet!

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  2. Girl you have totally inspired me. I really need to do this to our closet. It is one big hot mess!

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  3. I love this!! Looks amazing! I need to brave mine really soon. There is one awkward rail for clothes and it's so not working to it's potential!

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Hugs,
    Mallory @ Classy Clutter

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    1. Thanks so much, Mallory! I feel ya on the awkward rail thing....been there! xo

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  4. You are the best! Keep the fo' realz (as my kids would say) DIY's coming!

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  5. My closet is how yours DID look...covered in clothes from top to bottom daunting and provoking me everytime I walk past. Can't wait to start!

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  6. I love your extra decor pieces for added flair. The mirror, bench and painting are beautiful additions!

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  7. Just discovered your blog- love it! The closet makeover is great- some of these ideas will definitely come in handy when I move into a new apt. with a bigger closet :)
    Instead of pool noodles, rolled up old magazines work GREAT for boots too- and saves you a few bucks!

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    1. Oh man, GREAT idea! Thanks so much for sharing!! xo

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    2. I use wine bottles to hold up my boots.

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    3. I use pipe insulation (It looks like a gray pool noodle). You can buy it at Lowes for about $1, and it holds up 3 pairs of boots!

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    4. I use the gray pipe insulation (looks like a gray pool noodle). You can buy it at Lowes for about a dollar and it holds up 3 pairs of boots!

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  8. Just discovered your blog- love it! Such great tips for a closet makeover! Instead of pool noodles, rolled up old magazines work GREAT too, and saves you a few bucks :)

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  9. Virginia, this is beautiful! I really love what you did to the area that was taunting you. lol I do the same thing. I walk away (when feeling bullied by a DIY project) and come back later. My way of showing who is boss. No, not really.

    Amazing that you each do your own laundry. I do all the laundry, but my husband cooks. He LOVES cooking. Hey, whatever works! :)

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    1. Hey, that's a trade I could work with! Unfortunately, neither one of us loves to cook. At least we have the laundry thing figured out though!! :) Thanks girl!

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  10. I like your closet a lot, esp. the mirror and bench. I am also currently working on our closet (and living room and kitchen ...). As a start I have bought matching hangers, I got these velvety "magic hangers" (at Amazon) and love them! We have Ikea Pax wardrobes but without doors in our closet.


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  11. But... but... where are all your clothes! How do you have so little clothes? TEACH US YOUR WAYS, MAGIC CLOTHES FAIRY!
    On a more serious note, totally digging the blue color!

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    1. Thanks Johanna! And yes, it's quite minimal....because we gave so much junk away! Now I have more room for new stuff that I actually like! :)

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  12. My favorite part is that your lack of jorts drove you to make this beautiful space.

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    1. Ha!!!!! Sarah, you win the prize for being the first to appreciate my jorts. :)

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  13. Love your closet makeover! Unfortunately, we have a basic long his & hers closet that is nothing to brag about. In my next life I'm coming back as a famous movie star with one of those huge closets that could house a small family. Our closet functions the way it should, bu a makeover just doesn't seem plausible. Maybe when my son moves out we'll knock down the shared wall and turn his bedroom into a dressing room...though probably not. Until I come back in another life, I will just admire yours.

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  14. Ahh, what a lovely closet space. Add a full length mirror and you've got an honest to goodness dressing room.
    Side note-My friends and I had a "Wear Your Wedding Dress Again" party full of pinterest inspired decor and food. We took the pictures we didn't get to/think to take plus lots of silly ones together. So much fun. And it's easy to have cute decor when theres only 5-6 guests! Strangely, the husbands did not want to partake of this fun and opted to have a poker night.

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    1. That's genius, Maria! What a fun idea! And it's SO strange that husbands just want no part of this! I mean, what's wrong with them?! :)

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  15. I love that you put a bench in your closet! If I had the space I would absolutely do that. No more falling over while trying to put on socks or tights! 3 weeks well spent!

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  16. Remember when you were first doing this, and I was all: "That's MY next project TOO!" Well, three weeks after you started and finished your makeover, I'm still THINKING about mine. So yeah.

    The fact that your project timing was based on your supply of jorts makes me happy to no end.

    I'm officially inviting myself to your wedding dress party. I'll bring my dried-up, falling-apart wedding bouquet.

    Love your closet makeover!!

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    1. Actually, I'm making a new rule that you are also allowed to wear jorts to my party, which I feel will increase attendance. But they must be rolled at the knee. You don't have to decide now. I realize it's a lot to think about. :)

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  17. It turned out lovely!! If only I had a walk-in closet... It's good to read and see (sometimes) that you too are just a normal person, with messy spaces ;) Keep up decorating!!

    Love Veerle

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    1. Hi Veerle,

      Oh yes, I am very normal. Well, normal in the sense that I have messy spaces. :)

      Thank you!

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  18. So I'm thinking I'm just going to fly you up to my house. ;) I so need your help right now. Since my adorable little bungalow is tiny, (Imagine a well kept beach cottage that is way too far from the beach-size) :) I am working up to a whole house closet makeover. You are just super inspiring!! Small spaces are the WORST and I swear, I used way more paint in my daughter's itty bitty bedroom than in my entire living room which is twice the size. What is that!!? I love the shoe rack so much--it turned out great. I don't own very many shoes so they are all in a basket right now and that is not working for us. Thanks for spreading the awesomeness!

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    1. Thanks girl!!! I'll pack my bags and wait for the call! :)
      xo

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    2. You got it! It won't take long to pack either, since you can find everything in your new closet of awesomeness. ;)

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  19. I'm going out and buy some pool noodles right away and I LOVE your grandmother's painting. I'm inspired. I hang all my jewelry in those travel hanging thingies that are supposed to carry your trinkets. Works great. I use hooks for purses and bags and I actually have free space on my shelves because ALL out of season clothing is in plastic under the beds.

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    1. Great ideas, Angela! Thanks! I also just had a reader suggest using rolled up magazine in boots, too! :)

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  20. Oh girl my closet is almost a lost cause. It's small...actually small is being generous. It's tiny actually. I loved seeing what you did in your closet though and maybe this winter I'll tackle mine! Really awesome end result. :o)

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    1. Thanks so much Ann! I have a few 'lost cause' closets in this house, too! They have room for approximately 1 shoe. :)
      xo

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  21. Wonderful! Wish we could have a huge closet like that, but alas being fresh out of college (and my bf going fresh INTO college) we're moving into a one bedroom.
    Suggestion for your wedding dress since you have such a big lovely closet: frame it! There are large "shadow box" frames you can buy and hang the dress in, and I believe some dry cleaning places will even frame it for you. It's a great way to show it off and have a constant reminder of the wonderful day every day you walk in to the closet!
    Thanks for sharing such a great design!

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    1. Great idea! Thanks Andria! And yes, I spent many years in a one bedroom right out of college! :)
      xo

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  22. Closets, closets, closets. The "nesting" part of my pregnancy is really starting to hit me and I've having nightmares about closets. All of them. Every single closet in my house. *Breaks out in sweat.* There's so much to go through!! The downstairs closet by the front door is absolutely atrocious! I have the same wire shelving as you do except my hanging clothes rod part isn't an actual rod, it's more like a J shaped part of the wire shelving that hangs down. WELL, that makes it hard to use the sweater holder/shoe holder things that you would hang in a closet. There's no actual shelving in my closets (besides the one shelf on the very top) so organizing is difficult! I need to build some shelves or something. They're all crammed! I'm just ready to give things away by the bag full! Help me. Ha. =]

    Runt
    runtspickins@yahoo.com
    www.runtspickins.wordpress.com

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  23. I wish I had a closet space like this!!! Making a mental note for homes in the future: "must have wall length walk-in closet!!!"

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  24. You know how after her wedding, every bride thinks of going into the wedding biz? Well after I made over my closet, I was convinced my calling was to open a closet organizing business! To share the joy! It was so liberating to clean out the closet- and much easier to choose what to wear in the mornings! That was about 1 year ago and I’ve been thinking it’s time.. your post has re-inspired me to get moving!

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  25. I wanted to say that your grandmother's painting totally makes the room. It's really the sparkle in the diamond!

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  26. Can you post the link to the target website where you found the shoe rack? Shoes are what are killing my closet!! I need an affordable solution and love what you did with yours!

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  27. I love the closet make-over. I've trying to get mine done for several years; however, as you know it can be a daunting task. You have inspired me and I think I will take another crack at it today. Keep on keeping it real.. that's one of the reason's I read your blog.. I mean, who wants to read a blog from someone who never makes a mistake or changes their mind or struggles with a project... that would just make me feel yucky since I do all those things. LOL

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  28. Hi Virginia! Just let me start by saying how much I love your blog.
    I still can't believe how pretty your silver ornament Christmas wreath was.
    You have totally inspired me to re-do my walk in closet. Yours turned out so well..the striped fabric on the bench is so my style, and I love that you included a painting on the wall.(It's really good)
    So glad you got me going on this project.
    Keep up the good work and we love that you're here for us!

    Kelli Girsch - Buybabydeals.com

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    1. Aw, thank you so much, Kelli! That is so incredibly sweet! I appreciate it so much! Good luck on your project! xo

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  29. I envy your walk-in closet..I have a tiny regular closet desperately in need of a make over and it's something on my list of things to do!!

    On a side note, it's funny that you have a grandmother that influenced your love of painting..I do too. (She would watch that guy on PBS everyday) :) I also hung a picture she painted in my bedroom. (she also painted flowers) I even still have all of her left over paints. One day I aspire to find the free time to paint something!

    Thanks for the inspiration!!

    P.S. I also have my wedding dress hanging in my closet, the bad part is I'm not even married any more. I have no idea what to do with it!! Let me know if you figure it out!

    Nicole

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    1. That's soooo awesome, Nicole! Thank goodness for creative grandmothers! :) Thanks so much for your sweet comment...I appreciate it so much!

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  30. So inspiring Virginia! I totally need to clean out my closet too!

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  31. I love how your closet turned out, so chic! Where did you get your gold oval mirror and did you reupholster the bench? Thanks for any feedback!

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  32. Wow! This is such an inspiration to me. I need to get going on organizing my closet as well. On another note...I see you are a huge fan of Black/white stripes :-)

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  33. Oh my goodness, I just found your blog and I've been reading so many awesome posts. You are such an entertaining writer, and I love your style and courage to tackle big projects. Thanks for all your tips and help! You make me feel like running to a thrift store to find a treasure that I can make all my own! :)

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    1. Thanks so much Erin! You are such a sweetheart! I appreciate you taking the time to comment! xo

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  34. Very nice. I like the color of your paint, perfect to match on your newly organized closet. How I wish I am good at organizing stuff as you.

    Cha @ Starmax Online

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  35. Virginia, I only discovered your blog three days ago, and you have already inspired me so much! Just reading your "about me" page, I was thinking "oh, lord, she's me! Only, you know...prettier and younger, lol! We are working on buying the house we've been renting for the last two years, and I want to make changes...but don't want to do anything major until we sign on the dotted line. Things that are cheap, like paint, I'll do. I've been painting doors, and doing little updates in the hall bath...but this closet project just draws me! My closet is tiny - but the organization and painting is still inspirational! Thank you for being willing to put yourself out there, girl!

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    1. Thank you SO much Sandi! That is so sweet to hear! I appreciate you taking the time to comment! Good luck on buying your home! I'm so excited for you! I know I was so excited when we finally stopped renting and moved into our own home. It was so fun to finally be able to change stuff and paint everything in sight! :) Thanks again!!

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  36. Love the transformation! Very inspiring. I would be thrilled to have a walk-in closet someday. I'm planning to make the move to using the velvety hangers soon, which will be a perfect time to maybe pare down the clothing situation.

    Pro tip: Thicker, rolled up catalogs (like the large Victoria's Secret ones) also work well for boots, and if you get as many catalogs in the mail as I do, it means they're free. =)

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  37. I love seeing your rooms! What colors did your paint your bedroom and closet?

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    1. Hi Robin! Our bedroom is Behr Wheat Bread and the closet and bathroom are Sherwin Williams Sea Salt (but I had it mixed in Glidden because it's cheaper!! ) Thanks so much for commenting! :)

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  38. Your blog is so incredibly inspiring! I love everything in your bedroom ❤️ (Side note: skip the pool noodles, I use old magazines. The skinny ones you get in the mail aren't so heavy that they topple your shoes over. But they are the only things that save my boots from creasing)

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    1. Thanks so much for the tip, Maegan! That's a great idea! xo

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  39. I am so glad I found your blog. We are buying another house right now and we are definitely buying it for the land, not the beautiful house :) It's all dark trim and ugly and I will be doing A LOT of painting. The bigger things like replacing the floor will have to come later but I will be saving your blog for all the painting tips! Love that you do it all on such an amazing budget!!

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  40. LOVE your closet makeover! It's beautiful! We are currently working on a house plan and starting our build next summer. Was wondering if you could tell me what the dimensions of your closet are? It's the perfect size!

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  41. This closet looks so stylish and organized!! congrats! One little tip from a jewelry designer (me)...if you want your jewelry to last longer and avoid tarnishing, keep it in a closed container--no contact with air!
    GREAT blog! I really enjoy it!

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  42. You can also put rolled up magazines in your boots to make them stand up

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  43. I seriously get the biggest giggle from reading these posts. Everything looks great! I'm moving to a new home soon and definitely am going to incorporate some thrift shopping pieces!

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  44. I use empty wine bottles to keep my boots straight and the weight of them keeps the boots standing up on the floor so they don't fall in a heap.

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  45. I have to ask - how much research do you put into re-doing a given room before you take the plunge? You seem full of such great ideas. I love how you went from drab closet to a fun dressing room that you may never want to step out of! :)

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  46. Awesome makeover! Isn't purging grand?! Your idea for using shower hooks to hand purses just blew my mind! I have a box of shower hooks that I installed backwards and used backwards for years because the clearance Pottery Barn Dr. Seuss shower curtain had ginormous holes. Now I know what to do with them ;-)

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  47. What a great transformation on $50.00! My favorite part is your Grandmother's painting. Great tip about using pool noodles to hold up boots. Have you considered getting rid of one of the closet doors when you have the budget? You're very talented an determined, and I'm sure you could tackle a little framing and dry wall. ;) I love your blog! It's very inspiring.

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Thanks so much for leaving a comment!! I do the hammer dance every time I read one.

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