organizing | one room down

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Organizing67 Comments

I have been very lazy since Christmas.  You know me…I’m usually ultra productive, but every signal my body was sending me said to just rest and relax, so I did.  I did totally unproductive things like playing games on my iPad (I’ve been enjoying 1010! and The Room Three), watching Netflix, combing through the 25% off clearance sale at Anthropologie to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and relying on leftovers, so I didn’t have to cook.  I even painted my toenails!

It’s been a nice break, but I felt my usually energy make an appearance yesterday morning.  It’s always a good sign when I start working before breakfast, while I’m still in my jammies.  I finally did take a break and got ready for the day, so I was presentable when the babysitter came over.

I have a goal to purge and organize the entire house.  I did this a couple of years ago and now I’m ready for round two.  Organizing is something that needs to be maintained, anyway, but I find myself more and more willing to let things go, now that I’m getting a taste of living in a more organized, less-cluttered space.

I also used to not care too much if things behind closed doors were messy.  As long as the room looked okay and I could find things, I was alright with a bit of disorganization.  Now, I want to open a door or drawer and feel that little lift of joy that comes when things are tidy, neat, easy to see and, dare I say, even pretty.  I mean, why not?  Shouldn’t every cranny of your home make you happy?

Well, within reason.

So, with this in mind, I tackled all of the behind-closed-doors spaces in the master bedroom.  I really want to do the entire house in one day, but I know that’s completely unrealistic, so I have to set out attainable goals.  One room, even just one cabinet or one drawer at a time.

Planing to do the entire master suite was even a little optimistic, but I was focused and motivated, so I dove in.  I emptied everything from my side of our little, shared closet onto the floor and then started sorting, pitching and organizing.


I have wanted to switch to all-matching wooden coat hangers for years, but buying coat hangers doesn’t seem like much fun.  I finally got them, though, and I am so glad I did.  They make a huge difference and my clothes look so much better!  And, I’ve decided that the number of hangers I have is my clothing limit.  This will force me to get rid of clothes I’m not wearing as I purchase new clothes.  It’ll keep my wardrobe fresh.


Yeah, my closet walls are still mauve.  That was the wall color in the room when we first moved in and I never repainted.  Now that it looks so pretty, it just might be worth taking everything out and painting it a pretty color that sets off the clothes a little better.

Clearly, I like my blues, whites and grays!


I did the same thing in my wardrobe, which I use instead of a dresser.  I still need to find a good way to organize scarves.  Right now they are just folded on the bottom shelf, but I know they will become a jumble in no time.  So, I’m on the hunt for a good solution.


I even cleaned out the magazine hoard in my nightstand.


And I cleaned out the master bathroom vanity and linen closet as well.  All expired medicines and beauty products were pitched.  Everything was wiped down and vacuumed.  I added shelf liner and clear organizational trays.  And I tried to really think through the way I use each space as I go about my daily routine.  For example, I always throw my bobby pins and hair ties in the top drawer and they usually slide around, loose.  I finally gave them a dedicated spot right where I naturally want to put them.


I’ve been keeping my makeup in a zipper cosmetic bag for a couple of years.  It’s easy when I travel, but it’s not the best way to care for the products, so I moved them into a neat tray.


I already had everything except the hangers, so it cost $90 and a day of hard work to get everything straight in the master suite.

I think I’m going to tackle the basement next…

Does anyone else have the organization bug?

organizing | one room down

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67 Comments on “organizing | one room down”

  1. Absolutely. I’ve had it for 6 weeks, but had to let go for the holidays. As soon as my kids leave, I’m tearing everything apart, dumping a ton and organizing!

    You space looks great. And I had to laugh that your closet is as blue and white as your house.

    Happy organizing,
    The Other Marian

  2. Omg, yes! I want to organize everything right now!! If you find a great way to organize your scarves, please share. I currently do the pile method, and I have to keep going back and refolding because it doesn’t work. Happy organizing!

  3. You have to have a little extra closet space to do this, which I feel blessed to have…. but I hang my folded scarves on hangers. …like a pair of slacks….keeps them separated and easily accessible.

    Happy New Year!

  4. Glad you could take some time off.

    I am not an organized person but we are downsizing and selling our house so that is making us declutter and shed possessions. It feels good..

    RE: scarf storage. You might have room at the end of your closet to install a small-sized tension shower or curtain rod going front to back between the front wall of the closet to the back wall of the closet under your shelf. I did that and I hang my scarves and some other accessories there. Actually, I put two rods up to use the space at the end of the closet. I use open shower curtain hooks to attach some of my bags too.

  5. Yes! We purged three paper boxes full of retention-outdated documents and took to the shredding company on Monday, and I spent the last 3 days undecorating and organizing all my Christmas stuff. Went to WalMart for groceries today, and the center aisles are full of plastic tubs and….cold medicines, lol. Looking forward to purging through my clothes again…it just feels good to keep organized. Happy New Year, Marian.

  6. Marian for the scarves how about a few hooks on the interior door of the wardrobe? Not sure how much depth you have before the shelves if that means they will be crushed but I rely on hooks for everything everywhere, it keeps the piles to a minimum and easy access. Love all your blue and white, wear the colors you love!

  7. Yaaa…. Confirmation!! I am determined to do just the same thing!!! I love my rooms being organized and pretty….But if anyone were to randomly open a drawer in my dresser … or in the bathroom… or my closet… WELL… Heaven help them!!! lolol….. Thank you for the post!! Looks wonderful!!!!

  8. OH I am glad to see we aren’t the only ones bit by the clean/purge/declutter/downsize bug!!! With only one child still at home we just do NOT need as much of everything add to that the fact we will be more than likely be moving in 18 months it just makes sense to get ahead of the game. So right now we are doing a MAJOR purge!! Everything from Hummels to antiques to craft supplies to clothing is being gone though. You wouldn’t know of a good way to sell Hummels would you? Craigslist does not seem to be the best venue in our area and the local antique shop just doesn’t have the market. Thanks!! And continued success with your organizing!!!

    1. Most cities have Facebook groups for Antiques & Collectibles Buy & Sell that would be perfect in which to sell your Hummels. Mine is “Denton County Antiques and Collectibles”. Nothing that does not qualify as an antique or a collectible is allowed to be posted. Try typing in the Search part on your Home page on Facebook to find one nearby, they are small and could be easily mailed. Get payment first in a cashier’s check. But you know all that!

  9. Hi Marian and Happy New Years! For your scarves, how about folding & stacking them vertically in a clear acrylic or plastic box? That way when you retrieve one, the remainder will remain in somewhat order! I have been purging and donating items to the local thrift store for about 6 weeks now and my house is starting to breathe!! I love the results so far. We downsized to a small ranch 3 years ago and every inch counts! Melody

  10. Wow that’s amzing Marion,

    I really like the look of those hangers as well.
    I hope that you and your family have a very Happy New Year and yes I have been trying to get more organized.

    all the best,


  11. Marion, Ikea makes a scarf holder that you hang in your closet. It has holes in it so you can slip the scarves in and out. It works well for belts too. I like the way you organized your bathroom. I’ve been struggling with my bath things since we moved 4 years ago. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I just finished my kitchen. Next I will tackle my book cases. Your closets look great. And it’s always a great idea to get rid of unnecessary stuff. I like to leave my tree up until after the first of Jan. I love looking at the twinkle lights.

  12. You did an amazing job and kudos on the master suite project! I have over 50 scarves… yes, it is true and THE BEST thing are the scarf hangers you can purchase at Bed Bath and Beyond and similar stores. I have two (they sell them in double packs) and they work WONDERFULLY! Keep up the great work with organizing and here is wishing you and your family a fabulous New Year! God bless you all!

    Deb H.

  13. Yes, I do want to organize – when I get moved to my new house! I’ve purged already and just waiting on the sale. While I don’t love moving, I always feel like it’s a fresh start. As for your scarves, I made hanging scarf storage last year for Christmas gifts. Everyone has good ideas, but check out this pattern:

  14. YES! I love cleaning & organizing! It’s the best thing about January and wintertime! It just feels very cleansing to do it every year. There’s something about the new year that says it’s time to start fresh, reorganize & set goals for the upcoming twelve months. Your closet looks great! Happy New Year!

  15. Your timing is so relevant! I have been frustrated with my pantries for at least 2 weeks. I couldn’t find anything and things were being put in the wrong place because we ran out of room. I just took apart two large pantries, purged and reorganized. I still have so much to do because I plan to go through every cabinet, closet and drawer in my house. But at least when my kids want to find a snack, I can tell then to go help themselves.

    I’m not a big fan of spring cleaning. I do the most work in the first 2 months of the year.

    1. Okay, you typed pantries…….I read panties…….not once, not twice…… three times, I read panties! I figured you tore your panties up in fit of rage?
      Note to self: three cups of coffee is the minimum required before attempting to read ANYTHING in the morning!

  16. I have a vanity in our bedroom and I folded my scarfs – very small – and file them standing up in the drawer. All I have to do is open the drawer and see which scarf I want to wear. Works for me.

  17. Hi Marian, I’m working on purging/organizing my weekend wear in my dresser, and am trying out Marie Kondo’s folding techniques. Time will tell. For s ar es, I bought an inexpensive set of plastic shower curtain rings and interlocked them, then hung the chain from the higher rod in my closet. I can see all of my scarves at a glance, and they’re stored right where I can see them when getting dressed.

  18. My mom moved to long term care in October and in the disassembling of her apartment, we all gained some new stuff! I have been wanting to go through my house since then but decided that I would wait until after Christmas. We will then tackle to the house from top to bottom. My husband and I downsized four and a half years ago and we were able to get rid of a lot of stuff. Can’t wait to tackle it again. I find this is something you need to do at least once a year or every couple of years.
    Great job! Happy New Year to you and your family!

  19. Oh nice! Yes, I always get “bit” by the organization bug this time of year. Seems like a natural thing since I’m putting away Christmas stuff. I’m extra motivated this year as we are planning on moving to the farm in 2017. So one year to pare down stuff (it’s a smaller house!).

  20. We de-clutter every time we move…now i have a policy that if i don’t use it within 6 months then i dont need it and it goes to the charity…having said that i have this scarf hanging thingy from IKEA well actually i have two of them because i love scarves, they are so handy for keeping your scarves organised..i wish i could find space to organize my handbags…but they are all different sizes so what i tend to do is put the smaller ones in the bigger ones which isn’t ideal because then you cant see what bags you have and as i love bags too…(i have been known to buy 4 bags in 1 day..mind you i was at the airport in London then 2 hours later in Portugal…that’s my excuse and I am keeping to it)

  21. Marian, I love organizing. If you have not yet read Marie Kondo’s book or visited her website, I highly recommend it. If you do a web search, you can find the highlights of her method. Basically you keep only things that bring you joy. Her strategies for folding and storing clothing are great.I read the book on a cross-country flight, and then used the method with my daughter to clear out.

    For scarves, I have found that the multilevel pant hangers similar to these work well. I have separate hangers for color groups: one hanger for blue, one hanger for red, one hangerfor black, and a fourth for all the rest

    1. According to my husband that book has been a runaway best seller. Only in his dreams would I be like that! lol

  22. I purchased a hanging scarf holder that is shaped like an owl and has holes in the owl that are felt covered. Just run the scarves through the holes and they don’t slide out. It was around $10 for 2. I use one for outside scarves and the other for dress scarves.

  23. You are an inspiration!! I have a very difficult time purging!! I wish it were easy!
    Happy New Year!!

  24. For my scarves, I have drawer that is not very deep and I roll my pashminas so I can see all of them, but I also have a hanging shoe bag with clear pockets on a wall in my closet and I roll my smaller and more delicate scarves and put them in the pockets. I can get three small scarves in one pocket and still see them all. I also use the bottom pockets for leather gloves and tiny umbrellas!

    Happy New Year!

    1. The room looks great! I have a fabric bins with my scarves rolled so that you can see all of them organized by colour in each bin on my top closet shelf. (About 5 small bins)

  25. I do! Tomorrow (New Year’s Day) I am going through all my clothes. Read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and it has really motivated me to do it. I want to change how I dress, so clearing out is the first step. Wish me luck!

    Oh, btw, I got a scarf hanger from Ikea that holds all of mine, but I’ve had it several years. I have seen smaller scarf hangers at TJ Maxx that would work too.

  26. The organizing bug always hits me first of the year. I usually work about 3 months on it and then move on to something else.

  27. Great Job!! You are a great woman to show us your make-up drawer:) Mine is NOT photo worthy. Question: Did the wooden hangers take up much space or more than plastic ones? My hubby and I share a closet too which is why I am asking. They look great regardless!! Idea for the mauve closet.. since your home is so beautiful how about beadboard wallpaper for it? Thank you for being my favorite blog.. hope you and Kristy have a wonderful New Year!!

    1. Just try to find beadboard wall paper! I tried to find it but couldn’t and had to settle for something else. Nice idea.

  28. Funny thing that you should say that Marian because clean up clean out has been on my mind since Christmas as well. Natural nesting thing? Last year I decided that if I did one thing a day that in 30 days I would have 30 areas cleaned out and organized. I did that! Now it will be another year and another round of one a day wonders.

    About the scarves. That is a dilemma. I have way too many scarves because I knit, crochet and all of the above. IKEA sells this scarf holder that is a series of round circles with a hanger on the top. It was about $12. I have two of them and have filled both. In addition I have the old timey
    grapefruit baskets with lids filled with such……….

    Another tip. If you want to reach something on the top shelf I use a long handled tong from the kitchen to reach. I think we have the same wire set up. Happy New Year!

  29. I do. Usually once the house is put back to normal after Christmas, and New Years arrives, I feel the need to start everything fresh. I started yesterday just working slowly through my cleaning cupboard and pantry. It wasn’t like they were even that bad, but stuff just gets thrown here and there with people always coming and going, and it just felt nice to have things tidy and organized. Clean drawers and cabinets have the same effect on me as pretty packaging… It’s ridiculous, but I get excited. I get it.

  30. What is it about the New Year that gets us excited about organizing…..I have several boxes on my kitchen table ready to go to donation….one cabinet/drawer at a time! My scarves….I have a belt hanger that I use for my scarves, it’s good sized circular hanger that the belts slide onto….they are neatly hanging in my closest and easy to spot the one I need….I just gently pull off what I need and put it back at the end of the day. I believe I found the belt hanger online.

  31. Yes, I’ve been content to clean, mend and organize as the year draws to a close. I hope to do more as the new year begins—I want to purge my closet, too. And I’d love to get my hands on my daughter’s closet, but she needs to do that herself.

  32. I go through the same need to purge and organize every January! I especially love when my closet is cleaned out and organized. I’ve heard that we tend to wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time and I think that’s probably true. I find myself reaching for the favorites over and over again. And I highly recommend the Ikea scarf organizer. I have several of them! … Happy New Year Marian!

  33. I laughed when I read this post,as this same behavior is going on at my house! I cleaned out all my beauty products, make-up, and medicines. Such a great feeling to open the drawer and look at it all so neat and organized!!

  34. I got matching hangers a few years ago and love them. I am getting rid of all the kids plastic kid size hangers and getting them matching wooden ones which help the clothes stay on better. For my scarves i have a special hanger that is like 5 hangers stacked vertically and i hang a scarf on both ends of each hanger. They are so easy to find and stay tidy. I found them at a store that specialises in containers and storage. Sorry I can’t think of a US store, but you will probably have an idea.

  35. Guess I will chime in. Your closet and drawers look great. I organize my clothes by color, too, as well as type. For scarves, I’ve tried: the roll method, the fold vertically method, the stack method, the on-a-pants hanger method, the hook method, and I now use the felt-covered scarf holder with holes that many others have mentioned. I got my package of two from T.J. Maxx, on sale for $4.50 for the pair. As I am too lazy to fold/roll/place neatly on a pants hanger, I love the scarf holder. I kept it in my closet for a while, but I always had to remove it to get or put away a scarf. So, now I just keep it hanging on the back of my bedroom door.
    I used to keep magazines in the bedroom. After moving into an apartment, I had to re-think that. I now have magazines in those magazine file holder thingeys (is there a proper name for those?), the things that look like a box with one end open and half the front open, so the magazines stand up. The spines of the holders present a neat row of organization in my living room. When the folders get full, I purge the magazines by taking them to the local care home, along with a book or two that I have read enough times to be tired of.
    I organize my books by subject. If I feel like reading a certain genre, I know just where to look. For instance, my gardening books are all on the same shelf, poetry/novels on another, hiking/camping/outdoorsy books on another, etc. I also organize them by color and size, to cut down on the chaos of visual clutter. I don’t care for e-books, there’s just something about holding a real book that satisfies me.
    My makeup is in a zippered bag, too, only because I don’t have enough counter space or drawer space to have a dedicated makeup station.
    Yep, sounds as if most of us have “the bug”! Happy New Year to all.

  36. I use shower curtain rings on a hanger and put each scarf through a ring. It works, keeps them organized, they are easy to take off and put on, but they do tend to slide down to one end of the hanger. That’s really not a problem. Just tilt the hanger and they are back where they should be. It’s the best system I’ve found.

    1. I do this too! I have a great old wooden hanger with advertising on it. I used clear plastic shower rings. I have it hung on a nail on my wall and it doubles as art – so pretty with all the colors together!

  37. I love to organize! I hauled two bags to the goodwill yesterday and cleaned out a dresser in the guest room so it is now empty for guests. I usually have a box sitting in my mudroom that is just for donations and I try to add to it weekly. I have whittled down my wardrobe enough that anything new that comes in replaces something and the old goes in the donation box. It makes me relaxed to have an organized home. Happy New Year!!

  38. My New Years wish is for a bunch of elves to come over & clean & organize my house. They may need a troll or two for the heavy lifting.

  39. I think Martha’s idea about the elves and trolls is inspired. I need to do organizing and purging in nearly every room in my house and it’s all past due about ten years! I am feeling like getting started in some areas, but, Martha,do you have a phone number or web address for those elves? I might need them to keep me motivated! And, of course, to do the heavy lifting.

    Happy New Year to you, Marian, and all the rest of you who love this blog! I hope 2016 holds lots of fun and happiness for all of you! Actually, Happy New Year to the Whole World! May Peace be realized over all the Earth!

  40. IKEA makes a great scarf organizer. It’s like a serious of circles sewn together. I hang mine on the back of a door and swap out spring for winter scarves.

  41. Yes, the organization bug always hits me shortly after Christmas. There is something about starting off the New Year with a clean and de-cluttered house.

    I start by packing up all the Christmas décor and then go room by room purging, de-cluttering and cleaning. I like things to have a fresh and clean look for the New Year and I tend to bring in more cheerful colors such as pale yellows, whites and greens in my décor.

    Marian, if you are looking for a great project for your home that isn’t super expensive, I would suggest looking into a closet organizing system. Perhaps a company such as EZ-Closets would like to partner with you if you did a sponsored post. We used them and were very happy.

  42. Yes, this is the best time of year to organize. I love going into spring with more time to spend outdoors gardening and designing, I couldn’t do that if the inside of my home was is chaos.

  43. OMG…YES! I had the week off of work and spent almost every day purging the basement of all it’s junk and spiders! I cleaned, tagged, and boxed every last bit of it for a garage sale in June. The only thing I want left in the basement when this is done is the furnace, hot water tank, and laundry!
    Now it’s back to my day job but will continue on with the rest of the house on weekends before June arrives. 2016 is to declutter and simplify life! Happy New Year!

  44. Worked on my craft room and by moving some furniture around in there and purging what I don’t use anymore, it turned out great. I now have more floor space to move about….Love being motivated starting the New Year….WTG on your closet!!!!

  45. I totally have the organization bug!! Have been making mental lists for the new year and now that it’s here I can’t wait to get stuck in!! Like you will be starting in my bedroom – clothes shoes ( need to get a carpenter in to see about a shoe closet!) itching to get going! x

  46. My husband and I just cleaned out our closet this weekend! Phew! It was awesome to see the amount we purged and gave to the Salvation Army 🙂 I do really like the look of your wooden hangers. We have the cheapy, white plastic ones and I would love to get rid of them. Your space looks great!

  47. There is a new approach to organization, it’s called Konmari. I did it about 6 months ago and it si life changing and EASILY maintained! It isn’t a room by room approach…it is by LIKE ITEMS and it is amazing. The book :The life-changing magic of tidying up the japanese art of decluttering and organizing will change your life!!

  48. I did some last week, and while I would love to tackle more this week, the garden is calling. It’s my busy month in the garden and I have grape vines, roses, and 40 or so fruit trees to prune! So I have limited the organzing to one small drawer, and I will also be cleaning the globes in the master bath when I clean in there this week.

    I’ve also got quite a bit of sewing to do this week, and abit of baking, sometime after homeschooling is done each day. It should be busy! Last week felt a bit lazy (though I did do a fun Cinderella photo shoot) but this week it’s back to business!

  49. Hi, what about a small antique ladder that you could lean up again the wall for your scarves? Easy to see what you have and easy to pop them straight back on.

  50. Hi! I’m in the middle of an organizational marathon! After living 5 years abroad I’m returning to my apartment and almost everything needs to be reorganized. I’ll be coming back to your posts for inspiration 😉

  51. I, also, have been bitten by the bug although I’ve been calling it a “season too early” cleaning bug. I have to get the house that my Mother has lived in for the last 45 years ready to put on the market, which is one of the reasons I was lead to your site. Repainting the kitchen and most of the woodwork was recommended by the realtor. I have found so much inspiration in painting furniture that I believe nothing is safe at this point. My mother has so many nice old pieces that I think will sell nicely in an estate sale. Like everyone else has said, thank you for the inspiration!

  52. Marian, excellent job on the organization, your closet looks amazing! Love what you did with your bins in the bath, too; you’ll find it takes a lot less time doing makeup when you can just grab everything you need from its proper place and not be forced to dig around for it.

    As a former makeup artist, I can give you a few neat tips on cleaning your makeup bottles, containers, and the inside and outside of your palettes (blush and eyeshadow, etc.). You can use a makeup remover cloth to clean the gunk and grime off the outside of your makeup containers and palettes. Windex on a paper towel works, too; you can also use it to clean the mirrors inside your palettes.

    A liquid-y eyemakeup remover (not a cream or a gel) on a Q-tip can get inside the tiny spaces in your palette, like the areas of plastic separating one eyeshadow color from another. Brushes can be washed using shampoo, lay flat on a towel to dry (not upright in a jar, you don’t want the water flowing into the ferrule, it will loosen the glue over time and your handle will separate from the brush head). After a good washing, you can use a makeup remover cloth after each use to wipe down your brush bristles, that will keep them clean in between uses and lengthen the time between shampooings. We used to have to keep our containers and palettes looking spotless and grunge-free all the time when doing location shoots, people felt more comfortable sitting still for us in our chairs when our tools were all nice and clean!

  53. Love your matching hangers! Over the holidays, I reverse all of my hangers, then when I wear the item, I hang it back on the bar the right way. The following year, if something is still hanging backwards, I know I haven’t worn it. If it is a classic piece, I keep it, if not, I give it away. Works great to purge things that I don’t wear.

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