organizing | ordinary, everyday makeovers

by | Jun 28, 2021 | All Things Home, Decorating, Family Room, Guest Room, My House, Organizing, Room Makeovers | 21 comments

There are some makeovers that have more to do with how a room looks than how it feels.  It feels better; it feels more like “you”, but when it comes down to it, the makeover was cosmetic.  It was about preferences and aesthetics and taste.  Then, there are makeovers that are more about how a space feels than how it looks.  It’s more about function and practicality.  It’s not dramatic or beautiful to anyone but you.

Here are your two beautiful photos for this post and then I’m going to share an ordinary, everyday makeover I’ve been working on.  It’s not beautiful or photogenic.  It just feels better, functions better, and, in its own way, it looks better, too.

guest room makeover | miss mustard seed

I’m talking about the storage room that is off of the guest room.  This isn’t officially a closet, but we use it as one.  It is a space that could be used as a little office, a sitting room, or even a place to put a treadmill and some exercise gear.  But we have plenty of rooms in this house, so we use this particular space for storage.  (You can see one of the French doors on the right side of the photo below…)

guest room makeover | miss mustard seed

This storage room has been a problem area since we moved into this house almost four years ago.  I’ve sorted it out before, but I’ve never gone through each bin and really thought through the best way to organize the things we’re storing.  I would just get it under control, but it would inevitably get out of control again.  I didn’t have some “before” photos of how the room looked just a few weeks ago, but I took some screen shots from my Instagram Stories for those who are interested in seeing what it looked like…

organizing | basement storage room before | miss mustard seed

It’s not terrible, but it was disorganized and the shelves weren’t being used well.  Random things were crammed into open spaces if I couldn’t reach where they belonged. I knew there was a lot of stuff that could be pitched or donated.  But I was overwhelmed at the thought of going through everything in detail.

I finally decided to take it in bite-sized chunks.  I would work on it for 15-30 minutes at a time, setting a timer so I didn’t get carried away and spend hours working on it.  It was amazing what I was able to get accomplished in little spurts and starts spread out over about 8 weeks.  Sometimes I got one whole shelf done and other times I just got through one bin.  I made several trips to drop off things at the thrift store, took a bunch out to recyling, and pitched any trash along the way.  A few days ago, I made a final push to get it completed.

organizing | basement storage room | miss mustard seed

The two shelves straight ahead are filled with consumables (some pantry overflow and paper goods), empty storage bins, shipping supplies, family papers/letters/photos, and our Christmas tree up top.  The shelf to the right holds decor and paperwork (stored for tax purposes) up top.  The two shelves on the left are Christmas decorations.

organizing | basement storage room | miss mustard seed

Some of this decor is in “use it or lose it” status.  As I work on the basement family room, I hope to hang more art, use more of the bins and baskets and then thin out whatever remains.  I do like to keep some things in reserve so I can switch things up, but I don’t need as much in reserve as I have!

organizing | basement storage room | miss mustard seed

I am also planning to thin out the Christmas stuff more after this Christmas.  If I don’t use certain things, I’ll donate them.  I used to have fewer bins for Christmas decor, but since we moved into a house that’s too dry for a live tree and greens, I’ve ended up having more to store.  The top four bins are just greenery and lights!  But, it’s all organized and labeled!

organizing | basement storage room | miss mustard seed

I got the floor so clean that I was able to roll out one of the rugs I designed for Annie Selke.  They sent me a sample of both of the rugs I designed.  One is in the basement bathroom, but I haven’t found a good spot for this one.  It’s not exactly on display in here, but it feels nice underfoot and it’s a better way to store it than just having it rolled up.  (You can see both of my rug designs HERE.)

The boys and I also worked together in the same manner over about three weeks and got the playroom cleaned up.  Here’s what it looked like a couple of weeks ago when we had already made some progress…

organizing | basement play room | miss mustard seed

…and here is what it looks like now!  I was able to run the vacuum in there for the first time in a long time.

organizing | basement play room | miss mustard seed

One shelf went into the playroom closet to use for toy storage and the other one went into the storage room.  We’re now ready to move some furniture around and make this an exercise room.  This is all a part of the basement family room makeover, by the way.  We’ll be able to move the treadmill, weightbench, weights, etc. out of this room, which will not only look nicer, but it’ll be better use of both spaces.

organizing | basement family room makeover in progress | miss mustard seed

This week, we’re going to take the climbing wall and vertical blinds down, get the walls prepped for paint, and get some of the furniture moved around.  It’s slow and steady.  It isn’t flashy or a pretty process, but it’s all about working towards a vision of making this space look and feel better…


  1. beverlee

    You have really made terrific progress. I am impressed. Amazing as the boys grow older, everything changes. Thanks for sharing your hard work. It is inspirational.

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh yes! We’ve needed to clean out that playroom for a couple of years now. They are definitely transitioning from kids to teenagers. (Although, they’ve been playing in the playroom a lot as we’ve been cleaning it out. It’s funny how that happens.)

  2. Elaine

    You are giving me ideas for things I need to store. My mom passed away in January so a number of things have come to our home. The trouble is I am not into genealogy and she had tubs full of both sides of our family. Being an only child, I have it all. There are 6 tubs sitting in our guest bedroom and no place to go. The idea of doing a little a day sounds reasonable. The pictures with no names and I don’t recognize probably will go in a separate bin for awhile then sale like you did the post cards. Thanks for inspiring me to finish a hard job.

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, that is a tough job. I would encourage you to just keep the things that are meaningful to you and don’t feel bad about letting the rest go. You don’t need to keep 6 tubs of stuff in your home. It’s where you live, not a storage unit! I wish you the best in going through it all. I hope you find some little gifts and treasures that make it all worth it.

    • Karen

      Elaine, I’m also an only child who has all the stuff. I do a lot of Ancestry, and I wish the photos had names or dates on them. I’m going to spend 15-30 minutes a few times a week to label what I do know, then give myself permission to get rid of the rest. Definitely will keep letters, wedding photos, military records, & and any birth & marriage certificates.

      I want to be sure I don’t leave this burden to my kids, so I need to attach info to the photos and records I’ve accumulated.

    • JenW

      I’m sorry for your recent loss. Are there any aunts/uncles or cousins who might be interested? Can you identify any living relatives (even if you don’t know them) and contact them to see if they would be interested in the family history? It’s their family too, so even though you’re an only it doesn’t have to be your responsibility. You might have a distant cousin who is super into genealogy! Good luck and don’t feel bad about letting go when the time comes.

      • Kris

        Elaine, my mom passed away in March, and while there are four of us kids who have divided things between us, I still have lots of “stuff” piled up in my basement. It feels overwhelming at times. I really appreciated Marian’s technique of keeping it to 15-30 minute increments. I’m starting to get to the emotional stage where I feel like I can delve into getting it organized. You and I can do this!

  3. Kari

    I love seeing your pretty photos, but I love your real world posts even more. You are so good about thoughtfully breaking down your process, in a way that is helpful and inspiring to so many of us. Thank you from a long time reader!

    • Marian Parsons

      I really appreciate that! I need to share more “real life” stuff here on the blog. I share some, but I do feel the pressure to make it pretty and “pin-able.”

  4. Gina

    Wow! Marian you are truly an inspiration to me. I’ve read a huge amount of blogs over the years, but I must say you are my inspiration hands down. I don’t often comment, but felt the need to tell you thank you for all that you do in the blogging community. I ordered your book and September can’t come soon enough. So looking forward. Thanks!

    • Marian Parsons

      Thank you so much, Gina! This comment made my day! 🙂

  5. Rebecca

    You’ve inspired me. I like that 15 minutes at a time idea.

  6. Elise

    This is inspiring me to go through my basement! My kids are grown and I’ve been holding onto a lot of things I probably should let go of. It’s such a satisfying feeling cleaning out those little hidey holes in a house (well at least when it’s finished)!

  7. JenW

    Ditto on the earlier comment about appreciating seeing “real life” photos and projects. The “pin-able” pictures are nice eye candy…but I really like seeing real life things I can apply to my day to day life. I’ve got a similar closet (though smaller) and as I’ve been decorating (we moved about the same time as you) the contents have gotten thinned out. I’m about to the “if it’s still here I don’t love it enough to keep it” stage. 🙂

  8. Jenn Anderson

    I appreciate your posts and how you show the process of improving the spaces to work better for your family and also to look more the way you want them too. It is also helpful to see baby steps along the way!

  9. Brigitte

    I love reading your organizing posts, especially now that I’m going through my late mum’s possessions. The hardest is definitely going to be the 30 photo albums which were not saved in any order. Today I discovered a treasure trove of embroidered pillow covers, vintage handkerchiefs and crocheted pieces that will be shared with my two daughters.

  10. celestial

    My favorite part of this post was seeing the large Christmas tree bundle. If that isn’t real life, I don’t know what is. We got a permanent Christmas tree when we figured out the real one made us ill every December and January. Finding a place to store an 8 foot permanent tree is absurdly difficult; a live tree could just be tossed into the compost but an 8′ anything is a problem. We have gone through two special tree bags that shredded in a short time and now use one that we call the Christmas coffin.

    Thank you for showing real life. It keeps the world sane and honest.

  11. Cassandra E

    If I was your house guest in this room, I’d be hard pressed not to peek behind the doors and wonder if it was Narnia. I scrolled through this post several times, it is so relatable.
    I live in a two room house and have said so many times, I don’t need more living space. But I would love more storage space. About the size of this closet!
    I have to ask though, is that all your Christmas? Your house is at least 5 times the size of mine, and I have tons of Christmas bins. Please tell me you have more?

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      Nope, that’s all of my Christmas stuff and I feel like it’s a lot! But, it has all of my artificial greens, which I didn’t have to use in my last house. If you have even more Christmas stuff, you must find joy in decorating for Christmas each year and it’s worth storing. 🙂 If you don’t use it all, then maybe it’s time for a purge!

  12. Kelly

    Oh nooo!! The Alabaster lamp has been relegated to storage! I LOVE that lamp!!
    Well done on the rest; very inspiring!

  13. Jolene

    The wallpaper is SO BEAUTIFUL? Where did you get it from?


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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