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Getting Organized One Room at a Time

When I was a small kid, I was a slob.  When I was an older kid, I was a slob.  When I was a teen, I gave the word “slob” new meaning.  When I was a young adult, I was still fairly slobbish.  When I had kids, however, that all changed.

Before I got divorced and moved to Florida with my kids, we all lived in a small house in Chicagoland.  I mean – SMALL.  Our family of eight somehow managed to share an 1100 square foot house without killing each other.  I know that’s probably more people in less space than most of you can imagine.

Because space was at a premium back then, I got to be an expert at organizing.  Gone were the days of letting something, anything lie around and collect dust.  If it didn’t serve a purpose, it didn’t have a spot in my house.  I regularly went through and purged any unnecessary items cluttering up my house.  We donated bags of clothes, toys, and household goods often.  What was left was organized to make the most of the limited space we had.

Now, I actually LOVE organizing!  I get a little thrill cleaning and arranging things to make the best use of space.  There are so many things in my life that I can’t control.  There’s nothing I can do when my car breaks down or I need to go to the hospital.  But I love the control I feel when I get the clutter cleaned up and everything in my home is nice and neat.  It’s no coincidence that the more chaos and misfortune there is in my life, the cleaner my house is.

Florida houses are weird.  Most don’t have a coat closet when you walk in the door, so we were a little at a loss as to where we should keep our shoes when we moved here.  Below are the BEFORE and AFTER pictures of our entryway.  Now we have a functional and attractive solution to our shoe problem!


  • BEFORE 1 of 5
    BEFORE
    Seven people times three pairs of shoes per person = one giant mess that I tripped over every day! This didn't say "Welcome to our home!" This said, "We live in a giant pit of nastiness and there are probably creatures and half-eaten food buried under those shoes.
  • BEFORE 2 of 5
    BEFORE
    I used this shelf that I had to "sort of" organize the shoes. It was an improvement, but it didn't exactly create a welcoming space.
  • AFTER 3 of 5
    AFTER
    I bought this Martha Stewart entryway bench and the photo collage frame from Home Depot. Beautiful, no? I love the way this looks! Now, THIS is a welcoming look!
  • AFTER 4 of 5
    AFTER
    I chose three fabric drawers in tan to complete the look. They not only look great, but they're functional! Our shoes are out-of-site, yet easy to reach.
  • AFTER 5 of 5
    AFTER
    I got to do one of my most favorite things - play with photos I took! I filled this frame with pictures of our beloved Chicago! I made the photos black & white with one object on each that I colored. I think it turned out pretty cool, and it really personalizes our entry space.

A big thanks to The Home Depot for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Want to read more from Dawn? Get her books Because I Said So (and other tales from a less-than-perfect parent) and You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth) here!

Join Dawn on Facebook where lizards run rampant.

If you liked this, here are some more favorites from Dawn.

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