DIY Tutorials, House / Living Room, Storage & Organization

{How To} Plan an Organizing System Before Starting a Project

I was sorting and organizing a bunch of older photos, when I came across a pic I snapped during my Coat Closet Makeover project in the spring.

Coat Closet Before and After Temporary Wallpaper
It’s a photo of my notebook that I’d snapped so that I could show you my planning process when I sit down to tackle a space makeover.

How to plan a closet

I made this list after pulling every single thing out of the closet.  That way I knew exactly what I needed to create homes for.

Yep, before I dive into actually organizing a space, I complete the following steps:

  1. List out everything you need to store in the space.
  2. Sketch out the space.
  3. Write in (or draw) where you’d like to put each item in the space, measuring as you go to ensure that it’s feasible.
  4. Check each item off the list as you assign it a home.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you’re satisfied.
  6. Determine what types of storage containers you’ll need to buy or create to make it happen.

If you follow these steps, you’re much less likely to get near the end of the project only to find that not everything has a place.

That’s my trick, at least.  I go through a lot of notebooks!  What’s your trick for planning?  Or do you just wing it?

For all you new readers, I not only reorganized this disaster of a closet, but I also “wallpapered” the walls with contact paper – as a rental friendly temporary wallcovering solution.  More than 4 months later, it’s holding up perfectly!

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18 Comments

  • Reply Julia at 12:57 pm

    I am hitting up Walgreens this week for the back to school mini-notebooks (5/$1!) because I burn through notebooks as well. Imagine a list party linky. :o)

    Thanks for the tip and have a great day Jane!

  • Reply Anonymous at 1:06 pm

    This is a great idea.  I sometimes work like this.  And sometimes I find “inspiration” pictures to help me hone the look I want. Oh, and of course I keep track of all my ideas in Evernote – my favorite thing!

  • Reply Anonymous at 1:06 pm

    This is a great idea.  I sometimes work like this.  And sometimes I find “inspiration” pictures to help me hone the look I want. Oh, and of course I keep track of all my ideas in Evernote – my favorite thing!

  • Reply Anonymous at 1:06 pm

    This is a great idea.  I sometimes work like this.  And sometimes I find “inspiration” pictures to help me hone the look I want. Oh, and of course I keep track of all my ideas in Evernote – my favorite thing!

  • Reply Anonymous at 1:06 pm

    This is a great idea.  I sometimes work like this.  And sometimes I find “inspiration” pictures to help me hone the look I want. Oh, and of course I keep track of all my ideas in Evernote – my favorite thing!

  • Reply Stephanie at 1:13 pm

    I sometimes plan beforehand and sometimes just dive in.  But I do I love, love, love notebooks and list-making!

  • Reply Mikalah at 1:37 pm

    That’s awesome! I love using notebooks to sketch stuff out, it really helps me feel more ready to tackle a project. Great tips!

  • Reply Liz at 5:05 pm

    Wow. You are very organized. 
    I could never do this, and maybe that’s why my closets are a mess.

  • Reply Jenn @ Peas and Crayons at 7:30 pm

    I’m taking a cute from you and sketching out the closet design for the new house tonight. hopefully i’ll get to do that after our chat! keep me posted on what time works for you! MWAH!!!!!!!!!! love you for putting up with my insanity!

  • Reply Haley at 9:26 pm

    Wow, I just stare at the area for a while planning it all out in my head then write down the measures I may need to find the right sized containers. Not kidding either, I really do just stare at the area I want to organize like a cat staring at a wall. In fact sometimes my cat joins me while my boyfriend tries to ignore us. 🙂 

    • Reply Renee at 4:28 pm

      That’s hilarious! I guess, because I do the same thing! lol!

  • Reply Anne at 1:34 am

    This is super smart. I’m a crazy list maker, so this should probably come easy to me, which is good news.  Thanks for sharing your plans!!

  • Reply Joyce and Norm at 4:20 pm

    This is great! We are planning to redo our closets. Where did you get the hanging organizer pockets on the door?

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 4:23 pm

      Hi Joyce!

      I found mine at Target, but the Container Store also has them. There’s also a ton on Amazon.com.

      Thanks for commenting!
      -Jane


      Jane Hoffmann
      Shop: Janery: A celebration of fabric
      Blog: The Borrowed Abode

  • Reply Anonymous at 4:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing Jane.  Contact paper as wallpaper, genius!  I’m a pen a notebook kind of gal and burn through a stack of notebooks every year.

  • Reply Twyla Robinson at 5:06 pm

    Contact paper and maybe a few discreet staples in the corners if the wall texture is too “textured” for a serious adhesion!  Yes!!  It also works for an ugly bathroom counter surface, but that requires an artistic hand with a razor.  😀  I’ve even used it on kitchen counters, but one must own an army of trivets.

  • Reply Jennifer Jones at 8:06 pm

    Great post!!! <3 

  • Reply Gen at 11:58 am

    I totally wing it. Most of the time I don’t even plan out “going to organize {insert spot}”, but get to a point of “That’s it! Time to fix {insert spot}”. Usually in the middle of doing something else. lol

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