Back Room Makeover Results!

If I learned one thing from this back room project, it’s that I didn’t need to wait until I could devote an entire weekend to it. In the past 26 weeks, never did I wake up on a Saturday morning and think, “I’d like to spend my whole weekend cleaning out the back room.”

When motivation struck on a Tuesday morning, I took hold of it, and I finished by Thursday. I didn’t block out a large amount of time; I worked on it a little at a time.

Before & After

I consolidated stuff into fewer boxes and sorted everything. I knew we would keep most of it. The only things that are on their way to Goodwill are a laundry basket, a planter, and a box set of VHS tapes.

It’s amazing how stuff takes up less space when it’s organized.

Progress was slow. After I piled everything in the dining room on Tuesday (you can read about that and see the “Before” photos), I didn’t see the dining room floor again until Wednesday evening. By Thursday 5:00 p.m., a few last things remained on the table. I dumped them into a bag of Miscellaneous and decided I was finished.

Now I’m wondering what other big projects I can do if I just get started? I feel like I can do anything now. Did I really wait 6 months to tackle this project? See it from the beginning.

Back Room Makeover:

  1. The Before
  2. The Strategy
  3. The Clean out
  4. The Results!
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Jackie@Lilolu says:

    I’m glad you found what works for you. It looks great.

  2. Great job! Very inspiring.

    anne´s last post…Summer Reading List

  3. This is amazing! So right about just starting something big instead of waiting for some magic “NOW!” moment.

    Kate´s last post…Read On

  4. For 2 years I’ve been piling kids outgrown clothes in the bottom of a closet. I need to pull all that stuff out and sort/purge/organize to prepare for baby #3!

    Tracey´s last post…Mittens in July

  5. You can do anything. Of course you can, (and we all want to see it!.

  6. looks great! What is organized in the clear labeled bin on the left side?

    Allyson´s last post…Traveling With Kids

    • On the left side of the closet at the top are several bins of baby clothes. Each bin holds a different size so I can pull one out as my kid grows. I wrote more about organizing kids’ clothes here:

      Organizing Your Children’s Clothes Storage

      At first I thought all the bins were organization overkill, but they have worked well.

      On the left at the bottom is a bin of toys. We rotate the toys so the kids don’t get tired of them and their room stays picked up.

  7. SHA-ZAAAAAM! Look at THAT! I am so proud of and inspired by you, sister. NICE WORK!!!!!! (I’m totally coveting your perfectly organized bins)

    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last post…Paradigm Shift- Breastfeeding as Worship

  8. I’m impressed! As soon as my daughter moves out of the basement, we are attacking the utility room (a room that stores some similar stuff). I hope to get rid of most of it!

    Sharon´s last post…Diary of a No Spend Month- Day 9

  9. I am a big fan of before and after photos. What stands out about your before and after photos is that they capture real life. Magazines often show before photos that don’t look too bad and after photos that don’t look like they would stand up to real life. Your work here is encouraging because it looks great and it reflects real life.

    I love these lines: “By Thursday 5:00 p.m., a few last things remained on the table. I dumped them into a bag of Miscellaneous and decided I was finished.” When I read that I had to smile, because who hasn’t tackled an organizing project only to have that bit of misc left over.

    heather´s last post…Make Meat a Side Dish

    • There was a moment on Wednesday morning when I had put just a few things back in the closet, and I thought that if my life were a magazine, I wouldn’t still have so much more stuff to put away.

      If I didn’t have the bag of Misc, I probably would still be trying to organize that random stuff. Sometimes you just have to quit.

  10. What a great job! You have inspired me! I may just go home and clean out my closet. Thanks! :-)

  11. So did it all go back into the room all organized or did some of it get recycled (trashed, given away, etc.)? You can do anything you put your mind and time to!

    • A few cardboard boxes got recycled. Almost all of the stuff went back in the room. Just a couple of things are being donated. Some things are new, like all the bags of kettle chips on a shelf. (They were on sale for half price, so of course I had to buy ten of them!)

  12. Oh Well done!!! Totally Good for you!!! Love the little person under the table – talk about real life and why projects that used to be finished by bed-time now take three days!!!

    se7en´s last post…Se7en’s Celebrities- MayaMade…

  13. Rachel,

    You are great organizer and planner. It simply looks great, did you got rid of a few things or looks compact because it is organized?

    I also liked the picture of little Tom under the cleaner Table. Looks like he is already mobile. My 1 year old is running around all over, doing work with him around creates extra work!

    Preeti @ Heart and Mind´s last post…No Spend Month Challenge- Update 1

  14. Thanks for the after pics, I was curious as to how it was going to turn out. I should have been an organizer by trade as I love this kind of stuff, the before and afters. Great job!

  15. awesome! or as someone wrote on my facebook wall this past week… snausage!

    jill´s last post…Summer evenings And further adventures of The Mud Fairy

  16. Great job on your closet. The hardest part is getting started. I should know.

    Rana´s last post…I want to be Caroline Ingalls the Ultimate Crunchy Mama

  17. Colleen says:

    My 5-yr-old daughter and I moved into a new (old) house about two months ago. Even though it’s not totally organized, I’ve taken one painted door off it’s hinges, and have been stripping the paint off on the front porch. I figure, if I only do one door per year, I’ll be done in eight years, and then I can tackle all of the painted trim upstairs! (Thankfully, the previous owners refinished the downstairs woodwork.)

  18. I can believe the Star Wars AT-AT walker is BACK in the closet. Can you not hear the poor menfolk sobbing? Otherwise, it looks great.

  19. It looks fantastic – what a feeling of accomplishment you must have now. I bet you smile every time you go in there and look at it :)

  20. That’s awesome! I saw your initial post with the dining room table full of stuff and your promise to post when it was done and it inspired me to make my own plan for my bedroom closet this weekend and I also scheduled a clothing pick up for Tuesday to declutter a little before the big clean out.

    One Mom (Kristina)´s last post…Love- Mommy

  21. well done…it looks just right! Looking forward to the next installment of your adventures in keeping things organized and easy :) You’re an inspiration Rachel!

    angelvalerie´s last post…of dreams that die…

  22. Nice makeover!! I’ve got a front closet that needs some TLC too. I think you’ve just given me the kick in the pants I need to get it done.

  23. That picture just makes me happy. An organized room…sigh.

    When we first moved in the first room done was the bathroom and sometimes I would just go in there and enjoy one room where everything had a place!

    And I didn’t even notice Tom until I read another comment! Organizing and baby proofing in one shot–nice!

    Kait Palmer´s last post…Another No Spend Month

  24. It looks wonderful! I’m looking forward to going through my moving crates and seeing what project you’ll tackle next.

    Lou´s last post…Together Part 2

  25. Well done!! I know you are at peace having completed this project! Isn’t funny how our perception of a massive task can keep us from attempting it or completing it?

    Just have to ask….what is the big cardboard box underneath the basket on the Left side of the closet? Looks like it has 2 handles on it…I have looked & looked @ it…can’t figure out what it is! :)

  26. This is great encouragement for someone (like me, perchance) who finds it hard to take the first bite of the elephant.

  27. WhoHoo! It looks great! Doesn’t it feel fabulous to complete a project of that size!

    Tina @ Ride On Toys´s last post…The Land Sailor- Sailboat Racing On Land

  28. Well done! I need to do this as well. Our storage room has gotten out of control.

  29. Denise C. says:

    AWESOME JOB Rachel!!! :) Great job organizing!

  30. Love it! I’ve hit the basement, the work shop and the garage over the past few weeks. One of the things I enjoy most about sorting and culling is that after wards I know where everything is! This makes me feel a little bit like a a super hero.

    juliet´s last post…Get the Fed out

  31. Sandra Gonzales says:

    Yay! Yippee! I bet it’s alot easier to find what you need now. Looks great!

  32. What a great makeover! So inspiring!

    I have to say that the hardest thing for me in tackling big projects is my two young children (2 1/2 and 1) get into EVERYTHING! And they make even small projects so much more time consuming and challenging. So, I’m just wondering, how did you manage this with your kiddos? How did you keep them out of the stuff while you were organizing, and did the rest of your house look like a disaster because you were spending all your time on this – or the kids were tearing apart the rest of the house while you were working? Because I know that’s how my house feels after I work a big project.

    I just feel like one of my biggest obstacles, if not my biggest, is my children and I’m just trying to figure out how I can overcome that, or work with them instead of what feels like them working against me! ha! :)

  33. Great job! I bet that feels good!

    Jena (Organizing Mommy)´s last post…Recipe for Blueberry Buffalo Remake

  34. This is very encouraging! I have a number of these types of projects that I’ve been putting off because I am overwhelmed at the thought of devoting a large chunk of time to them. Thanks for the reminder that I can do it in little bits! :)

    Sarah @ SoggyMommy´s last post…Ministry of Reality Monday – we’re back-

  35. Inspiration!! My weekend project is my closet! Can’t wait.. I love your blog!

    Liz´s last post…Natural Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

  36. I have a large room off the back of our house, just off the kitchen. It is FULL of junk. Honestly, I worry about how we’d get out in the event of a fire. Everything goes back there. Treadmill, pantry, trash that needs to go to dump, tools, storage. It’s a wreck. My husband and I keep saying “we’ll get to it Saturday.”. I think we keep putting it off because it is not heated and it is a balmy 12F right now in Maine. :)

    Really need to bite the bullet and go for it. :)
    Bethany´s last post…on being who I am

  37. I know this was posted a long time ago, but I wanted to know…do you have any more pictures of that cool multi-drawer antique thing in the background of your dining room pics? I want to find one just like it so that I can organize my glue too!
    Also, shout out for another Texan!