Oct 192015

By Satinder Haer (Guest blogger via Zillow)

A lavish dressing room can make getting ready in the morning a whole new experience. But who has the space or money for a whole room dedicated to getting ready?

Luckily, you can create a dressing room without buying a bigger house or breaking the bank. Closets often have untapped real estate you can transform into a minidressing room.With a little creativity and organization, you can create a do-it-yourself pampering spot that makes you feel like royalty every morning—right in your own closet.

If you’re craving a little extravagance in your morning routine, use these tips to design your own minidressing room.

Make Space
Vanities are the foundation piece of a traditional dressing room,so you’ll need to carve out space for a vanity or cheaper alternative, such as a desk or dresser. If your home came with walk-in closets and you have free space, you might not have to make additional room. If not, look at your closet and assess:
• What can I get rid of? Free space is often consumed by items you hold on to, but don’t need.
• Should all of these items be in my closet? Consider moving clothing that doesn’t need to be on hangers to a freestanding wardrobe or dresser. Or, box up seasonal clothes and move them to the attic.
• What size desk can I fit in here? Take measurements if it’s going to be a tight spot.

Once you’ve created enough space, find a bedroom vanity, desk or dresser that with counter-top space for storing your jewelry and makeup including drawers for storage.


Photos by The White Buffalo Styling Company via Zillow

Design Your Space
After you’ve acquired the main piece for your dressing room, think about your design. Whether you want the space to have an eclectic theme or a contemporary vibe, you can buy supplemental decor pieces that suit your style. At a minimum, you’ll need a mirror, a source of bright lighting and a stool or bench to sit on while you apply makeup or consider your outfit options. If you want to make your minidressing room feel extravagant, add a rug, floor lamp and art in the same theme.

Assemble Your Space
Focus on form and function when assembling your minidressing room. Place your big-ticket items, such as your vanity and mirror in their respective places. Then add any sources of light you’re using to supplement overhead lighting in a location that is conducive to makeup application. Place daily beauty products on your counter for ease of access and stash the rest in drawers.

Jewelry can also double as décor, so don’t be afraid to leave it out in the open. Separate your jewelry by type—necklaces, bracelets, etc.—to make items easy to find and display. Hang necklaces and bracelets on a free standing necklace holder or on wall hooks. Use small bowls for rings and earrings.

Finish your project with any accents you think polish the look. Hang wall art or display picture frames on your vanity. Add small potted plants or figurines on free-floating shelves to embellish your space.


Photos by The White Buffalo Styling Company via Zillow

A minidressing room can be an inexpensive and essential addition to your existing space. It can save you time in the mornings by centralizing the items you use to get ready and serve as a beautiful spot for pampering yourself. Getting ready might be so relaxing you never want to leave your closet.

Sep 062014

Automating your workout wear with this simple hack could streamline your life.

In order to assure that her little girls were changing their clothes inappropriate ratios ;-), one mom told me that she packs preselected outfits -including socks and underwear – in Ziploc bags. From these, the girls select which they want to wear.

Quarterly, our gym releases new exercise schedules. I, then, select what classes and activities fit my schedule and my fitness needs at this time. Adapting the above hack, today I will package my outfits for each activity in separate bags, noting what may be missing and adding that to my shopping list.

When I had this idea, I almost took a picture for you of how tiny are lockers are down at the gym, (but I was afraid I would get a naked lady in the mirror somehow). Anyway, they are small! Having preselected outfits in Ziploc bags, instead of just whatever I think I might need in my gym bag, will save space in the locker, and in my drawer as well. And I can more easily see what I need.

Jul 152014

For this post, “closet” is defined as active clothing storage. By “active”, I mean things you are now using, not gym clothes 😉

What is the root principle behind (effective) closet (or anything else) organization?

never mix things which are being used with things which are not

This is the principle behind the seasonal closet change-out and the wisdom behind not holding onto clothes which do not fit. Logically, it makes sense to store all your pants in one drawer and all your shirts in another, until you go to pick out clothes on a 90° day; then, you wish you had all your shorts and tank tops in the same drawer and the sweatshirts and long pants in another. Make sense?

Anytime you blend actionable and non-actionable things in one area, you go numb to the area.
David Allen

The basic components of everyone’s closet cleanout process:

  • What works – back into closet
  • What doesn’t – some other action

In my limited space, I am now hanging my actively-used wardrobe in my closet, and keeping off-season things stored in the dresser. Identifying and altering those items which could be more flattering is my current project.

Jun 102014

Progress report:

  • Reorganized my clothing storage. Currently-being-worn clothing hangs in my closet; off-season stuff – and gym clothes – lives in my dresser.
  • Took down my last show of the 2013–14 theater season. Still have the laundry to do, then return the stuff to the theater and I’m done.
  • 20140610-131343-47623947.jpg

  • Produced the pencil sketches for my summer wardrobe design renderings. Painting is still on the to-do list.
  • And – I can’t tell you. Yet. 😉 A new endeavor is on the horizon.

(I am well aware that the one item I am going to need to spend real $$ on is a pair of flat, metallic, leather sandals. I am open to suggestions. Find new shoes for summer for under $100 at NORDSTROM. Free shipping & returns.

So, you know how people are always saying you should pick out your clothes the night before? Well, today I stumbled on something I think will work brilliantly for me:

pick out my clothes for tomorrow and pack my gym bag when I get home from the gym.

I even picked out my unmentionables. Which is actually one of the greater complications in getting dressed.

What helpful habits are you building?

Jun 052014

Based on my schedule for the summer, this is what my pie chart looks like:
… But it isn’t that simple.

Realistically, I live in each of these categories for some portion of each and every weekday. (I am using a list method, rather than pie chart, for planning the remaining categories: business and social.) To further complicate matters, Active Leisure and Smart Casual nearly always appear in quickchange or “simultaneously both” configuration. Designing is next week!

Summer Style Survival Guide – 10 Chic Clothing Essentials at! Offer Valid 5.27 – 8.2

In the meantime, I discovered a surprise in performing this analysis: I have basically no use for sporty casual looks (as in, jeans and tee-shirt) in my lifestyle. That segment used to be my “just get dressed”; habitually, I still think that way. Borrowing a theater strategy, I am going to hang my outfits together in the closet to kick the habit of opening the drawer everyday to find separates to coordinate.

In addition to analyzing my lifestyle this week, I have been biffing through my closet in preparation for this weekend’s clothing exchange (between my peers party). If it doesn’t accurately portray my character and support my action, it has to go!

Mar 172014

What defines the minimum number of pieces in your wardrobe? And what defines the maximum? I suggest the minimum is achieved when, under the normal circumstances of your life, you always have something appropriate available to wear; something that suits your face and figure, something that fits your body and the occasion, something hanging there clean and ready to go. For the past number of years I have been hovering right around that minimum wardrobe for a number of reasons, not the least of which is my idealism.

Recently, though, I had an “aha!”, a thought which propelled me to look at the other end of wardrobe limits. Logically, available space defines maximum.

Professional organizer Marcia Ramsland, in her “Organize Your Closet Today!” (which, incidentally, is currently available for free!), specifies allowing 1 1/2 inches per hanger.

Shop now for hangers.

I personally have 45 inches of hangbar, and no plans to change anytime soon. In reality, I can comfortably accommodate one hanger per inch. So here is the formula for maximum, based on available space and assuming one garment per hanger:

inches of hanging space
1 or 1 1/2 inches

What this means to me is as I transition my wardrobe to spring, I will not be buying hangers. If something moves in, something must move out. 😉

Sep 062011

clear crystal plastic hangersWhat kind of hangers do you prefer?  Having ruined more than my share of garments by hanging them on too-wide hangers, I now only use the plastic ones with the softly shaped shoulders.  The ones you can buy for a dollar or two each.  The ones your clothes are usually hanging on in the store when you buy them.

Occasionally I will forget to ask, but stores are almost always happy to throw in the hanger with the purchase.  Last week, I bought two tank tops at the Eddie Outlet for $21.70 with tax. If the hangers had cost me $2 a piece, that is equal to almost a 20% savings!

Try it!  What do you have to lose?

Oct 042009

Updating my “what I’ve spent on clothes so far this year” page, brought me to the realization that I’m done.  I’ve spent this year’s allowance.  And then some.  From now on, if I need or choose to buy any clothes the money will have to come from somewhere else.  Like my “spending money” (which is totally fine, since I mostly shop thrift and spend not much). 

Speaking of spending out of my pocket money: when I pulled my shorts out this year, I discovered I had not much that was going to work.  Thankfully, this was the year to find lots of “short sleeved pants” for really cheap (which may mean that next year they are going to be officially “out”, but I don’t care).  Most of these I bought this year at thrift stores, with my spending money, and I bet I didn’t spend over $30 for all of them together.

imgp6293.JPGClick to view picture big enough to really see

  • top row:  grey pedal pushers, green/white mini-stripe, tan linen
  • front row:  light khaki sheeting, khaki twill, green convertible

The better part of my excuse for spending all my clothing money already lies in the fact that this year I bought a bunch of stuff that is expensive and doesn’t have to be replaced often: 


From left:  what we call “swim underwear”, the real (modest) suit, the necessary one-piece.

So far, I have packed all the swimwear into a cotton bag, which lives on the top shelf of my tiny closet and packed away my camping clothes in a cardboard box, also on the top shelf of the closet.  Currently, I am finalizing the process of making sure all my shorts, tank tops, and white short sleeve shirts are clean, prior to putting them away for the season. 

But I’d love to hear how the rest of you deal with off season clothes.  Suggestions?

Oct 162008

Speaking of shoes, since that’s been the gist of the conversation around here the past couple of days, Karen made me a skechers polyvore. The brown ones in middle, just above the silver, are serious contenders.


And Imogen sent me this picture of (part of) her necklace collection, showing us also how she stores them.  Great idea!

Tomorrow is MOPS and the beginning of our church’s fall women’s conference.  The great thing about both is:  no uniform!  I’m planning to wear my brown suede boots, that much I know.

Fall is a busy time.  What events are you looking forward to (dressing for)?

Sep 062007

Dana writes:

okay, so our new, fab house is almost complete and we’re moving in around the first weekend in October (give or take – more likely give- a week).

My closet is/will be a smallish walk-in shared with my hero. Hero has a fair amount of clothing and is one of those types who prefer not to have the hangers all smashed in together, smushing his duds.

What I am getting around to – oh so slowly – is a plea for assistance and resources for free closet planning. I know we’ll need to maximize our layout to make it work and we have high ceilings, so we can do an extra high layer of hanging stuff to make it possible to keep even the “off season” in the closet year-round…. Ideas, oh smart and hip readers of Bex super blog?


Things you might like to know when giving advice on this – the shape is square with one angled corner where the entry is – and that is a “no door” arched opening. the closet is wedged into one corner of the bathroom – I rise much earlier than the rest of the fam, so I will be able to get up, enter bath, close door to bedroom and stay there until I am ready for the day. You may not need to know that, but the idea excites me….

Thinking about Dana’s request for closet maximization and free closet planning info has run me right into a familiar dilemma: I think I need to write something resembling the many magazine and newspaper articles I have read over the years, and yet that seems so predictable. This is, after all, a blog. If we can’t exchange unexpected or off-beat ideas here, what’s the point?

So here’s more of my own thinking concerning closet organization:

resembles-my-previous-closet.jpgIn a previous home, my hero built a closet organizer something like this in a standard, American 70’s style, double sliding-door type closet (Black & Decker online plan for this one). The slick feature? Behind the shelves: a secret compartment!

my-closet.jpgBeth wondered about sweater storage, now that all my social, business, and casual clothes will be in my closet. Ideally one’s closet would feature shelves. Mine has one, so here’s my plan: I am going to fold my better sweaters, put them in shirt boxes, and stack the boxes on the one existing shelf. A stack of boxes is much tidier than a stack of sweaters!

Since Dana will be able to go into the closet and stay there until she’s ready to leave, she will want everything in there. In the picture of my closet you may be able to see that I have one of those plastic pocket things secured (by T-pins) to the back wall. It houses my unmentionables. Alternatively, my daughter stores hers on a shelf in her closet, in pretty picture boxes.

One final thought: recently I’ve been taking a fresh look at some other areas of my house and come to a conclusion. Rather than go out and buy furniture or storage equipment or simply plan a project on paper, first I am going to find a way to take my ideas for a test drive. If I want to store books along a certain wall, I may put them in boxes and move them there before buying a bookshelf; if I think I want to tear out a wall in the kitchen, I had better see if I can live without that storage first.

So, Dana, perhaps rather than starting with your new empty closet, you could measure your things the way you’d like to store them:

  1. How many feet of full-height hanging?
  2. How many feet of double height hanging?
  3. How many stacks on shelves?
  4. How do you like to store your shoes? Many people recommend boxed.
  5. What else do you need in there? Accessories, unmentionables, a chair?

I hope that’s helpful. And readers, please, give us your best closet planning tips.