Problem Spaces Episode #3 Recap: “Organizing Chaos”

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Have you ever driven home and pulled into your garage only to realize you don’t remember part of the drive? It’s almost like you got so caught up in your thoughts about the day your brain goes into autopilot.  

I’m convinced that happens in the home, too. You’ll clean, organize, and decorate, but at some point, life happens. You go on autopilot. However, as you’re on autopilot, your family grows, your needs change, and the spaces in your home often stop functioning as you need them to. Maybe they never worked how you needed them to and were too busy to notice. It’s not until you finally get the chance to pause and look around that you realize you’ve got a problem space. 

That’s what we tackled in this episode of Problem Spaces. With a chaotic bathroom space for a client and my own home office spiraling out of control, my goals this week were bathroom closet organization and home office storage. If you’re looking to tackle a problem space and wondering how to organize a cluttered room, read on (or watch!) to see how I tackled organizing chaos with some easy storage solutions.  

From Chaos to Tranquility: Meet Samira!  

Have you ever walked into a home with a design that made you wonder, “What on earth were the contractors thinking here?” That’s what happened when I walked into Samira’s bathroom. 

Samira is the mom of twin daughters who just turned 12. And while she’s super proud of her DIY work around her home, she’s admitted defeat with her primary closet. Not only did it have interesting angles (the rack in her closet was basically on a ski slope!), but the staircase going up to the second floor also jutted straight into her closet.  

Moreover, the closet didn’t have a door, leaving it unprotected from the elements of her bathroom. It felt less like a closet and more of a random, cluttered space in her bathroom.  

Honestly, this space quickly hit the top 3 of the most awkward spaces I’d ever worked on. With young daughters, Samira wanted everyone to be able to get dressed together in the morning. 

With my sketchbook in hand, there were some bathroom storage closet ideas I was excited to bring to life so Samira and her girls could get the room transformation they deserved.  

The Solution 

Many people use everyday items from Amazon or their local Home Depot to complete a standard bathroom closet organization job. But the key word there is “standard,” which wouldn’t cut it for a space like Samira’s. I knew Samira would need a lot of custom cabinetry, so I passed my designs to my go-to custom builder, Carlos.  

I envisioned a central built-in unit with drawers at the bottom and shelves on top with hanging areas on either side to fix the sloped rack. We included custom built-in shelves on the other side of the closet to accommodate the awkward interjecting staircase. 

Finally, I placed a floor-length mirror beside the shelves with a hidden storage unit to add more storage space. I also added a custom vanity on wheels so Samira and her girls could move it around to fit their needs.  

As for design and decor, aka my favorite part, we added closet doors with natural cane material at the top and a beautifully painted lavender gray at the bottom to bring the illusion of a more natural and lighter space.  

I aimed to transform this space into somewhere Samira could go for a spa-like feel. We accomplished it by using natural colors and woven textures for decor accents! On a $6300 budget, we turned an overwhelming space into a bright and positive one that reflected Samira and her girls.  

From DIY to Custom: Meet My Family!  

Even if you move into a home with no weird angles or challenging square footage, I’m convinced that problem spaces will manifest over time. Sometimes, it’s because of the house, but sometimes, it’s just because that’s life.  

When my husband and I first moved into our home, for example, we tackled our home office with a DIY that, at the time, felt perfect. But after having our second baby, things have changed. Although I was busy with many work projects, I finally had time to come off autopilot and face the facts: our office was a mess, and it was no longer working for us.  

My husband, Hassaan, and I have different needs. He plays VR games and needs a huge space for his hobbies and work. Meanwhile, I need desk space to get out my ideas and organize my projects. The kids also come in to play or hang out with us, so we all needed our dedicated areas. It was time to start organizing chaos

The Solution 

Leaning on Carlos again, I designed an entire wall of built-ins accompanied by two long towers on either side, which gave us some much-needed home office storage. Because of that, I could remove a bookcase behind the desk that had just become a clutter of odds and ends.  

With that bookcase gone, I brought in a chest of drawers that I found while thrifting and made some creative adjustments. By hollowing it out from the backside, I added a worktable that Hassaan could pull out whenever he was working on his designs, and I could have the timeless look I love! 

Once the custom work was complete, the decorating began. My style is mixing old and new, so I used a vintage-inspired rug with modern cabinetry and some mix-and-match hardware to add interest to the room. My favorite part is that by mixing some of our old books and personal treasures into the decor, I was able to add a really intimate and personal touch to the space!  

I exceeded our $10K budget by a couple of thousand, but I couldn’t be happier. With a fresh and lighter coat of paint, crown molding, and other additions, everything looks amazing.    

Let the Chaos Inspire Your Creativity! 

With school, work, and every event in between, it can be easy to turn on autopilot and navigate the chaos. But your house is meant to be your home—the space that encourages you to relax and decompress.  

If it’s not doing that, it’s time to begin organizing chaos! Use some of the easy storage solutions shared throughout this episode, but like me, don’t hesitate to get creative! Your creativity is your strongest asset when tackling a problem space.  

Similar to the moving vanity for Samira or the hidden workspace for Hassan, have fun thinking outside the box to make a space more functional. Turn a piece of furniture into so much more and watch the chaos turn into calm.  

Want more creative ideas on easy storage solutions? Follow me on Instagram, or check out my previous blog posts for more ideas! 

This post contains affiliate links to products that I used or recommend. If you purchase something through an affiliate link, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. I really appreciate your support!
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