Keepin’ It Real (The Ugly Truth)

Last Updated on December 24, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

I periodically get emails from people asking me, “Kristi, how do you keep your tools organized in such a tiny home?

Those questions make me laugh.  The answer?  I don’t.

In fact, over the last couple of months, our extra bedroom, where I generally store those tools, has gone from bad, to worse, to the absolute worst imaginable.  At one time, this room did have some semblance of disorganized organization.  In other words, it was disorganized, but somehow I could still find things.

But lately, in my rush to get through projects, I’ve just been shoving  and piling things in that room, with absolutely no thought to organization whatsoever.

I’ll show you what it looked like before I started cleaning it out.  Are you ready?  Please don’t judge me.  🙂  (And please forgive the awful iPhone pic.)

bedroom storage - before

Isn’t that crazy?!  I couldn’t find tools in there if I wanted to!

This mess had become such a weight on my shoulders, but tackling the mess was overwhelming.  But yesterday, I knew I had to dive in.  My projects are taking way longer than they should simply because I can never find the tools I need.  I’ve got to get this under control before I can continue working, so that I can actually get my projects done in a reasonable amount of time.

I took out probably four or five bags of trash and boxes filled with junk, and still had this pile left when I decided to quit for the day…

bedroom storage - junk and trash

That’s a lot of junk, and I’m not even half way through!  But at least I could see the floor when I finished for the day…

bedroom storage - progress

You like how I never even finished painting the walls in that room?  *Sigh*  So much to do!

So I’ve got one more day of work on this…hopefully.  I’m putting everything into a big pile that needs to go to storage (the ugly loveseat and everything on top of it), and my neighbors are going to help me move everything tomorrow.  I need my own truck so bad!

It’s going to feel like such a heavy weight off my shoulders when this is done!  And this place is going to feel HUGE with all of this junk gone!!!

I better get busy.  Time is running out!!

So have you had any out-of-control rooms like this?  A garage that you can no longer park your car in?  A storage closet that you’re afraid to open?

Come on…fess up!  I know I’m not the only one!  😉

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Melissa @TheHappierHomemaker
    May 14, 2013 at 11:20 am

    My husband is literally the most organized person in the world (might be an Army guy thing) but I have one hall closet upstairs that he would freak out if he opened the door-I keep my wrapping paper in there so he doesn’t go in it but I’ve been tossing things in there for a year and desperately need to clean it out now. Thanks for the motivation not to put it off!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 14, 2013 at 11:23 am

    You’re not the only one!! The room I sit in right now is such a mess. Three kids and their art supplies seem to always keep it that way, but I can’t blame it all on them either. One day I will tackle it…like when we get ready to sell probably!! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 14, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Yep- we have an tiny extra bedroom that had gotten out of control. But right now it’s actually normal – we are finishing painting our entire interior if it kills us-tomorrow and Thursday (our house is only 1000sqft, minus our bedroom which was already painted) We’ve already passed our end of April havin’ it on the market deadline. 🙁 Now we are aiming for end of May. 🙂 Once we paint- the house will be ready to start bringing in agents for market analysis…

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    [email protected]
    May 14, 2013 at 11:34 am

    My garage is like that. I used to wonder why people would park their vehicles in the driveway instead of the garage. Now I know why:) The top of my fridge is also a bit of a collect-all for small tools as we use them. At any given time, you can find a measuring tape and staple gun.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sharon B.
    May 14, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Kristi, I can so relate. It is at its worst during home projects (which is much of the time) and it takes us a long time sometimes to complete projects. Our garage is much like this. I

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 14, 2013 at 11:57 am

    THANK YOU for posting this, it’s refreshing:) 2 years ago we rented out our 1100 sq ft house with no garage and one tiny shed, and bought a 2400 sq ft house with a three car garage. I was so looking forward to all of the SPACE! um… we now have a THREE CAR GARAGE WE CAN’T PARK IN. Ugh. My husband is a licensed contractor and has lots of tools, plus is unorganized, and we just have too much stuff and projects going on. We also have one closet that looks like an episode of hoarders, but besides that everything is pretty organized. Hoping to get both those things under control soon, it’s just depressing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    My “used-to-be-craft-room but soon-to-be-kid’s-room” is just like that. I need to empty it out to paint and decorate so I can move son #1 out of the “nursery” before son #2 arrives.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jeana B
    May 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    The garage was terrible…and it was all my fault. My very patient husband said that of all the spaces in the house, he would like to have this one. That meant a huge clean out for me. I wish I could post a few pictures. The make over was epic. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I try to tell my husband I’m not the only one thanks for showing this

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Nancy Settel
    May 14, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    oh Kristi we just moved from a 3 story large home into our small one story beach house that is tiny (a shelf in the attic for extra storage of food? yep doesn’t everyone keep extra jars of peanut butter in their attic). It was a nightmare move but we are so getting used to smaller space. Wish I lived close and would come and help you move. You have given me such wonderful ideas feel like it would be a good payback helping you move to the storage area and help you get your work and painting done on this condo. Nancy Settel

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Karen Jorgenson
    May 14, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I totally understand the mess created when you’re in the middle of projects. My studio is a mess right now, but I’m cleaning it tomorrow. It’s always a great feeling when I get it all clean. I always run across something that I forgot I had, which leads me to believe I have too much stuff……..which might be true.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Nana on the go
    May 14, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I would love to come and help you also. Not that I don’t have my stash places cuz’ I do but it so
    much fun to help someone else and the reward is the great feeling when it is done. You are an awesome lady and we all want to lighten your load. Hugs to you~

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 14, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Omg..now I don’t feel so bad, lol.. I have a craft room & a garage that looks like this with the antiques & junk I have been collecting for a long time.. my problem is that I see something I MUST have & have an amazing plan for it, then bring it home.. nowhere to work on it so it goes in the pile! sheesh.. my poor convertible mustang! I NEED to get her back in the garage! lol
    Even my family is threatening to call me the “H” word! Shut your mouth I say! Its not that bad…yet,lol.
    Thanks for posting this because I think there are waaaay more people out there like us that think they are alone. It’s inspiring to see someone get through the pile & get to work 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    The reason my basement is like that is that it doesn’t look any worse if I plop stuff down anywhere because it is already a disaster. So why not, right? Ugh!! It’s like graffiti attracts crime.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Kristi, I hope you don’t mind a very nosy question: Why are you going to store the “ugly loveseat”? Do you have plans to make it over? Or it’s hubby’s favorite? Or something else? 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Teralyn Byrd
    May 14, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Sigh. {hides head} it’s my master bedroom.
    I went out of town a month or so ago and I had to get the guest room clean so everything from there and the rest of the house went behind a locked bedroom door.
    I’ve starting painting the baseboards of the guest room so the bed is in the living room and that’s where I sleep. 8-(

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Dang, darlin’! I can see your problem immediately ! You have NO shelving units of ANY kind in there to put your stuff ! You have only ONE surface to put anything down on . . . the FLOOR ! No wonder you can’t get organized in there ! A couple of metal storage racks (either new or used) would be hugely invaluable to you . . . and when you get to your new house eventually, they can be used in the garage/storage area THERE !

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tara @ Suburble
    May 15, 2013 at 12:43 am

    I have a room that looks exactly like that! It’s on my “tackle right away” list, and yet, I keep on ignoring it! Good for you for starting the great purge! It’s something I need to do, ASAP.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    tammy hebert
    May 15, 2013 at 6:36 am

    I feel you on that. It is so easy to just throw it all in a room and forget it. Until the room takes over your life. I have had to go through the same thing – the house is now listed for rent before we move to Texas. And I had to go through everything before the pro photographer came for pics. It was amazing the stuff I had stashed everywhere. But was more sad was that it had been stashed there for over 7 years and never used. My trash for weeks was immense.
    You will feel so free once it is all gone- then you can twirl in happiness in that room 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 15, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Kristie, you recently helped me with a decision on my pinch pleat drape s project (thanks). I am really held up by the mess in the spare bedroom the sewing machine is located in. You have inspired me to go up there with some boxes and at least contain it. I have a problem with “memorabilia” papers, special notes from people that you want to keep forever, photos, clippings about family members. I have let it pile up. We have moved 3 times and each time the movers box it up and I never open it. So at least I’ll box up this latest layer so that I can get to my grandmother’s 1970’s Kenmore machine and figure out how to do a hemstitch!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sabina claus
    May 15, 2013 at 9:21 am

    my garage….i can not park a car because i have Christmas, my daughters “future apartment” boxes, tools, furniture and lawn chairs….

    My daughters graduation is in 1 week and we will need the garage to hold the party so i guess i know what i’m doing this weekend!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Traci (@beneathmyheart)
    May 15, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Thank you for sharing that. I feel so much better! I swear, I have had a room like that in every home! It’s impossible not to when you are a DIYer. Slowly but surely, you will get it all out and clean.
    I feel your pain. 🙂


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    We all have rooms/basements of horror so you’re not alone. I’m sure it will be great to have the stuff moved to storage and other stuff in the trash. More room to finish your living and bedrooms.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 16, 2013 at 12:37 am

    I recently took on our guest room/craft room. It’s not done, but it was a “closed door” room before and now it’s something I’m not afraid to let people see. 🙂
    I have a blog post about it here:

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Last year our home was destroyed by a tornado. I hate to say it, but that was probably the only way I was going to get my craft room cleaned out. Now that we’re in a new home, I’m taking great pains to keep everything neat and organized. It’s so clean I’m almost afraid to look through things and mess it up! Enjoy a little bit of creative chaos, just keep it manageable.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 9, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Kristi, thank you soooo much for posting the ugly truth! Truth be told, we ALL have areas like that. My problem (or blessing?) is that I work on so many types of crafts at once — woodworking, refinishing furniture, repurposing everything from old tables to lamps and beyond, decoupage, framing, building furniture and storage, sewing, restoring old santas, etc, etc. I am currently trying to set up my basement for woodworking/carpentry — what a chore. Does anyone have any storage, decorating ideas for so many crafts???