i promise. this is the VERY last time i forget to take a before photo.

because the before in this situation was positively shameful.

our downstairs closet has always been called the “art closet” because instead of hanging coats (which we never really need) we always stored our basic kid art supplies inside, along with their school stuff. (backpacks, etc) in various forms, such as a rolling plastic cart or an ill fitting bookshelf. the results were always a complete disaster. kids papers and backpacks and musical instruments thrown haphazardly inside, peeking out the bottom of the door even when it was shut. it drove me a little more insane each day. but, i let it sit like that for almost four years. so you can imagine how insane i really am.

i got the idea in mind to add more shelving about six months ago, and i finally had a chance to hire someone to do it two weeks ago. once the shelves were put up, the walls looked a hot mess. i realized i would have to paint the inside of the closet.

sidenote: ever since we moved here, i have wanted to paint my laundry closet a shocking, fun color, just to have a little happy surprise when i opened the doors. but i havent ever actually done that. i am too scared to move my machines. they were really hard to get in there, and even just thinking about moving them makes me feel anxiety ridden.

so, to satisfy my whole “shocking, fun color in a closet” desire, i purchased hot pink paint for the art closet.
(lowe’s : rasberry blush)

i also scurried about finding baskets and jars (target & at home) to hold all of their art supplies.

i also bought the kids all NEW art supplies. new crayons, colored pencils, markers. glue sticks, tempura paints, watercolor paper. puff balls, googly eyes, pipe cleaners. paint brushes, pencils, erasers. totally stocked them up. they needed it. we havent updated our stuff since the beginning of the the previous school year, so i didnt feel wasteful getting rid of some of the old stuff. also, after reading and being really, really inspired by this book, The Creative Family, by Amanda Blake Soule, i wanted to do as she suggested and give them good quality art supplies to create with.

i started sunday morning at 10:30, when jeff left for the gym. the kiddos were all happily occupied with club penguin (internet game) and el dorado (our favorite cartoon movie). we were all in our jammies.

they each came downstairs every so often to see what i was up to, and help. help sort things into jars. help toss out trash and recycle out the paper and plastic from the new supplies’ packaging. help fill up the shelves once i was finished painting. anna begged to help me paint, but i just couldnt quite hand it over to her, i had no tape or anything else protecting the floors, baseboards, or shelves. (but i promised her that the next painting project she could have at it. and she made me promise whatever it was, it would be pink.)

jeff came home while i was only about 1/2 way through painting. he passed and said, “pink, tara?! pink?!” and i looked at him with the eyes that mean “praise me now or lose me forever!!” and so he said, “but i like it!” and i said, “its a CLOSET man. A CLOSET. chillax!”

we finished at 4:30. we did have some breaks for lunch time and other stuff (fights, consequences, computer support), so all in all, it took me about five hours to finish. we were still in our jammies.

and here it is, in all of its care bear splendor. (thanks lisa.) :)




that green basket on the floor holds our oilcloth tablecloths that protect the table and floor from artsy messes. i bought them from a sweet woman in mexico who sells oilcloth purses out of her house and hangs them from her fence so driversby can purchase. i knocked on her front door praying she spoke at least some english so she could understand what i wanted. and she did. and she made me two in three hours, while we hung out in rosarito beach.

so if you are still reading, thank you. for some reason i really wanted to write about my process. i feel like i accomplished something huge, that has been on my to do list forever. so i feel really great today.

when i first started my blog, i did this thing called One Project A Week. (OPAW) i think once a week will be too much for me, so i am going to do one project a month. (OPAM) anyone want to join me? im going to call this project my april OPAM. and my project for may is going to be to fill the 9 20×20 frames you can barely see in the top photo with the last 7 images it needs. once i do that, i will take a photo. i could post my before on may 1st, and my after on the last day of may. you all could post on your blogs too, and link in the comments here. wouldnt that be fun? we could all goad each other into finishing.

(and guess what, i already took that before picture).

Join the Conversation


  1. What a great idea… I love it.. now let me see if i can follow thru. one a month doesn’t seem too difficult.. humm i say that now! hahaha love the closet tara.. and the pink rocks!!

  2. i L-O-V-E love this idea…i remember the project a week & thinking ‘i shuld do that’ but never doing it…this is can handle:)…thanks!…now i have to narrow it down…ps the creative family totally inspired me too (how could it not?) & i got rid of lots of stuff, making our living room a fun place for my kiddos to use their imagination..& that’s always a good thing:)

  3. Ok, that closet seriously rocks (as my dd would say). You have totally inspired me – I have a closet that is currently storing games, but could very easily be converted to something like this. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  4. Oh my, I love this so much!! Great colour! It makes me look forward to when my little one is old enough to do artsy things (at the same time I’m having a hard time with her growing up already). As a former child care worker, I LOVE that stuff. I’m playing along with the OPAM. I already have my May project worked out- painting and hanging nine photo frames on the wall. I’m obsessed with fixing up/decorating my house atm, so this is great timing!

  5. I LOVE IT!!!!!!! It makes me feel happy just looking at it! I never thought of painting a closet or something like that (you know – a space that you and your family are likely the only ones to ever see). But now that I think of it – that makes it all the more special! I really think it’s a fantastic idea and might have to make McGiver replicate something like it in our home so I have my own little piece of happiness too! I also got a huge kick out of the Shrek car shadow! Sammie and Kailey burst out laughing when they figured out the resemblence! Only Mckenna could bring Shrek to life out of a car shadow! That’s why we love her so much!

  6. I won’t know how to act when I open the door…..It is so organized.And I LOVE the color!! Great job… I am so proud of you and your OPAM (Love the name….wonder why??)

    I am MORE proud of how you relish in the moment…soaking in the clamoring of feet on the stairs and a smiling Husband I know you adore. Of how you can make us squirm,cry and smile and remind us of what’s important. Much more important than organized closets…..It’s the moments. Those moments that keep us sane when….

    1. The kids don’t do their Homework
    2. You have to pick up yet another pair of underwear off the floor
    3. They fight in the car all the way to your vacation destination
    4. Jeff wants another back rub…..again

    Somewhere along the way they become teens….(Jeff remains forever young)
    1. The kids still don’t do their homework because now they are on the cell phone or on My Space.
    2. Your still picking up underwear but now some of the pairs look more like a piece of string (I can’t wait to hear Jeff say My daughter is wearing what??)
    3 They still fight….alot. But just not in the car. Because now they don’t even want to be seen with you let alone go on vacation with you.
    4.Jeff will still want his back rubs. But it will be Ok. Because he told me not to long ago that he could not imagine being married to anyone else…. And you tell me he is your best friend,lover,and no one else can make you laugh like he can…

    So continue to relish the moments. Savor each and every one because the moments become memories in what seems like a blink of an eye…..And you are my constant reminder that even though a beautifully organized pink closet, clean floors or folded laundry gives us (Me)a SENSE of accomplishment. It is not what makes us accomplished being’s……

    Why is it so hard to remember to “stop and smell the roses”????

    love you

  7. I definitely thought this was going to end with shelves falling or something bad! So glad it was a happy ending!! AND, I am totally in love with the shocking pink! I wish my husband would let me get away with something like that, but in all reality, our home isn’t the cool artsy home I wish it could be. haha And I have just added “chillax” to my vocabulary…THAT is a great word!!!!

  8. Long time lurker, first comment… the closet is flat out amazing!! I’ve been toying with that same idea for my kitchen cabinets for a while, but I keep chickening out. You’ve inspired me to get off my butt and just do it! And I’m totally in with OPAM… the only question is, what to tackle first?? :)

  9. WOW! I love your closet!!! way to go! I am totally in OPAM. My DD is four now and can help. We are reading the Creative Family now and are super inspired(thanks EF for posting it on her blog).Our fam super loves all the pics,you are one talented girl :)

  10. first time posting, but i totally love you.. im sure you get it all the time. in my life, i try to emulate your pictures and photography and creativity.. i know. i’m weird. i absolutely LOVE the closet. L.O.V.E. it.. anyways. thats all.. thanks

  11. I’m also going to do a portion of the walls with black chalkboard paint – thanks to inspiration from you,Tara! My husband refuses to do the kitchen cabinets that way, so I’m going to have an area in the studio near a big window where kids can create their own “backdrop!” I’m so excited!

  12. Oops – posted the first part of that in another section – I’m talking about the new studio I’m moving into – in TWO WEEKS! My current landlord’s untreated and severe mental illness led to an early termination of my lease (by me) – so I’m planning to move in on May 15 instead of June 15. And I have a huge family sitting on May 17. AAaaahhh.

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