Elegant Mayhem | How to Simplify Your Life in an Afternoon
Elegant Mayhem blog, Lee Prince, Leland Prince, home lifestyle inspiration
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How to Simplify Your Life in an Afternoon

This is the blog post my husband has been dreading. It’s the one that puts a spotlight on a certain person’s hoarding of travel size toiletries from his frequent business travel…and a compulsion to use every CVS coupon available to mankind. For this, folks, was my linen/medicine closet last week….

In my haste to dismantle the “old” closet, I took everything out very quickly without taking a full proper “Before” shot — so you’ll have to picture the closet above jammed in with all the stuff below….and sadly much more out of frame!

As a devotee of Real Simple and a card-carrying rewards member of The Container Store, I was just as guilty of over-buying baskets and organizers as my husband was of CVS items.  I attempted to corral the several thousand bottles of hair products & cough medicine & sports bandages into good-looking bins and vessels of all kinds: wicker, wire, French-fabric lined baskets, you name it.  I thought if it “looked” organized & pretty, it would work….

BUT the problem was a) there was just too much stuff! & b) the baskets became an impediment themselves, as you had to root around in each to find whatever you needed…


Of course I couldn’t “see” this myself — it was my 18-year old daughter Avery who came to the rescue & suggested we just line up the products & reach into the closet to grab them as needed. Lose the baskets??!!  My huge collection of outstanding boxes & bins??!!  It sounded like organizing heresy, but guess what – she was 100% right & it totally works.

Thankfully Avery is a mini-me in the labeling department & got busy sorting them all according by category….

And oh yeah, I had the closet wallpapered in this great Brunschwig paper. It was a bit pricey so I only did the back wall (took 1 roll) and had the sides of the closet painted fresh white.

The sheet-folding below may not be Martha Stewart-level but I don’t care — they’re clean & ready to go!

I must say the big candy jars below repurposed for travel toiletries is a brilliant move to stop a hoarder in his tracks:)  When the jar is full, it gives my favorite traveler a pretty obvious sign we don’t need any more…

The whole process took only a couple hours for sorting + a couple hours for painting/papering. But it’s already paying dividends in family harmony — finding a thermometer when you need it? for the first time in years, that’s a YES.  Hair styling emergency (my girls, not me)?? This closet has you covered with its own Hair Gel Department.  Allergy season? Why in fact, we have a lifetime supply of saline & anti-histamines — come right in.


This little closet may not be as super-styled as the ones on Pinterest, but I guarantee you this one WORKS. Try it & let me know what you think! I’d be happy to post your results on the blog if you’re game.  Email me at Lee@LeePrince.com


And thank you, Avery, for the inspiration & effort!

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