{planning} What Got Done in 2015, What Didn't, and What's On the List for 2016

Monday, January 4, 2016

By now you probably know that I'm a big list maker. Not only do lists help me remember what I want/need to get done, there is also something so satisfying about checking items off a list! In fact, when I finish a task that's not on my list, I've been known to add it to the list just so I can check it off.

Early in January of 2015, I shared a very ambitious list of projects I wanted to tackle during the year. Not surprisingly, I didn't come close to crossing off each item, but I also accomplished some pretty major projects that weren't on the list, so all in all, I would call 2015 a big success. Each success, however, comes with the reality of projects left unfinished and spaces worse off than they were a year ago. And since I promised to give you a full report of how we did, get ready for pictures of the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Of course, I've also re-prioritized and updated the list with a few new projects I aim to take on in the new year, so I'll be sharing my 2016 list as well!


Decorating Projects & Updates
  • Sewing Room{ish} - This one was a MAJOR MISS! I had a goal to turn the unused armoire in our bedroom into a mini sewing "room" by March {the one year anniversary of receiving a sewing machine as a birthday gift}. I got as far as buying the hardware I needed for this project, but then it just kept getting bumped down the list and no real progress has been made. I did, however, round up some great small sewing and craft space inspiration - so check that out if you have a similar project on your list!

  • Playroom - BIG SUCCESS! We turned the long, thin space under our basement stairs into a rock & roll themed playroom for our two young boys that they now fondly refer to as their "studio." The studio is complete with a gallery/storage wall, a magnetic wall with a ping pong wall coaster, a cozy reading spot, a music collage wall, and lots of cool lighting! This room attracted a lot of high profile attention, and Good Housekeeping even dubbed me the "world's coolest mom." But more importantly, the boys LOVE it and we all spend lots of time enjoying the space!

  • Guest Bedroom Updates - GOT STARTED! After designing a "big boy" room for Beckett in 2014 {in what used to be our workout room}, our elliptical machine had to be relocated to our honeymoon inspired guest bedroom. Since the guest room is now serving a dual purpose, I have been intending to make the new workout corner blend better the design of the room. I didn't get this project finished, but I did find a room divider after much searching, so I'm going to call this one a partial success since I did make a little progress.
  • Master Bathroom Updates - NOT YET. Since our master bedroom got a full makeover in the fall of 2014, I had hoped to give the master bathroom similar treatment in 2015. The bathroom is big on space and has good finishes, but it's lacking in style. I have a lot of plans to bring it up to the new standard set by the bedroom, but this project got bumped down the list when we decided to reallocate the time and budget to a couple of other projects. Here's how the bathroom looks now {pretty much the same as this time last year}:
  • Basement Updates - A WORK IN PROGRESS. Despite looking pretty complete, {I totally owe you a basement tour}, I have a long list of decorating and DIY projects that I want to complete in our basement family room! A couple of little projects got done in 2015, but the majority of these projects are getting rolled forward onto my 2016 list.
  • Den Updates - It went from ok to HOT MESS! The basement bedroom that we use as a home office is the one space in our home that just doesn't feel like us. I was hoping to address this in 2015 by giving the space a bit of a makeover... but things went downhill fast! When we cleared out the under stair storage area to turn it into the boys' new playroom, all the Christmas decor and junk that came out from under the stairs wound up smack in the middle of the guest room. And there it remains ... get ready for the to see the hot mess!

Organizing Projects
  • Garage - HUGE FAIL! My number one priority for 2015 was reclaiming our garage and I'm sad to report that we made no progress on that front! I promised to show you the good, the bad, AND the ugly, so here comes some major ugly! Don't be deceived by the appearance of organization on the shelves to the left... we can't currently get to them without climbing over piles of cr@p, so the organization that once existed is not doing us any good!

  • 1st Floor Hall Closet - A WORK IN PROGRESS. I did make some good progress in this space, but I just didn't make it enough of a priority to get it completely finished. But it's well on it's way and I hope to be able to share it with you before too long!
  • Master Bathroom - HALF WAY THERE! I haven't yet reorganized under our sinks, but I did accomplish one organizing project in the master bathroom that has really improved our use of the space. We installed a rail and basket system on the back of the door in our master bathroom closet that now holds all of our "extras." Now we'll never run out of the essentials, like shampoo, deodorant, and contact solution! {I'll share more details of this project soon.}

  • 3rd Floor Hall Closet - GOT A GOOD START. We are fortunate to have a closet in the hall outside of our master bedroom. My original organization plan for this closet served us well the last six years, but it's ready for an overhaul. While I didn't manage to get this closet completely reorganized yet, I did free up a lot of space by relocating most of our bathroom extras to the back of door system pictured above!
  • Guest Room Closet - I'm calling this one 75% COMPLETE. I've been working hard to make the very most of the walk-in closet in our guest room. One side of the closet now houses my uber pretty and organized gift wrap supplies! The other side of the closet has been pretty well cleared out and sorted, and as soon as we get the new shelves installed, I'll be able to get the rest of the closet organized!

  • Kids Toy Closet in Basement - SUCCESS! After Christmas last year, I felt overwhelmed by all the new toys and knew that I needed to create a better system for storing and organizing the boys' toys and games! I took a small closet in our basement and converted it into organized toy storage, and it's made playtime more fun, and clean up less stressful! Of course, now we have a whole slew of new toys from this Christmas that I have to somehow fit into this closet, but at least I have a system in place! I'll be sharing all of my best toy storage and organization tips soon, but in the mean time, you can read about my method for cleaning up any toy mess in just five minutes!

  • Den Closet - NOT YET. The closet in our den is where I store all of my art and craft supplies. It had a great organizational system years ago, but that system has slowly become overwhelmed as my craft supplies keep multiplying. Honestly, the closet doesn't really look any worse now than a year ago, but that's because - thanks to the hot mess in the middle of the room that I showed you above - I can barely even walk to the closet in the den. Instead, my craft supplies have been piling up around the desk. This is definitely a project that needs to be addressed in 2016!
  • Digital Photos - UGH! After consolidating the files from three computers onto one, I'm in serious need of reorganizing our digital photos. Sadly I didn't get this accomplished in 2015, but thanks to my awesome husband we have a new auto-backup system in place, so at least I can rest easy knowing none of those precious photos will be lost!
  • Coat Closet - HAPPENING NOW! I am thrilled to report that this project is well under way! Within the month, I'll have a completely made over coat closet that will function so much better for our family of four! I'll be sharing all the details in several blog posts, starting this Wednesday! Here's the very messy before ... be sure to check back in for the plans and the afters!


This is the fun part... where I get to add things to my list just so I can cross them off! These are the major projects I accomplished in 2015 that weren't even on the list!

  • Backyard Expansion - I mentioned that several projects above didn't get completed because we reallocated the budget...and this is largely where all those funds went. We been planning a major backyard project for quite some time, and this spring we decided to go for it! If you are interested, you can read all about the evolution of our backyard, with the photos of the completed space. I even shared a detailed tutorial about how to hang string lights, in case that's on your project list!

  • Laundry Room Makeover - I'd been wanting to give our laundry room a new look and an organizational overhaul for some time, and after dreaming up the perfect plan {which included gorgeous white brick removable wallpaper, new cabinets, and a fun new light}, I ended up bumping this project up on our list and completing it this fall! If you want to see/read more, check out the laundry room reveal post with all the pretty pictures of the new light and bright space, and then get my best laundry room organizational tips!

  • Linen Closet Makeover - Since the laundry closet is open to the adjacent linen closet, the linen closet also got a major makeover. Now it's not only a whole lot prettier, it's also a whole lot more organized and functional! I'll be posting my linen closet organization tips in the next couple of weeks, so be sure to check that out if you have a linen closet that could use some help!

  • Client Master Bedroom Makeover - 2015 was a very exciting year for me professionally, because I had the opportunity to work on some very fun client projects! Early in the year, I completed a master bedroom makeover. The most exciting part of this project was seeing what a major transformation we accomplished without the changing any of the furniture or the layout of the room!

  • Client Condo Flip - I also had the amazing opportunity to help a client flip a condo in a historic, mid-century building. I haven't yet had the chance to post the before and after photos of this project, but I'll will definitely be sharing the details of this project soon! In the meantime, here's a little peek at the finished project...

  • Blog Related Accomplishments
    • I can hardly believe this myself, but in 2015 I grew the page views of this blog by 400%!!! I honestly didn't set any specific goals for growing the blog in 2015, but if I had, those goals would have been blown out of the water. I could have never imagined where to blog would be at year end! And that, of course, is thanks to YOU!
    • I was invited to be a guest speaker at the Denver Home Show in March, where I presented my best organizing tips on a stage that I shared with HGTV's Matt Muenster.

    • I was also a guest speaker at my local IKEA in June, again on the topic of organizing! If you love IKEA as much as I do, you'll want to check out the post with my best IKEA organizing hacks!
    • In August, I traveled to NYC for a series of events, including the HGTV Blogger Block party, a jaw-dropping interior design trade show, and the grand opening of the first Manhattan World Market store, where I met Kelly Osbourne. 

    • Lots of exciting features across numerous online publications, including having both my boys' playroom and my laundry room highlighted by Huff Post!
  • On the personal side... Cooper turned 2 in May and I seriously want him to stay this age forever because he is so sweet and hilarious! Scott and I celebrated our 8th anniversary in July, and we managed a couple of getaways without the kids, including a weekend in NYC packed with theater, art, and so much food, as well time spent in Breckenridge, our favorite mountain town. And just last week, on New Year's Eve, Beckett turned 4! I can't get over how quickly he is growing up! He's the most thoughtful and precocious thing, and he cracks me up daily! 

Now let's talk plans for 2016! Despite not coming close to completing last year's list, I'm dreaming big once again. I am setting lots of goals that span each area of my life, from personal and family to this blog, but for purposes of this list, I'll limit it to decorating and organizing projects:
  • Carry Overs from 2015 - Each of the items that I didn't accomplish in 2015 are carrying forward on my list, including:
    • Creating a sewing station
    • Completing the workout corner of our guest room
    • Some updates and organization in our master bathroom
    • Finishing some decorating projects in our basement
    • Reclaiming and reorganizing our home office
    • Getting the garage under control 
    • Finishing what I started in our 1st floor and 3rd floor hall closets; and 
    • Wrapping up my guest room closet organizing project.
  • Coat Closet Organization - As I mentioned above, this project is currently underway! Once the new closet system is installed, I look forward to getting this space organized and pretty!
  • Create a Seasonal Prop Closet - Rather than storing all of our holiday decor in the garage, I'm hoping to turn our second floor hall closet into a prop closet of sorts. I'd like to organize and store the majority of our seasonal decor in this closet for easier access and quicker transitions from one holiday and season to the next.
  • Dress Up Closet Organization - While the boys' toys are now well organized in our basement closet, I need to do a better job of organizing their collection of dress up clothes and accessories.
  • Stop the Piles of Shoes - We have a problem with shoes piling up on near the front and back door, and then ending up on the floor of the coat closet. Once the new coat closet system is installed, there won't be room on the floor for the shoes {which is intentional}, but I need to create a better system for storing shoes on the main floor or for ensuring they make it back upstairs.
  • Car Organization - Life with kids means the car is full of so much stuff, all the time! When spring rolls, I want to spend some time not only getting the car super, duper clean, but also coming up with some maintainable organizing systems for both my car and Scott's.
Once again it's a long list...and it's on top of all of the craft and DIY projects that keep my mind spinning. I have high hopes for what I can accomplish in 2016, but I'll also be focusing on creating balance and enjoying lots of time with family and friends!

What projects are at the top on your list for 2016?


  1. Angela, your goals are ambitious for a couple with no kids and only one person working outside the home! I am continually blown away with all you accomplish and the flair with which you accomplish it!!! Looking forward to a great ride in 2016!

    1. Thanks so much, always, for your kind comments! I have no doubt that I won't get done everything on the list... but it helps keep me going to see those goals written down :)


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