An Update: The 4 Big Organizing Projects I Wanted to Tackle in 2018

I wanted to tackle four major organizing projects in 2018– an office, a mudroom, a garage, and a basement. Come see where I succeeded and where I failed!

Did We Get These Spaces Organized in 2018?

I know it’s cliche to say, but I truly do feel like 2018 absolutely flew by. I started out the year with the ambitious goal of completing four major organizing projects around our house, and then I blinked, and suddenly here we are in December!

So did I complete my organizing projects? Did I not complete my organizing projects?

Well, it’s a little bit of both. 

Today I thought I’d take a look back and show you what we finished, what we didn’t, and where we go from here.

An Update: The 4 Big Organizing Projects I Wanted to Tackle in 2018

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Project 1: The Other Half of My Office

I started this year extremely excited about my office. We had just completed a corner storage unit with the IKEA PAX system, so half of the space was looking pretty good…

Organized office with the IKEA PAX wardrobe system

The other half of the room? Not so much.

Cluttered Office Space "Before" Photo

I was doing the best I could with what I had, but I was in serious need of some additional storage pieces and systems. We worked hard on this space throughout the rest of January and a good part of February, and before March came around, I had the beautifully organized office that I had been dreaming of!

Organized Office with Etagere Shelf, Reading Nook, and Crafting Table

I started out by purging my pillow collection, keeping only the ones I really love and use often. (Which, admittedly, is probably still more pillows than most people keep around…oops.) This etagere ended up being the perfect piece to store my pillows, printer and paper, and some small supplies like ink and envelopes.

In addition to my desk that I already had in the “nook” area in my office, I was also able to fit in a second work surface, which I was excited about. I took this small IKEA dining table and whitewashed it, and it ended up being the perfect size to fit in that corner. It is so lightweight that I can also easily move it to the middle of the room if I’m shooting a video and want to have a pretty background.

And speaking of that pretty background…

IKEA BESTA Storage Unit in an Organized Home Office

The other big storage piece we brought into a space was a piece we created with the IKEA BESTA system. We added some trim work to it to make it look more custom, and I love that it holds everything we need while also displaying everything beautifully!

As a backdrop and “wow” factor in the room, I stenciled the back wall. It was about 14 hours worth of work, but I love how it turned out!

You can get more details about my office and see the full reveal in this post.

Project 2: The Mudroom

After we finished my office, we took a few months to tackle some smaller organization projects around the house, but we came back to our “big four” for the year in July when we completed phase one of our mudroom.

I love that this house has a mudroom, but we definitely hadn’t been using it to its fullest potential. The small closet only had a wire shelf + rail combo for hanging coats, and I knew we could do better than that!

Mudroom Coat Closet "Before" Photo

So we ripped out the wire shelf and replaced it with my favorite IKEA ALGOT system, giving us some extra shelf space to store shoes and helping our coats and outerwear stay neat and tidy!

Organized Mudroom Coat Closet with the IKEA ALGOT System

Get more details about the closet project in this post.

While we were at it, we also put a little command center on the empty wall beside the closet, and it has helped us keep track of all of the boys’ school papers and upcoming events.

Command Center Gallery Wall in an Organized Mudroom

Get more details about the command center gallery wall in this post.

“Phase 2” of the mudroom was completed in October. At the beginning of the year, we just had a bench and shelf from our last house sitting in the mudroom “nook”…

Mudroom Nook with Shelf and Bench

But we had a very talented friend of ours build and install a beautiful built-in bench and shelf unit in its place, and it has helped us stay much more organized (and it looks pretty too)!

Built-in Bench and Shelf with Corbels in an Organized Mudroom

You can learn more about our mudroom built-ins in this post.

Take the tour of the entire completed mudroom here!

Project 3: The Garage

Oh, the garage. It was pretty scary at the beginning of the year…

Messy Garage "Before" Photo

I had a long wish list for this space, but to be honest, it was pretty intimidating to tackle, so I put it off mostly because I just knew it was going to be a ton of work! I was determined that we were going to park both of our cars in this space by the time it got cold, though, so when we were in between “phases” in the mudroom, we started working away at the garage a little bit at a time, and eventually, it was complete!

Organized Garage Using the IKEA ALGOT Shelving System and Gladiator Track System

We again turned to the IKEA ALGOT system to add a ton of shelving to the space and keep everything up off the floor.

IKEA ALGOT Shelving and Gladiator Track Systems in an Organized Garage

We used a combination of aqua tubs (my choice) and gray bins (Donnie’s choice) to keep all of our gear organized but also somewhat out of sight.

Organized Hockey Equipement and Shoes in an Extremely Organized Garage

To hang some awkwardly shaped items like lawn tools and bikes, we used a track system with various attachments, which worked like a charm.

Bike Storage with Gladiator Track System

I tried to bring in a little bit of “pretty” by using a few pegboards and painting the door and stairs.

Organized Garage with Aqua Door and Pegboard for Holding Brooms and Mops

It took a while to chip away at all of the different pieces, but we got there in the end, and I am thrilled to say that we met our goal of parking both cars in the garage before the cold weather hit!

Two Cars Parked in Organized Garage

You can take the full tour of our garage and get all of the nitty gritty details in this post!

Project 4: The Basement

Along with the garage, the basement was another space I would have categorized as “scary” at the beginning of the year. It is unfinished and had become sort of a dumping ground for anything extra that we weren’t quite sure what to do with.

Here it was at the beginning of the year…

Messy Basement at the Beginning of 2018

And here’s what it looks like today…

Messy Basement at the End of 2018


Out of the four spaces we had on our goal list, this was the only one that we didn’t manage to complete. Admittedly, it was the lowest on our list of priorities because unlike the other three spaces that we use daily, the basement is primarily used for storage purposes.

We are still hanging on to a lot of the furniture stored in this space because we have some family members who are moving in the not-too-distant future and may need some of it. We have the space, so I’m totally fine with keeping it here until we figure out if they’ll need it or not.

There are two parts of the basement, though, that I definitely want to make sure we do something with early in 2019, even if it means spending $0 and just taking a weekend to get things sorted out.

This storage nook is still a bit out of control. We even have some great storage pieces for this area, but we aren’t maximizing their potential at all. This will be a quick fix; we just haven’t taken the time to come down here and do it!

Basement Storage Nook with Storage Bins and Tubs

Donnie’s “workshop” space is the other part of the basement that I definitely want to get sorted ASAP. Again, we already have some great organizing pieces, but probably adding one more shelf and then just taking the time to sort through everything will make a huge difference here.

Messy Basement Workshop

So here I am, in front of the entire internet (or my little corner of it anyway 😉 ), committing that we WILL make progress on this space in early 2019. I know that even a day or a weekend of work in here will make a huge difference, so even if we don’t take the time to make it really pretty (which for an unfinished basement isn’t really my priority anyway), we will make it organized!


So that is the status of our organization project goals from 2018! Three out of four isn’t terrible, and we are really loving the three spaces we completed! I will be back soon with our list of goal projects for 2019, so keep an eye out for that!

In the meantime, I would love to hear about your favorite organizing projects that you completed in 2018, so be sure to let me know about them in the comments below! 

Get more info about the organizing projects I mentioned in these posts:

A Beautiful and Organized Home Office Tour

An Organized Mudroom

Our Organized Garage Tour

Thank you so much for following along! Have a wonderful day!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.


  1. Micah | Home Faith Family says:

    I’ve loved watching the transformation and all the hard work you’ve put into your beautiful home. My favorite was seeing the finished results of the stencil wall and the garage. I hope you have a lovely rest for the rest of 2018, and a happy 2019, friend.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you so much, Micah! Those are definitely two of my favorites, too! It has been a lot of work but so fun to really make this house our home. Thank you for following along! Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season! <3

      ~Abby =)

  2. Cherilynn Hoffman says:

    Hello Abbey, in 2018, we finished our entire basement. I have posted some pictures and video on IGTV, but we still need to decorate, therefore I have not posted the final look. I will do that in 2019. We also organized our garage and shop, painted the inside of our home and decorated the living room with IKEA bookshelves. We added 2 offices, and family room and bathroom and large hallway in our basement. CHeck out turquoiseowl_cherilynn on IG or turquoise owl on fb.?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Wow! You guys have been busy! I checked out the video of your basement on your IGTV. I LOVE the gray cabinets in the bathroom. Everything looks so great. Thanks so much for sharing with me, Cherilynn! <3

      ~Abby =)

  3. Francesca Gunn says:

    Abby, Even though you did not complete the basement, I would not count it as a failure. It is a blessing that you have the space to store furniture to gift to others when they need it. You will get it organized in the coming year. (You had a lot of projects planned)
    And you have a throw pillow collection. That is the first time I have ever seen one of those but having them makes it easy to change the way your space looks.
    Happy Holidays. Looking forward to what you have planned.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Francesca! And you can never have too many throw pillows! 🙂 haha! I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Patricia Galloway says:

    Celebrating with you the accomplishments you achieved in 2018. I will be coming back to the related posts for ideas when we move into our Habitat for Humanity house scheduled for completion Spring 2019. Thank you for your openness.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thanks so much for following along, Patricia! Have a wonderful week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  5. I love everything about this!!!! Especially the mudroom, office, and garage!! It sounds like you and your husband might just be the worlds best cleaning and organizing tea! I love everything you guys have done with your home! It’s truly lovely!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You are too sweet. Thank you, Kaitlyn! We do make a pretty good team! 🙂 Hope you have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  6. Thank you for sharing. You guys did great work. And although you didn’t complete all your goals for the year, I think setting goals leads people to achieve much more than they might without the goals. So you definitely have succeeded. And now there’s much less work left to do to have all four finished. 😀

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You are so right! MUCH less than at the beginning of 2018. I will take it! 🙂 Hope you have a great week, Jean!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Catherine McGrath says:

    What an accomplishment! In fairness, 3 outta 4 big projects is NOT BAD for an ambitious goal of 4. And the 3 came out beautiful! Not just organized, but functional AND pretty! And the fact that you shared the fourth project a failed one just shows you’re a human:) Love that! Makes the approach all the more amenable to inspiring others! Thanks for sharing – I enjoyed it!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you so much, Catherine! We really did accomplish a lot this year. I am happy with our progress! 🙂 Hope you have an awesome week!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Love following along as you make the house your home! Great tips for organization! Do you plan on finishing your basement in the future? If so, what do you think you’ll use the space for?
    This summer,, my hubby and a couple students from our youth group got rid of a TON of crap in our attic left from previous owners, and while they did the heavy lifting I organized all of the hand-me-down clothes we have been given into tubs (color coordinated of course) and now our attic has a purpose! It’s was a HUGE task off the to-do list!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      We may finish it eventually, but right now we don’t feel like we need any additional “living space,” so it functions best for us as a workshop/ hockey practice area/ storage space! If we do finish it off years down the road, I think it would be fun to use part of it as a home gym, and I’m sure the boys would love some hangout/ video game playing space. We shall see!

      ~Abby =)

  9. I love how you have every thing organized. You want to come to Florida and do my house? You are an inspiration to us all. Have a great Happy New Year.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Haha! I’d love to get out of this PA weather and come to Florida! 🙂 Hope your 2019 is off to a great start, Linda!

      ~Abby =)

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