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Easy Home Makeovers 

3 Life-Changing Room Makeovers

Moved by reader stories of cluttered spaces causing family fights, Real Simple extends the olive branch—tackling an overrun basement, an overstuffed closet, and a chaotic teen’s room. And proving once and for all that in the right surroundings, everyone really can get along. 

Larry Smith and Piper Kerman in front of cluttered closet
Jonny Valiant

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The Duel-Function Closet

The Family
Brooklyn couple Larry Smith, 43, the editor of an online magazine, and Piper Kerman, 42, a nonprofit consultant; parents of Lukas, 1, not shown (he wanted to stay out of it).

The Fight
He says: “We moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan to have more space for Piper’s shoes—and the closet is still a disaster.”
She says: “He’s taking up more than his share of the space, especially considering that he always wears the same thing.”

The Smith Closet: Before
With no enforced borders, the closet was a free-for-all—bent bags, crushed hats, a spillage of shoes, and an overloaded, mixed-up rod that turned getting dressed in the morning into an archaeological dig.

Found in (and Tossed From) Larry and Piper’s Closet
- 7 Chinese lanterns from their wedding, six years ago
- 2 bags of shoes from the last time they moved
- 2 old-school cameras containing undeveloped film
- 1 Walkman
- 14 early-90s hip-hop albums
- 1 bag of picnic supplies