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Getting Command of Our Closets–Three problem spots get some love.

on November 24, 2013

Streamlining and tackling nagging projects seems to be my theme for the past several weeks.  I’ve looked at how I track my home and work tasks—and am still loving the two apps I have been using.  The problem drawers in my life were addressed and made more thoughtful and pretty.  And, this week I attacked a few of our closets.

Again, sadly I do not have before and after pictures, because I got a bee in my bonnet and just went for it.  I am pretty sure the 10:30 PM start time for one and 5:30 AM start time for the other is what did me in on my intentions to capture what they looked like before.  My brain only had enough power to focus on the task at hand.  Apparently writing things down is what makes sense to me—which is why my mental reminders to grab more paper towels from our basement storage area (though I’ve been down there about 50 times) and to take the Halloween window clings off our sliding glass door in our kitchen (out of sight behind the blinds, definitely means out of mind)—have gone unheeded.

But, back to the task at hand.  Closets!  Again, I spent quite a bit of time last January (and the one before that) doing a speed run through of organization in the whole house.  I put a few systems in place that seem to work ok, but for whatever reason, aren’t perfect.  So, with some heavy soul searching, I re-evaluated the purpose of each closet and decided what would make more sense in the grand scheme of things.  So far, I’m happy with the changes.

This closet is home to many things, but I think we may actually be using it to it's potential now.  The plastic tubs of winter gear can stack back in a corner out of season.

This closet is home to many things, but I think we may actually be using it to it’s potential now. The plastic tubs of winter gear can stack back in a corner out of season.

Closet #1—Our coat closet, landing zone.  We have a small coat closet near the door into the house from the garage.  It is home to coats, baseball hats, gloves, scarves, backpacks, and my box of shredding—and until recently our vacuum cleaner.  I made a very small change to this closet, but it made a huge difference.  I moved the vacuum cleaner to our storage closet in the basement.  This may not seem like a big deal, but not having the vacuum handle in the way of the coats and the base taking up space on the floor has been wonderful.  I moved the two round tubs that hold our winter gear from being stacked in a back corner to the front of the closet side by side for easier access in these cold months.  We also made a purge of the coats we had stuffing this closet and have them packed away in a bag in the garage waiting for our 25 Days of Giving (and the local coat drive) to begin.  We have more room in the closet now, and we can actually get to all of the things we need.

The last two closets were tackled just in the last two days!

My new clothes closet.  Everything fits and It actually is better this way!  The other side of the closet holds my craft dresser and on the wire racks above are some of my other craft/girl scout items.

My new clothes closet. Everything fits and It actually is better this way! The other side of the closet holds my craft dresser and on the wire racks above are some of my other craft/girl scout items.

Closet(s)#2—Our bedroom clothes closets (this was my 10:30 PM project on Friday night).  Our house does not feature large walk-in closets.  We have the traditional sliding door, two sided closets you see in many homes.  Even with a dresser and some under bed storage, we seemed to be always running out of room in our closets.  In our main bedroom, one side of the closet held my work clothes and the other side my husband’s.  In our spare room, half of the closet was home to t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts (which take up a TON of room!).  Our dresser is filled with underwear, socks, and pjs/everyday clothes, so no extra room there, and the wire racks above the closet already held some other items as well.    We have functioned fine like this for as long as we’ve owned our house, but the other day I had an epiphany as I watched my husband get ready for work.  He had to go to both sets of closets–meaning two different rooms–to get everything he needed for the day.  Kind of ridiculous.

So, I proposed a change.  What if I moved the rest of his clothes (sweatshirts, exercise clothes, hanging t-shirt holder) to the main bedroom closet.  Then he would have both sides in there and could have everything at his fingertips.  My dress clothes would go live in the spare room closet.    It may sound crazy that my husband needs more room for clothes than me, but it’s really quite deceptive.  #1—my t-shirts and things like that reside in black storage boxes above the closet hang bar.  #2  I use the thin flocked hangers, while he uses bulkier wooden hangers.  #3  Hooded sweatshirts!  Seriously, if anyone knows a great way to store these so they don’t take up so much space, let me know!

In about half an hour, I had the spaces rearranged.  (It really helps that we purge somewhat frequently and are pretty good about organizing our clothes by type).  It’s amazing how that simple change gave both of us more room.  As an added bonus, when I am up before him in the mornings, I won’t accidentally wake him as I pull out my clothes for the day.  It is crazy how much difference this little swap has made so far.

IMG_5613Closet #3—Our storage closet in the basement (this was my 5:30 AM project Saturday morning).  The morning after I made our clothes closet switch, I woke up antsy.  We planned to put our Christmas decorations up that day (which is yes, prior to Thanksgiving, but to be fair turkey day is a little later this year—and we have a somewhat big project planned for the weekend after.)  These decorations are kept in our basement storage closet.  This closet is the bane of my existence.  In truth it is not that unorganized, but it easily becomes a dumping ground for stuff that belongs there but I don’t want to take the time to deal with or things I’m not sure what to do with quite yet.  As a result, I get things piled on the floor, shoved on random shelves, and things that basically just become a huge mess.  For some people, the before picture I would have taken wouldn’t seem that bad, but I HATE having things on the floor in there because the walkway is so narrow to begin with.  Also, the amount of random shelf stuffing leads to things being lost and then being found six months later during my bi-annual reorganization—like the math flashcards and small humidifier I searched for earlier this fall.  Or the finding of things you didn’t even know you lost, like a box of file folders full of important paperwork like appliance warranties and furniture purchase receipts.  GRRR.

A closeup of some of the new labels.

A closeup of some of the new labels.

After 45 minutes of sorting, purging, and putting things back where they should be, I now can easily walk through the closet without tripping over errant junk.  I also have a trunk full of donations ready to head to the Goodwill and Children’s hospital on our next trip by there, and I am pretty sure I know where everything is now.  When we were ready to get our holiday decor out, we had a clear path and I knew exactly where everything was.  Now if only I can keep the thing from getting overrun with clutter again.  To help with this, I added labels, which was one of my long-term goals this year.  I decided to go with a basic label on brightly colored paper for everything except our holiday storage.  For those areas, I used holiday themed borders.  I just found something I liked on Clipart and went from there!  Rather than label each and every box, I decided to label each shelf.  If we end up moving things at some point, I can always make new ones.  I left the holiday labels and a few others blank so we write down what was in that area or shelf.  The Christmas ones will have to wait until we pack everything back up.

Another few quick changes that will make a big difference in how we get ready in the mornings and how we locate items we need.  I am so excited to start out this holiday season with a logical place for things!

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One response to “Getting Command of Our Closets–Three problem spots get some love.

  1. […] huge change that has made a difference for us is switching how we organize the closets in our master and spare bedroom.  Now all of hubby’s belongings are in the master, and my […]

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