Oh hey… long time, no type! We started 2014 off around here still wrapped up in Christmas and rolled right into O’s 2nd birthday. We’ve survived and are no longer buried under wrapping paper and tinsel (now its taxes and Valentines). After cleaning up the aftermath of Christmas I found myself on the runaway clean up train. I couldn’t stop. I took advantage of several snow days and nap time to get this place together.
First stop: Our hall closet
where things go to die.
So that’s the “before” state of the closet above. I had previously tried to corral things with bins, baskets and hanging storage but those quickly became sad caverns of crap. Every time I opened this closet I’d groan at the sight of it. And then went I had to close it, I’d strong arm a few coats into place and kick a few things deeper into the abyss just so I could close the door. This thing was bursting at the seams! And understandably so… In Cincinnati we have 4 full seasons and they often get confused. So I may wear flip flops on a randomly warm day in October and Uggs on an insanely cold April day. And my rain boots are for all four seasons. I have too many coats for this closet to hold but they all have a purpose: rain, cold rain, fall jacket, fleece zip, fleece pullover, winter coat, waterproof sledding winter coat, heavy blizzard wind and snow coat, dress winter coat, pea coat, trench and so on. The weather here is unpredictable and confusing. Cincy, make up your mind! And guess what, O and Hubby have as many coats too. Now the shoes are a different story… they are mostly mine and our master closet has no shoe room. O and hubby each only have a handful of shoes but mine seem to rule here. When we moved in I stood my expandable shoe rack on the top shelf and called it a day. In addition, this closet holds miscellaneous items such as flashlights, extension cords, dog leashes, a small basic tool box, diaper bags, reusable shopping bags and more. We use this closet daily and we need it to function easily and smoothly.
So I just snapped one day during nap and took each and every item of the closet.
And then I realized I had made a terrible mess. And naptime was ticking away. I started reassembling the closet from zero. First I wiped down the shelves and door with my handy Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Then I vacuumed out the floor area and the corners. Ew. Not as clean as I had hoped. Everything from sand to leaves were in the vacuum canister.
Next I weeded out a few coats we weren’t going to be needing for a while and tucked them into our basement closet. I hung shopping bags on two hangers: I filled a durable plastic bag with all of the sturdy paper shoppig bags that I use to tote things back and forth from work or to my parents’ house when they watch her. The other hanger holds a reusable fabric tote filled with… reusable fabric and plastic totes! After hanging the coats back up (all facing the same direction and with O’s all in one little cluster on the end) I put shoes back on the racks. For boots and Hubby’s shoes I alternated the direction so that they were laying with the heel next to toe and therefore fitting “together” and leaving a little more room. I used the hanging shoe organizer to actually put shoes in… mostly flats and flip flops. Previously the organizer had scarves, hats, maps and random junk (receipts?) in it so I decided it needed to be dedicated to only one genre.
Then I started on the bottom of the closet. I used the floor space for my rain books and leather boots which are both worn frequently and stand taller than the room allowed but the shoe rack up top. I use the bin to the left for O’s shoes and a pair of my frequently worn shoes and one of hubby’s too. The bin to the right has my current purse (I switch them out often) and I stashed my junk (paint or take out the garbage) shoes in the back against the wall.
Then I brought out my secret weapon: The fabric door hanger with pockets! I snagged this one on sale at Target. Although there were other less expensive options, I felt that this one A. looked nicer and B. was made of a more sturdy material. I realize that this door hanger is made for shoes… yes, yes, I know. But I already have the shoes at a manageable level and the enemy here is not shoes (I mean, are shoes ever the enemy? I always say that the reason I love bags, shoes and diamonds is that they always fit… no matter how my jeans fit!). No, friends. The enemy is crap: clutter, small things, hats, scarves and such. Never shoes.
I divided the rack up with space for each of us:
O has the bottom two rows and I filled them with her little shoes, a bathing suit (for swim lessons), our “grab-n-go” style diaper pad with a few diapers and wipes rolled in, hats and mittens.
The next two rows up are mine. I filled them mostly with scarves and a couple of baseball caps and basic flip flops.
Hubby got the top two rows …but donated one row to my flip flops. How nice! Thanks, Hubby. A lint roller and sunscreen are tucked in there too. And I used the hooks to hold my BAGGU tote that goes with me to work everyday. Its a cool one that folds into itself with a monochromatic fox print. I keep it stocked with diapers, wipes, patches, glasses cleaner and a book and toy… since O goes to work with me.
I donated a few unwanted items, but kept a majority. It has been nearly three weeks since I did this closet and I’m happy to report that it is still very much in tact. I also find that leaving the house is easier and less stressful when we can find what we need quickly. And it sort of maintains itself. I think that’s because I took everything out and started from scratch… It really gave me no excuse. Everything needs a home!
Next stop: the play room. (spoiler alert: we all live through that one too!)
What are you organizing? How have you used things differently to fit your needs?