Monday, March 18, 2013

Home Organization Challenge: Closets

Over the past nine weeks I have been creating a pinterest board with organization and storage solutions. I have also created a board with cleaning tips and tricks. So when it came time to organize the closets the wonderful resources I collected came in very handy.

Linen Closet
My linen closet had been neglected for way too long. There was a time when it was organized, but lately it has been begging for help. Initially I think the problem was trying to fit too much into a very tiny space. Some items just had to go and weeding through which pieces of linen I wanted to keep took a bit of time. Several weeks ago I started separating the linen into three categories, master bedroom, kids' room and guest.

I like reserving a few pieces for guest and I have a trunk with extra blankets to accommodate sleepovers and to make comfy floor beds. I also created a small collection of hand-me-down sheets that have some sentimental value. Another consideration was how to store the handmade quilts and knitted and crocheted throws that my husband and I have received over the years from my grandmother and his great aunt. For these wonderful treasures, I found that the large bags that came with our comforters and duvet sets were very handy.

I do not have any space in my kitchen or dining area for kitchen linen and I needed to find a solution, so I repurposed a pair of wooden boxes that originally stored items in the basement. They fit perfectly on the lower shelf of the closet and I was able to store several table clothes in one and linen runners and napkins in the other.

Things I have found helpful:
  • Reducing the amount of linen for each room has been a great way to simplify things and reduce the clutter
  • Keep the plastic bags that come with sheets, comforters and duvet sets, they are great for keeping things separate
  • Reuse containers in your home to help organize and keep things separate
  • Group similar items to make it easy to stack and organize
  • Fold linen fresh out of the dryer for less wrinkles

When it came to the bathroom closet, I took the same approach of purging. I will like to get some new towels, so I decided to keep only the best of what I have and to get rid of the others. Some of the towels survived and have a new home in the laundry room where they will be used to clean-up spills, while some will be repurposed into household cleaning cloths.

To organize items in the bathroom, I use a combination of sea grass baskets, glass jars and plastic bins. My family and I do not use a lot of products, so it really makes things super easy. We do not get sick very often, so there was not much in our medicine cabinet to sort or purge. However, I do need to put together a new first aid kit and was very surprised at how limited we were in first aid items.

Things I have found helpful:
  • Create a place for each family member to store personal items
  • Make toiletries visible and easy to access
  • Create a place to store a cleaning caddy for the bathroom
  • Purge expired items on a monthly basis

Master Bedroom
With limited closet space in my bedroom, having a separate dresser and armoire makes the world of difference. I like keeping things organized and easy to find. To help keep things organize I use plastic containers for some of my shoes. I got my containers at the local dollar store several years ago and they have held up very well. I also like to store my evening dresses in garment bags or clothes covers. You can get affordable clothes covers at IKEA that are available in sets of three.

I had way too much clothes and not enough place to put it all. I really had to evaluate what items I liked, what fits well and what I have not worn in a long time. Going through this process was very helpful in sorting through things and creating a collection of items that I will actually use.

A small dresser placed inside the closet, creates extra storage for underwear, sleepwear and socks.

Things I have found helpful:
  • Purge my closet at the end of each season
  • Do not hold on to ill fitting clothes
  • Quality wooden hangers with rounded ends, help to maintain the shape of my garments
  • Make sure that air circulates well in the closet
  • I prefer to store my dirty clothes in the laundry room or bathroom and not in the closet
  • Keep the top of my dresser clutter free
  • Use containers or dividers to organize dresser draws for storing small items

Kids Room
As I mentioned in the post I did on the kids' room, I removed the closet doors last summer and I placed an IKEA PAX wardrobe in the space instead. I found that this has been a much better use of the space and it is easier for my eldest son to reach things, get himself dressed and to help organize his clothing. This past week I added a smaller PAX unit that now fills the space. This additional unit will serve as a guest closet or additional storage space for the room. I did not add knobs to the wardrobe, but they are easy to open and it makes it a bit of a challenge for my youngest son to open (which means no rearranging).

Things I have found helpful:
  • Wooden pull out draw and wire basket was worth the additional $40.00 and $30.00 respectively. They have been great for organizing folded clothes and keeping socks and underwear organized.
  • Storing the linen for the room in the wardrobe has been a great help. I reduced the amount of linen and kept only three sets for each bed in the room.
  • Quality wooden hangers for larger pieces and small plastic hangers for the little clothes
  • Small wire basket  keeps things organized and visible
Do you have closet organizing tips that you will like to share?

This week the focus is on reclaiming the rest of the Basement. In week four we did the Basement (Part 1) and got the process started. I did an initial sort and purge and was able to identify storage requirements. My husband and I purchased tons of storage containers and I started placing things in bins, however there is still a lot more to do. This week is perhaps the biggest challenge for me, because the idea is to not just clean and organize, but to transform the space into a usable space that the whole family can use.

Week 10 - Basement (Part II)

To Do List:
  • Sort and purge items into four categories; keep, donate, trash and other room
  • Identify areas for specific task
  • Identify needed storage requirements
  • Dispose of trash and take away donations
  • Start organizing the space by section or based on the specific task you have identified
  • Clean and wipe as you work through each section
I will like the basement to be an extension of our living space rather than just a storage area. The space is home to several activities, but I will also like it to be comfortable and easy to access items. Let us see how things go.

Do you have any tips for organizing basements?


  1. Love it all! My sister has the same purse you have in your closet. I bet there aren't too many of them around anymore.

  2. Thanks! I purchased the purse years ago at a vintage store in Toronto. It is one of my favourites.

  3. You've motivated me! I begin today- despite being 7 months after you! Found you through pinterest. Thanks!


Thanks for your comments!

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