ORGANIZING A LINEN CLOSET PART 1


HELLO

Let me just start by saying that I am a very organized person. Most people who know me would absolutely agree with that. I love organizing, I love helping other people organize, and when I hear other people organizing something, I want to join in. And I’m really good at organizing.

You would think that a person with that level of organizing love and skill would never have anything that needs organizing. That everything they own is perfectly in order all the time. That may be true for some pro organizers, but I actually have a weak spot.

My linen closet. 

It is the one spot in my house that I am constantly giving the stink eye. Since we moved here eight years ago, I have had limited success with this closet – I will get it in shape only to have it quickly fall into a hot mess.

To be fair, this thing is not the most functional closet design, and we have done nothing to make it better. But I am determined to make it a star without spending a ton of money or getting into a days long demo project.

Here is what is not working –

  • The door. It is a bi-fold door – super common – but it has never worked right. And because it doesn’t work well, it’s hard to get anything out on the right side. 
  • The giant space on the floor. It’s time to get this prime space in better, more useful shape. 
  • The ugly shelf paper. It’s dark brown. And in bad shape. It needs help. The thing is, I can’t just peel that stuff off and call it done – it leaves a sticky residue. 
  • Bins. Some of them are too big, and so things get lost in them. Some of the bins are too small for what we are trying to put in them and the overflow ends up somewhere else (probably in one of the big bins where things disappear.)
  • The top shelf. It’s kind of a pain and we need a chair to get anything down from it. 
That door.

 

We use this for storing mostly non-linen items, like extra toiletries, first aid supplies, medicines, hair cutting supplies, etc. There are a few linens, though, like dish towels and dish cloths, and a very few bed items. We also have lots of extra medical supplies that have found their way to our home via my very prepared nurse husband. Like 3 bins full. But because he has saved things in the past and they really have been quite useful, we have agreed on whatever fits in these three bins can stay.

Bins that are too big and bins that are too small.
Giant space on the floor that could be used so much better.

I had most of a day open so I knew I would get this finished with plenty of time to make dinner. It can be especially frustrating to start an organizing project and not be able to finish when you want. If you think you are not up for an all day adventure but want to do something, start small. Maybe just work on one shelf, or pull out all the things you know are not going to go back in. There are always ways to sneak in a little organizing.

So, let’s see how this goes, shall we?

First, I tell the closet this is it. I am in charge and we are going to get in shape. 

Next, I take off the door. It will most likely go back on, but for getting down to business, that door has to step aside. Let me just say, it sure is easy to see and get to that right side now.

Here is where we get serious. I have the kitchen table ready – it is a small house, remember? It’s right around the corner – and EVERYTHING comes out. The kitchen table is not big enough. Stuff is piled on the chairs and even on the counter. This is such an important thing to do. When you take everything out, you are not fooling around. You are facing the piles. Do you want all this stuff? Do you need it? Some you do and some you don’t. Check here to find the handy-dandy flow chart on knowing what to keep.

With the closet empty, I start cleaning. There are not-so-friendly dust bunnies on the floor (and clinging to some of the boxes), the shelves are dusty and need some loving. The dark brown ones in the otherwise white closet are ready for their makeover – I bought white shelf paper! I only have four shelves to do so that moves along pretty quick (except for one that just wouldn’t play nice. I finally reminded the shelf that I was in charge and we are getting in shape. It has since cooperated.)

Shelf paper under the shelf paper – Super groovy!
All clean and all white, just what I wanted.

Now that the shelves are all clean and white, it is time to think about how to use the closet way more efficiently than it had in the past. Let’s talk about this for a minute. Have you ever found that as long as you are having some success, you just kind of keep working with things? That’s what was happening here. It worked okay and we usually found what we were looking for. We didn’t buy too many duplicates because we didn’t know we already had something. But really, it could be so. much. better. 

The catalyst for change is sometimes knowing you have something and you cannot find it, or maybe it’s not being able to shove an item back in the drawer, on the shelf, etc. Sometimes you just get tired of looking at the mayhem. Whatever it is, it can be very tempting to dump everything in a dumpster and walk away without looking back. Or dump everything out but not have a plan for what to do next. Hang in there. Take the time to plan what you want the final product to look like. Block some time out for yourself to get whatever it is you want to work better, working better. 

Next time I will show you how this closet and I became great friends.

What space do you have in your home that might be making you a little crazy right now? Let me know!

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