Cleaning out the Closets


We have a small (and awkward) walk in closet. That’s not really news around here. I suppose I could have called this post “How to Make the Most of Your Small Closet”… because that’s really what’s going on over here… or I could have just called this “Living with a Man 101” but that really wouldn’t be fair to my wonderful and amazing husband! So, we’ll stick with Eminem, since we are cleaning out my our closet.

So, now that we’ve got out dance break out of the way, we can get down to business. You’ll remember how last week we made our own tie rack, which kicked off this whole idea of getting organized, better known as Mission: Organization. First up on my list was of course, our master closet. It was overflowing with unworn clothing, towering piles of sheets, towels, and shoes. It needed help. STAT.

DSC_0002First, I needed to clean everything out. I mean everything. I took all of the items off of the shelves, the floor, and most hanging things out of the closet. I was a little taken aback by the amount of things we have accumulated in there over time. Shoe boxes, old shoes, clothing with tags intact. It was a mess. Clean it all out, and be choosy about what goes back into the closet- be realistic about what you need in there.

DSC_0005Which brings us to our next fun fact about our closet: We have limited hanging space. It’s a small closet, duh, as I smack myself in the forehead. We each have one hanging rod to hang our clothes from. I seem to still be in denial about this because I try to smoosh as much as I can onto that one rod. It usually just makes a mess.

So to help curb that problem, I went through and took all of the items that I haven’t worn in at least 6 months out and went through them. This was really hard for me, as I had to be honest with myself about items that I knew I would never wear again but was still holding onto for some strange reason (cough, hoarder, cough, cough). If the item didn’t fit well, it got the ax as well. I had Josh on board with this concept to, and was able to get him to clean out quite a few items from his part of the closet as well.

DSC_0039Before we knew it, we had a nice little pile going of all the items that are on their way to being donated!

Now that we had made some more space in our closet, it was time to get organizing! In addition to having a small master closet, we are also without a linen closet which means that all of the sheets and towels for the house are kept in our closet as well. We lost a lot of shelf space to towels and sheets.

DSC_0008To store some of our linens, I picked up a little wire shelf from Meijer for around $17. The main reason I went with this shelf was because it was the only thing that would fit in the space. The only thing. And after searching 3 different stores for it, I was glad that we went with it.

DSC_0020The shelf turned out to be as close to perfect as it could get for that space. It’s the perfect size for our sheet collection, with some room to spare. The sheets we use the most are easily accessible and best of all, they are no longer threatening to fall all over the floor.

DSC_0017Another way we saved shelf space was by investing in one of these over the door shoe caddies for about $9. Before, we had them on the bottom shelves just piled up in a jumbled mess of shoestrings. This works a lot better for us, and we’re taking advantage of some unused vertical space. By doing this we were also able to get rid of all the shoe boxes we had accumulated on our very top shelf, saving even more space!

DSC_0032For the items that aren’t used  a lot, or are awkward to put on shelves, we invested in some plastic totes to go on our top shelf (after we cleared out all of the shoe boxes) for $2.89 a pop. We have things like sweaters, shorts, hats, and scarves in them at the moment. I like the clear boxes more than baskets in this case because you can see exactly what is inside, as opposed to baskets which look nice, but you can’t see through them. One thing I’ve learned is that if you can see where an item belongs, you are more likely to put it away.

DSC_0023One last item we invested in were shelf dividers from the Container Store. These little guys are about $7 a pop and are completely worth it to us. They hold on the shelf by being slid in-between the wire slats of the shelf instead of the shelf itself. These were made for the Elfa shelving system offered by the Container Store and we have the Rubbermaid system and they work just fine for us. We used these on the opposite side of the closet from the hanging rods to hold stacks of towels in place and keep them from falling on the floor.

DSC_0026Since we made more space on our shelves after moving the shoes, we were able to move the rest of our towels into the closet from the guest room. As well as extra blankets from the guest room and office that were taking up valuable space in those rooms.

DSC_0030Of course, we aren’t completely done in here yet, you’ll see that there are a couple of empty shelves that eventually will be home to various accessories and nick-knacks that I hope to put in dividers for “Him” and “Her”, that way we each have our own shelf for smaller items.

Since this is a work in progress, our system might change several more times as we live with the changes that have been made lately so it makes this space easier to use. But for now, we’re mostly happy with how everything works in this small-sized master closet/linen closet.

DSC_0036So here’s how the prices broke down:

  • 1 Metal Wire Shelf: $17.00
  • 1 Metal Shelf Divider : $7.00
  • 4 plastic bins at $2.89 each: $11.56
  • Total: $35.56

For just over $30, we were able to completely change the functionality of our master closet, as well as making a positive impact in the storage space of other rooms in our house. Not too shabby if you ask me! I’m all for trying to save a couple of bucks here and there!

Here are a couple of pointers that I came away with:

  1. Clean it all out, and be choosy about what goes back into the closet- be realistic about what you need in there.
  2. Take advantage of some unused vertical space- use hooks, caddies, wall organizers, use those blank walls and doors in the closet!
  3. Make it easy to put things away- if you can see where an item belongs, you are more likely to put it away
  4. Your closets are always evolving, be flexible and willing to change your system as your needs change- I know ours might make several more changes before we’re happy with how it works

Phew. That’s a lot to say about a closet. And we’re just getting started! The master was just phase 1 of our mission we’ll be back with phase 2 on Thursday, aka the front hall closet. Have you guys been working on any organizational projects? I’m trying my best to get all of our closets functioning before the really cold weather starts up. Share your stories and tips! We’re always up to try something outside the  box!


3 thoughts on “Cleaning out the Closets

  1. It’s looking good! I desperately need to organized our closet as well. We also have an oddly shaped walk-in closet. But I must ask, is that really all the shoes you own? From the picture it looked like your hubby has more than you. (And there is nothing wrong with that either.)

    • Thanks Sam! It’s definitely a challenge when the closet is super awkward, but it kind of makes it fun at the same time!

      Haha, nope, that’s far from all the shoes I own… I added more to the organizer after I took the photo… not to mention I have some stashed under our bed as well… maybe I should go through those…!

  2. Pingback: Cleaning out the Closets, Part Two | joyosphere

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