{Ready, Set, Declutter!}

10 Mar

Last Friday, I finally got a chance to catch up on blog-stalking reading.  I had like a whole week of Young House Love posts to catch up on, along with other inspirational tales of home décor and life in general.  Right as I thought that I had finished, they posted this post-which was a challenge to clean out a closet during the upcoming weekend.  I already had this task in the back of my mind, but I was trying to keep it there–in the back–out of sight, out of mind.  Actually, that’s the problem with closets in the first place…

Needless to say, as soon as I read their challenge (and saw the picture of their hallway closet above–isn’t is nice to know you’re not alone?), it was like the clouds parted and angels sung…yes, it is that dramatic when God speaks to me. 

So, knowing that I was not the only one who would be slaving away decluttering a closet this weekend, I arrived at the task with a smile…and saw this.


Our hallway closet is one of those that just “catches” odds and ends and things that don’t really have any other place (although we have a few of those places in our apartment). 

There’s coats and outerwear, of course (including a few unpaired and holey gloves),
along with a volleyball,
a Frisbee with the price tag still on it (we got a lot of use out of that, obviously…),
an old vacuum bag for a vacuum we don’t own anymore,
a waterproof picnic blanket,
2 seat cushions for sporting events,
those wrap-around your head things that hold sunglasses in place during extreme sports (cause we do a lot of those),
expensive purses that should not be on the floor,
2 rainsuits?,
3 umbrellas (for two people…) 
a bazillion board games,
one boot (yes, one),
tons of loose receipts (Eric’s fault-he never throws them away–they’re everywhere)
and tons of reusable tote bags. 

All of these things kinda got tossed in there when we moved in…18 months ago.  Time to fix it up.


Now, there’s not much we can do with the actual closet.  I would love, love, LOVE, to paint the interior of the closet white to really brighten it up, add some lively shelf paper, readjust the hanging bar and shelves, and maybe even add a bit of built-in storage.  But the reality is, we’re in a temporary apartment.  Gotta live with what ya got, right?

So, first, I took everything out.  Every. Single. Thing.  This helped me to really see how much space I had to work with, and also how much stuff I had to work back in.

Then, I sorted everything into piles.  Board games and card games, coats to keep, coats to store, coats to donate, glove and hats,  totebags, outdoor equipment, why is this even in here? (boot!), and trash. (On a side note…want to know where the match to the boot was? Read this.)

Next, I was able to give the closet a good scrub.  Or actually, a good Swiffer.  The closet did have a bit of a musty, or just generally old, smell.  But now?  It smells like Swiffer and Victoria’s Secret Love Spell body spray.  Hey, how else am I going to use up all of those free samples?

I quickly realized that I needed some more vertical storage if I wanted to ensure that everything just wasn’t going to revert back to a huge pile on the floor two days from now. Enter Plastic Storage Carts.  I used these in my previous first grade classroom, but since I’ve now upgraded to a nice cubicle with real office supplies, I no longer need these.  They’ve been moved from the attic, to the laundry room, to the office, back to the attic, back to the office, well, you get the idea…I don’t really like the look of the blinding white plastic.  Great (and durable) for kiddos, not so sophisticated for a young, married couple moving on up.  So, I decided they would be great to hide away in the closet to store a bunch of other stuff that needed to be hidden.  As an afterthought bonus, I realized that wet gloves and winterwear, and dirty sports equipment would find a perfect home in the plastic bins.


The bins now house the smaller card games and travel games that were causing a mess, and creating the occasional fall of other games, on the top shelf.  They also create a nice, organized place for a variety of shopping totes of different sizes and shapes.  Best of all, I still have a few empty drawers!

The next task was to get the coats back in the closet.  Hands down, the best way to create a chic and sophisticated look for clothes is to use all of the same kind of hanger.  Unfortunately, we were not following this.  Some coats were on the original plastic hangers that they came with, some were on our “college” plastic hanger collection, and some had moved to our new “married” wooden hanger collection.  Everyone got a little upgrade to the new “married” wooden hanger collection.


Next, I had to deal with the board games.  We heart games.  We do not heart storing games.  We had most of them in the closet, a few under the desk, a few under the ottoman, and one in the back office.  I cannot STAND when groups of objects are split up, so it was driving me mad.  ALL games needed to be in ONE place, dang it.  Plus, we have one game with a buzzer, and every time something would shift, or we’d close the door the wrong way, we would get a “buzz”.  Occasionally we would be lying in bed or watching TV and hear the faint “buzz”.  Time to get that fixed up.  Surprisingly, I found that most games come in boxes that are the same size as other games.  This makes stacking easy.  How did I not notice this before? 


All in all, I’m pretty happy with the outcome, and the fact that it really only took about 20 minutes to do.  Eric hung his coat up every day after work this week, so that alone justifies the time spent.  Plus, we haven’t been “buzzed” at yet.

YHL is asking readers to post their before and after pics on their facebook page (and be sure to check out their “afters”).  I’m sure I’ll be spending time drooling over everyone else’s more permanent closet redo’s.  Like I need a reason to spend more time on facebook…

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