Today we are going to start in all the closets that aren't clothing closets. Linen closets, toy closets, hallway closets, craft closets, mud room closets/lockers.
1. Gather supplies - garbage bags and donation bags
2. Throw out
Grab several big black garbage bags. One for donating and one for throwing away.
This is how I go about starting. I begin with closets at one end of my house (with my craft closet) and move towards the other end of the house. I begin by throwing away anything that is broken, too old to be of use, worn out, etc. Then I gather up as much as I can to donate. Be sure these items are in good repair and that someone might actually need or want. This is the hard step....getting rid of stuff. The good news is I find the more I get rid of the more I use what I have left.
For example, my craft closet was a mess before this challenge. I had so much stuff and sometimes I couldn't find what I needed. After doing the steps above I have one full garbage bag of stuff to give away. I purchased an over the door organizer and was able to make my own wrapping station on the back of the door that fits my needs perfectly. (In my next post I will show you how simple it is) My closet is now clutter free and I can find everything easier. I don't even miss the things I got rid of.
My advice is to just do it. Get rid of what you don't use no matter what it cost. (You can also sell the things you no longer use for a bit of money).
Linen closet tips: Keep an extra set of sheets in the closets of each room instead of in the linen closet. This frees up some room in the linen closet and reduces time spent searching for the correct size sheets. The sheets are easily accessible this way and my kids can't say they don't know where their extra set of sheets are :) At the bottom of my linen closet I have a nice wicker bin that I keep extra blankets in. It looks nice and my kids are less likely to pull them our of the bin than off the shelf.
Mud room: I got rid of our cupboard storage and hung lots of hooks for coats. I have 2 bins for shoes. The reality is that my kids aren't going to open their cute cupboard, hang their coat and backpack and put their shoes neatly in pairs in the designated spot. I am actually laughing at this point. I had to make it easier. They now come in, throw their shoes into one of the bins and quickly hang backpacks and coats on the hangers. It looks tidy and they are still able to find their things when needed. Not Pottery Barn, but functional and organized....good enough for me.
Coat closet: Get rid of those coats you have been saving. If no one uses them donate them to a homeless shelter. They will get some great use and by giving them away you create more open space. Let this closet be nothing but a coat closet. Get rid of everything except coats, hats and umbrellas. Maybe rain boots can find a home in the bottom of this closet.
Now it's time for the bedroom closets.
This is one of the hardest steps for me to do....de-junk the closets. What if I need that thing I haven't worn in 2 years one day? What if I lose or gain 10 pounds? I need all these clothes....don't I? The answer is no.
My child might wear that, I should save it for the next one, It is just too cute! These are all thoughts I have had when going about this task. One of my friends will employ the help of a friend so that she can have two sets of eyes and one that has no sentimental attachment to her kids stuff :)
Start by getting rid of anything that is ripped, stained, or unusable. Next grab (as fast as you can) anything your child won't wear, anything that is too small, etc. These things go straight into the donate bag. Don't look into the bag at any point...it is easier this way :) If you are saving clothes for you child to grow into, grab a storage bin, label it with what's inside and when it's filled put it in the storage room for later. Just don't forget you have it (yes I have done this several times). I now only keep the very best of the hand me downs and get rid of the rest. My children's tastes are different and I can save lots of clothes just to have them never worn again.
Shoes. Keep the ones they/you wear and donate the rest. At one point I had hundreds of pairs of shoes. I love shoes. The reality is that I don't need that many and it causes an organization nightmare. I donated several large moving boxes of shoes and haven't missed them a bit.
This step may take a full day or several. Be patient and get it done. You will feel great when you know all those closets are organized.