26 going on 50

by erin

I recently tweeted that I'm turning more into my mother each day.  Not that that's a bad thing; my mom's a pretty rockin' lady.  But I feel like I'm on a slippery slope toward Curves, Christian radio, and mom jeans.  Take, for example, this list of things that I do on a regular basis:
  • clip coupons and organize them alphabetically in my handy coupon box
  • stay at home on Friday nights drinking wine and reading Minnesota Monthly
  • powerwalk with my dog
  • tear recipes from magazines and organize them in my recipe binder
  • yell at kids to get off my lawn (okay, I didn't personally do this, but I witnessed it and thought it was justified)
  • make sure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed to avoid morning crankiness
  • organize closets for fun
And, apparently, blog about organizing closets for fun, because that's what this post is about.

We have a big closet in our guest room that, at some point over the past year, became a dumping ground for all the crap we didn't feel like dealing with.  I rarely even opened the doors, because I knew as soon as I did I would start hyperventilating/wanting to kill someone.  So today I finally bit the bullet and decided to clean that sucker out.

The pictures don't really even do it justice.  It was a HOT MESS.  Towels and sheets and random stuff everywhere, with the coats and dresses blocking the attempt at organization in the back.
I am so ashamed.

But...behold the beautiful after!
oh hello sanity.  I've missed you.
The cats also love it.  Can you spot them in the two after pictures?

I figured some of you might be in similar disorganization situations, so I've compiled a list of my best crazy-lady anal-retentive organization tips.
  • It has to get worse before it gets better.  Take everything out of the closet and make a giant mess.
  • Piles are your friend.  Get a loose organization of what you have in there, i.e. towels, winter attire, bedding, beauty products, whatever.
  • Once everything is out, make a plan for how you're going to put it back.  Organization = strategery.  Make sure the things you need or use regularly are easy to reach, and place seasonal items (i.e. winter hats) at the back/bottom.
  • Use what you have to meet your needs.  For example, the thing on the door with my towels and bedding in it is supposed to hold shoes.  I have shoe storage elsewhere (wait for an upcoming post on my shoe closet) so the shoe rack is now a towel holder.
  • Don't be afraid to throw or donate items that are just taking up space!  If you haven't used it in the last year, you probably don't need it.
  • Pay attention to colors and flow.  This might be a relic from my retail branding days, but things will look 10x neater if you have, for example, all of the white hangers together.
  • And, of course, dance around to Britney Spears (my go-to cleaning music) or something equally awesome while you're organizing, because why shouldn't it be fun?
Do you have any essential organizing tips?  Please share!  I'm always looking for another push toward middle-aged-ness.


Anonymous said...

You are such a frigging nerd and I LOVE IT. Congrats! I know how satisfying it is to clean out a horrible closet. :D Job well done!

Traycina said...

I love to organize, but my indecisiveness always gets the best of me. I have a hard time deciding what to do with things that don't "fit" in my organization piles....

Two things you didn't mention:
1. LABEL things! You might know what that paper box is full of now, but when you need to find your mittens and scarves next November, it'll make it a lot easier!
2. Clean things before putting them away. Life is so much better that way ;-)

JBF said...

we have a closet A LOT like this one! (except it is smaller and has even more crap in it) I would just emphasize the importance of getting rid of things you don't need and use. i am planning to tackle our horror closet next week and I guarantee you I will be throwing out or giving away 50% of what's in there.

Jenny said...

Love it! That's what my plans are when finals are done, my closets are in really really rough shape.

Question, where did you find the organizers hanging on the inside of the closet door? I need something exactly like that!

erin louise said...

I got it at Target, probably about two years ago? I just did a quick search online and didn't find it but they might have it or something similar in stores. One of the best purchases I've ever made :)

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