Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cleaning Out My Closet

And by “my,” I mean the boys’. Because I’d rather sort their tiny little clothes into sweet little baskets than risk my life in my own clothes mountain—I mean closet.

The before picture is pretty bad. It involves an explosion of baby clothes entering our house in a few short months while we didn’t have the storage space to accommodate them, and I was pregnant with twins. Then, it involves having infant twins from months 1-6 who require clothes faster than I could wash them so they rarely got put away. Then, it involves a move from apartment to house so the closet mess was then duck taped into cardboard boxes, which were opened only on a desperate as-needed basis (There has to be a clean shirt in here SOMEWHERE that isn’t too small, right?!)

Which brings us to now – and this picture – 8 months into the twins’ lives, with mountains of clothes that no longer fit them, another mountain of clothes they wear now, and another mountain of clothes they can grow into. You might think I have these clothes actually in the 3 small piles of which I speak, but it was more like they are all twisted together in the closet but my mommy brain has kind of separated them out in my head. But alas, the time has come to get this closet together in our new home and make it functional for years to come!

Here are my (probably lame) tips for Closet Cleaning 101. It is probably only useful for amateurs like me who have not had much experience with actually gutting an entire closet and expecting everything to go back in perfectly neat. But as I’ve stated previously, I blog what I want. Let’s go.

Just get em. Lots of them. Even if you don’t have a plan for what will go in each one. There are several reasons to go overboard on baskets. For one, they're space savers! Baskets make space out of what would otherwise by empty or wasted space. And a simple closet shelf lets you keep stacking baskets where space would otherwise be wasted under your hanging clothes. Make sure to get basket with straight or straight-ish sides. Slanted sides will waste space because you won’t be able to fit as many baskets in a side-to-side row. Baskets can also be some cute and come in a variety of styles; have fun with it!

(See all the WASTED space here before I added valuable storage with baskets? Here, the closet is fairly clean but can't hold much!)
The problem with this closet from the beginning was the amount of wasted space. I had three
choices of places to put things: 1) a shelf that is too high to be practical for daily use 2) a single clothes bar that will essentially only be used for hanging clothes and 3) the floor. Guess where most stuff ended up? Huge, unorganized floor piles that spilled out when you opened the door! But it’s actually a decent sized closet, and there actually is enough space for everything. You just have to put that space to work!


       It makes clean up a snap when you know where everything goes. Isn’t there a saying like “a place for everything and everything in it’s place?” There ya go. I started by pulling EVERYTHING out of the closet, and only putting it back in when I found a permanent home (aka the assigned basket).

In the end, my baskets were used for:
-clothes to save for future babies
-special keepsake clothes/items

-and two at the bottom for toys the boys can play with while they’re hanging out around my feet when I’m cleaning their closet J

Maybe try setting aside those baskets in the beginning to help you get started, as well as baskets from other needs you know will pop up, like a place for hair accessories if you’re the parent of a little girl.

3.  Have fun!!!

This is last but not least! In fact, it’s first in order of importance! While I was picking out bins for the boys’ closet Dan said something like, “Just pick some, no one will see it anyway; it’s just a closet.” I agreed at the time. But then I did a double-think. Nope, while the boys are still too young to dress themselves, I’LL be seeing a lot of that closet! Each morning to dress the boys, each afternoon to put away clean laundry, each evening to get jammies…. I want this closet to be worth seeing and using 3+ times a day! Then when the boys use it more, I want it to be worth it to them to use well and keep nice.  So I went with bright chevron baskets as my “element of fun”. But the possibilities are endless! Paint the inside of your closet a fun color, even add stripes or polka dots (I know, you’re thinking, “This woman is crazy!” No, it’s ‘just a closet,’ remember? HAVE FUN.) Add a funky chandelier if you have the space! I'm sure Pinterest could offer loads more ideas than me ;)

Even use space on the back of the door! Plenty of options for hooks and back-of-the-door organizers are out there, just decide your needs and get an organizer to match. I got 2 Command hooks for each door to hang next-day outfits, and added each of my boys' initials both for fun and to assign sides of the closet for when they're older to avoid fights ;)

And here's the end results!!!

Here's a run down of what each box is used for, top to bottom:
-Top clear zig zag boxes are keepsake/special clothes (like coming home outfits)
-Long clear box is too small clothes I want to keep for future babies. The rest I have set aside for charity.
-Two solid boxes are bags and spare hangers.
-Then, there's hanging clothes and laundry basket for dirty clothes.
-Middle zig zag boxes are for hats, pants/shorts, socks, and shoes.
-Bottom baskets are for spare blankets/linens.
-Bottom zig zag boxes are toys.

Now go tackle your closets! Have fun!