Thursday, February 22, 2018

How I organize my hall/spare closet {spring cleaning series}

Welcome back to this organizing, spring cleaning series! 

If you haven't read the kick off post, "How to organize anything," you'll want to flip backward and read that {here} first. That post is key, as it highlights the practical how-to steps needed to organize any space, room or mess. It's the method I use with every organizing job I do in my home, big or small and how I work, one drawer or one cupboard at a time.

 In this home, we have one tiny, spare hallway closet.

In small homes, it's more about what's not stored, than what is... or rather how and where it's stored.  Because we live small, and I lean toward minimalism.  Each of the three beds in this home have a complete set of bedding.  One set.  The set that resides on that bed.  What works for us, is to wash our bedding, and put it right back on the bed that very day.  It's convenient because the only bedding ever getting stored are any extra, heavy blankets, in the summer months.  (Most of the time, those extra blankets get tucked away in the closet of the bed they belong to.  Right now I believe I have more bedding in this room than I ever do, but we are soon to transition to two teenage boys sharing a room, and I've got an extra set in here for that... I've also got one extra set of sheets for an air mattress/cot that we pull out for guests.  The white comforter is actually Ava's but she was in the middle of a room project and asked me to just temporarily store it in here for the time being.  It's since been moved back into her room.  I've also got one sweet pillow that doesn't have a home currently, but I don't care to part with it yet as I am thinking through where it wants to live.  That said, we often only have artwork, photos toys for littles who come visit, and sewing items stored in here.  And normally we even have a couple of empty shelves!

Now if this isn't your story, feel no guilt!!  We all have different styles, differing storage needs and some of us are way more willing to part with excess than others.  That's what makes us all so sweetly unique.  I'm simply sharing my story to inspire anyone who is bogged down with too much, and for perhaps sentimental reasons, or family guilt, is hanging on to things that are weighing them down.  Many of us long for a more free, minimalistic lifestyle but it's the getting there process that is both difficult and often painful.  If this series can help you work through one space at a time, and shake off some of that baggage, then that is my goal.  Not guilt if you like all your stuff and want to keep it.  (This series can hopefully help you make it all tidy and logically organized at the very least though!)

I can remember a time when I had stacks of bins for out of season decorations and décor that I didn't want to part with but wasn't being used or displayed in my home.  One day I just looked at it and went, "Why is all of this stuff living in this closet and not being used and loved? This makes no sense!" That was the catalyst for living differently for me, and I've never looked back.  It's taken me a few years of paring down our material items, but it has been so worth it... I no longer have décor in here because everything we love and use is being... loved and used, all through the home.  If you're overwhelmed by unused décor, let me encourage you that sharing with others, or donating it, can feel so good, you'll want to go back and get more items to shed!  Chances are, if it's not out being enjoyed, you're over it, past it, or no longer love it the way you once did anyway...  It can feel so good to bless someone else by letting go of things.

That said, being in different stages of life is a huge factor in what and how things are also stored in my home.  When my kids were small, I probably stored a lot more, because we had different needs.  I'll explain that more in a moment.
I shared this brilliant photo organization with you in this post if you remember... I still adore it. Taking a day to organize all of our photographs made my life better in so many ways that I'm still getting goodness from.  When the kids come home with an immediate need for a photo, I know right where to go and can find it in two seconds.  When I want one for a special occasion like a birthday, I can find it so quickly now.  (I recommend scanning that post if you're looking for a way to organize a lifetime of photographs in a snap.  It was a fun project as well.  All the details are in that linked post!)

I also keep my letter board letters in containers such as a clear, bead organizer box. (Amazon) I love seeing neat stacks of useful things.  It speaks deeply to my organized heart.  It certainly didn't happen overnight, but with dedication to getting this home downsized and organized, little by little, I tackled project after project and now I simply enjoy

Organization frees a person up to simply be, and enjoy life.  
It's difficult lighting and a very hard closet to photograph, so I was forced to take a variety of photos.  The folded robe is one that I got for free, after a Christmas gift shipping issue and I keep it for guests.  I figure that when/if mine ever gets too shabby, I'll have a  back up, but in the mean-time, my guests can enjoy this new one.  I launder and fold it after guests depart.  (I did take the time to find out how a hotel robe is often folded... it's the little things. Ha!)
This is my moveable sewing kit.  I used to have a big fancy one that I never used really.  It was filled with stuff I also didn't use, because I'm not a big fan of sewing.  If I wasn't petite, and needing to hem every single pair of pants I've ever purchased, I probably wouldn't even own one.  Anyway, I finally tossed the many thread colors I'd never use again, and kept the basics.  I store them in a pleasing, color-coded way (of course) in a bead organizer. (Those things come in so handy!!)  It's perfect for those little bobbins and small parts, too.  The whole thing fits neatly on top of a dollar bin.  Both are clear so I can see what I'm after, and make the job move seamlessly. (See what I just did there?) I keep the sewing machine manual and foot pedal in the bin, along with a few other random items like scissors and a pin cushion and a grommet maker.  When I need to sew, I grab both of these and head to the kitchen table.  (Obviously, if you're serious about sewing or quilting, this isn't for you... but this organizational system is really perfect for those of us who just have to hem our jeans every six months or so.)

The moral of this whole story, is that cramming our extra closets full of things for "just in case" or "I might need someday" might work for you... but it also might not.  If you feel your heart race with stress when you need to look for something buried in a closet, it's probably a good indication that you are due for some editing and organizing. 

You might be asking,  where I keep my craft items and holiday décor and if my garage is full.  Craft items are surprisingly minimal in my home.  I'm creative but I've never been "crafty."  I have stamps and paint in my desk drawers where it makes sense for them to be. (You'll see that in a post soon.) I have a hot glue gun and more household supplies in my utility drawers in the laundry room where they make sense to be and you can see the sewing items here... other than that, I'm not big on buying, storing and just having a ton of craft items. My kids are older and what they like to use, they keep in their own desks in their own rooms.  See what I mean by different stages of life?

As for holiday décor, I have one bin, (my kids each share a small bin for their own room trees and ornaments as well) and I love and prefer to use more fresh items as I get older, rather than keep and store decorations.  (There was a time when I had six or eight Rubbermaid bins... it was exhausting.  This is better.) And the garage... no it's not packed and ridiculous.  It's not my territory either, being mostly inhabited by bench pressing, dart throwing, weight lifting, poweraid drinking boys and men... they only tolerate just so much organizing out there, but it is streamlined and tidy and things have labels and spaces.  We park my car in there too.  The half where my man used to park before he owned his truck, has been turned into their gym space and they love it and use it daily.  We have big shelves and lots of free spaces on them.  I have one bin of memories from when my kids were babies and toddlers.  I know, one seems odd... but it's all I need.  It has their baby books, and small stacks of clothing that I plan to turn into graduation quilts for them in a couple of years.  "Why keep things just to keep them," has never been a thought I've struggled over.  I'm sentimental about some things. I'll keep the baby clothes, but the idea is to turn them into something useful.  Make sense?  That's the way my brain works. I daresay it is the same, for most people who are naturally wired to live a more minimalistic, organized lifestyle.  

I hope that helps you as you sort through your stored items.  As always, I love your questions and your comments bless me.  Our final stop on this series will be office and paper clutter!  I may be combining them into one bonus post! 

Click on the titles below, to see all the other posts in this series


  1. Wow! So little stuff in that hall closet! Something for me to aspire to :)

    Two teenaged boys????

  2. I'm jealous of your closet, gotta get to work!

  3. Wow, your talent is amazing and inspiring. I've got some work to do and most of it is changing my mind set. Thank you for the time you took to write and publish this series, it is incredibly helpful. I'll be sharing it with many friends! :) Jena