With fresh motivation to be more intentional and focus on my home, what I really want to do is decorate all the spaces that I’ve left lonely for the past two years. But that’s not what I need to do. What I need to do is the less fun of those options…clearing the clutter.
As a kid, when my grandma or mom would tell me to clean my room – my sister and I (shared room) would fill every extra nook and cranny with junk. Fill the closet, close the door! Push it under the bed, the dust ruffle will hide it! As I grow older, my bad habit is starting to annoy me. I know the mess is there…waiting…and it’s driving me crazy. Plus, it’s always a song and dance when I have guests over and I’m trying to hide my secret, “No!! Wait!! I’ll put your coat up, thanks!”
This past weekend when my friends from North Carolina were visiting, I couldn’t find a washcloth in my linen closet. It was there, I knew it, but the disorderly mess left it hidden. On top of that, I was trying to block all eyes from seeing the crazed disorder behind the doors. So today, instead of decorating my master, I’m tackling one item on this list I’ve been ignoring.
First up, the linen closet. Above are the before photos, don’t judge me.
First step for me is always clearing everything out – EVERYTHING. I divide all my stuff into three initial piles:
This is supposed to be fast! I never think about any item for more than a minute. If you have to think about it, put it in the undecided pile.
After everything is in a pile, it’s time to tackle the undecideds. Be objective – do you really use it? Could someone else use it more? Decide what you want to keep and give away (new pile).
Throw your toss pile out! That leaves you with the Keep pile and the Give Away pile. Go ahead and put your Give Away stuff in a bag and put it in the trunk of your car. The first step took me 25 minutes.
Second step is group together all your like items in your keep pile. For my linen closet it’s bed linens, towels, extra toiletries, medicine, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies. If it doesn’t fit in any of those categories, it probably belongs elsewhere in my home. For instance, I found some laundry stain removers (laundry room) and play jewelry (Coberly Nicole’s room).
Now that I’ve got all my items grouped together I can see how much space each needs and try to coordinate what containers will work. I’m doing this reorganization without spending any money, so these will have to do.
Last step is to put it all away. Here is my finished result! Does it look like a magazine? Nope. But it’s realistic and cost me nothing.
Let’s start with the top shelf: I keep the toilet paper in the package until it’s opened. Once it’s opened, I take it out because the shredded plastic is an eyesore. Same thing with the paper towels. I also decided to keep my extra pillows on the top shelf where they had room to breathe – finally found a use for that linen bag.
Shelf Two: Let’s see those washcloths disappear now! I put all my washcloths in the basket because I find trying to keep a folded stack from tipping over is impossible. Next the hand towels and then the regular towels. I kept the folded edge facing forward to keep it looking clean.
Shelf Three: Every time I look for a new sheet I find myself unfolding them and searching for that silly tag. A solution: separate them on the shelf. I am keeping the full and queen sheets in different stacks.
What about those fitted sheets? Here’s the thing – I’ve watched the instructional videos on how to fold fitted sheets. I’ve followed Martha step-by-step to no avail. I’ve come to terms with the fact this is something I am not going to master, nor do I care. For this linen closet, they’ll stay semi-folded (ok, maybe rolled) in a nice basket so it doesn’t look like a disaster. Also separated by size.
Shelf Four: I grouped all the extra toiletries into an open basket (for easy access). I placed all the medicine in a closed container (for safe storage from the little).
Floor: My extra cosmetics went in a nice box on the left and my cleaning caddy with all my supplies went on the right.
Last but not least, labels. Not only does it make it look organized, but it serves as a reminder for everyone else in the house to try and put things back in their place (including myself).
All in all, I would say this took me 1:20 (I spent some extra time to clean out the medicine cabinet contents). I can’t commit this kind of time every day – any busy mom knows that. I’ll make it my goal to do it once a week until I get my “problem areas” under control. I’m not striving for perfection, but I am striving to value the things I have while letting go of things I do not need.