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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Monday, July 20, 2009

Organized Closets

Organizing Closets

Here are some things to keep in mind while you are trying to clean, organize and rebuild your closets:

1) A closet is a cabinet, enclosed recess, or small room, for linens, household supplies, or clothing. As much as we might need vast spaces for storage...most of us don't have it. There is a limit to the amount of space in a closet. You can wring every square inch out of it, but there will come an end to it's ability to hold stuff. So the biggest tip I could give you is to cull out and purge! Only keep what you use on a regular basis, or just can't give away. I'm an amateur genealogist and scrapbooker and our close family is very important to me. I have become a sort of repository of family things and sentimental things. One day, my dream is to have a large room that could be used as a sort of family museum. But, who knows when or if that will be. These are things I can't part with.

There is no need to have a closet that is so full of clothes that you can't pack another thing into it. You simply can't wear that many clothes even within a year. Back in the old days you usually had a couple of every day outfits and one Sunday-Go-To-Meeting outfit. You could store your clothes on a couple of pegs. You used aprons, sleeve protectors, paper collars and cuffs to keep your clothes clean and wearable longer. But slowly we got more disposable income and it was easier to own clothes (you didn't have to grow the cotton, spin the cotton, weave the cotton, sew the cotton to make a single shirt). But when I was a little girl, we would have about 5 dresses and 5 school outfits and a couple of play clothes with about 3-4 pairs of shoes. It wasn't until I was in high school during the mid 1970's that everything exploded and you were under pressure to have tons of clothes and keep up with fashions that changed every month or so.

As you go through your clothes, ask yourself these questions:
* Is this out of style and you won't be wearing it any more?
* Is this comfortable to wear? If it's uncomfortable then I probably won't wear it after all.
* Can I fit into this or have I gained or lost enough weight that I can't fit into it any more?
* Is it too worn? Does it have holes, pulled seams, pills, missing buttons, faded? If you haven't repaired it by now, you won't. My husband keeps saying he needs these old clothes to work in the yard, paint, etc. But I ask him how many sets of "work clothes" does one person need? You don't need but a couple of pairs so why are you saving 50 old Tshirts?
* Why are you hanging on to this? Does it represent money (invested) to you? "I paid $50 for this, I can't just get rid of it." No matter how much you pay for clothes, there will come a time that you will no longer wear it and you need to get rid of it. Maybe you should learn a lesson...DON'T buy clothes that you can't afford to discard when you no longer wear them. DON'T spend money on clothes that you can't afford to lose because clothes are not going to last forever. DON'T fill your closet with too many clothes because it's a waste of money.

Bite the bullet and be ruthless. Cut out anything that you haven't worn, is uncomfortable, out of style or is past it's prime.

Purge out all your other closets too. You don't need old torn sheets, towels with holes in them, bottles of used shampoo that you didn't like, etc. Be ready and willing to throw out. Use it or lose it! This frees valuable space for you to keep organized.

2) If you have the room, organize your closets into zones. For instance I have one closet for linens so when I need pillows, mattress pads, sheets, blankets, etc. My husband and I know right where to go. It's all in one place. Here is my linen closet. It's not Martha Stewart beautiful but it's clean, neat, organized:

I have another closet that is just for seasonal decorations including Christmas. Each season is within it's own plastic boxes, clearly labeled. Here is my decorations closet:

You can even organize zones within one closet. For instance put all your toiletries in one area of your bathroom linen closet, your towels on another shelf, your back up toilet paper in another place, etc. Keeping like things together. You want your closets and cabinets to be efficient so that you can stand in one place and pick out the things you need. I don't store my fingernail clippers in the bathroom drawer and all the nail polish in the bathroom linen closet and the electrical buffer in the hall bathroom. I have all my fingernail stuff together in one place so that I make one trip. It's efficient, easy to remember, easy to find, easy to maintain.

Here is my hall closet with our coats, totes, gloves, hats, dog outdoor gear like leashes, harnesses, coats:

3) Keep your closets and cabinets attractive. If you empty them, that's a good time to clean them, paint or wallpaper them. Line them, even edge them with pretty lace or lace paper. Use attractive containers or matching containers. If you repaint, use semigloss paint so that you can easily wipe down the walls and baseboards. It makes all the difference in the world! Flat paint takes shoe marks, scratches, grime and you can't wipe it down and clean it. So, if you don't like to repaint your closets every year or two then paint it with semigloss.

4) Get rid of the wire hangers and buy some good hangers. It really makes a difference.

5) Maintain. It will be a waste of time and money to clean out your closets and cabinets and organize them if you don't intend to maintain them. Teach your children to put things back where they found them. Teaching is a repetitive process. You have to teach them over and over again so don't give up! Keep it up. One of the ways to teach them is to include them in the cleaning, reorganizing and painting of the closets. This helps them to be invested in keeping it up. If they can't keep their clothes on hangers in their closet then maybe it's time to remove some of their clothes from the equation. Taking away clothes and giving them away or saving them in a hidden place until they earn them back may be a way to teach them. If they can't handle 50 clothes maybe they can handle 25, or 10.

Matthew 25:14-30 For it is as if a man going abroad called his own servants and gave them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to each according to his ability. And he went abroad at once. And going he who had received the five talents traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two, he also gained another two. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the earth and hid his lord's silver. After a long time the lord of those servants came and took account with them. And so he who had received five talents came and brought another five talents, saying, Lord, you delivered five talents to me. Behold, I have gained five talents above them. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. He also who had received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered two talents to me. Behold, I have gained two other talents above them. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. And he who had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew that you were a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter. And I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the earth. Lo, you have yours. His lord answered and said to him, Evil and slothful servant! You knew that I reaped where I did not sow, and gathered where I did not scatter, then you should have put my money to the exchangers, and coming I would have received my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will abound. But from him who has not, even that which he has shall be taken away from him. And throw the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This parable is essentially about how we should use the talents, opportunities, health, money, energy, time wisely in the kingdom of God. But we can also apply it to our everyday life. If God has blessed us with something, then we should be a good steward and do our best with what He has blessed us with. And, as parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children how to be grateful and good stewards of the blessings they have been given. If we are ungrateful, whining, complaining, and destructive with the blessings that God has given us, we don't deserve another blessing! Thank God, He is not a human being and He is grace filled and merciful despite our sins. But, that doesn't mean that He will continue to pour out blessings only to have them abused and used for ungodly purposes and recieved with an ungrateful, complaining attitudes. I don't know about you, but I don't want myself or my loved ones to do without because they can't be trusted with the little things that God has given us. If God gives us a starter car (mine was a 10 yr old 1967 Ford Falcon with no air conditioning) and we don't ever clean it, we never maintain it, we drive it to ungodly places (bars, make out points, to buy drugs, etc), we complain because it's not a brand new sports car, we whine because it's not big enough...do you really think that God wants to bless us with something better!?! Why would He give us something better? If we have 4 closets and we can't keep those closets neat...why would He trust us with a bigger home with more closets? If we find it hard to organize and maintain what we have, why would God bless us with more? I need to appreciate and attend to what I have and God will see how trustworthy I am with this little bit and He will, therefore, bless me with more.

Now, here are some great organized closets that I found on the Internet to get you motivated and give you ideas. I hope you will dive in and DO IT!!!

Notice how this person has used the white plastic rings to organize their closet. Great idea!

Notice the shoe boxes with the photos of the shoes inside? I do this.

Notice the "His" and "Hers"

Dream closets!

My Closet:

For more information about organizing your clothes, see my post:

Real Simple magazine says,
"Try to limit yourself to three sets of sheets per bed and as few as three sets of bath sheets or towels, hand towels, and washcloths per person (more if you change towels daily, fewer if the men in your household have never picked up a washcloth). This gives you one set in use, one in the hamper, and one in the closet ready for action. You'll need only one or two sets for guests (one on the bed and one in the hamper or closet).
"Resist the temptation to hoard extra sets for emergencies...
"First, divide linens into groups: bedding for each bedroom; towels for each bathroom; tablecloths and runners, dinner and cocktail napkins. Then separate summer from winter items, and daily linens from those for special occasions. The everyday and the current season should be stored at eye level, and the special-occasion and out-of-season linens farther from reach, at the top or bottom of the closet.
Tidy piles aren't enough: You should enjoy the soft fragrance of fresh laundry when you open your linen closet. To accomplish this:

"Give linens their space. "Air flow is important to the safe storage of most textiles," says Jonathan Scheer, president of J. Scheer & Co., a New York textile-preservation firm. "If they're stuffed into the back of a closet, the fibers retain more moisture, which attracts mold and mildew, which can be permanently damaging. You should take them out and air them every three months."

"You can chase away mustiness with an open container of baking soda, activated charcoal, or calcium carbonate, says Cheryl Mendelson, author of Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House (Scribner, $24, www.amazon.com).

"To enhance the aroma of your linens, place in the back of the closet sachet bags of pine, cedar, vanilla, or fresh lavender wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with a ribbon. You can also hang a fabric-softener strip on the door or use scented drawer liners, which are sold by the Container Store ($10 for four 18-by-24-inch sheets, www.containerstore.com) and other places..."

This extraordinary linen closet is found in Falling Waters, the home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Notice the "breathing" shelves are caned. What a great idea!

Neatly folded!


Here is my linen closet:

Utility or Broom Closets

Here is my utility closet:

Miscellaneous Closet Ideas!

Someone had a great idea for this nook right in front of her closet. What really makes it, is that it's efficient, works and clean! Once the perfume bottles get dusty, it won't look so pretty. So remember to keep it clean...maintain, maintain, maintain!

How to Spring Clean Your Closet, see my post:

Interested in how to organize and decorate your laundry room?

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