Thursday, September 15, 2011

Today's Project: Closet Organization

My Closet with Hanging Shelves
This is a topic very close to home to me.  In fact, today, the topic actually found its way all the way into my closet!  With much duress, gusto, and sweat, I reorganized my closet to better meet my needs and my husband’s needs.

Though I enjoy designing and decorating, the closet is often the exception.  Even when enjoyment can be found in organizing (which often happens in the morning hours after having my daily cup of joe), I typically tend to take care of the areas that are seen most often such as the bathroom, the kitchen, and the living room.  My closet is often low on my list of priorities and, therefore, it normally has to reach a breaking point until I’ll venture into my walk-in closet lined with closet rods filled with clothes on the right and left.

Reaching the Breaking Point
This morning (after my coffee) I took the dive to clean and reorganize my closet.  The breaking point had arrived a few days ago when we came back from vacation with an antique dresser for my husband, James.  I will blog more about this unique find later, but the issue with this dresser came from its space requirements.  We no longer had space in the bedroom for James’s old dresser so we decided to move it into the closet so I could use it in place of my hanging shelf.  However, as it often works out, the night we loaded the new dresser into the room and moved the old dresser into the closet James and I were exhausted.  We shoved the old dresser to the back of the closet, placed our empty suitcases in front of it, and left the hanging shelves in place.  What a disaster!

Clearing Work Space
Left in practically disgraceful condition, I had to begin by moving the four suitcases that blocked the way to the old dresser.  When organizing, you have to begin by creating a space to work.  Many people begin to organize while coexisting with the clutter, but there is really no quicker way to become frustrated, disheartened, and to simply give up.  Clear some space, move bigger items into another room, and then begin working in a breathable and workable space.

Work and Rework
After moving the suitcases, I could spend my time unloading the items that were in the hanging shelf into the dresser.  Each type of item in a closet needs a home.  I put my belts and scarves in the top drawer, my socks in the second, my bathing suits and nightgowns in the third, etc.  I measured the space that I would need for the dresser and realized I would have to pack up some of the formal dresses farther down to make space.  Organization takes time!

After I created the space that I needed, I was able to jostle the dresser forward in the closet until I reached the open space to the left of the door.  While the dresser looks better, I could see that it took significantly more space than my hanging shelf.  I was able to use the space above the dresser for various boxes that had cluttered the floor of my closet.  After moving the boxes, I realized I now had more space for my shoe rack and shoes!  When organizing a closet, you must work and rework your solutions.

Don’t Make it Work
As soon as I had taken down the hanging shelves, I thought ‘Hey!  I’ll just put this in another location in the closet.’ Though the hanging shelves were meant for a full length space, I tried hanging it on a closet rod that had half of full length space.  The hanging shelves poured into the floor and I noticed how the previously sturdy fabric-covered cardboard shelves had begun to sag over time.  Sometimes you just have to let go of the old and allow the new to kick it out the door.  I could not make the shelving work for me and it is now sitting in the trash pile waiting to hit the curb.

Sentiment My Foot!
Like most ladies, I love shoes.  I have old shoes and I have new shoes.  Then I have some really old shoes.  Only they are not just any shoes, they have sentimental value!  Like the shoes I bought when I was pregnant with my son, or the flip flops I wore when I was in high school.  I even have the black slip-resistant shoes that I used when I did waitressing.  Whether it is shoes, clothes, jewelry, or any other item with sentimental value, you must realize that collecting these items does you and your closet no good!  The shoes will never grow young again and will always look dingy, the clothes that have holes will never magically fix themselves, and even the jewelry that you wore in college will never look as good now as it did then.  Saving them is not a solution, it’s a mistake.  I waved goodbye to my sentimental shoes and still need to go through some of the sentimental clothes and jewelry.

Get Some Ideas
Each challenge has a corresponding idea.  My closet has presented me with multiple challenges and I had the opportunity to acknowledge those challenges as I sought to organize and clean.  I did not solve all of the challenges in one organization session, but now I can write down the challenges and begin to work out solutions.  Here are my existing challenges:

How to effectively utilize high closet shelves
Where to put extra guest pillows
What hangers do I really want to keep and which should I toss out
Where should we keep our suitcases
Does our closet really make the best wine rack (yes, there is a story there)
What type of shoe rack would do better than my two shelf unit

Rather than thinking of these existing challenges as all the ways I did not succeed in finishing today, I can understand that taking more than a day to work out solutions can actually make my closet organization better than it would be on a one day project.  Organization takes time, thought, and constant problem solving, but the results are so worth it!

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