Does your storage closet look like a bomb went off in there? Mine sure did! I had slowly added random things that didn’t have a place to go to this “out of sight, out of mind” little nook in my house. Then one day it hit me. I have a junk closet. I’ve had to repurchase things that I already own because I can’t find them, or I don’t have the time and the energy to dig through the giant boxes that I’ve shoved in there! Oh, how I thought those big deep shelves would be so convenient, not realizing that I was creating a place to bury everything that I own in a virtual storage mortuary.
When I tried to shove in my kids’ yearbooks and they wouldn’t fit, I realized that I had robbed myself of this precious storage space. It was so many layers deep that I had no idea what I had stored near the back almost 3 years ago. This was long overdue. I cleared the room and just started pulling everything out. Now, you might have done this too. The plan was to go through every box, bag and container, get rid of some stuff and simply, possibly magically, organize what was left.
There’s the magic word, now, right? Organize. It holds such promise for an easier, neater, future. However, as I went through, I started to realize that I’ve done this before. I wasn’t finding that much stuff that I was willing to part with. Sure, some things were important at one time and no longer were, but a lot of this was precious memories. Photos, a select few baby clothes, Christmas tree decorations, craft supplies, and more were all stuffed in. So that’s when I decided that I would try not putting anything back into that closet that didn’t have a specific, sturdy, long-term space to go.
I used the whole room spreading out my stuff. I made piles of knitting and crocheting materials. I had a bunch of falling-apart plastic drawers and dressers just full of photos. I had multiple torn and smashed cardboard boxes holding everything from office supplies to my kids’ first handprints. This was not acceptable anymore! I decided to make a chart.
My chart listed each thing that I needed space for and I managed to get everything into just a few categories. Sewing and yarn, photos, kids’ school and artwork, craft and office supplies, mementos, computer supplies, Christmas stuff, exercise equipment, sports equipment, and my wedding china. I invested just a little into photo boxes, two sturdy containers with lids for the kids’ work, an extra shelf to add to the deep shelf for organizing sewing crafts, a few reusable grocery bags for holding smaller exercise equipment, and so forth. Everything had to go into a category and fit into its designated area or it had to go.
Limiting the space that I was “allowed” to use for each category helped me to make it happen. I couldn’t believe the space that I had left over once everything was put away in proper containers. I even had room to install a new hanging rod, stocked with coat hangers, for the bulky coats and suits that were causing space issues in my bedroom closet. It was definitely worth the time to do it right. No more falling-apart-containers and boxes holding my precious memories and no more searching for what I need when I need it.
About the Author: Charlie Hafter is on the staff of Closet Hanger Factory, a leading online resource for clothes hangers. Get all of the closet and clothes hanger accessories you could need at http://www.closethangerfactory.com, which is recognized worldwide for their excellent quality hangers.