Posts tagged organization

Hall Closet Makeover

We have a good sized closet in our main hallway.  It’s pretty much been unused since we moved in, mostly because we moved in during nicer weather and didn’t have big coats, hats, gloves, boots, etc to put in there.  Instead, it has become home to some very random things like mops, Pledge, light bulbs, grocery bags and our fire extinguisher.

(click to enlarge)

With the colder weather creeping up on us, I know that we are going to need to use this closet for it’s intended purpose rather than as a catch-all.  So, I decided to tackle it.  It was a very spur-of-the-moment decision.  I took some quick measurements, grabbed the girls, and drove to Lowe’s to buy some supplies.  There were a few things that I definitely wanted to accomplish with the project and the rest just fell into place.  First, since the closet is over a stairway, the floor is slanted upward which means you can’t really put much on the floor of the closet (but somehow that didn’t really seem to stop the clutter from gathering there!).  Then there was the abundance of grocery bags (aka toxic waste-smelling diaper disposal bags).  Even though we use reusable shopping bags 90% of the time, we still seem to end up with tons of these plastic bags.  So, I was determined to find an answer to this problem.  And finally, how do I make the closet not look so cluttered?  I know, I know, it IS a closet after all, but I just hated looking at all of the crap!

Here is how it turned out:

I am completely thrilled with it.  I installed a shelf near the bottom of the closet.  It can be used for shoes or whatever.  I put a small bin on it so the kids can put things away at their own level (ie hats, gloves, scarves).  I put two larger bins on the top shelf.  One of them has the light bulbs and other miscellaneous stuff in it.  The other is empty for now, but will hold Scott’s and my hats, gloves and scarves this winter.  I was able to eliminate two of the mops from the closet.  One was the Swiffer Wet Jet, which we no longer use (we replaced it with a Shark Steam Mop seen in the picture).  The other one was an old school sponge mop that somehow made it’s way to the new house even though we never used it at the condo.

But, I know the biggest question on everyone’s mind right now is “What did she do with all of those grocery bags?!?”  Pretty sweet, huh?!  I’ve seen these type of bag holder/dispenser things before but for some reason never bought one.  Of course today when I was on the hunt for one, it took me forever to find it.  It’s stuck on the right hand wall inside the closet with some adhesive backing (or you could have used screws).  The box says it holds 30 bags but I was able to get at least 45 in there (yes, I was counting!).  I’m very happy about it.

So, I ended up spending about $40 at Lowe’s on the shelf, hardware, bins and the grocery bag holder.  I know it probably seems silly that I’m so excited about a closet makeover, but I know it’s going to make our lives so much easier once we’re wearing heavy coats and winter accessories.

I have a theory…

. . . about certain toys.  Certain toys seem to multiply over night.  I’m not sure exactly how this happens, but I know it must be true.  I just wish there was some way that I could prove it.  We all know that when us humans go to sleep at night or when we’re not looking, all of our kids toys come out to play, right?  I’m sure you’ve seen Toy Story.  So I am not sure what they happen to be doing in our house, but they seem to multiply, and I don’t want to know how!

This problem exists specifically with two types of toys in our house.  The miniature figurines and stuffed animals.  I really have no idea where all of these things come from because I know that I don’t buy them.  They’re not the type of toys that I tend to buy for my kids.  These are the types of toys that make their way into your home via a kids meal or a cereal box or as a souvenir gift from a well meaning relative.  So if we rarely eat fast food, don’t buy kids cereal and don’t have many traveling family member, how do we end up with all of this stuff?!

You may think that I’m overreacting a bit here about just how many of these toys we have.  So let me provide you with a visual.  Here you have Exhibit A – the miniature figurines:

This box contains Disney movie characters, Dora characters, a full set of 12 miniature horses, a collection of animals from Australia, the full cast of Little Einsteins, a few kids meal toys and a partridge in a pear tree!  I have no idea where all of these things came from.  I can remember buying maybe one or two of them, but there has got to be at least 100 pieces in this box.  These figurines don’t get played with all that much.  But when they do they usually end up in little parades all around the house which look something like this:

Now I must admit, the little characters aren’t that big of a problem because for the most part they can be crammed into a reasonable size box and stored until it’s time for another parade.  The bigger toy problem that we have in our house is with stuffed animals.  Don’t get me wrong, I was definitely know to have my share of them.  Even in high school and college (ok and even beyond that) I had many that I loved and would put on my bed after it was made (but I never have time to make my bed anymore).  I had stuffed dalmatians, a Winnie the Pooh and a few Care Bears.  Some of these have been taken over by my daughter and were added to her already large collection.  The reason that stuffed animals are such a problem is because they’re big and bulky.  Where did they all come from you might ask?  Well, I blame a few places for our overabundance of these fluff filled critters: parades, fairs and Kohl’s department store (you know, the Kohl’s Cares for Kids $5 stuffed animals that they place right next to the cash registers and your kid begs for as you are on the way through the check out?).

Anyway, there is just no easy way to clean them up and make them look neat.  Right now we have them stuffed into a toy box.  I took everything else out of the toy box so I could hide the stuffed friends in there.  Out of sight, out of mind right?  I give you Exhibit B:

The toy box has become so stuffed that the lid barely closes anymore, yet there are still stuffed animals all over the house.  Last weekend I started packing up some of the toys to get ready for our move and the only reasonable way we could think of to “pack” the stuffed animals was to pile them all into a huge trash bag.  There are two possible things that can happen with this trash bag, 1) it’s lucky and makes it’s way to our new house, or 2) it somehow finds it’s way into the dumpster.  Can you guess which one I’d choose? :-)

Organization

I’ve been wracking my brain for some time now trying to find a way to organize our living/play room. Since we spend the majority of our time in this main room Brinley’s toys have sort of taken over the space. By the end of the day its usually impossible to see the floor (which right now isn’t so bad since our carpet is totally worn out – we’re saying good bye to it on Friday when our hardwood floors are installed!!!).

Anyway, when we were at BJs earlier in the month I saw this cool cube bin storage unit. In my mind it was the perfect thing for us. However we didn’t buy it then because I wasn’t 100% sure it was what I wanted. Well, we ended up going back today and getting it. Scott and I put it together this afternoon and I LOVE it. It fits most of Brinley’s toys in it and keeps them out of the way and off of the floor. I’m hoping to teach Brinley where her different things go on the shelf and in the bins so that she will be able to keep everything in its place (wishful thinking, I know!). So, here it is….

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