Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Linen Closet: A Work in Progress

Lately our linen closet has become that closet. You know, the one that you throw things into and quickly shut the door so you don't have to see the mess... And it was starting drive me a little crazy.

I have written a few blog posts about home organization, but that certainly doesn't make me an expert. I'm definitely happier when a space is organized, but it's not in my nature. Just ask my parents or siblings what my bedroom looked like when I was growing up!
Which brings us to the before picture for my linen closet. Such a sad sight. You can see why I wanted to keep the door shut!

I cringe when I see this. The top two shelves at least have neatly folded stacks of linens, but the bottom is pure chaos!
One day it was left open, and as I walked by after putting Kiddo down for his nap, I knew couldn't leave it like that. I decided something needed to be done, right then and there!
As I looked through the closet, I realized that some things really should go into the bathroom vanity, so I decided to organize it too. The more the merrier, right?
It needed a little help too.

This house doesn't have a single medicine cabinet, so I've been trying to figure out the best place for the medicines and bandages. At first I had them in the linen closet, in a shoe box, but everything ended up overflowing.

I decided to try storing them in a drawer in the upstairs bathroom vanity instead. As I moved everything over, I found several outdated items, including this anti-itch cream that expired in 2011!
It's amazing what you find when you clean out. I have gotten a lot better, but I tend to be the kind of person who saves things in case I can use it someday.  For example, we were surprised to find that the previous owners left their shower curtains for us, so I saved the practically new shower curtains from our old house. When I went through the linen closet, I found that one of them must not have been completely dry when I put it away...
Disgusting! I was bummed that it was ruined, and pretty grossed out that it had been sitting in the closet with our clean linens. But I'm glad I discovered it and could dispose of it.
There were several other items that needed to be re-located or thrown out, so I created a staging area. I filled a large Target bag in the bathroom with trash, unwanted items, and out-dated medicines and lotions. Everything else that needed to be donated, moved to basement storage, or put in their proper place, were at the top of the stairs. A few things were added from other areas of the upstairs while I was at it, like the blue pillows to go in the playroom.
When I was all finished, I folded sheets, blankets, and towels neatly and put everything back in an orderly manner.  I added in some bulk toilet paper I had just bought, a hamper for dirty sheets, and an under-the-shelf basket I found at Goodwill to hold vacuum bags and accessories. I also placed our "beach bag" on the floor. At the end of the summer, it will be safely stashed on the top shelf until next year.

As you might have noticed, the previous owners added to the shelves in this linen closet to make them extra-deep. The advantage is more storage space, but things can easily get lost in the back. Eventually I'd like to get some baskets or bins to store our linens and make everything look more uniform. I really like these canvas bins, and have added them to my wish list.
But in the meantime, I have to say this has been a huge improvement. So far it's staying really neat, too!

And while the bathroom vanity still isn't perfect, it is more functional and organized as well. Someday I'll buy or make some organizers for the drawers, but for now it works.

So, one afternoon and two organized spaces, with just enough time to take everything from the staging area to their respective locations before Kiddo woke up from his nap. Even though it's still a work in progress, I'll call it a success!


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