With our new home, we've been blessed with a lot of storage space. For once, I finally feel like our house *can* be decluttered, if we allow it to be so.
The problem so far has been finding time and resources to fully organize some of these closets.
We have two "coat closets". One is fairly small and sits in the middle of the main floor... near the foyer. We've basically used this small closet as vacuum/broom/older-kids' school bags/guest coats storage. Yep, a catch-all. I hope to do some work on that closet someday soon.
Until then, I thought I'd focus on our main coat closet. It sits in the mini-mudroom, near the garage and the kitchen.
Remember the charcoal-gray mudroom?
The door to the left of the mudroom, in the photo above, is the closet.
It has a standard builders-grade shelving unit. One wire shelf, attached with brackets to the wall, with a curtain rod underneath.
My biggest concern was staying cheap (i.e.... no fancy-shmancy closet systems or custom-made shelving) and trying to use what I already had or had access to.
Well, I had some of those white Target/Walmart-found white laminate shelves. They've gone through many stages in our home: shoe racks, boot racks, toys shelves, bedroom closet shelves. I found them sitting in the basement, and put them to use.
I bought an Itso system from Target one week when they were on special. Basically it included two black plastic cubes, two shelves, and four drawers. I think I paid in the vicinity of $40 for these. I chose the black and black swirl patterns, since I had a vision of what other items I'd put in there. I loved how simple they were to pull out and how they kept things to a minimum. We used to have bigger wooden baskets. They were clumsy and big, and as I learned later, they tended to break easier. We'll see how these drawers last. They seem to basically be a very heavy cardboard-like frame, surrounded by a pretty fabric.
The other thing I had access to was... Thirty-One products. June was a great month for me, and my commissions basically went straight toward closet organizers for the family. :) Plus they had that amazing Large Utility Tote on special.
So... yes, here is where I shamelessly plug the Thirty-One products. Please note that you could find your own substitutes for storage from Target, the Container Store, Ikea or HomeGoods. (But, Thirty-One organizers ROCK and are ADORABLE! Just sayin'!)
Since the closet is near those beautiful charcoal-gray walls, I picked a print that I loved: Papparazzi Dot, which is black, white and charcoal gray.
Here are some final pictures after step one (the organizing)... step two will come later when I get a chance to paint!
I took all of the out-of-season accessories and put them into Storage Totes. (Above is the winter accessories of all four kids... and there is a lot, and it fit!)
Above is the winter accessories of my husband and I.
The Itso system went at the bottom of the closet for seasonal items. I plan to label the drawers with my kids' names and use them to store things like scarves, gloves, or other seasonal items. Beach towels in summer? That would be helpful... especially for when the kids come in through the garage after blasting each other with the sprinkler, hose or waterguns, eh?
I used one Organizing Utility Tote to hold all of our sunscreens, bug sprays (we use these daily as we live in Lyme'n County, USA), and even fabric sticky rollers (for removing white dog hair from my black wool coat). Since the bag is a little squishy, I threw in one of the baskets we used to use to keep it rather sturdy. I used the side pockets for any extras and for the little stick sunscreen and bug wipes.
In another Organizing Utility Tote, I put some "extra" bags. In our case, a tote bag for last minute storage on the go, a nicer purse, and a camera case. Something tells me more will end up in here. I could've used the side pockets to hold wallets, keys, Handi-wipes, etc.
In a black Large Utility Tote, I put some of our fun sports equipment for pick-up games or picnics.
In a dotted Large Utility Tote, I put our pool equipment: Mommy's beach towel, kick-boards, and goggles. These go with us every time. I even have room for the kids' towels, when the time comes. I just grab this bag and go (it's vinyl and easily wiped down).
So far, this is the top of the closet. I put the white laminate shelves up there to hold our Gatorade and water bottles (the refrigerator is literally 3' away from here.) The cubby-shelves hold the two Organizing Totes. I put the Storage Totes for out-of-season accessories on top. Note there is space next to them to hold the pool bag, when this season is over. To the right, I am hoping to find a good tote to hold a few winter coats, too... to decrease the congestion without having to store the coats elsewhere in the house. It's amazing how many coats 6 people can have!
On the door, I screwed in simple white metal coat hooks to hold my everyday purse, an extra tote (this one I use at the pool to carry books, DS's, Kindles, snacks, water bottles, etc.), and our umbrellas. Hmmm.... three umbrellas for six people. Looks like we know what needs to be put on our next shopping list.
The bottom of the closet, with shelves tucked in. See those boots to the right? I have one more Utility Tote to get to hold those till winter. They'll get the number-one spot over the Itso drawers when the seasons change.
So, it's not 100% complete, but I'm pretty happy that it's very functional for now. Beach-things ready to go... everything out-of-season is out-of-sight... places ready to hold other items to make it even easier and more organized.
I'm not 100% sure what to paint the inside, but I'm thinking of a pretty celery green. (i.e.... I still have some leftover from the Diva's room... thus, free!)
I know that if you were to purchase all of these totes on your own, it would not be cheap. They cost me about $138 for all 7 bags, plus the Itso storage.
However, if you are invited to a Thirty-One party and are wondering how to use the products, here's a great starting off point! :)
Or earn them with hostess rewards when you host a party... :)