Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to Organize the Cleaning Clost

Every cure, something happens which is totally unplanned and unexpected. This may be it.

Officially, this is known as the Cleaning closet. Actually, it is the Catch-All closet. It is one of two closets on the main floor. (The other is the coat/vacuum cleaner/tp closet). One of three in the entire house (not counting the bedroom closets.)

It's always a mess--and over the years it has been the one area I am constantly cleaning out and organizing.

For example, here's how things stood in October of 2009.

On the top shelf we have cameras and odds and ends.

The second shelf holds candles and garbage bags, vacuum cleaner bags and light bulbs.

The third shelf holds cleaning supplies and, yes, a tool box.

This is a bona fide before shot: taken just before I emptied the shelf.

The fourth shelf holds towels (no closet in the bathroom).

And the floor holds cleaning buckets and the dog's milk bones.

Well, that's the plan, anyway.

It is an awkward space: the shelves are 24" (60cm) wide and 24" (60cm) deep--which, as anyone who has a closet that deep knows, is awkwardly deep.

I went to clean out the shelf with the cleaning supplies, because that's something that would normally be part of the kitchen--and the next thing i knew, I was emptying every shelf in an attempt to organize it. One thing quickly led to another and I wound up re-painting, re-covering the shelves and re-organizing.

It was a two day project.

At first, I agonized over replacing this shelf paper. As you can see, it is in pretty bad shape, but it is wallpaper likely installed by the very first owners back in the Fifties. It just has that vibe and I love it.

I decided, however, that although I loved opening my closet and looking at it, I really wasn't doing it any favours. I decided it would be best to salvage a good piece and frame it--and then cover the shelves with decent stuff.

I don't know why I haven't painted this closet before now. This one--and the coat closet adjacent to it are this really horrible shade of peach.

But two coats of Benjamin Moore's Cloud White and all is right with the world.

I did a bit of research to figure out how to put everything back in. There were three principles I put into action:

1) Group like with like.
Here, candles are corralled in an ice-cream pail:

These are from Ikea. I think I have enough for a few winters.

2) Make things accessible.
Usually, the advice is to put things you use more often in the front and those used less often in the back. In a closet 24" (60cm) deep, that can mean that things in the back are pretty much forgotten and lost forever. So, instead, taking a cue from the success of my pantry shelf re-organization project, I decided to purchase some more turn tables (or carousels) and use those.

I got lucky. They were on sale!

I love them.

3) Go vertical.
There really isn't all that much room to do that in this closet: but I could use a hanging basket on the bottom shelf to hold cleaning cloths. I was lucky I found something that fit so well on my very first try!

So, there we have it.

The painted, papered and reorganized closet.
I'm hoping it will be easier to deal with from now on!

Linking to Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style.

Update: It is now September, 2011. This closet still looks great and functions even better! It's been one of the best organizing projects I've done all year, so I'm linking to the I am Organizing Proud Party over at I Heart Organizing.


scb said...

Brava! That gets a standing ovation. Wow what a difference the paint made! And the turntables are an excellent idea, as is the little hanging basket. Hmmm... I bet I could use hanging baskets in my linen closet. Hmmm... That wasn't going to be part of the Cure, but as you say, Cures are like that.

Great work!

Anne (no longer in Reno) said...

You are inspiring me this cure season! I may need to do a closet cure once the office is done, because that sure does look nice!

onshore said...

We have some of these deep closets too and I agree they are not really handy.

Lov eto change you made here, the closet looks spacious and fresh, nice. I hope it will work better now.

onshore said...

I cannot write anymore, thht is supposed to say: Love the change you made here.

onshore said...


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