We have a storage closet in our basement. It is a great space with two sliding doors, one long shelf, and carpet that can hold a lot of useful things for our family. Sadly, instead of being a great space that is really useful, it has turned into the dumping ground for everything we have that didn’t fit anywhere else in our house. Suitcases, bins, holiday boxes, my wedding dress, cooking equipment, the gift wrapping station, toys…you name it, it was probably in that closet. Organizing that space was on my to-do list for a while, but it was never really a priority. There were always more spaces that needed to be organized now, making the closet the last on the list. That is, until I was trying to put away the Halloween decorations. The Halloween bin was at the bottom of the pile (no idea how that happened, but it was buried), and I couldn’t get it out of the closet. So after taking out half of the closet to get the Halloween box, I realized it was time to clean this closet for good.
I got all my holiday decorations organized by using large, clear bins that I purchased at Costco. I put pretty stickers on each box to label what holiday they were to be used for. Then I sorted all my holiday decorations into the boxes. I have a box for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Passover, and a box for other holidays. In my other holidays box, I have Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and New Years, because I don’t have enough stuff for each individual holiday to get it’s own box!
So back to the closet…since half of the stuff was out, just lying around the basement, I proceeded to take out the rest of the items in the closet, along with removing everything from the shelves. We have a bed frame and leaves to the table that need to stay in the closet because they really don’t fit anywhere else in the house, so I just left them in the closet. They are just too have and bulky to move in and out! I vacuumed and wiped down the entire closet. Scratch that, the kids vacuumed while I wiped down the closet. They love to vacuum, so I strongly encourage that skill!
As the kids continued to vacuum, I started to sort through the items in the closet. We have a lot of suitcases, so I piled them together. We have so many bins, that they sort of took over the closet. Once I contained them, I saw some were not that useful or broken. I put those in a garbage bag to toss, because there is no need to hold onto something that is broken.
All the holiday bins were stacked together. Along with the holiday bins, I have individual bins for each family member. These bins are to hold special things, such as schoolwork, pictures, baby items, etc. I store the kids doctor check-up forms in these bins, along with some of my favorite artwork they did at school or at home. I always put the date on the back, so I can remember when it was from.
My wedding dress, along with some other random items, could be placed in the attic. I made a goal that once I finished sorting everything I would take these items and put them in the attic. So, once I finished sorting everything, I took those items and placed them in the attic so that I could truly focus on organizing the closet. I suggest taking time to put other items away in their new locations while you are working on the current area. And by using that as an incentive, you are more likely to finish the task-at-hand quicker.
Then I looked around at everything that was left and decided what actually needed to be in the closet, and what would better serve our needs in a different place of our home. I decided that all the holiday boxes, family member boxes, gift wrapping, and storage bins needed to be in the closet. Everything else could find another home. That included suitcases and some toys/other items that will end up being donated to our local donation center.
Now, this is our holiday closet! No more storing junk here. I took our holiday boxes and stacked them together. I put our gift wrapping station near the holiday boxes. (I shared my tutorial for setting up a gift wrapping station here.) And, seeing as I had a leftover popcorn tin, I put all my wrapping paper in that tin, but left my bags and tissue paper in the gift wrapping box I originally started with. Then, I put the holiday cooking supplies on the shelf, along with the storage bins. In the front of the closet I put the family member bins so that I could have easy access to adding to the bins when I found or received something that was worthy enough to go into the bin.
Now the closet is organized, and I am so happy that I can find everything. Now it’s your turn to clean out and organize your storage closet! You can do it too, in just five easy steps:
- Remove everything from the closet
- Clean closet
- Sort items
- Decide what really needs to go in the closet
- Put it back in a way that is easy to find and accessible to all