I get a lot of satisfaction from organizing my surroundings. Order really does calm the mind. However, when you have partners, spouses, children, or even parents living in those same surroundings there are a few obstacles to overcome. Not everyone is tuned into their inner engineer. On the other hand, some just aren’t willing to make the effort to do what it’s telling them! Nothing requires an organizing balancing act like a shared closet space. Luckily, I’ve found the secret for everyone in my household to hear and act on at least an inner whisper.
DESIGN PROBLEM – HOW TO ORGANIZE CLOSET CHAOS
This is what my linen closet looked like before I found my weapon of choice. Because let’s be honest, organizing any linen closet is a battle! And this is one battle I was not winning. I hated to even open this closet. Somewhat distinct piles just wasn’t cutting it for me. Sorry for the picture quality but this was well before I even thought about blogging!
DESIGN PRINCIPLE – CLOSET ORGANIZING IS ABOUT HABITS
I am a HUGE proponent of getting the kids involved in chores at an early age. Moreover, being responsible for their own spaces. This includes stripping, changing, cleaning, and putting away bed sheets and bath towels. Unfortunately, this means that they are in the linen closet as much as I am. And let’s not forget that Hubby can’t fold a flat sheet flat to save his life! Some keys to a long-lasting organization project:
- Recognize the practical limits of orderliness based on the habits of all users
- Use tools that don’t require those habits to change, too much anyway
In my case, that meant acknowledging that separate containers were necessary for the different users. At the time, the boys had a twin and a full bed while we had a king bed. Better yet, the containers needed to be clear. Why? Because no 8 year old is going to neatly go through a pile of folded linens to get to his favorite Batman sheets.
Don’t get me wrong – I love seeing closets with fabric baskets that replicate the whole house color scheme. But for me, they are a bit expensive to be hiding behind a closed door. Dollar store plastic baskets would be affordable, like those used by Homemade Ginger for her utility closet. But, I have only been able to find the bright red, blue, and green which are not my colors! Save yourself the money and aggravation by using clear containers that also make it easy for kids to see what they want.
ORGANIZE YOUR CLOSET LIKE YOU THINK
The clear plastic bins are affordable and can be found nearly anywhere in a variety of sizes. The best way to figure out how many and what size you need? Easy! Organize the closet how you want it to look as if nothing would be touched again. This way you are already taking into account the physical constraints of your closet. And consider how your mind naturally orders things. Need help with the latter? Consider which of these options best suits your habits:
- separate by size (twin/full/queen/king for a variety of household beds)
- separate by type (fitted/flat/pillow/sham for those that change pillowcases more often than fitted sheets)
- separate by fabric (flannel sheets for the winter and cotton sheets for the summer)
- separate by color (most household beds are the same size but different bedroom color schemes)
- separate by use (guests sheets that stay nice and white and crisp!)
The physical size of your closet will likely dictate how much you can delineate your linens into categories. I was able to separate by both size and type. Yet another option – keep the linens used most for each bedroom in that room. Our guest bedroom’s bottom dresser drawer holds guest-only linens. This frees up more space for truly shared items in a shared closet.
APPLYING THIS ORGANIZING IDEA TO OTHER CLOSETS
These clear plastic bins were really my best closet organization idea ever. So much so that I incorporated them into both B-boy’s and Rooster’s closets. And this brings me to the third key step to any home organizing project:
3. Really understand your main objective
The objective for my boy’s closets was not for them to find things faster or to get them to color coordinate their outfits. It was simply TO CONTAIN. Everyone has their own threshold for orderliness, just as everyone has their own limits for maintaining it. For me and the kids, containing the visual clutter is enough. Take a close look at the bins below.
For the most part, items are separated by type (socks/shorts/shirts) and some by use (general/basketball/soccer). This is totally at the discretion of each boy. Most important to note – not a single piece of clothing is folded. Yet the closet as a whole still looks organized! While you can’t see it in the picture above, the few nice clothes they have are actually hung. Admittedly, having boys that live in athletic gear helps in this respect. While I long to teach my boys better folding habits than their father, I always need to ask myself – are you looking to win the battle or the war?
Looking for more ways to organize your kids’ stuff? Check out how I tackled sports gear, trophies, and toys with some of my favorite DIYs!
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