Pinterest exploded all over my Linen Closet

Do you like to organize things? Do you get all giddy when everything has its own special spot when you put things away?

If so, this post is for you!

And me.
Because I totally get that fluttery feeling when I walk into The Container Store.

Last week I was complaining about my linen closet because it basically looked like that pile of crap that the creepy lady wears on her back in The Labyrinth spilled all over the place.

Well, I’m going to show you how one hour of work and $11.50 changed my horribly overstuffed closet into a Pinterest dream.

First, brace yourself because this is an actual photo of what my closet looked like before I touched it…

linen closet - beforeMessy. Messy. Messy.

Between the bath towels, hand towels and washcloths, I had 35 towels shoved in there. 35!! That’s like 30 towels too many when you consider the fact that we basically use the same towels, launder them and then hang them right back up in our bathroom to use them again!

Step 1 was obviously to purge the towels. I kept 2 – 3 of each type of towel (picking the ones that didn’t have random bleached out spots because we’re totally classy) and the rest went into the donation bag. Just that small change resulted in the towels and spare sheet set taking up just ONE shelf, instead of two. Yay for progress!

Step 2 was to go through the overflowing medicine organizer and divide the contents into three piles: cold & allergies, ouchies and expired. After I disposed of the expired medication, all the cold & allergies medicine went into one clear box and was labeled appropriately. Then, I gathered up anything that would fix an “ouchie” situation: band aids, heating patches, Neosporin, etc and added that to the Ouchie box. A couple of the larger items, like the heating pad, went into a black basket. Now we have one shelf full of medicines, instead of having random stuff just hanging out all over the place.

Step 3 was fixing the “I can’t find it” problem. You know, when your husband asks you for his razor refills and you tell him to look in the linen closet only to be met with him shuffling things around and muttering that he can’t find anything… That happens to other people too, right? Well, now all Travis has to do is look straight ahead at the “Travis Refills” box to find his extra soap bars, deodorant, razor refills, dude face wash, shaving gel and more. Genius, right?! I made a box for myself too, so that I have easy access to my girlie stuff.

This is when I realized that I have an issue with lotion. I always think that I’ve run out of lotion, so I keep buying more. I was also given a crap-load of fun lotions to try at the last BlogHer conference, which of course I took gleefully. However, as you can tell by my FULL box of lotion… I need to have a lotion intervention and go cold turkey.

Step 4 was to organize the rest of the randomness that lives in the closet. One basket was used for light bulbs and another for batteries. The large basket on the floor houses travel-sized stuff and travel bags so that I can just grab and go when I have to go out of town.

Step 5 was the snazzy on-the-door organizer for those frequently needed items. The organizer is actually a mesh bath organizer, but I thought it would work great for my closet. Also, it was only $2.50 at Dollar General… I hung it on the back of the door with a couple small picture hanging hooks and filled it with pain relievers (which my husband asks for a few times a month), a refill for my conditioner, and toothpaste. There are a few empty pockets too so that I can add things that Travis is having a hard time finding.

Are you ready to see the difference?

linen closet - after
SO. GOOD. Right?!
Want a close up?

linen closet - close up

Oooooh baby. That’s the stuff!
And here’s a closer look at the door organizer:

linen closet - door

So there you go, the secrets to eternal happiness. Oh wait, I mean the secrets to keep from opening your closet and having a pile of towels fall on your head.

I could have gone to The Container Store or Bed, Bath and Beyond to pick up lots of pretty organizers, but I decided to do this project on a tiny budget. I stopped by Dollar General and loaded up on supplies for way less than I thought I could have. I even bought a super cute $5 lampshade for Jack’s room that I instagrammed over the weekend!

lampshadeI WAS kind of confused that the Dollar General was different than the Dollar Store in that everything was NOT a dollar… I mean, isn’t that kind of the point?! Anyway, I ended up spending $11.50 on this project.

Here’s my supplies breakdown:
6 plastic shoebox organizers = $6
3 black baskets = $3
1 mesh shower organizer = $2.50

So what do you think, is it Pinterest worthy? Does your husband need his own refill box because he can’t find anything unless you hand it to him? Are you confused on why everything at the Dollar General isn’t a dollar?

11/7/13 Update: Do you see that shiny new “Featured on BlogHer” badge in my right sidebar? Well, THIS post was FEATURED on the BlogHer website. That’s right, I clicked over to the FRONT PAGE of BlogHer, saw MY article on their front page and then jumped up and down while doing a weird little scream!

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

Organizing Towels, Meds & Q-Tips

I’ve been in a house purging mood lately. It just seems like EVERYTHING is a mess right now and I feel the need to get rid of stuff. I listed a few pieces of unused furniture on Craigslist, posted old pregnancy books and DVDS on a kids Facebook group in my area and sent in some more clothes to Twice to sell (so I can buy more stuff… oopsie).

For some reason this morning I got it in my mind that my linen closet should probably be torn apart.

Yeah, these are the things that float around in my head while driving to work in the rain. We have a small closet in our upstairs hallway that currently contains towels, sheets, toilet paper, tissue boxes, batteries, light bulbs, refills of pretty much everything we could ever need (lotions, nail polish, q-tips, soap, conditioner, etc) and a huge organizer thingie of all our medicines/first aid kit stuff. The organizer isn’t big enough though, so there are random bottles of Nyquil and allergy pills sitting on shelves throughout the closet. It also isn’t very “organized” which means that whenever Travis is looking for something, he can’t find it.*

Did I mention that the closet is tiny?

It’s a total mess and pretty much any time you try to grab something out, a bunch more stuff falls onto the floor. So the goal for this weekend is to empty the whole darn closet out onto the hallway floor and only put back what actually NEEDS to be in there.

I mean, we only use one towel each during the week (which gets laundered… we’re not stinky people), so why do I have two shelves full of dingy towels?

Here is where I need your help… how do you organize your stuff? I need some sort of storage system for our medicines and our bathroom refills that actually works. I pinned a few ideas here, but I want to know what works for you!


* That is probably just a guy thing though… because he also can’t find the milk when it’s directly in front of his face.

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

Purging is Fun

My internal countdown clock seems like it is going quicker and quicker. It’s like the days are speeding by and we only have 2 ½ weeks until our big moving day.

I’m a pretty organized person, but it is simply shocking the kind of crap you accumulate in almost a decade of living in the same house. So, I figured that this was the perfect time to attack one of the tasks on my Project Me list: Get Rid of 50 Things that I Don’t Need.

When the contract came in on our house, we had exactly 6 weekends to work with before our moving weekend (October 22 – 23rd). As I previously mentioned in a post, since I’m losing my job we can’t buy a new house to move into at the moment. However, we totally lucked out because my parents have a rental property that is going to be vacant the week before we need to move in to it. Ironically, the rent is exactly the same as our current mortgage and the space is almost identical to what we currently have. We can stay there until I find a new position and then we can resume the search for our dream house.

The one drawback of the rental house is the lack of storage space. The closets are quite tiny and there is no basement or other storage area. In order to live as clutter-free as possible, we decided to pack up only the essentials for the rental house. All off-season stuff and non-essentials will be stored in my parent’s basement until we do our final move.

I’m not a big clutter person anyway, so I used this opportunity to keep from being like that scary lady in the Labyrinth.

Instead of just taking everything in a room, throwing it into boxes and dragging it to the new place, I’ve made things a bit more difficult.

Everything in our current house has been reviewed and put into one of the following categories:

  1. Pack away at my parent’s house (off season clothes, books, decorating items, board games, extra furniture, etc.)
  2. Pack away for the rental house (everything we really need to live at the new place, along with our furniture that will fit)
  3. Sell – on craigslist or at a yardsale
  4. Donate to goodwill
  5. Trash

As of this past weekend, we’ve taken 4 truckloads and 1 SUV load of stuff to my parent’s house for storage. Yes, this is stuff that we can currently live without, but will need in our final home. Honestly, it’s still a lot of stuff. So it’s possible that when we finally do unpack it a bunch more stuff will be sold or donated.

Everything left in our house right now is going with us to the rental house. Some of it is boxed up, but most of it is in use for the next couple weeks. We have a bunch of empty boxes standing by for the day stuff gets thrown in and transferred to the new place.

We sold a couch, chair, two bookcases, a futon and a TV on craigslist. A bunch of people got awesome deals on furniture that they needed and we got money to put into our “buying stuff for the new house” fund. (6 items)

We tried to have a yardsale this past Sunday, but due to the weather being cold and rainy it was pretty unsuccessful. According to the rules in our house, anything put out for a yardsale is not allowed back in. I did bend the rules a teeny bit this time and rescued about 5 items. The rest (which filled up the back of my SUV) went straight to Goodwill. (30 items)

At the end of each season, I do what I call my “closet switchover” where pack away everything from the previous season and bring out stuff for the next. This year, when I packed away all my spring/summer stuff and brought out my cooler weather clothes I was brutal when deciding what to get rid of. Two big boxes of clothes were donated to Goodwill from me alone. My husband added another large bag when he went through his own clothes. (30ish items)

So, it looks like we’ve gotten rid of almost 70 items without even counting stuff that went straight to the trashcan. YAY, goal completed!

Not only does it feel wonderful to get rid of clutter we don’t need, it’s always nice to donate to our local Goodwill. The organization channels 84% of their revenues into job training programs that benefit hundreds of thousands of people each year. Also, as an added benefit we can claim tax donations for our contributions.

I’m feeling pretty great now – I completed a “Project Me” task, we gave a ton of stuff to a local nonprofit, we packed up 4 ½ truckloads and moved it out of our house, AND we have some money to buy things for our new place!

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!