Friday, April 4, 2014

Operation Closet Clean Out

We have a "shoe" closet next to our front door. There's a shoe rack inside and plenty of hangers to hang coats and jackets.

They must be invisible to the male eye.

Around the house I find sweaters. and jackets draped over chairs and shoes scattered on the floor. Sometimes they make it into the actual closet but hardly ever in their proper places. Of course, I do have a toddler so he's sort of off the hook (although he knows how to put his shoes away), but the other two kids need gentle reminders (which is okay albeit sometimes frustrating).

Our closet is overflowing. The first day of spring arrived and went and I still hadn't cleaned out the snow bibs, boots, hats, and mittens. So a few days ago, I spent an hour sorting and organizing.

I honestly did not realize just how many pairs of shoes were in that closet, many of which the kids had outgrown.

We also have a rack hanging over the door where I usually store aprons, scarves, seasonal wreaths, and bags.  It needed a good weeding as well.

First I pulled everything out of the closet. I don't have a picture of this because I'm slightly embarrassed about just how much stuff we crammed in there. Then I started thinking, if the shoe closet looks like this I don't even want to see inside our bedroom closets.

In the midst of this purge, Mr Sunshine initiated a game of Peek A Boo.

Next I sorted items into piles: shoes, hats, scarves, mittens, coats, winter gear, reusable shopping bags, etc etc etc. I fibbed and told the boys I had a fun game for them to play, "Let's see how many pairs of shoes you can match up!" They all fell for it and proceeded to "race" to see who could match the most pairs. But then they fought over who won. For a second I expected those cartoon dust clouds to appear.

After everything was out, I swept the floor and began to put it all back in. Hats and gloves went into a Trader Joe's bag for storage, while winter gear and boots went into our designated "seasonal" tub. Items that were now too small but still in awesome condition went into a plastic bag for this fall's Just Between Friends Sale. Because there is a 3 or 4 size difference between Bear and Mr Sunshine, I've stopped hanging on to the hand me downs, unless of course there's a great pair of Bogs boots or some other item I've shelled out the dough for. I'm running out of storage space so it's not making sense for me to pack away some of these things for three or four years.

In the pink box, I replaced the winter hats with summer hats and a couple pairs of light mittens (for rainy/windy days). The mitten box was refilled with jump ropes, a kids umbrella, and baseball mitts. Next to those boxes are a couple pairs of Mr Sunshine's rain pants, kids lunch boxes, and Mr Sunshine's helmet (the other boys' helmets are stored with their bikes).

Out went the heavy coats and in came the lighter jackets, hooded zip up sweaters, and rain coats. I also removed the excess hangers because I can't stand seeing them all on the floor at the end of the week!

On the shoe rack we replaced snow boots and outgrown shoes with sandals, shoes, and tennis shoes.

The hanging rack now holds one apron, the felted story time apron, the seasonal wreaths (except Christmas, it's packed away with the ornaments), a few scarves, and a couple bags. I am storing all of my reusable bags inside an old Thomas the Train backpack hanging in the back of the closet. Also, in the space you can't see in the closet I have Mr Sunshine's umbrella stroller and the headrest to his car seat.

MUCH MUCH better.

Now, to tackle the REST OF THE HOUSE.

Do you have a storage closet? Mud room? Entry way? What are your secrets for keeping it neat?


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