Here are the before photos:
I know, I know- it wasn't that bad to begin with but there were things that weren't working for me. The top shelf was a huge space that wasn't being fully utilized. Things were organized into bins but I couldn't see what was inside without taking the bin out. The closet looked nice when you opened it, but because I couldn't easily see what I had I was rebuying or not using up products I already had. The bottom two shelves were just messes with stuff piled on top of stuff.
Here's what I did:
Pulled out all unused containers, bins, totes, etc. from around the house - anything that I might be able to use for storage/organization.
Gathered everything that wasn't in the linen closet that I wanted to try to fit into the linen closet. You gotta know what you're working with. I used to store my paper towels in the basement with the rest of my stockpile but I thought they would be a good item to eat up some of that unused space at the top of the closet. (Plus, I wouldn't have to go downstairs to get paper towels anymore.)
I started with the level that bothered me the most: the bottom where I threw all our work towels (bath towels I've ruined with bleach, gotten paint on or that we just don't use anymore) and drop cloths. I rolled all the full size towels and put them in a laundry basket with the drop cloths. I put everything standing up so we can easily see what is available. (Some drop cloths are large than others so it's nice to be able to see and grab any particular one we want, rather than having them stacked.) I did the same with the hand-towel-sized work towels and put those in a small tote for easy access.
There were a few cleaning rags thrown in the mess too, but that's not where I keep most of my cleaning rags so I gather all of them up and hung a basket in my cleaning closet so it's easy to grab a rag and go.
Next I tackled my first aid & medicine basket, pulling out all the expired items. As you can see from the photo, pretty much everything was expired. I'm going to take this as an opportunity to create a proper first aid basket before the summer gets into full swing and we begin all our outdoor projects, which will include completely rebuilding our front porch (and probably some blood).
I had a container for all the hotel soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc. that I've squirreled away over the years in the linen closet. I like to use up these small bottles when traveling but the problem is that I keep all product samples I receive in the mail in a different container in the basement- which is where I tend to go when packing a bath bag for travel. So, I moved everything down to one location (in the basement) and pulled out a bunch of items to donate to Hip2Save's Hip2Help Tour. (A totally awesome and worthwhile cause! Click the link and please consider donating yourself!)
And here's the after photo:
I know, not a huge difference (at least not in the photo) but I think the small changes I made will make a big difference in how useful and accessible the closet is for us.
The top shelf looks crowded but at least I can say that every inch of the closet is being used now! I moved our beach towels up to the top so those are easy to grab now that the weather is heating up outside (not that we have a beach anywhere near us). I think it will be easier to grab a rolled bath towel without the entire pile crashing down on me now.
We now have a separate basket with first aid items and a separate basket with medicines. I think this will be useful when it's grab-the-first-aid-and-run-in-the-bathroom-before-you-bleed-on-the-floor time. All the way in the back of this self is mine and my husband's travel bags. We have travel bath bags that hold all the health & beauty items we need for about a week's worth of vacation. After getting back from each trip I restock my bag and put it away in the closet so that's one less that I have to worry about when packing the next time.
If you are like me, you have a collection of half used hair products, lotions, etc. I have a bad habit of opening a bottle of something, using half, getting a new product and being too excited to wait to use it so I end up with this gigantic basket of product that needs used. I threw out all the way old or not-enough-left-to-make-it-worth-the-space-it-takes-up items.
I love my little toilet paper rack. I'm not sure what its intended purpose is. I'm pretty sure you can buy them at Walmart with all the other storage/organizational stuff. I have a small basket with a few extra rolls of TP in the bathroom, but I like having a couple more on hand just outside the bathroom door in the linen closet.
So that's my new and improved linen closet. Did anyone else tackle a major organizational project this weekend?