How I Organized My Junk Closet

So...You guys know that junk drawer that everyone has? You've got one, too, right?
Well, I see your junk drawer and raise you a couple random bookshelves and a miscellaneous (translation: filled with heaven knows what) closet. BAM. Chip me, please.
So, here's the deal. In preparing to redecorate our basement guest bedroom recently, I had to first do some closet organizing. Our house is not huge; it actually feels like we never have enough storage space. My knee-jerk reaction to this thought of "organizing the closet" was to go out and buy a new bookshelf.
Because bookshelves are supposed to solve the world's problems, right? I'm pretty sure if nations' capitols had more bookshelves (and maybe more cookies), political grumblings across the globe would quickly subside. Because who isn't happy putting stuff on a shelf while eating a cookie? No one, that's who.
(ahem) ANYway. I started pulling stuff out of the closet and in about 5 minutes realized that the problem to my shortness-of-storage dilemma was not inadequate bookshelfery. Rather, it was disorganization and randomly strewn about junk treasures items that needed to be edited and compacted.
So. I'm no professional closet organizer (despite the above photo's showing I might be Prez of the Closet Organizers union) (har har). But here's how I got rid of this mess, complete with some closet organization ideas for you all:
Step 1: Relocate large items on the closet floor so I could access everything else in the closet. This included moving Rock Band items (into the furnace room), luggage (into the food storage room, top shelf), and filing cabinet.
(Tip: When looking for storage, try to notice places in your home that you normally overlook. Do you have a shelf holding empty boxes? Two closets holding the same thing? Bins full of random items that you really don't need taking up valuable real estate? See if you can shift items and repurpose a space or two. This also helps to pare down the Stuff in your life. Bonus.)
Step 2: Go through contents of filing cabinet and de-junk. I was able to recycle an entire curbside recycle can's worth of papers in doing so. I also painted the filing cabinet and, because it was now more aesthetically acceptable, moved it to our home office space.
(Tip: When you find yourself running out of storage space, see if there's a way you can make large items look presentable on their own so they don't have to be hidden away.)
Step 3: Combine like things with like things. For me, it was my sewing/fabric-related items. I described the process in this post about reorganization. This freed up the two large center shelves in this bedroom closet.
(Tip: Consider storing related items in one central place rather than several spots around the house. This is beneficial when you go to use these items, too.)
Step 4: Move a smaller (unused) bookshelf into the closet and designate this the "camping section." I positioned it against the side of the closet wall to free up more space.
(Tip: Consider non-traditional layouts to optimize storage space. Simply turning a bookshelf 90 degrees, for example, can give you several square feet of space that you previously didn't have.)
Step 5: Store some seldom-used items (such as foam pads) under my children's beds.
Here's the reorganized closet:
Can you believe the extra empty space? I can't. I CAN'T. Because I live here and know that we don't have extra room for stuff. And yet, here it is. Before my very 20/20 vision eyes.
And that, my friends, is the power of reorganization. Organizing with a purpose. Editing the junk. Fearlessly tossing the stuff you don't need. Finding new uses for space. Realizing that if it doesn't fit, you need to prioritize and then get rid of the stuff that falls lower on the list. Maintaining the status quo of Stuff in your life.
Here's the closet without all those pretty (hah!) red words and circles:
Now, I know it's not super pretty; my intent wasn't to create a blog-worthy closet. My intent was to maximize, fully and completely, the storage and organization of this space. And, for the time being, that mission is complete.
At least, until I get a killer deal on high density foam...or kids' sleeping bags...or large art frames...
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  1. Wow! What a difference a little effort makes! I love reading anything organizations and the pictures were a plus! Thanks for sharing...maybe I will be brave enough to tackle the closet in our guest bedroom...

    1. Those guest bedroom closets, man...those are scary business. :) Good luck, Selene.

  2. “My intent was to maximize, fully and completely, the storage and organization of this space.” - You hit the nail in the head. That's precisely what organizing your stuff really means. It's not just about throwing away things you don't really need or buying more and more storage spaces to accumulate all the stuff you've already had. It's about efficiently making use of what available space you have.

    Gibraltar Self Storage

  3. Junk drawer… junk room. I think most of us has that particular space in our house which is occupied by stuff we don’t really find useful but can’t get rid of for certain reasons. Of course, reorganization is the key to fully maximize the use of this space, and that involves fearlessly throwing away the stuff you know you could never use again. -- Anthony @ 1-877-4GO-JUNK

  4. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if the place seems unorganized, as long it’s clean. Though, cleanliness and orderliness are often associated with each other, since it’s much easier to dust and scrub things off if the place is free of mess. And regardless how pristine a surface is, it would still appear unclean when there are useless clutter around.

    Bennie Dixon @ Safeclean by Guardsman

  5. use is not huge; it actually feels like we never have enough storage space. My knee-jerk reaction to this thought of "organizing the closet" was to go out ...


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