Organize Something: Hall Closet Tidying

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“Life truly begins only after you have put your house in order.”  — Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Getting “tidy” is major. Like life-changing major, as described in the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

I have been busy. Who isn’t? But I have had tidy the upstairs hall closet on my backlog of tasks for…as long as we have lived in this house. Which isn’t insanely long, but almost two years.

Two years of I have to organize that upstairs hall closet bouncing around in my brain, stealing energy that I might free up to dedicate to more worthwhile pursuits like starting a garden, among other things I dream of.

This weekend, I finally decided to set my meditation timer for 20 minutes (this is how I motivate myself to do practically everything in my life), and start on the closet.

I knew all along that it wouldn’t take very long. I spent at least ten times as much time thinking about having to clean out this closet as it actually took to do it. But that’s ok. It’s done. Now my mind is saying I’m so glad the upstairs hall closet is organized! 

Before

closet-organization-beforeThis closet became a catchall for extra linens and pillows, suitcases, and everything I cleaned out of the bathrooms when I tidied them – the medicines, vitamins, and extra bathroom supplies like q-tips, shampoo, and razors. I haven’t done a post on the bathroom yet, but “deep clean our bathroom” has also been haunting me, so it very well may be coming soon!

Decisions: Keep, Maybe, Donate

closet-organization-during

It only took ten minutes to take everything out of the closet and categorize each item as: keep, maybe, or donate. In the picture above, I had already arranged everything loosely into these three piles.

I spent the next hour wiping down the closet shelves and putting things back or away in other parts of the house. I also documented the donations in my It’s Deductible app along the way. Our tax person would be so proud.

When I felt stuck, I challenged myself to re-examine the pile of maybes & consider releasing something else into the donation pile. The donation pile ended up consisting of:

  • Things I had bought & only used once.
  • Things that defined the aesthetic of my apartment years ago.
  • Things that I thought were a good idea at the time I bought them, if only because they were slightly less expensive than something that would have truly brought me joy, and at the time saving $20 seemed like a big important thing to do.

After

closet-organization-after

This closet looks so good now! I ended up only using the top three shelves for storage and leaving the bottom two empty for now. While empty shelves might make some uneasy, I love having vacant storage space around the house. It makes me feel confident that we could downsize to a tiny home if we were ever so inclined, and at the same time provides us with room to grow.

The top two shelves are for travel items. The very top shelf now contains the carrying cases for the dogs and their “suitcase.” I was really happy with the use of this space because there is plenty of dead space at the top of the closet otherwise, and the dog travel stuff is an infrequently accessed category of stuff.

The next shelf down is for our luggage. I am still on the hunt for luggage that brings me joy. I know it’s out there. For now, I have released all the luggage that belonged to me because it didn’t bring me joy. I am a firm believer that letting go of something opens up the energy for something new to come in. I figured by getting rid of my joyless luggage, I might save myself some research time.

The third row down now contains three storage bins containing:

  • medicines
  • vitamins
  • extra bathroom stuff

I got these bins from The Container Store and am so happy with them. They are the perfect size for the space and contents. This area of our home has felt junky for so long, it makes me feel so good to finally have a storage solution that works.

I am absolutely convinced that good things yet to be revealed are in store for me when I tidy. I have been working through other areas of our home that have been on my tidying to-do list and am feeling closer than ever to my tidy zen place.

Does cleaning out a closet make you feel invigorated? Please share your thoughts!

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  1. Meg Evans Feb 13, 4:32 pm

    Good job! I still need to get rid of some old pillows on the top shelf of my basement closet, too. Last winter I cleaned out the worst of the clutter in there, but more needs to go. there’s always something!

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