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Spring Cleaning: Curated Closets

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Closets are fun (for me.) They are contained spaces that can work really hard for you. Any Spring organization effort should absolutely include closets be it your bedroom, linen or your kids’ closets. We are almost fully immersed in Spring now, which means it’s time for the seasonal closet swap (I just did mine this past weekend), taking stock of your sheets and towels and assessing which of your kids’ clothes still fit and remain free of holes. Those efforts are important and keep the wheels turning but it’s the other closets in your home that I want to talk about here.

You know the closets I’m talking about; the ones that house a jumbled assortment of random stuff, stacked high on the lone shelf or piled in boxes on the floor. The closets you can’t actually name because their only purpose is a place to shove things that have no home when you are cleaning up. It is those closet spaces that can enhance your lifestyle if you are intentional about their purpose and set them up accordingly. I have 5 ideas for how to leverage your extra closets, they may or may not resonate with activities that your family engages in. If they do, you’re welcome! If they don’t, hopefully they get your wheels turning towards new ideas that are relevant in your home. Either way, before your mind fills with visions of dedicated closet space you have one preliminary step to execute: decluttering what is currently living in your target closet!

That’s right, pull everything out and be a ruthless editor. It may be painful at first but once you’ve powered through you will be left with a blank canvas you can use to create a useable space that aligns with an activity that you value. Now that you have a blank slate, have you been wondering how to make time for activities you enjoy? This is a great first step toward that goal; making the tools you need easily accessible and ready to use. Here are 5 closet ideas to get your wheels turning.


Almost every client I work with struggles with where to house all of their gifting accoutrements. Wrapping paper especially is an inconvenient shape and size. Scissors seem to randomly disappear and reappear. Tape is almost never available (at least in my house!) as it has been spirited away to a dark corner in one of my kids’ rooms. So when the time comes to wrap a gift it’s a pain-in-the-ass scramble. What if you had a closet dedicated to all things gifting? A rolling cart to house the wrapping supplies, including paper, scissors, tape, gift bags, ribbon and tags – brilliant! Shelves to house gift boxes and an assortment of cards for every occasion – amazing. And space to keep some gifts handy when you have a last-minute need. Think about it, whenever one of your kids ends up with a duplicate gift just stick the duplicate in your gifting closet. Invited to a soiree? Grab a quick hostess gift from your closet – no extra effort necessary. If you have small kids, a large social circle or big family a Gifting Closet can really make your life easier!


If your family skis you know what a pain it can be to keep track of all of the gear. Kids grow, mittens get lost and equipment ends up scattered throughout various locations in your home, creating a nightmare scenario for the start of the next season. What if you had a dedicated closet that housed all snow-related apparel? I’m not talking about the actual skis and boots, those should live in your garage. But the jackets, bibs, goggles, gloves, socks, long johns, neck-gaiters, passes and hats can live together in your ski closet. It’s the go-to closet when you are leaving at O’Dark Hundred for a trip and need to pack the car. It’s the place you hit on Tuesday nights before the kids get on the Ski Bus after early dismissal on Wednesday afternoon. It’s where you go at the end of the season to remove what no longer fits or what doesn’t have a mate and make notes for what you need to replace before next season. An organized ski closet lessens the not-insignificant effort required to get a family on and off the mountain, I highly recommend one if you ski!


Do you have artists in the family? Do their mediums fluctuate from painting to sculpture to collage? Do their crayons and stickers and (eye-roll) glitter seemingly inhabit every nook and cranny in your home? If you have prolific artists of any age you may consider dedicating a closet space to art and craft supply. In many cases a rolling art cart is enough to contain the essentials but often parents struggle with what to do with those large sketch pads, easels and multiple kits that won’t fit in a drawer or bin. Enter the Art and Craft Closet. Keep your rolling cart (it’s so handy to be able to wheel that thing wherever inspiration strikes on any given day) and use shelving to house sketch pads, paper, beads, easels, kits and finished pieces. When you have a dedicated space for art it’s easier to keep track of how much there is (smiling) and when it may be time to edit from the pile of masterpieces. It’s a home base for art where you can swap the crayons for pastels on the cart when needed and utilize a high shelf for those projects that require parental supervision (tie-dye!) Another thing to keep in the Art and Craft closet is all of the miscellaneous seasonal materials (Hearts! Shamrocks! Pumpkins!) that come out for their singular holiday but need to be stowed for the rest of the year. The opportunities for containing art clutter are endless, really.


So a Knitting Closet may be kind of a one-off but I’ve come across many knitters in my travels and the yarn collection is usually extensive and hard to contain. I imagine the Knitting Closet to consist almost entirely of shelves and baskets, housing different color families and kinds of yarn. Space for needles, cases, labels as well as books and magazines for patterns are also a must. Space for a caddy or bag that can travel to the preferred knitting spot (which may be off campus) can also live in the closet. You could go super-specific with the closet design (imagine super small wine-rack-like cubbies) if you are a serious knitter and plan to be in your home for decades to come but if not then shelves and baskets will work just fine and keep the closet versatile.


Yes, yes I know that Memorabilia is not a hobby or activity but it is a category that could deserve it’s own closet, depending on how much you have. In fact, my guess is that in your decluttering efforts you will pull out a fair amount of memorabilia from the closet you are working on, ‘extra’ closets are a popular place to stash things in this category that otherwise don’t have an official home in your house. In my opinion the whole point of keeping this stuff is so that you can take occasional trips down memory lane; in order to do that your memorabilia needs to be accessible. (If you haven’t taken any trips down memory lane in years then may I suggest you thank your memories for their service and let them go.) Keep your letters, photos and other memories in boxes organized by person and era and labeled accordingly. The Memorabilia Closet should free up space in other places, but if you can’t devote a whole closet to it or you don’t have enough stuff to fill up the closet give it a couple of shelves in a bookcase. Whether it’s sharing shelves or lives in a devoted closet, having a dedicated home for your memorabilia will ensure it isn’t just taking up space in your house.

I didn’t mention that to execute any of the fun ideas thrown out in this post you’ll need to reconfigure your closet. For the Gifting Closet you’ll need ample floor space for the cart and shelving for boxes, cards, and Handy Gifts. For the Ski Closet you’ll need a combination of hanging space and drawers or shelves. For Arts & Crafts you’ll need clearance for the cart plus shelving. For yarn top to bottom shelving for use with bins is likely the best strategy, as is the case for Memorabilia as well. Working with a Professional Organizer or directly with The Container Store to design the space appropriately is a key part of the process. Generally smaller closet installs are pretty affordable and will add so much value to your home. Design is where utility unites with aesthetics and you get a space that looks fantastic and serves your specific need beautifully.

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