Organized Chaos

In a home such as ours, I have come to accept the fact that organized chaos is the best I can hope for.  Not that I wouldn’t love to have one of those pantries with everything stored in clear glass containers neatly labeled with their contents (and if you have a pantry like that I bow down to you.  And ask that you come to my house.  Seriously) but it is just not gonna happen any time soon.  So I instead satisfy myself with small organizing projects that ensure all of our items have a home.    We tackled one such project this past weekend by working on the oldest boy’s closet.

The starting place on any organizing project big or small is determining what your needs are in the space.  Sometimes that means living with the chaos for a while and then figuring out how to organize it.  That is exactly what we did when the boy moved into his room.  The closet in his bedroom is deeper than average, but not particularly large.  Given that he had been so patient waiting for his room to be finished and our check writing hand had been getting quite a work-out, we looked for closet options that were quick and cheap – and ended up with a pretty basic configuration of one hanging rod with a shelf above it.  We added two short shelving units on the ground to corral all of his stuff.

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Pretty impressive, huh?

I should also say that I hate clutter so I expect our closets to function for lots of storage.  I just love being able to close a door and hide all the stuff that we have!  And  my 11-year-old son loves stuff.  He has a sentimental attachment to everything, and likes to be able to see all his treasures.  So fast forward about six months.  It was clear his closet wasn’t working, but it was also clear what we needed to do to make it work – easily accessible and visible storage, with a designated spot for each item.  It needed a place to display some treasures.  Oh, and we could lose a lot of hanging space (the kid owns about 3 dress shirts).

We looked at all kinds of cubby systems and build-your-own closets but nothing seemed quite right.  The cubbies were too flimsy, and the closet systems were too involved (and expensive!) for our needs.

But I have found when in doubt, go to Ikea. Two of the Billy bookcases in the 15 inch width came home with me.  It took the hubby and myself about an hour to put the two of them together.  They are “notched” on the back at the bottom to allow for the baseboard, which means they sit flush against the wall.  Not much installation was required but because of their height we did anchor them to the wall with the provided hardware.  Finally we reinstalled the original brackets and clothes rack.  The shelf was also re-used, but we cut it down to fit between the two bookcases.  I spent another hour labeling shelves (with my new label maker!) and putting things away.  We also added in some of my son’s favorite posters.

So the re-organized closet looks like this:

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I love that Ikea pretty much has everything – I can even buy extra shelves for my bookcase, which is exactly what I will be doing at my next trip – because there are still LOTS of legos to display!  I also like that products like the Billy bookcase have been around forever, so the odds are good that if our needs change again we can add or reconfigure pieces to get  more function out of the boy’s tiny space.

How do you organize your closets?

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