In the Closet…
I decided that as part of Spring Cleaning, I’m going to tend to one of the most neglected areas in my home – the front closet – or the coat closet – or the entry closet..it has a lot of names, but I’m referring to closet which resides nearest to the front door.
In my home, this is where we keep our winter coats, shoes and boots, gloves, hats, scarves, umbrellas, keys, shopping bags and a host of other things we like to keep by the front door. The problem is that over time, these things start to build up and create a closet catastrophe! My closet literally looks like a junkyard by the time winter is over.
Now, because this closet isn’t included in my regular cleaning routine, it gets its own special routine which I do once or twice a year, and I am pleased to share it with you.
The first step is an easy one – remove everything… and I mean everything from your closet. Take out all of the shoes and boots and place them off to the side, we’ll get to those soon enough. Take all of your coats and find a temporary place for them; do the same for your mittens, gloves, hats, scarves and anything else in your closet. We need it bare naked to continue on to step #2, which is….
VACUUM & WIPE
We’ll start this step by vacuuming out the whole closet, including any shelves and even the corners, where spiderwebs can linger.
Next, for those of you with a sliding door like mine, you’re going to clean the track using all-purpose cleaner and a micro fibre cloth, perhaps using a vacuum with brush attachment or cleaning toothbrush if necessary to get right in there and remove the debris first.
Finish up this step by giving the doors a good wipe-down. Mine are mirrored doors, so I’m using a simple mixture of vinegar and water along with a microfiber cloth. If your closet has regular painted wood doors, you can use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe them down. If you haven’t done so already, wipe the baseboards and remove dirt or marks left on the walls. Finish off by hand wiping the floor, just trust me on this, it’s awkward to get a mop in there.
Now you have yourself a CLEAN, empty closet. So, let’s put the stuff back in there. But…before we do that, we need to make some difficult decisions.
THE SPRING CHANGE-OUT
Now that the warmer weather has finally joined us, there’s no need to clog up the closet with bulky winter jackets, and really, I don’t want to look at them for a very long time. So this year I bought one of these space saving vacuum bags and I’m going to store my winter jackets in this, under my bed. Basically, place all items in the bag, zip it up and then vacuum the air out of the top. It’s pretty cool to watch and I got quite excited to see the results (yes, this is what does it for me nowadays).
Now, of course, if you have an extra closet in your house you can store your winter jackets there instead. And, here’s a handy hack for those who do: stuff silica gel packs into the pockets of your coat to protect from moisture while being stored. That way, they won’t grow mould and smell terrible come time for winter next year.
This is also a really good opportunity for you to donate any winter clothing that you didn’t wear, or wore very little during this past winter season. If you have yourself a coat, or gloves, or a hat or scarf that you didn’t really wear this winter, odds are you won’t wear it next winter. The lesson here is: don’t take up space in your home storing things that you don’t use – especially when someone else could use them a lot more. I ditched about 4 scarves, 2 pair of gloves, and 3 coats.
Do the same thing for your shoes and your boots – donate what you haven’t worn or just don’t need anymore and store the stuff you don’t need for the warmer weather.
Now you’ve settled on what needs to go back into the closet – so, let’s figure out some good ways to ORGANIZE it….
One thing we already use in our closet that helps manage the mess are two bins from IKEA (As-Is section special), which contain all our winter accessories. We don’t have a spare closet so we keep them right here in this closet, on the top shelf and these bins keep our hats, gloves and scarfs out of the way for warmer months.
To help manage the ‘junkyard’ styling of the floor of our closet, this year we bought a shoe shelf to help tackle the small amount of floor space and the large amount of shoes we have in our closet. These are usually a breeze to assemble and provide so much more space in a small closet. This was for Chad’s side of the closet.
Here’s a cool trick to be able to tell if it’s time to donate or at least get rid of any shoes – if you have a shelf like this one – start with all your shoes pointing TOE OUT – and as you wear shoes and put them back on the shelf – turn them around to point HEEL OUT – after a few months, you’ll start to identify the shoes you don’t wear anymore!
For the other side of the closet (mine), we picked up one of these hanging shoe holders which will be used to hold all of my shoes…well, uh, some of them…I guess…
Lastly, we are going to be installing some hooks in the closet so we can store our reusable bags and they will be convenient to grab on our way out the door to the grocery store. I especially love these hooks, since they look like little stick people crawling up the wall..naturally, you’ll also be able to use these hooks to hang purses or keys or whatever else you need, a few simple hooks in your closet can really help curb the clutter.
Cleaning out the front closet is a perfect Spring Cleaning job – the end result is a fantastically functional front closet – and it really doesn’t take that much time at all..the results are so worth it, I’ve never seen our closet look better!
Have a great time cleaning out your front hall closet and freeing up more space than you ever thought possible!