Do you have spots in your house that seem to pile up with clutter, messes, and general stuff? Holy buckets do we have those areas. Now granted there are seven of us and we are incredibly far from being minimalists but we still need to get these spots under control! My plan for the Tackling a Trouble Zone posts is to feature an area in our home that gets overrun with clutter or tends to collect "stuff" and show you how I've cleaned it up and made the space work better (at least for now). I also want to go after areas that seem to get neglected, at least in our house. Those areas where we say, "When we get a chance..." and then the chance never comes. Little by little I want to get this home under control!
First up is our front hall closet. I'm a big fan of Nony over at A Slob Comes Clean and one of her methods to cleaning your home is to start with the easy stuff and visible areas - the spots that people are going to see if they come over. Don't go fixing up some drawers or the private bathroom - go for public spots. It doesn't get any more public than our front hall closet. The moment you step into our home it is right there and the overflowing amount of shoes, sweat shirts, and other items made it a disaster zone!
I started by pulling EVERYTHING out of the closet. All the coats, all the bins, all the hats, mittens, toys, plastic bags, garbage, EVERYTHING, and placed it all in the kitchen in various piles. I sorted through the dozens and dozens of pairs (and sometimes not pairs) of shoes. I made a pile of sandals and a pile of closed toed shoes. I had stacks of tools, game pieces, school supplies, kitchen gadgets, party decorations, and so many other piles. Oy!
Part of the problem of this closet is that we not only use it as a front closet for items we wear outside but also as an extension of the kitchen because we have very little kitchen storage. But things have gotten out of hand and I know it can be done better.
Once everything was sorted into piles I pulled the cubical shelf out and wiped it all down plus vacuumed the floor inside the closet. I wanted to make sure I was putting things back into a clean area! Next up was sorting through my piles.
I went through the coats, bin of winter accessories, school supplies, party decorations, and all the miscellaneous items and chose to keep, toss, or donate the items. Broken, ripped, or otherwise no longer usable things got tossed. I was a little shocked at how many shoes we had with soles that were no longer soles, flip flops that didn't stay connected, or mittens and gloves with holes. Trashed!
Items that we didn't need but still could be useful to others went into a box for the thrift store. I don't bother selling most items because it's not worth the headache to me. I like being able to fill a box and then drop it off when it's convenient. Far easier for this stage of life!
Everything I wanted to keep found a home. I sent all the winter gear to the basement to get washed first because I'm pretty certain that it didn't get washed in the spring when we put it away. Shoes were sorted into each child's bin or cubby for Micah and me. All the school supplies got put in one bin. Outdoor toys went where they belong - outdoors! It's a shocking concept, I know. And all the off season shoes plus shoes that don't currently fit anyone but are still in good shape for the future were put in a box in storage.
All together this maybe took two hours but that included several interruptions from kids and life. I've already warned the kids that this is how it looks and it's how it needs to stay. I figure it will last for a few days, maybe the week, before I have to start reminding people to put their shoes and sweatshirts back in their own bins.
I'm simply so pleased to have this spot as a calm area and not a stressful chaotic spot that causes tears and and breakdowns because this kid can't find a special shoe and that one swears the hat was put away but instead we found it in the basement. Hopefully with the amount of stuff significantly lessened we will see a decrease in the "missing" items that are actually buried underneath layers of other items. The real test will be when the winter weather comes and all the coats, mittens, hats, and scarves are actually being used and not just stored in the closet. I'll have to update at that point to tell you how it's going!
What trouble zones do you want to tackle in your house? How do you store shoes and other items for your family?
Do you have a decluttering project you'd like to share with my readers? Send me an email and you can be featured in a Tackling a Trouble Zone guest post!