Updating my Linen Closet

Recently we had our bathroom completely updated. As part of the renovation, we took some space from a nearby linen closet. This meant the closet was demolished to the studs, and new walls installed. With a coat of fresh white paint, this storage space was getting a makeover.

It was so fun to design a closet from start to finish (yes, this is what professional organizers get excited about). I considered the shelf options, and decided again to install an Elfa system from The Container Store. I’ve written before about how I love this closet system for bedroom closets, I was now going to give it a try for my new linen closet.

The heavy wooden, immovable shelves were replaced with adjustable elfa solid shelving. In the former closet there was a lot of space between shelves. I kept lots of toiletries in plastic shoe boxes and had to stack them on top of each other to efficiently use the space, but it was a pain to have to move the top box to get what was in the bottom. With the new elfa configuration, we were able to add another shelf - no more stacking!

I could also set the height of the first shelf to be high enough over what I wanted to store on the bottom. Instead of having the heavy stuff on the top shelf in the old closet, they could sit safely on the bottom. The light linens are now on top. And if my needs change, the shelves can move up or down.

I also decided that my new closet deserved a new set of bins. These easy reach-in bins keep all our toiletry items corralled. I labelled each so my family would know what goes where. I’m sure it won’t stay this organized, but it will be a much easier closet to use.

 Closet Before

Closet Before

 New Walls, no shelves

New Walls, no shelves

 elfa installed

elfa installed

 finished closet

finished closet

Organizing a Renovation Project

After 12 years in our home, we finally had our main bathroom renovated. While we made a few improvements to the space when we moved in (good-bye lighthouse wallpaper border!), our 80s era bathroom was falling apart. It was a big, stressful project that felt completely overwhelming at times. Here’s what I did to try to stay organized:

  • I took before/after photos, and photos of the project in progress. Seeing the “before” photos reminded me how much progress had been made, even if it didn’t feel like much had changed.

  • The contractors gave us a project binder with all the key paperwork. As I collected furniture and fixture flyers, paint chips and swatches, I added those too.

  • I also kept a smaller plastic bin for tile samples, catalogs, and other items related to the project that wouldn’t fit in a binder. This was a temporary holding places, as most of the items weren’t needed once the project was complete.

  • My husband set up a shared folder on google. Our expense spreadsheet went there. We also uploaded any photos we took of fixtures at bath stores to the folder.

Receipt Organization: The Shredder Solution

While working with a client to de-clutter his bedroom, we discovered that one problem area was receipts. Like many men (my husband included) the client emptied his pockets in his bedroom, which meant that change, small papers and receipts ended up on the flat surfaces, stuffed into drawers, and all over the space. We brainstormed strategies to keep the surfaces clear, including bowls to hold change and receipts, a wastebasket, and even a shredder.

When I returned to this client's house I was thrilled to see that he had a low cabinet in place now, providing room for a charging station, a bowl for change, and a small sleek shredder! The Bonsaii Desktop Shredder is small enough to fit in the space, and its modern styling is a perfect fit for this client's decor.

This illustrates an important organizing concept: keep the tools you need (shredder, wastebasket) as close to where you use them, even if this means you have duplicates. The client had a shredder in a downstairs office, but the process of gathering receipts and taking them downstairs to shred was cumbersome and just didn't happen. The client was determined to keep his bedroom surfaces clear, and this receipt shredder is a perfect solution.

Favorite Container #10: Medicine Cabinet Organizer

The medicine cabinet: a space you probably don’t think about often, but it’s one that you use several times a day.  Here’s a great product to help keep it tidy!

A few years ago when I was trying to de-clutter my medicine cabinet I found this amazing shelf organizer. We had lots of small items in our cabinet and it was a challenge to keep them all together.

Usually I like to re-purpose items but the shelf organizer was made to fit on the narrow shelves of a medicine cabinet. It worked so perfectly to corral all my small items.

Such a simple product, but it works and make finding things so much easier.

You can find many styles of medicine cabinet shelf organizers at the The Container Store or amazon.com.