I spent a really good chunk of last winter reorganizing virtually our whole house. Once summer hit, work got especially busy for me, and the last two organizing projects at our house fell by the wayside. Today I conquered one of them: the cleaning supply closet. This particular closet has been my nemesis since I moved in with my husband, who had lived in our house 5 years before I got there.
The upper shelf was constantly jammed with extra items we didn’t need, there was a ton of stuff piled underneath the bucket on the bottom of the closet, the door didn’t really shut all the way, and the worst part was that every time I opened it I had to be careful of broom or mop handles flying at my face!
I have actually gone thru and organized this closet at least two other times before. Both of those systems worked for a little while, but our situation in how we use this closet has again changed. The last time I reorganized this closet I was still offering cleaning services as part of my business. At the end of last year, I stopped offering these services. I no longer needed a prepped bucket full of my supplies ready to go at a moment’s notice and a large selection of rags and other supplies. Different situation means a different solution.
When deciding how to best organize anything, it’s best to know just what all you have. So I started by pulling everything out of the closet and separating everything by type, like with like.
We had already implemented a inside-the-door caddy for plastic shopping bags, but somehow a whole bunch were buried under the bucket (I’m sure at least one of our four cats was involved!). We do have an overflow area for plastic shopping bags in our basement (we reuse them for scooping litter boxes, and with four cats, it seems we can never have too many), but these had gotten lost in the mix. The ones that didn’t fit in the caddy were taken to the proper area in the basement.
We also had a huge number of brown paper sacks. We generally have a policy that we throw our brown paper bags into our compost pile since it is extremely rare that we reuse them for anything. I think these probably got thrown in the closet during the winter months, when putting on boots and coats and hats and trudging out to the compost pile after dark in the freezing cold seems like just too much work. We’ll need to be better about this once it gets cold again – perhaps we need a bigger compost collector inside so we’re only making one trip out per day and including everything in this collector. All the brown paper bags were put in the compost pile today.
The grab-n-go supply bucket I had put together for cleaning services was sorted out and extra scrubbies were distributed to our two bathrooms – I feel people are more likely to clean when supplies are nearby.
With the closet empty, it was much easier for me to see what two issues were really causing the problems – 1) NAILS and metal hooks someone had pounded in to hang items on. Believe it or not there were 14 nails and hooks in the closet when I first moved it. I had slowly been removing them each time I snagged my hand on one. Today, all but one of the hooks were removed.
2) The shelf. The shelf? Aren’t shelves supposed to be good? Give you more space to store stuff? Yes, this is true, but shelves are only as good as their placement.
The placement of this shelf was what was causing the brooms and mops to come flying at me when the door was opened – they couldn’t be stored far enough back in the closet. The shelf was removed. I admit, I am keeping it on the bottom of the closet for the time being. I’ll re-evaluate in 6-12 months as to whether to keep it in the house or not, but it’s not in the way and there’s room for it at this point, so I’ll keep it to see if it can be useful somewhere else, otherwise it will eventually get tossed or recycled too.
After removing the shelf I discovered a mystery hook that was actually installed in just the right place to hold my cleaning rag bag! Huzzah!
The other issue was the enormous amount of cleaning rags that I had accumulated. When I provided my cleaning service, sometimes I would have so many clients in one week that I wouldn’t have any rags leftover to clean my own house without doing a load of wash. Having that many rags was necessary at that time, but it’s not anymore.
The blue bag on the right served as my way of transporting all my rags when I was doing cleaning services. I decided it’s a good size and to keep only the best of the rags (and not more than will easily fit in the bag) and get rid of the rest.
The pile on the right went to the trash.
After seeing how little stuff I really needed to keep in my cleaning closet, and after removing the unsafe nails, hooks and that pesky shelf – putting everything back in was a cinch.
It feels soooo good to finally have this closet organized!
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