Moving into a new home is such an exciting time! There are so many decisions to make about where things should go and how to set up new spaces. And, I’m not just talking about furniture and decor. Moving into a new home means a fresh start for our organizing systems as well! Sometimes our old organizing systems can be duplicated into the new spaces, but sometimes we need to come up with new systems that will be a better fit based on lifestyle, rooms, the layout of the house, etc. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with a very special client who just moved to Tennessee from California. She reached out to me acknowledging how important it was to her to start off her new life in her new home with an organized approach so she could maximize every inch of potential space with several large closets. Keep reading for a peak inside this recent project and my tips on how to best organize your closets post move!
Identify the Purpose of Each Closet
When I met with this client she told me that she had six closets that she wanted help with organizing. For this blog post, I’m going to focus on four of those closets. As she unpacked her boxes post move, the main categories that needed to be organized into the closets became:
- Holiday decor
- General home decor
- Office supplies
- Crafting supplies
- Wrapping supplies
- Bed linens
- Table linens
- Crafts and toys for grandchildren
Pro tip: As you unpack your boxes, gather items together that naturally fall into categories such as the ones above so that you can identify emerging categories as well as see the full volume of these categories.
Hopefully, most items that go together were packed in boxes together to make your move more seamless, but if not, spend some time grouping like items together before you actually “put anything away.” Resist the urge to throw items into closets just to get them out of the way. I can guarantee you that if you don’t take the time to set up categories and appreciate the volume of your categories you’ll either end up moving things around multiple times (costing you time and energy) or your end result will be cluttered closets with no long term organizing systems put into place.
Identify Your Zones
Now that you have a list of your categories and an idea of their volume, consider where these categories should live out their best life. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Do any of these categories make sense to store together?
- Where will I be using the items in this category?
- Is there storage in that particular room/area/zone? Can the volume of the category fit the capacity of the storage available?
- How often do I need to use these items and when I do, how accessible do I want them to be?
Pro tip: Read my blog post about organizing using the five zones of proximity so you can decide where to “house” your items and categories.
For this client, we determined that general home decor, crafting, office supplies, and wrapping supplies would be organized into the large closet in the bedroom she designated as her home office. These were the items that she would use most frequently and therefore the items and categories needed to be accessible. We determined that two additional upstairs closets would be utilized for additional categories. The nearby linen closet would hold all bed linens and an additional bedroom closet would hold holiday decor, photos, and memorabilia. All of the table linens and children’s crafts and toys were relocated downstairs because the client would be using these categories on the first floor of her home. A bedroom closet off the kitchen/dining room was the perfect home for these categories. The closet was large enough to hold these items and still save space for guests to use when visiting.
Strategize and Optimize Your Closets
Now that you have determined your categories and a potential home for your categories, let’s talk about whether your categories will fit the space (in this case, the closet). Remember, I mentioned taking note of the volume of your categories at the beginning of this post. Now, you will need to decide can the current functionality of the closet (size, shelving, etc.) accommodate the volume of what you are attempting to store in the closet. If yes, great you can skip to the next paragraph. But, if not, now is the time to customize the closet to your needs by adding more shelving, deeper shelving, a door organizer, etc. For this client’s closet, I knew that the one shelf would not be enough to store what we needed, so we removed the existing shelving and added in more shelves that were also deeper as well as a standing Elfa unit to change up the storage from only shelves to shelves plus drawers.
Source Organizing Products
I know for many of you hitting up your favorite retailers and buying new bins, baskets, and organizing products is fun (and possibly overwhelming). This is one of the last steps in the organizing process. Working through the steps above sets you up for the best long term organizing solutions. Now that you’re at this step, however, let’s chat about the right products for closets. When I organize spaces, closets included, I try to stick to the general rule of using three or less different products. There are two reasons for this: first, it creates a more cohesive, seamless visual feel and two, it maximizes the functionality of the space. Let me give you an example; in our office closet above, I chose these stacking bins from The Container Store. One of the benefits of these bins is that they easily stack allowing one to maximize the height of each shelf space. If I chose mismatched organizing products (with various dimensions), I would not have been able to stack them and I would’ve lost precious real estate in the closet.
Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to use clear bins so that even with a label, you can easily see inside and identify the contents.
Depending on the purpose of the space/closet, you’ll likely need a mix of some closed storage containers (as mentioned in the above paragraph) and some open storage containers. Again, keeping a consistent look across your space will be less overwhelming and more visually appealing. Open containers are helpful for items that you will use more often and my preference are these canvas bins from The Container Store. The canvas design is a perfect material for storing linens, clothes, and toys.
Additionally, it may be helpful to add in a drawer unit for smaller items that need to be micro-organized into a smaller space than a bin. The Elfa stacking drawer seen above (with inserts) was used for office supplies, sewing/knitting supplies, and smaller gift wrap supplies.
Asking for Professional Advice
Whether you’re moving into a new home or just want to makeover your closets in a home you’ve lived in for years, I’m sure we can all agree that having the right system for your closets means less stress finding what you need when you need it. Having a system in place to place your items and accessing them without stress is such a game changer. I hope this blog post gave you some insight and direction with setting up and organizing the closets in your home, but if you feel you need just a little bit more expertise, reach out to me HERE. If you live local, we can set up an in person meeting for a consult and hands on services. If you aren’t local, we can chat about virtual services! I look forward to hearing from YOU!
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