Thursday, June 18, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Best Thing I Did for My Closet

Today's Throwback Thursday is hardly a throwback at all; in fact, it's a new post, but it's about something I wrote about here a few months back and an unexpected impact it had.
Remember these bins? When I began writing about closet organization, I talked about using inexpensive tools to make a big impact. As I was writing, it occurred to me that I had several of these bins I could press into service, and that using them would make my bedroom closet shelf look a whole lot better. I got so excited about the idea that I even splurged and bought a bigger, embroidered one from Thirty-One Gifts.

Not only did using these improve the look of the closet shelf, but freeing up space in one spot also led to rearranging another part of the closet (using similar tools) so that when I was finished, the whole big, rectangular space looked better.

But wait a minute. I'm an inveterate I need to see it person. How can I use bins that aren't see-through? Simple. They're color-coded (and one is labeled). Yes, the shelf would look more uniform if they were all the same color, but that would defeat the purpose. The black one is (obviously) sweaters, as is the pink one you can see a sliver of on the far right.

And the middle one? That's my favorite, and the one that brings me to the "unexpected impact" part.

I discovered a few years back how much easier it is to pack for trips when I keep a toiletries bag ready to go. Packing is not only faster, but I'm also less likely to forget things. For a while, I kept these things inside the small suitcase I use for toiletries, OTC medications and first-aid supplies when our family goes to the beach, but that also meant that when I went somewhere else, destination-specific items I didn't need for that particular trip got weeded out and ended up strewn across some surface in the house (usually the bed or the dining room table) to create a messy pile that greeted me upon my return.

Enter my travel bin. All the little things I use only when I travel (toiletries bag, shoe bags, jewelry organizer) live there. Not only does it make packing easier, it makes unpacking easier.

At first, I thought I was being extravagant, using prime real estate to store something I use only a few times a year. But last Monday night, when we arrived home after eight hours in the car, and the last thing I felt like doing was unpacking, that bin was a lifesaver.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. It didn't actually save my life. But it did make all the difference between unpacking and not unpacking so that when I got up on Tuesday morning to catch up on blogs and greet the pile-up of post-travel laundry, I was unpacked and things were put away. No visual clutter, no lingering clean-up.

That, above all, is why we organize and more importantly, why we organize by STYLE. Color-coded. Logical location. One step organizer. These things make life easier, and so we not only re-vamp our systems, but we maintain them.
My bedroom closet doubles as
a linen closet, so I keep extra
linens in this lidded bin.

Would I like a closet where everything matched? Ideally, yes, but quite honestly, I'm too cheap. Having learned what works for me, I'm perfectly happy to use what I already have, and save the matching containers for a place someone else actually sees.

If you're an I need to see it organizer in search of a uniform look, however, fabric bins like the center one above (pink and gray zig zag print) can be outfitted with clip-on tags you can label (I got mine at Target), and some even have see-through windows that show what's inside. I like fabric bins for shelves because they're more flexible (translation: they squish more easily) and things like finger holes and handles make them more manageable for those of us who are vertically challenged.

And after all, isn't making life more manageable one of the reasons we organize in the first place?

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