I love a clean and organized home, don't you? Mary Agnes up there always kept her home spotless and tidy. Me? I try. In general, I enjoy organizing more than I enjoy using the system I set up, so things tend to slide gradually into a state of disarray. Then I get to have the fun of organizing again, so at least that's something.
This week, with kids going back to school and a hint of Fall in the air, I've been in the mood for a clean start, so to speak. I've been cleaning and organizing like a madwoman, starting with my bedroom closet. After reading some organizing tips online and drooling over fancy closet makeovers by companies like California Closets, I realized that part of my problem has been working with the existing closet setup instead of taking a couple of facts into account: that my tiny walk-in closet has to store more than clothes, and that I need more space for folded items than I do hanging items. The double dresser I already have is full to bursting; however, a California Closet makeover isn't in the budget.
So I went to Walmart, and for six bucks and change I got one of these babies to increase the space for things like tee shirts now and turtlenecks later on. (I already have a small dresser for lingerie in the closet, as well as a free-standing shelf unit that holds folded jeans.) What I like about this new shelf is the fact that I can slide it across the bar as the seasons change and I need to hang different things. Essentially, I created a coat closet on one side of it -- which will require more space once the wool coats come out of their storage bins.
Then I hung a tension rod (available in the aisle where shower curtains are sold) under a shelf that is at a right-angle to the existing rod, creating about 2.5 feet of extra hanging space for blouses and short skirts. In a tiny Newport closet, that's a LOT of real estate.
I also came to the conclusion that despite my best efforts, keeping a shelf that is above my head organized is difficult at best. I bought four or five plastic shoe storage boxes -- available in-store for $1 each -- to corral things by category: products for cleaning the upstairs bathroom in one, wardrobe maintenance items (shoe polish, mending kit, etc.) in another, and so on. Now I can find the Static Guard when I need it without having to go downstairs for a stepstool.
I suppose the truly organized (or, ahem, obsessive-compulsive) would put a lid on each box and then label the front with a fancy printed label. I used the boxes more like baskets so they could hold more and things with oddball shapes would fit in them.
Walmart.com has a lot of organizational products available. So does Target.com. The Container Store has more stylish options than were in my budget at the moment, as does The Pottery Barn. Organize.com also has some great options.
An important thing to keep in mind is that items designed for one area of the home can often be used in another. For example, a wire mesh pencil cup would make a cute makeup brush holder. I use a pair of pretty drinking glasses. It's called "repurposing" and Mary Agnes was a master at it. Because really, the thriftiest way to keep things organized is to use what you already have.