Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hall Closet Before and After

   Last weekend, I had the exciting opportunity to complete my first "professional" home organizing project!  The first phase of the project involved a complete overhaul of the client's hall closet - which she called her "junk" closet.  Now, not everyone has a completely separate closet to earn this affectionate title, but most of us have at least one space in our home that accumulates "junk."  In this particular closet, the client and her children had stashed all sorts of items:  art supplies, school supplies, craft items, snapshots and other pictures, home movies, kids' artwork, even a sewing machine and foot bath! 
     I began the project with just one shelf - the one that appeared to house most of the kids' stuff.  I used $.99 clear plastic shoe boxes, as well as several larger (and slightly more expensive) similar containers.  You can find these Sterilite containers at Wal-mart.  You'll find that as you begin an organizing project, you will first have to make a big mess!  I covered the floor in containers and just started sorting!  Be sure to have a garbage bag on hand for the broken crayons, dry markers, and other odds and ends. 

     I continued with this process, shelf by shelf, until every item had a place!  The biggest challenge with the entire project was the photos.  I bought six photo boxes from Michael's.  We labeled one for each of her five children and left the final one for family pictures.  Each box held 1200 pictures, and we filled every one!  I think the client was relieved that 20 years of her precious memories were now protected and neatly stored in the closet. 
      I can't stress enough the importance of labeling the contents of each box.  The client's 4-year-old daughter can't read the labels yet, but she will easily be able to recognize the contents of each clear plastic container and be able to put her art supplies back in the appropriate box.  One idea for younger children is to decoupage pictures of the contents onto the outside of the box.  Be sure to include a word label as well to help with early word recognition! 
     You'll also notice from the "after" picture of the project that I placed the items that aren't regularly used on the top shelf.  The client doesn't sew often, so her sewing machine got placed up top.  These items may require a small step stool.  However, the items used most often, especially the kids' supplies, are placed within easy reach.  From start to finish the entire project took about four hours on a Sunday afternoon.  I was pleased with the final result, and most importantly, so was the client!!

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