Operation {Re}Organization: Front Hall Closet {Before}

As I mentioned yesterday, on Saturday, I had a nice chunk of time to devote to organizing our front hall closet. It's so rare that I have enough time to clean out, purge, AND organize a whole space all in one day. Talk about a good feeling! My bathroom organization project took several days, and it's pretty much the same size...sheesh. Similar to the way I've posted about my other organizing adventures, I'm going to break up this project into a few separate posts - otherwise this thing is going to turn into a novel.

Today you'll have the pleasure of seeing the "before" state of our closet, and I'll talk about my goals for organizing this space. Before getting started on any project, I always need to remind myself of the basic principles of organization I talked about in this post from way back in January. (Head on over if you're looking for some guidance on your own organization project!)

Without further adieu, here's what our closet looked like before I got my hands on it Saturday morning:

That's from the front. Let's not leave out the area to the right though. It's shoved full of stuff too! See?

Yikes. Oh, and how 'bout a closeup of the poorly utilized shelf at the top of the closet?

What's going on up there?

Lookin' good, front hall closet, lookin' good. Every time I opened that lovely bifold door, I think my blood pressure went up a notch. Needless to say, it was a mess. Since we moved into this apartment, it has always been the default dumping ground for stuff that didn't have a good home. The excuse was always something along the lines of: "Oh, I ran out of space for ____ in the normal storage area, so just put it in the front hall closet - wherever you can find room." I deserve a slap on the wrist for that statement. Go ahead and shake your head.

If I had to go digging for something in here, it turned into a huge time suck. I could hardly ever find what I was looking for, or it was difficult to access. This became a tad (ok, very) frustrating over time. I finally got fed up, and that's when I started plotting my reorganization plans.

As much as I would like for our front hall closet to only store coats and a couple of items like the vacuum, that's just not possible when we live in under 700 square feet. Since this is our only closet outside of the bedroom, it has to work hard and multitask. Every square inch needs to be fully utilized. That doesn't mean every corner is jam-packed, but it does mean I need to be smart about my organizational systems. Since this is a basic builder closet (rectangular with a clothing rod and shelf on top), I knew I would need more shelving, bins and boxes to really make it functional. For reference, this closet measures 48" wide by 28" deep.

I started this project by emptying the closet of all of its contents and cleaning it well - and it was dirty. It's not easy to clean a space when it's jam-packed full of stuff. Dust bunnies had no problem hiding in our closet :).

Hey there clean closet...

All that stuff had to go somewhere though, right? Yep. How about in our kitchen?


Or the living room?

I spy a Jackson bottom (not to be confused with the ropes to his left).


It's absolutely amazing to me how much stuff I had in that little closet. It just kept on coming. It looked like moving day for awhile on Saturday.

Alright, enough embarrassment for today. Let's move onto the plan for this space.

Items that need to live in the closet:

  • Coats
  • Tools (like my belt sander, hammer, screwdrivers, etc.)
  • Paint
  • Household maintenance items (light bulbs, etc.)
  • Vacuum
  • Grocery cart
  • Wrapping paper and gift bags
  • Sporting goods (bike helmets, tennis rackets, etc.)
  • Paper products (plastic plates, spoons, bowls and cups) 
  • Spices
  • Jackson's stuff (grooming items, shampoo, treats, etc.)
  • Games
  • Recycling
  • Coolers
  • Toaster oven
Goals for organization:
  • Utilize the space better (duh) by using multiple types of storage items including bins, baskets, shelving, hooks.
  • Make everyday items easily accessible. For example, I need to access spices on a daily basis, but tennis rackets only on a monthly basis.
  • Consolidate "like" items.
  • Labels, labels, labels.
  • Spend as little money as possible by using what I have on hand.

Did I mention this closet needs to multitask? 

One thing I do want to mention is that there is no "wrong" way to organize. You have to do what works for you - so if the idea of keeping spices with sporting equipment is messing with your head because they usually don't go together, have no fear, this is just what works for us. The important thing is to make sure you know where everything is and that others can use the systems you put in place (if it's an area that more than one person uses). 

If you're not sure something is working, bring in a fresh set of eyes to take a look and give you some ideas. If you're the only one who can use your system, that's usually an indicator that it something's not working. That's what was going on with our front closet. I knew where most things were, even though it was a mess, but C couldn't ever find anything. That's when you know it's time to take action!

Alright, I think that's enough for today. If you made it to the bottom of this post, I think you deserve a reward. Here's a sneak preview of the "after" - I'll be back tomorrow with a full post and details about our freshly organized closet!


This post is a part of the series "Operation {Re}Organization." To see other posts in the series, click the tab at the top of the page.

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  1. i totally agree. It's what works for you. I swear i reorganize our walk in in the guest/studio room every 3-4 months. Because somehow more stuff gets shoved in there. But now I have to keep it neat otherwise I won't be able to access my dresses. (we redid our bedroom closets, which is much better, but I couldn't fit my dresses in there). so the dresses went in the walk in. Which is fine for the most part.

  2. Unorganized spaces just overwhelm me when I have to dig through to find something. My mom's pantry is unorganized {to me anyway...she seems to know where everything is} and I practically can't stand to cook in her kitchen! I'm excited to see the after...just that one pict looks so much better!

  3. There are many ways to go about organizing your closet. Different methods make more sense depending on your space and what you’re storing. No matter which method you choose, these closet storage solutions  definitely helps you to reduce the space usage. Once again great post man! Cheers!

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