Monday, February 2, 2015

How to Organize a Winter Closet

Very few have plunged into the depths that is my front entry closet.  It is small and becomes the catch all for my families endless supply of outerwear, borrowed items and an eclectic array of...well...crap! When people come  I embarrassingly take their coats, hang them in the closet, and push everything back as I close the doors, which promptly snap back open in a reciprocating spasm.  Lately, I've given up this charade, simply pretending coats don't exist until overheated guests take matters into their own hands, tossing them on chairs, couches or whatever other means they have.

However, today as I brought my son home from school I looked at this (cue horror movie
Yes, those are Christmas February, but see that little basket under them, that is for things to return/bring to someone else's house.   Duffel bags, Epipen bags, shoes, boots, scarves, baseball hats;  it all migrated to my entry way.  There is no more closing closet doors and denying.  This winter clothing catastrophe has migrated and is putting me within seconds of a panic attack!

I did have a plan for everything, but then when the morning chaos and afternoon chaos of getting kids to and from school took over, I couldn't keep up.  Outerwear had to be laid out to dry, backpacks hung and five sets of hats, gloves, boots, shoes, coats and snowpants take up a lot of space.  Like how I'm justifying this?  I digress!

Now, I will give you a peak into the closet.  Shield your children's eyes, make sure you are seated and behold my closet:

I would like to again justify and point out my valiant, albiet failed attempt:


Notice the labeling...oooo...labeling.  Yeah, that worked last year.  My kids all decided to grow into bigger everything and those cute little gloves and mittens and scarves turned into big bulky balls of "thinsulate" that prevent the drawers from opening.  

This also was a great concept, put those little thin gloves and mitten together like socks and then you'll know where they all are.  Problem is, these are no good after October in Wisconsin, yet they are taking up prime space.  See, best of intentions, poor results!

So, I broke this into steps.  The first was pull everything out!
Never before have I prayed for my husband to get caught up at work so he didn't have to come home to the above, but he was nice and early.  Bless him, he decided to take over dinner so we could utilize our front door come morning.

Okay, so now that everything was out I had a nice place to start:

Before I delve to far in, note: I was not going for Martha Stewart here.  I went for functional.  There will be not painting, nor coordinating wicker baskets, nor the purchasing of anything following the bohemian theme (that's a decorating term, right)?  I was determined to get this done with what I have and make it work for a family of five.  Everything that comes and goes out on a daily basis or anything that is worn outside must be stored in this closet and entryway without offending visitors or making me go crazy.

First I decided to move the shelf to the right since we are all right handed and it will make it easier on the kids to have it to the right.  I then decided everything that went in the closet had to have a "zone."

1-Basket/Bin for "Rain Gear"
2-Basket/Bin for extra gloves, mittens, hats and scarves
3-Basket/Bin for extra boots, snowpants and winter coats
4-Basket/Bin for Spring/Fall outerwear

Wire Rack
1 compartment for each person's Backpack, lunchbox, boots, gloves, hat, scarves, dry snowpants, etc.
1 compartment for blankets (used to bundle our youngest in the stroller)

Top of Wire Rack
1 bin for each member an extra scarf, hat, gloves and hat (since we often have to change out while others are drying and don't want to dig through the "extras" basket each time).
1 jar for clothes pins (to clip gloves and hats for drying)
1 bin for "items to return/bring somewhere else"

Then putting everything in its place became easy.  I pulled out some old bins, moved some baskets that were already in there and ended up with this  (Yes, the bins up top are organized, just umbrellas and hats were a bit big for the bins):

I did keep up my hanger in the entry way so the kids can reach their coats.  I also let them put up their "library" bags so they can get to their books easily.  The three baskets above are designated one for my husband's scarf, hat and gloves, one for mine and one for walkie talkies and eventually my "weed wacking" safetly glasses and ear protection for lawn mowing.  I also am picking my battles and my husbands work backpack can sit here (mostly because it covers an ugly outlet).

I see these pictures and I'm pleased that I have extra snowpants for the kids.  We have not just enough hats, but extra hats and boots, and gloves; we have more than enough!  God has blessed us greatly.  But still, if you look at my "pins" you see that I had big plans for this closet.  Big expensive plans, plans that in this time in my life are not going to happen.

Exodus 20:17
“You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.”

That is difficult to hear but crucial in our lives.  So many times we want to the point that it affects our relationship with our Savior!  Our focus becomes what we can obtain rather than what we have already been given through Christ!  God did not give us this rule to prevent us from ever having what we desire.  He gave us this rule to show us that desires of things must not occupy a space that he so lovingly desires to fill with his presence and word!

Our longing needs to be focused on him, not worldly goods.   Being content with what we have and honored when we receive what we desire, should be our goal.  We must praise God for our current possessions and pray he bless whatever else he gives us the ability and means to obtain. 

When I open my closet door, my goal is to think of this command from God and thank him that my family is bundled for winter and that in Him there is all the beauty I need.  If he someday blesses me with the means to paint this closet the perfect shade of yellow with coordinating wicker baskets and bohemian coat hangers (??) I will gladly accept.  Until then I'll keep my paintbrush happily tucked away in my husband's workshop and my eyes focused on my God, who perfectly coordinates my life's needs, even when my baskets and coat hangers aren't.

Blessings and contentment!

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