the beauty of a broom closet


The Beauty of a Broom Closet
I’ve had a few people ask me for good ideas on organization, and I thought I would post the issues and my suggestions to help others with the daunting task of keeping a home tidy.  One such person is my sister-in-law.  My brother had a home before she moved in and sometimes the meshing of two totally different styles and belongings makes organization difficult.  Oftentimes, purging and organizing are the last things on the agenda when day-to-day home keeping, work, school and family relationships keep you busy.  Everyone can understand the frustration of having a million things to put away and no place to put them.  All it takes, however, is a period of brainstorming, purging and repurposing to make things easier.  
Here are the specific issues she has been facing (don’t worry, I won’t post the pictures to the whole world!):
– a crowded hall closet with very little organizational space available
– a vacuum that is easiest stored here than elsewhere
– a fabric shoe rack containing miscellaneous items that may or not belong in this closet
– a corner of the house that needs a little freshening up
The first important thing to do is to imagine what you would like this closet to be like and what purpose it would serve…  do you need more clothing storage?  an effective solution for linens?  a place to keep seasonal items, like scarves, mittens and umbrellas?  Where is this closet located?  Near the front entrance?  Near the washer and dryer?  In the kitchen?  These questions can help solve some challenges and issues when you decide to “reduce, repurpose and restyle.”  
Here are some of the requirements my sister-in-law mentioned:  the vacuum stays!  clothing storage is not a necessity here.  the house doesn’t have a lot of space to waste, so the closet is a good place to start.  
Judging by the importance of vacuum storage, I thought having a broom closet might be the best solution.  
First, it’s helpful to purge the closet of any erroneous items.  Set up three bags…  trash, donate, keep.  Be brutal!  If something is no longer useful in your present life, like outdated items, decorations that don’t go with your current style or things you are holding on to “just in case,” they should make their way to either the trash bin or the Salvation Army.  Redundancies, like two half full bottles of cleaner, can be combined and one bottle can be recycled.  Is there anything in the closet that no longer works, like old electrical appliances, used batteries, things you’re hoping to fix?  These should probably go in the trash bag.  Remember, the more decisive you are here, the more space you have to make this part of your home what you would like it to be.  Keep the end goal in mind!
Second, take any objects out of the closet that should be housed elsewhere.  Label them with post-its with the correct rooms they should be in.  After the closet-cleaning, send those items to their rightful homes.  Seasonal items are more useful in the front hall.  Musical instruments should be near other musical equipment in the home.  Mismatched items?  Try to find the pair and put it in its correct location.  Take a look around the house…  anything that would be great for a broom closet should make its way to your work area.  Rags, cleaning supplies, brooms, mops, etc.  
Next, take a good look at all the things around you that should go into this closet.  Take a good look at the closet space.  Is everything going to fit?  Be creative about storage solutions.  A bucket stores cleaning supplies easily and keeps them from leaking onto shelves.  Hooks and spring-loaded clips can hold brooms, mops and vacuum attachments into place.  The picture above has a great solution for everyday tools:  keep what you need for little repairs, like a screwdriver or hammer, within easy reach by attaching it to the back of the door.  A paint job might help brighten the area and make things easier to see.  A new, energy-efficient light bulb can light up the closet AND save a little energy.  Remember not to crowd the floor!  Many times, things get put on the floor of closets because they don’t have a home.  This can cause a mess when you try to remove cleaning items and can be a good hiding spot for dust, allergens and bugs.  If you have an extra piece of linoleum from another part of the house, or can find a good deal at a hardware store, installing it on the floor makes sure that wet mops don’t ruin the floorboards.  If there’s enough room, inexpensive, permanent wire shelving with adjustable shelves can help organize.
After the paint dries, start thinking about the most logical and handiest place for things to be.  You want things within reachable distance and in such a place that when you reach for it, a million things won’t fall on your head.  
Finally, start!  Neatly load up your new closet.  You’re done!  Or are you??
Remember, this is only the first step.  Regular purging and upkeep will make this a part of your home that you aren’t afraid to look at.  We all have those scary places in our house that we would rather avoid.  Let’s not make the broom closet one of them.  
Well…  I hope these suggestions help.  Hopefully, having a tidy broom closet will make cleaning a less loathsome chore!  Happy organizing!

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