Project Simplify has ended, but the areas in my house that need decluttering have not, so I'm continuing with a closet-by-closet, drawer-by-drawer attack on the clutter. And since I am supposed to post a photo a day this year, I might as well share the progress here. This week, I hit the coat closet, which is located in our kitchen.
Coat closet, before:
Overview of that situation: we keep coats in the coat closet, of course, but it had gotten completely overstuffed with coats (including many winter coats), so my first step was to move the winter coats somewhere else. We also use the coat closet as kind of a mini-art/activity supply center -- the kids draw and do homework at the kitchen table (which is located right next to the closet), so it makes sense to keep a stash of essentials nearby (even though we keep most of our art supplies in the basement). However, the closet's art supply system, such as it were, had gotten completely out of hand. The baskets on the top shelf contain the kids' winter hats, mittens, etc. which we only need for about a month out of the year, and certainly not in April, so they probably need to get moved somewhere else.
Floor of closet, before:
Cardboard Cinderella mask, blue plastic container shaped like a giant Easter egg -- yup, just your standard coat closet essentials. While you can't really see them in the pictures above because they are buried in other junk, these lap desks were taking up a ton of floor space on the closet:
Since the kids end up drawing, etc at the kitchen table or the coffee table, I decided that these lap desks didn't really need to take up such prime real estate. I should probably get rid of them altogether, but for now, to the basement they went (and got good use tomorrow, when the storms hit -- I love how blogging and posting at random and rigging the dates allows me to transcend the space/time continuum!!)
The old "clear shoe bag on back of door" has worked well for us in various areas of the house, and has generally worked great for coralling art supplies in the kitchen coat closet, as well as the various card games they enjoy (go-fish, etc., not poker). But the shoe bag had gotten way, WAY overstuffed:
I needed to thin that thing out, big time. And I decided that they have too many crayons, markers, etc. to fit well in the bag pockets, so I would move them into something else.
I took everything out, purged a bunch of stuff, moved some things elsewhere. Once everything else was back in the closet, I pondered how to use the vacant floor space. I thought a rolling wire cart like this one would fit great it that space, and I could keep more art supplies of different varieties upstairs (different kinds of paper, puff balls, pipe cleaners -- just the basics). But that stuff is all easy enough to get when I need it, and besides, I had taken a solemn vow not to purchase a thing in connection with Project Simplify (of which the coat closet project is just an informal extension . . .), so I moved on to other options. I finally thought about another trouble spot on the other end of our kitchen, at the base of our back staircase:
The shoe cubby/docking station/message board corner. The shoe cubby was functioning at about 60%. The kids were much more likely to throw their shoes next to the cubby -- plus, the cubby itself was not exactly a looker -- so it ended looking kind of rough over there. But we (and I in particular) really use that area - invitations, school lunch menus, etc. get stuck on the message board, phones and iPods get charged there, and that is where I set my purse and bags. So I needed something that functioned as a tabletop in that (narrow) space. And then it came to me -- I could move the shoes into the closet, and then bring down a console table from our upstairs landing that wasn't doing anything in particular up there.
Coat closet, after:
Shelf in closet: one magazine file of coloring/activity books, one magazine file of drawing paper, and some of my beloved sterilite bins filled with crayons, markers, colored pencils, and stickers:
After the table/shoe cubby switcheroo:
The table fits perfectly there and makes the area so much more functional (and neater, although I won't go so far as to say neat) than it was with the shoe cubby. I was giddy all day after this switch. It really is the little things.
I'm not sure what's on the agenda for next week. Laundry room? Junk drawer? Kids' closets? Finish what I started in the garage? Basement office? So many trouble spots, so little time!