Coat closets. I'll bet it's fair to say that most of us have a love/hate relationship with them. Probably because we need them to do so much more than just hold coats.
Prompted by Lauren's post wherein she challenged her readers to clean up their coat closets, I finally tackled mine. Knowing full well what I was getting myself into.
See how tiny and dark? But it doesn't look so bad from back here, does it? If you don't look too long at that sad, saggy ironing board cover. (please don't - it doesn't represent me well) There's a new one, still in its package, shoved into that black hole somewhere. Here's a closer look, below. Don't be fooled by all that light you see. There's an industrial task light switched on in all of these "before" photos (and a couple of the afters too—dark closet + dark end of the hallway = hard to photograph).
That was the top of the closet, now here's the bottom, below. Most of the stuff on the floor is shoved back into the corners to make room for the vacuum (that shouldn't be there) and the beach bag (that somehow never found a better home).
Neither the beach bag nor the black and white check bag hanging behind the ironing board made it onto the handwritten list you're about to see. I'm sure I missed a few other things too. I was kind of overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that kept coming out. And out. And out. Just for fun—or posterity, or as a future "what was I thinking?" note to self—I wrote it all down:
Yikes! Seventeen (17!) coats and jackets. The letter notations next to each are for myself "T", my husband "D" or my daughter "K", not "toss", "donate" or "keep"—I didn't want you to think this is such a brutal makeover that we ended up with just one jacket between us! There were, however, several jackets and plenty of other things that needed to be moved out and on to a new location or a new life away from this house. To be relocated: a vacuum cleaner that is rarely used (no, not because I don't clean!... but because we have another one that I prefer... and it lives in the garage); shutters I can't seem to part with but don't know what to do with; upholstery foam left over from a project; decorative pillows that should have been put into "pillow storage" in another room, etc. What wasn't kept, relocated or tossed will be donated to an upcoming yard sale or Goodwill. Altogether, just over 100 items came out of that closet—if you count the 12 light bulbs individually.
Are you ready for the "after" now? Me too. But first, let's take a moment to admire the simple beauty of empty space. Aaahh. . . all that potential. . .
My handy husband installed and painted the shelf near the floor. It's 12" above the floor, to allow ample space for things placed both under and on top of it. It's also 4" shorter than the depth of the closet. I'll show you why a few pics down.
If you have any orphaned shoe stackers hanging around your house, using one or more as a shelf-on-a-shelf is a great way to get more storage for small things in an area that otherwise might not function to its full potential. I had been using one already, but I saw that two would fit, one on top of the other. I realized, however, after huffing and puffing the second one up there, that I needed the height on top of the single stacker for my taller candle hurricanes. So down the second one came.
Oh no! It's a shark! Sorry, didn't mean to scare you. It's our portable Shark vacuum that comes in handy for cleaning up little messes. I purchased the picnic basket just for this job back when we first got the shark, but the vacuum hasn't always lived in it. Here in the cleaned-up coat closet, I'm happy to see the two reunited. And much more conveniently located. Two pics up, you can see that, next to the shark basket, I placed a metal locker basket filled with toys and coloring books for our smaller visitors. And that's it! Nothing in here that doesn't belong and more than there was before. Really, there's more. I counted.