Monday, December 29, 2008

Winter Essentials

Winter Gear?

How do you keep all of your winter gear organized (hats, scarves, gloves, etc.)? What space do you use? Most of us use the coat closet while some of you may use any available floor space - you know who you are! :-). For those that do use a closet, some simply throw their items on top of the closet, some throw things on the closet floor, while others use baskets. I personally love utilizing baskets.


Baskets can be used for almost any and everything and in any room; they come in all sizes, shapes, textures and colors. Baskets are especially great to use when you are in a rush. You can toss something in there quickly and go about the rest of your busy schedule. It also allows you to keep things out of the way, off the floor, and out of sight. This certainly gives the "illusion" of being organized. Don't worry so much that the basket itself is disorganized, that can be rearranged when you actually do have time (or if you have time).

One issue that I always have is that it is hard to see things in the baskets when they are on the top shelf. I am constantly pulling things down to figure out what I put there in the first place. So, here is a new way to view what you have in your baskets without this constant hassle - try turning the baskets on their sides. This allows you to see what you have in there at a glance.

As you can see in the picture below, I also added wooden letters (which I purchased from Michaels) with a ribbon looped through each basket to give it some personalization. In my family, there are 4 of us, but our closet was not wide enough to hold 4 baskets. So, I purchased 3 baskets and 3 letters. Luckily my husband and I share the same first name initial (and we were OK with sharing a basket). You may also use other items to identify who the basket belongs to - pictures, drawings, favorite colored ribbons, a favorite ornament during the holidays, etc.

Bigger Household

If there are more than 3 to 4 members in your family, or you just have too many items to share a basket, try topping the baskets on top of each other. You might need a small step stool to reach the higher baskets but you will still be able to see things at a glance. You could also put some baskets on the floor of the closet for the younger or smaller ones and the top shelf can be utilized by the older or taller members of your family. Keeping the baskets on the floor could make it easier for the younger ones, especially if you are trying to help them be more independent (although be careful to only put essential items in there, so there is no confusion of what to pull out during the morning rush).


Don't forget your pets, they are certainly part of the family and can also have their own basket which could include clothes, leashes, doggie bags, treats and toys.

Keep in Mind: One thing to always remember when using baskets in your mission to be more organized is that although they are a fast and easy way to put things aside, make sure that you only put similar items in to each one. If you use one basket to hold a hodge podge of items to disguise your mess, you are only going to cause more frustration for yourself. You will be unable to find anything, which in turn, will only cause more disorganization and further undue stress.


Another way to hide your Winter items in a hallway or even in your foyer is to get a storage bench. These work well to keep items hidden as well as giving you an area to sit down to put on your shoes. You can put small baskets in there to separate items for each person in your home. You can also put shoes in here, in case the hallway closet is overflowing. Some benches also have shelving and/or coat hooks incorporated in to them for more storage.


If you have enough area in your home for a mudroom, make sure that you are able to use the space efficiently. You should have an area for coats, back packs, muddy shoes, etc. Storage lockers or shelving with hooks and drawers are a great start. A couple of places that I think have great mudroom storage items are Art and Artifact and Pottery Barn.

For those with pets, Pottery Barn has a unique storage unit that doubles as a doggie bed.

If these items are too bulky for your mudroom or it doesn't fit all your needs, I would suggest getting a professional to view your space. They can come up with a plan that is designed for your specific needs and area specifications. Here are a few places that can help out with this (they can also help based on what you are willing to spend, so don't feel that this is something that you cannot afford).

Enjoy creating a less cluttered home!


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