Hi readers, Karman Hotchkiss here! As a BHG editor there are a lot of reasons I’m glad readers don’t follow me home at night. But one of the biggest is my hall closet. This space is the only non-bedroom closet in my 1910 foursquare-style house, so it has to accommodate all our guest pillows, extra blankets, sleeping bags, luggage, out-of-season purses and a rag-tag collection of baseball caps and rain ponchos. Until recently, it wasn’t handling the job with much finesse.
So a few weeks ago I dedicated an afternoon to tackling what one co-worker called my “comedy closet.” So named because a cartoonlike avalanche seemed imminent. (See Before photo.)
The After is a great testimony to how a few basic storage lessons can really work.
1. Purge. My family and I filled two large garbage bags with blankets, backpacks, a barely used garment bag, and other goodies for charity. We pitched misshapen hats and broken purses. What was left was truly worthy of the precious storage space.
2. Combine things that get used together. In a previous (misguided) attempt to organize this closet, I stuffed all the extra blankets in two zippered storage bags. And all the pillows went in another. The problem: When we had guests I had to dismantle two different bags, and never seemed to shove it all back together again. The new solution turns each zippered bag into one “overnight guest package” with one blanket and two pillows that a guest can easily unpack and repack.
3. Put most-used stuff in front. Because the suitcases were the biggest items, they used to live in the back of the closet. Which meant pulling everything else out of the closet every few weeks when someone traveled. And nothing went back in in an orderly fashion. Now the suitcases are on the floor in front, where they can come and go without disrupting the rest of the organization.
The first test of our new system came last weekend. A middle school sleepover necessitated removal of pillows and sleeping bags. I’m happy to report it all went back in according to plan.
My comedy closet isn’t so funny anymore.
-Karman Hotchkiss, Better Homes and Gardens
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