Today’s messy situation is an interesting one…
“We live in a house that was built in 1928. There are no closets on the first floor (not even a food pantry). We use a coat rack for our coats. In our bedroom we have one small closet. There isn’t room for my dresses to hang. There isn’t a light in the closet and I use the flashlight on my phone to pick out my clothes.
My husband and I each have a dresser but that is not enough. We usually put our out-of-season clothes in a bin in the basement, but the clothes don’t always make it there. Or if they do make it there we forget about them and then have to buy new.
We go on trips and don’t unpack because there isn’t anywhere to put the clothes. I think we have too many clothes. I feel like there is wasted space above our bed that I wish we had cabinets to store clothes so they didn’t have to be in the basement. I could also use ideas for organizing my jewelry. I’m open to ideas. Please help!” – Elizabeth
Elizabeth, I can see why you have trouble with clothing organization! I’ve been thinking about your situation for a few days now and I think I have some good solutions for you.
1) Pare Down Clothing
First, you need to go through all of your clothes to figure out what you want to keep and what you don’t want to keep. While you’re sorting your clothes, get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the past year, as well as clothes you wear that don’t fit well or that you don’t really like. Three chapters in my new book talk about laundry, plus I have a few other laundry articles on my blog that I think you’ll find helpful:
- Solving a reader’s real-life laundry mess: This request was written by a reader who, like you, doesn’t have very much closet or dresser space for clothes, and I gave her several great ideas so make sure to check it out!
- How to tame the laundry monster: Written for those times when the laundry situation feels out-of-control, this article goes through a step-by-step process of catching up and staying that way.
- Clothing organization how-to: While this post was specifically about kids’ clothes, the tips about setting limits and the ideas about clothing storage are really helpful.
2) Clothing Storage Solutions
After you’ve pared down your clothes to only the items that you love, wear, and feel good in, it’s time to consider storage solutions. Is there space under your bed? If so, consider getting a few under-the-bed storage totes to hold off-season clothing.
I’ve noticed that you have a large pile of laundry at the foot of your bed – if under-the-bed clothes storage won’t work for you, then consider keeping your eyes peeled for a bench (with storage!) or a hope chest that you could store off-season clothes or bulky sweaters and coats in – the clothes would be in the same spot, but in a tidier way!
Or you could consider purchasing an armoire – vertical space is important and a piece of furniture that is tall may be more suitable to your space than furniture that is short and wide. Plus, an armoire will help you to have enough hanging space for your dresses. Check on Craigslist or at local consignment stores for a great deal on solid wood armoires.
Bonus tip: Shop your house first! Check out this post for free storage solutions.
3) Over-the-Bed Storage?
You mentioned wishing you could have over-the-bed storage. If you get an armoire, a bench for the foot of the bed, and/or storage for under the bed, then you may no longer need over-the-bed storage. I personally think that hanging a nice picture would be the perfect thing for the wall above your bed!
But, if you still want over-the-bed storage, then check out this idea on Pinterest. Or even this one! You can purchase (or build) a small cabinet or small shelf – just be careful not to go overboard with too much storage or you’ll be practically inviting the clutter back in!
4) Closet Lights
There is a very simple solution to not having lights in the closet! You can purchase inexpensive LED touch-lights, like these ones that are currently $13.99 on Amazon. No more phone flashlights to get dressed in the mornings!
5) About Your Jewelry…
My mom is a jewelry organizing pro and her jewelry box is similar to yours, so I asked her to send photos of her jewelry organization solutions to me. Here’s what she does: She keeps her jewelry sets in small clear zip-top bags. Then she can just pull a bag out and accessorize quickly in the mornings without taking time to search for matching earrings or coordinating bracelets!
I hope this helps you, Elizabeth! Thanks so much for e-mailing in. Please send after photos when you’re finished!