As you can see there is no ‘before’ photo of our linen closet. Think of something like a turned over shelf at a drugstore and the mess that would make and there you go – that was our linen closet. The linen closet became a habitual resting ground of things that were just hiding everything in no specific order. Instead of, you know, putting things back in their proper places, we stacked and shoved and soon enough that linen closet became unorganized and unusable. Surprisingly we have proper places around here and unsurprisingly nothing was it its correct spot. I’m not unlike you, I had empty boxes of things, I had expired things, I had random things. Oh and towels. We did keep our towels there, so that was 10% of something being it its right place. I finally just couldn’t take it one day and decided January was when it was getting fixed. It took me all of 2 hours and I got it all done. I am saying this from one slob to the next — if I can do it with a 4-month-old, anyone can do this.
I also realized that most of Gemma’s stuff was beginning to stay downstairs (her room is upstairs and now we know that we are lazy and hate stairs). Her pajamas, her bibs, her diapers, and wipes were all starting to just stay in piles or in laundry baskets in our room and honestly, it was starting to rub on my last nerve. Plus her laundry didn’t really have anywhere to go, so one day it hit me: why are you not using your storage correctly? Get organized and give Gemma some storage of her own! And that’s exactly what we did.
Just look at that contained chaos. Sigh, doesn’t that just feel good?
So fellow slobs and slobbettes, let’s get organized.
Our Game Plan
As you can see, we have a lot of things we need to store but none of this was impossible to organize. I wanted our towels to be folded and in one place, Gemma to have room for her things and to get them out of laundry baskets and for our bulk items and my beauty items to have somewhere to go. Here are my tips on how we got this all done during a newborn’s nap time:
1) take it all out
You read that right. Take out everything, the whole lot of whatever you are cleaning out. It seems counterproductive to make a mess while trying to clean up a mess, but it helps you see everything — what you want to keep and what you don’t. I instantly categorize things before I start to clean them out. Towels here, bath products and beauty products here, lady products there, etc. Once they are all in their perspective pile, I toss what’s old, I take out what we don’t need any longer and I remove the items that no longer need to live in this closet. (For instance, we moved all of our medicine to our pantry, a central location instead of our bathroom.) Once you’ve got your items cleared up, the easiest part is next!
2) make a plan
Now that everything is cleaned out, you can quickly see what is going to stay and for me, at least, I like to have everything in a basket or at least contained. Items that are free seem to end up gathering other items that I pile on top of them. (See that Cetaphil lotion? The only exception because it fit there perfectly.) I made a quick plan and ran to Target to pick up the baskets I thought I’d need. Without checking to see what I had to store first, I probably would have made several trips to Target because I wouldn’t have found the right sizes of baskets or number of baskets. Always make a plan. Not only when it comes to organizing but in general because you can get really distracted at Target.
(I featured these baskets on insta-stories and everyone was wondering where I got them. Girl, you know where I got them: Target. Where else have I even been in the last 4 months? There are all shapes and sizes and I just picked a random assortment of them and they all ended up working out perfectly. I’ve linked them below, but you can find the whole collection here. )
3) keep it simple and similar
This is probably just me but I love when starting a new organization system to keep everything as similar as possible. I know it’s extra money, but finding cheap baskets that all look the same makes your linen closet look that much nicer. (These baskets ranged from $3-10!) Having consistency with containers makes everything seem cleaner and easier to find products since they stick out and not the random baskets and containers. I also like to keep the containers a neutral color, but you do you. Our bathroom is tan so I stuck with that color theme. I find that keeping my containers neutral and all one similar design, it makes them look more simple and my brain can organize and find things easier. It looks simple and clean, even though all the same products are in there as before. They just have a nice, neutral home now.
4) bulk up!
This tip is to take or leave, obviously because you may or may not have the space for bulk items. I don’t bulk buy items I don’t need or have like a couponer’s stockpile, but I do like to stock up on a few things at Costco when I can. (Ignore the plethora of makeup removers you see, that was my goofy brain not remembering I’d just picked some up. So if you’re in the neighborhood and really need to take your makeup off, holla at your girl.) We stock up on things like deodorant, toothpaste, toilet paper and obviously diapers and wipes. I keep the big items on the bottom of our linen closet i.e. toilet paper, diapers and feminine products, too.
I also bulk buy things like bubble bath and face masks because I take these things for granted and every time I want to use them, I’ve forgotten to pick them up. So every once in a while I’ll pick up a few at Target and have them on hand. You never know when you’re going to have that elusive moment alone and a bath with a face mask sounds just right.
*…and if you have a plus one…
So the whole reason I started this organization journey in the first place was that we needed our linen closet to work differently with the three of us than it did with just the two of us. Gemma needed her own space, so I gave her the middle row and she has three baskets (her diapers and wipes are on the ground in a basket). One basket is for dirty laundry since I wash her items separate from ours, it just makes sense to keep it all in one place. Then I knew I needed a basket for her onesies and of course, a place for her bibs since we are drooling all day, every day. I have to say, we’ve had it like this for a week now and I don’t even know how we lived without this organization before.
Just look at how cute her baskets are!
And voila! Our mess is still a mess but it’s organized and put up. Besides, organized chaos is still organized and that’s all that matters around here. And this below? This is the face of a happy mama.