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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Home Organization: Utilizing the Utility Closet

For most homes storage is hard to come by.  Our house is no different.  We do, however, have a pretty rad utility closet.  Unfortunately, it tends to look like this most of the time.

Not an ideal setup to access and find items easily and definitely not a place that I would be proud to show off. Fortunately I'm channeling the great Ms. Barbara Reich this month and I'm whipping this closet into shape. You might have caught my first two successes when I cleaned the cabinet under the kitchen sink and tackled the bathroom cabinet.  And if you were paying any attention you already know that I'm taking part in Apartment Therapy's January Cure by making a list and getting things done!

My next victim in the battle against the clutter was the utility closet/pantry.  I took the same steps as the other two cabinets by removing everything.  My sorted piles consisted of things that would be going back in, trash and things that were leftover from past projects would be finding a new home in our workshop/storage shed.

After the closet was empty I broke out the broom and mop and gave it a good old fashioned cleaning.

And then curiosity overcame me.  I couldn't stop wondering what was actually under the vinyl flooring and inside that little closet-inside-the-bigger-closet that runs directly under the stairs.  Hoping that I wouldn't find an old hiding place for bodies (too much Dexter and Criminal Minds), I carefully opened the door and found....a great storage place and wood floors (and some leftover garbage from the previous owners.)  The living room and bedroom drops down significantly from the rest of the house so I'm pretty sure the wood floors were removed in that section, but this little find gives me hope that there might be a welcome surprise under the current flooring in the hallway, Luke's room, and the kitchen

I stood there in a complete dreamland imagining all the things I could do with WOOD FLOORS and how amazingly beautiful our home would look.  My mind was a Pinterest slideshow for about 10 straight minutes and I was sure with this one little discovery our house could look like this and this.  When I finally snapped out of my dream state I was back in the unbearably plain utility closet. 

Getting back into work mode, I brought in a small bench with a shelf to elevate items and take advantage of some additional storage and I finally hung the plastic bag dispenser.  Then I brought in the items that were staying - like our beloved dyson, the giant bag of bathroom tissue that will last us years and the buckets of joint compound (which we're currently using in the mudroom.)  I hung my aprons, which were pulled from under the kitchen sink on the back of the door, and that was that.  It was amazing how many things were in there that actually belonged in other places - like a whole bag of different spices that was shoved in there when we painted our kitchen cabinets white.

We can actually walk into the space and grab items without being bombarded by paint rollers and empty boxes.  This morning, while grabbing something, I opened the closet door and said "Oh yeah, that's nice" like I was getting a full-body rub down.  Apparently clean closets are my happy place.

While I totally dominated the closet, I completely ignored the pantry cabinet - one step at a time, people.  That little cabinet is part of a much greater whole - getting our kitchen cabinets organized - and that's a job for me, wine and some Justin Timberlake beats.

Have a place in your home that you'd be ashamed to show?  Have any tips for organizing my kitchen cabinets?


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