Today’s post is from returning guest blogger Alyssa Clark, and it has TOTALLY inspired me to attack an extra kitchen closet that has been driving me crazy for awhile now. 😉 I’m betting that it will inspire you as well! ~Kristen
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
…a time to keep, and a time to cast away…
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6b ESV
You’re back from Christmas break! You’ve settled into the groove of things and you’re doing your best to keep those resolutions. Congratulations and here’s a medal if you’ve done either of those two things. I may or may not still have the mistletoe and ornament door hanger up. January is such a great time to process and take account of what’s going on; in your spiritual life, in your relationships, and even in your home organization. I really love to organize and clean out, so sometimes I find myself sitting on the couch at night pondering different spaces in my home. When we were in the market for a home almost four years ago, I remember walking into our current house and thinking, “This is it! This is my house!” and then immediately smacking myself on the forehead saying, “You can’t think that yet!!! Their cat is still in the laundry room!” But it felt like I had always lived there; nothing felt strange or foreign. Now that we’re settled into said home (and there’s nothing inhabiting the laundry room) I’ve tried to make the best use of the space we have. However, there are times when I walk through the kitchen, push a pile of stuff aside with my foot, and put a stack of more stuff on the table. Whose stuff is this?! Where did it come from?! Where does it need to go?! Those questions once led me to an amazing discovery about a coat closet near our garage door.
When we moved into our home, everything was pretty sparse. We had not expected to find a home so quickly and our belongings were mainly dorm and apartment friendly. Think mini fridge and one couch. When we bought some furniture and threw a few things on the walls, it became more like home. As time went on, though, I noticed a space that I wasn’t using much or properly – the coat closet. The location of this closet could not be worse: in a tiny entryway, behind the garage entrance door, across from the pantry. It was full of random stuff, wasn’t easily accessible, and it made me antsy because I desperately needed it to be a functional space. Diaper bags, coats, grass mowing boots, camera bags, umbrellas, and shopping bags were hanging out on my kitchen floor instead of going to their “place.”
So, I consulted my friend Pinterest and found a coat closet overhaul that made my eyes water. It was perfect! It would turn my random-things-shoved-into-a-dark-corner space into a “hey, this is a great spot to hang my 25-pound diaper bag” space.
My husband Michael took the door and hinges off, took out the wire shelf, put hooks around the top, and built a bench into the bottom. It makes a prime hiding spot in a game of hide and seek!
And, as an update, we have decided we’d like to build a shelf into the closet above the hooks for more storage space.
So, if you’re having a difficult time opening the junk drawer, or maybe you’re on the verge of dragging everything out of the garage into the driveway and burning it, hopefully these next few tips will help you reconsider arson and encourage you to have a functional space!
- Locate & Define the Space
- What space in your home (or office!) is driving you crazy? Anything from a bathroom cabinet to unused attic space applies.
- Pick the space you need to change and give it a name and specific purpose. This is also a good time to make a plan of how to go about transforming the space. Will you need to add to or take away from the space? Will this space have a completely different purpose? What’s your budget? Pray over your plan that it will be a useful and positive addition to (or reduction from) your home.
- De-clutter & Sift
- TAKE EVERYTHING OUT! This is one of my favorite parts. Literally, grab everything out with both arms and clean the space down to the nails. This allows for more imagination and planning to take root. And doesn’t it just feel good to see all that potential for function??
- Sift through your haul and ask: “Have I used this recently?” and “Will I use this in the near future?” If your answers are yes, then set it aside to be arranged back into the space or elsewhere if need be. If you answered no, let it go! Either trash it or find it a new home where it can be useful. Trust me, you’ll be happier the more you let go. Less is more.
- This is where your plan comes alive. Paint, shelve, recover, basket, furnish, and divider to your heart’s content! Let your purpose for the space be firm while letting your options be fluid. I don’t always do my best at putting things where they should go, but that’s usually due to the fact that it’s not convenient or fun. So make this fun for you and those who use it. Wrap things in cute patterned Duck Tape or use open baskets to toss things into. The easier the space is to use, the more functional and maintainable it will become.
- All that stuff you took out? Put back only what you need and are going to use. Arranging your rebirthed space not only makes your life easier, but it also brings to light what is necessary and what is not. Materialism can be a huge stumbling block for some people, so clearing a space for a higher purpose may be a step in the right direction. Getting rid of the unnecessary and experiencing the freeing capabilities of function in a space, I believe, encourages people to focus on what’s important; not filling up the emptiness with things. Now, if you like that junk drawer just the way it is – with the random screws, the blown lightbulb that’s a weird size so you have to keep it, button batteries, matchstick envelopes, hospital bracelets, empty envelopes with the windows, a flashlight that doesn’t work, a telephone book, and broken pencils – that’s up to you. But I guarantee if you get some drawer baskets and no slip grip drawer liner, you’re going to have the most functional junk drawer in the neighborhood.
- OR maybe you just decluttered, sifted, and cleaned with the purpose of leaving the space empty. AWESOME!!! Congratulations on all that beautifully empty space!
- Enjoy! (& Revisit)
- Now, sit back and enjoy that new space! You’re more likely to have a useful, functional space if you spend a little extra time transforming it into something you know you need.
- Revisit the space every now and then and take note of how things are going. Are things where they should be? How are any additions holding up? Have there been any negatives or changes caused by the space that need to be addressed? See if anything needs to be added.
Whether you’ve recently boarded the minimalist train or just need to clean out your nightstand, I hope these tips help you find function and usefulness in the spaces around you. Go ahead and fool your guests, your house definitely stays this organized ALL the time. ;D
Pin this inspiration for later! Share this post on Facebook and use positive peer pressure to start a decluttering movement!
Alyssa is from Florence, AL and now lives in Chattanooga, TN. She and her husband, Michael, met at good ol’ FHU and have two sons – Ethan and Aaron. When she’s not wiping noses or finding Legos in weird places, Alyssa enjoys baking and learning new cake decorating techniques.
More from Alyssa: Spreading the Gospel on Social Media