I’ve briefed you on this situation before. On any given day, the possibility of the linen closet explosion knocking you down the stairs was 8-in-10. The contents within were crammed like a clown car, and there were many days when a-blind reach into the darkness could not yield a pillowcase or dust rag.
After I made some adjustments to the door frame and installed a new and fully-operational bi-fold door, there were no excuses keeping me from taming the wildness that had been slowly gathering in this closet over the last few years. Eagerly, I stripped it clear and assessed the situation; I can’t recall if I had slapped a fresh coat of white on the inside when I moved in, but there’s an completely equal chance that I didn’t do as much as spray it down with Lysol. In any case, the closet was a bit ragged. More ragged than you’d expect a closet that stored rags to be, anyways.
First things first, with the racks removed, I cleaned the space and started planning a hand-painted stripe design. By using paint from my own basement stash, I managed to complete this update for $0.00, and in just a day with no excessive trips to and from the store. And by using paint that already flows cohesively through the house (Behr Summer Field, shown as the upper half of the living room), it was an easy win in keeping with the defined color palette.
Hand painting the stripes in the closet meant fully embracing the soft edges and streaky effect left by the 3″ paint brush, while trying to reach the point where it looked neat and intentional and not like I gave a child the paint brush and turned my back. With the first wall, I spaced out some pieces of painters tape that were level to give me some sort of guide line (for similar reason that I did this with the painted pillow cases, just so my natural motions didn’t leave me with curved lines like when you write on unruled paper). It worked well. I didn’t have a specific line width and spacing planned when I started, I just followed what felt right after the first few lines, and was happy with the overall organization.
As I moved onto the second wall, I penciled off level lines from the already-painted stripes so that they would wrap fluidly around the wall.
Painting with the brush and avoiding paint trays and rollers made it a really quick and neat process. Because the linen closet had been built so the base had several tiers, I comfortably sat inside and had all of the stripes done within an hour. With the door partially closed, I’m told I looked like I was in a confession chamber. And Cody had no idea where my voice was coming from, which made for hysterical howling and him running up and down the stairs past me during the entire project.
With all three walls painted, I left the tiered base white. It cleaned up pretty well, so I left it to dry overnight.
The coated metal racks I never really liked for no good reason other than that they’re not especially pretty, common, and expected; I had immediately planned to lose them all together and replace with some stained 1×12 boards, but in trial, I didn’t really like the way the stained shelves were looking so I ditched the plan. Back in went the metal shelves, although note that instead of creating really deep shelves like what was there originally, I only replaced the shelves that rested along the back half of the closet, leaving more open space in the front. Immediately, it was apparent that reaching into the depths of the closet for a beach towel or painters cloth would be dramatically less dramatic, while still giving us plenty of room to stack our linens. I guess sometimes it’s about limiting how much space you give yourself to store clutter?
When it came right down to organizing the contents back into place, I followed some advice and donated a whopping 1/3 of our junk towel stash to a local animal shelter (that’s two paper garbage bags full). Considering further that much of the time we’re using rags and painting cloths in the basement, I moved another 1/3 of the towels into a bin in the basement so they were more handy, leaving the final 1/3 in the best condition to be stored upstairs. Most often, the little towels are used for dusting and the big ones are used for drying off wet dog feet, so we didn’t actually feel like we needed to have 45 on hand anymore.
All of the linens went back in, and I even still had room for our three bigger beach towels and the 4 seat cushions that I remember to put on the outdoor patio chairs from time to time. Things like Pete’s Carhart suit, a random unused kite, and a few table cloths that I’ve never once draped went into a trunk in the attic where they can stay nice and dry and accessible, but totally out of the way.
Perhaps the best outcome of this reorg is that I still had some leftover room for cleaning supplies and toiletries. The cleaning supplies, previously stored beneath the bathroom vanity, and in two kitchen cabinets came together simply and can rest out of child’s reach on the top shelf of the closet. The toilet paper and excessive boxes of tissues (I had a coupon) fit along the bottom shelf of the closet, accessible to all, and thankfully clearing them out of the guest room’s closet. Because there’s nothing like waking your guests up at 7AM when you need a new roll.
When you look into the closet straight on like in that above photo, you don’t really get a taste of the hand painted stripes. But they’re still there, and very visible when you’re glancing in to either side of the space. Voila.
I know everyone’s in full-on spring cleaning fever, so what have you been plowing through this week?