The Great Closet Clean-Up: Part One

July 7, 2015

Much thanks to summer break, we’ve gotten a bit OCD crazy organized around here, especially when it comes to closets. 

This may sound boring, but I honestly can’t think of many other ways I would rather spend these lovely expanses of free time! Furthermore, as Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, puts it in one of her blog posts, “In the context of the sublime subject of happiness, it may seem a superficial concern, but it’s not. Every time I’ve brought order to my rooms, I’ve brought calm to my mind.”

happinessprojectSide note: several of my sophomore students who read The Happiness Project in book club found these sorts of statements totally preposterous and annoying. I, on the other hand, find them genius (and think maybe I have some kids in my class who just really don’t want to clean their rooms).

I mean, come on; I can find happiness AND be able to find my stuff? I’m so in.

Speaking of The Happiness Project, my sister recently introduced me to “Happier,” a podcast narrated by both Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, which is such a fun little extension of her bestselling book! As I drove around running errands last week, I listened to Episode #10: Live from Elizabeth’s Cluttered Closet, and I couldn’t help but want to rush home and clean every closet in my house. 

When that proved a bit overwhelming, I decided a new series might be in order. Hence, I introduce to you: The Great Closet Clean-Up!

Let us start with the scariest closet in our house: the laundry room closet.Yeah, it was pretty frightening.IMG_4410To begin, we had to resist the overwhelming urge to run to Target and buy a million storage containers; instead, I followed Gretchen’s advice: go through everything and get rid of stuff first, then purchase storage containers once you know what you’re actually keeping.

She must know what she’s doing or something. As it turns out, we only ended up spending $3 on a few clear plastic storage bins as we ended up tossing, donating, or relocating so much of what we had in the closet in the first place! We did make one little splurge on a wire shelving unit from Home Depot so we could move the cleaning supplies off of the top shelf and low enough for me to be able to — well — reach them.

So…now I’m out of cleaning excuses. Hold up! How is this supposed to make me happier again? Oh yeah: that rush of bliss I get when I open the closet door!


Even with the bigger shelving unit, we still had so much extra space that we were able to fit our vacuum cleaner in here, which makes so much more sense than keeping it in a coat closet. We also added an extra Command hook on the wall so we could actually hang up all of the mops and brooms in our closet. Please note: there was no “before” from this angle because the closet was too messy for me to stand in this area. Yikes!


I’ve been a little calligraphy obsessed these days (see here and here), so I used some of the leftover blush Paper Source card stock from our wedding, twine, and Zots to label all of the bins. Not only does this make the closet a little prettier, but hopefully it will also keep the mayhem that previously crept into the bins from happening again; everything has an obvious place, so we sure as heck better put it where it belongs.


DSC01385I’m still in the process of doing more organization from the comfort of my AC on these scorching days, so stay tuned! 

Until then, happy organizing…


To read the next post in the “The Great Closet Clean-Up” series, click here.

Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


  • The Great Closet Clean-Up: Part Two

    […] This post is part of a short series about my summer adventure in closet organization. To read the previous post in the series, click here. […]

    October 3, 2015 at 5:12 pm Reply
  • Jessi

    Podcast suggestion bonus! Great post and ideas. Organizing at home and at work are the top of my priority list this summer, too!

    July 7, 2015 at 2:48 pm Reply
    • Carolyn

      haha, Jessi, I knew this comment was from you before I even saw the name — I’m so glad I have a fellow podcast-obsessed friend! I, too, need to spend some time doing this in my classroom as well, but I know it will be so much scarier in there…I’ll just procrastinate away over here and say it will happen next week (?!).

      July 8, 2015 at 12:43 pm Reply

    Leave a Reply