Organizing Utility Rooms #2
Good Thing: 3 Organizing Tips for the Linen Closet
Follow these helpful tips to neatly organize your linen closet.
Store sheet sets together in one pillowcase in your linen closet or even in an armoire. Label and group your sheet sets by bedroom or by size, such as twin or full. Then, neatly stack sets on shelves. This way, when making up beds, you can easily find just what you need. Remember to always use the sheet set on top and to put clean sets, fresh from the wash, on the bottom. This rotation will ensure sheets wear evenly over time.
Adding brackets to closets or armoires is a great idea for neat stacks. Forming neat stacks prevents folded clothes and linens from toppling. Choose shelf brackets with the long side measuring just less than the height of your shelf and the short side equal or less than the depth; place the shorter side of each on the shelf and the longer side against the wall. To secure, drill two wood screws into each bracket from the shelf's underside.
Adding a bundle of chalk in a closet or armoire helps absorb extra moisture and keeps clothing and linens fresh and dry. Mount a hook in the closet or armoire, fasten a rubber band around a dozen pieces of chalk, and cover the band with ribbon, allowing enough loop to hang chalk
Stacks of shirts, folded linens, and other closet items often need help to keep from toppling into disarray. Wooden shelf brackets used as dividers do the job nicely. Arrange the closet's contents to determine where to place the brackets. Paint the brackets to match the shelves; let dry. Position brackets as pictured. To secure each, drill in two screws from the underside of the shelf.
A vintage wooden cupboard provides handsome storage for gardening supplies. Perched on the front porch, it serves as a way station between house and garden. You can step out the door, slip into your gardening shoes, and head off with tools in hand. On your way back in, kick off the shoes, and stash them and the tools without tracking soil inside. Make room in the cupboard for houseplant and cut-flower supplies, too; won't it be good to get them out from beneath the sink? Look for a spacious old cupboard at a flea market or junk shop, and fill it with pots, bulbs and seeds, a hose, and other gardening essentials. Wooden boxes customize the space: One holds bags of fertilizer and potting soil, the other holds tools. Paint unfinished boxes with semi- or high-gloss paint.
Make Custom Color Chalkboard Paint
If you thought chalkboards were just for schoolrooms, think again. These wipe-off writing surfaces make handy helpers around the home, too. Thanks to paint that dries into a chalkboard finish, your board can be whatever size you desire and placed wherever you like. Store-bought formulas come in traditional green and black. But you can also follow our recipe to mix your own batch in any shade. Cleverly applied chalkboard paint means new places to track appointments, keep lists, and leave messages. Or simply use the surface to draw or doodle, which will appeal to kids and the kid in everyone.
A home office is the ideal spot for a family planner. Six weeks' worth of squares in a variety of shades can accommodate several schedules. The entire wall is also coated with chalkboard paint for more memos. Start with a base coat of store-bought black chalkboard paint, and then mix in varying amounts of white chalkboard paint for lighter squares.
The bottom half of a mudroom wall just the right height for pint-size Picassos -- coated with store-bought green chalkboard paint. When inspiration strikes again, the canvas can be wiped clean with a damp sponge. Corkboard, available at home centers, covers the wall above the chair rail, providing an area for art displays. The cork was colored with latex paint to match the room.
Write-on paint needn't be applied only to walls. We coated three framed panels and leaned them on an entryway shelf, where they function as miniature chalkboards. To create a similar effect, measure and cut pieces of sanded plywood, and slip them into picture frames. Cover each panel, frame and all, with primer and chalkboard paint; our topcoat coordinates with the aqua-blue walls.
Covered with chalkboard paint, a pantry door serves as the perfect place to keep a running shopping list. In this case, only the inside panels were coated, but we custom-colored the paint so that it blends seamlessly with the rest of the door. This concept also works on children's closet doors. Always tape off those areas that you don't want to paint, such as knobs and hardware.
Custom Colors How-To
Start with flat-finish latex paint in any shade. For small areas, such as a door panel, mix 1 cup at a time.
1. Pour 1 cup of paint into a container. Add 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Mix with a paint stirrer, carefully breaking up clumps.
2. Apply paint with a roller or a sponge paintbrush to a primed or painted surface. Work in small sections, going over the same spot several times to ensure full, even coverage. Let dry.
3. Smooth area with 150-grit sandpaper, and wipe off dust.
4. To condition: Rub the side of a piece of chalk over entire surface. Wipe away residue with a barely damp sponge.
Avoid mismatched gloves and misplaced scarves by keeping each family member's cold-weather gear in a wire gym basket. Label the baskets, and attach them to two wooden rails (60-inch lengths of 1-by-4 lumber); use 1 1/2-inch round screw hooks at equal intervals down the center of each rail. A 1 1/2-inch screw eye in the end of each rail allows the basket rack to be suspended from 2-inch round screw hooks that have been screwed about 13 inches apart in the bottom of a coat rack. The rails are painted the same color as the coatrack.
Coat Closet Organizer
Take storage to new levels with shelves below a row of jackets. Install shelves near the base of your closet, and you'll no longer have to rifle through items strewn across the floor. Here, each family member has his or her own bin for hats and scarves. The lower shelf is lined with shoes, and boxes tucked underneath hold dog toys, tennis balls, and the like. Leave a foot of space between shelves and the door frame, and you'll have room for boots and a metal bucket for umbrellas. Long hooks keep handbags neat. An acrylic organizer on the door ensures essentials, such as a wallet and sunglasses, are accessible; a mirror allows for a final once-over on the way out.
Broom Closet Organizer
Hooks and clips keep mops and brooms tidy and tools at hand. If you've ever reached for the feather duster and had everything in the closet come tumbling out, try this: Screw hooks and spring-loaded clips inside and use them to hold brooms, a dustpan, mop, and duster. Do the same with tools on the door and you won't have to get out the toolbox for quick repairs. Store cleaning supplies in a bucket to transport them easily from room to room.
Wet, leaky bags are a problem whether you use rock salt or a lawn-friendly de-icer that has magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, or sodium chloride. Keep the product handy in a galvanized covered trash can fitted with a metal scoop. Use sparingly, and follow the safety directions on the label.
Use Pegboard in the Closet
Pegboard keeps items off the floor, in sight, and within reach. The board is sold in large sheets; have it cut to size, or use a circular saw or jigsaw. Place furring strips (thin pieces of wood) between the board and wall, so you'll have room for the backs of hooks.
1. Before installing the pegboard in a closet, carefully measure where clothing rods will go -- they'll need extra support. For added stability, put two furring strips side by side behind the pegboard at these spots.
2. Belts hang by their loops, while above, straight hooks hold bags and purses.
3. This pegboard panel maximizes otherwise unused space on the back of the closet door. Snap-in pegboard-hook holders (available at home centers) keep hardware from wobbling, which is especially useful when the board is hung on a door or any other moving surface.
4. Wire baskets provide a home for toiletries and other small items. A key ring and a lint roller hang nearby.
5. A series of U-shaped hooks keeps neckties in line and wrinkle-free.
Designated for Donations
Hang a sturdy, extra-large tote bag in a central location or by the back door and let it serve as a collection bin for clothes, housewares, toys, and other items that you decide to give away. When the bag is full, simply grab the handles and take the contents to a local charity.
Orderly Utility Closet
Many people store mops and brooms by standing them in a corner, but this can cause broom straw to bend and mop heads to mildew. Using tool hooks (sold at hardware stores), hang them with their "business ends" up. A dustpan, too, should be kept off the floor; hang it from the hole in its handle.
Hanging vs. Folding Clothing
Many garments look their best when hung on proper hangers in closets that aren't overcrowded. Other clothes benefit from being neatly folded. Shirts and blouses made of linen, rayon, or 100 percent cotton will stay virtually wrinkle-free when hung upon hangers. Use padded hangers for slippery silks and satins, as well as delicate fabrics that crush easily, such as velvet, raw silk, chiffon, and taffeta. Curved suit hangers help maintain the shape of outdoor jackets, overcoats, suit jackets, and blazers. Skirt hangers have moveable clips to accommodate most skirt sizes and styles. And trousers hang nicely over the sturdy rods of wooden hangers, or held by the cuff with clamping trouser hangers.Knitwear, including tops, pants, skirts, and dresses, should usually be folded. However, if you're tight on drawer space, a sweater can be folded in half, shoulder to shoulder, and draped over the bar of a wooden hanger with a piece of tissue paper in between. Casual pants and shorts made from rugged materials, such as jeans, khakis, and corduroys, also can be folded. And you should fold long evening dresses, particularly those weighted with ornamentation, because hanging can distort their shape.
Sewing Room in a Closet
Just because you can't devote an entire room to a hobby doesn't mean you can't create a well-organized space to suit your purpose perfectly. A "room" in a closet provides storage for equipment and materials, and, with fixtures like a pull-out table, becomes a comfortable, convenient work area as well. Another advantage: When you're finished working on a project, you can simply close the closet door or doors -- with no visible clutter remaining to detract from the furnishings in your room.
Martha was so happy with the office in a closet constructed previously in her television studio library that she decided to create a similar space for sewing. For the sewing machine, carpenter Jim Comstock designed an extendable work surface with slides strong enough to support up to five hundred pounds of weight. This sounds like a lot, but it assures that the surface won't slip or sag over time.
The table has a drop leaf to provide plenty of space for working with fabric; the leaf is permanently covered with a self-healing mat, which retains no trace of nicks or cuts. The sewing machine sits on the portion of the table that is always flat, so it never has to be moved. Directly underneath the drop-leaf table, Jim installed a separate sliding support shelf. This additional support eliminates the need for a leg to hold up the outermost edge of the table when the leaf is folded out. Martha will be able to place a chair wherever it best suits her task on any of the three unattached sides of the table.
Jim also affixed a thread rack and magnetic bobbin holder to a vertical panel that slides out behind the sewing machine. Directly above are three drawers with shallow sides for an array of sewing supplies such as thimbles, scissors, pin cushions, glue, machine feet, spray bottles, jars of buttons, embroidery hoops, a calculator, and a magnet for picking up spilled pins. T
hese drawers are lined with felt, so tools will be less likely to shift and scratch each other. Above, a stationary shelf holds books, large jars, and other bulky items. At the very bottom of the closet, a sliding shelf provides easy access to a wastebasket and plastic storage boxes for fabric. The doors of the closet are lined with cork, creating handy bulletin boards for lists, ideas, swatches, and photos.