Getting Our Second Floor Organized
A few months back, I revealed our new linen cabinet in our bathroom. We added so much storage to the space and I’m still in love with the look of this built-in piece. However, we finished this project, and then this cabinet sat empty for months. And that’s because I needed to figure out the best plan for what exactly we would store in here.
In fact, Finn and I spoke at length about how things were getting a bit too jumbled and disorganized around our house at one of our family meetings and we each vowed to tackle the problem. He primarily worked on the basement and kitchen, while I decided to work on all of our closets and cabinets on our second floor.
Our Four Spaces Before
We are lucky to have a lot of storage in this house. When we bought the house, we already had a hallway closet and another one in our extra bathroom. We then added the tall cabinet to the laundry room and, most recently, the cabinet to our main bathroom. That’s four large spaces for extra supplies!
However, sometimes having a lot of space can make getting organized tricky and overwhelming. For us, we were putting supplies in multiple places and it was getting confusing and hard to maintain a system.
Over a year ago, I shared how I got our hall closet and the kids’ bathroom closet organized. Well, that was prior to having another member of our family. The system I created eventually broke down and each space was more out of control than ever. Let’s take a peek…
My Best Closet Organization Tips
Usually, I like to tackle one area at a time to keep things manageable. But because I was going to be moving things around and filling up a brand new space (our main bathroom cabinet), I decided to take one day and work on all of the spaces upstairs. It was a tall order, but it was also nice to get it all done in one swoop.
Set Aside The Time
My biggest piece of advice is to actually set aside the time to tackle an organizational project. I took a Friday afternoon and got to work. I find that adding things to my calendar well ahead of time really helps me. I can then plan and prep to actually get it done. For you, that may mean splitting up the task into a few evenings after you put your kids to bed or during nap time. If a space bothers you every time you open up the cabinet door, then find the time to tackle it once and for all.
Take It All Out
I worked my way from each closet/cabinet to the next. For example, I started with the hall closet and took everything out. Then, I purged, set aside items for other spaces, and organized all of the items back into their new home. Then, I moved onto the next space.
You’ll want to take absolutely everything out of the closet or cabinet to begin. This is a must to identify what you have. It also makes it easier to avoid returning to those old closet organization systems that clearly aren’t working. This is also a great time to wipe down the baseboards and vacuum the area. I had my Dyson vacuum handy so I could get all of the dust and dirt out of each area as I went.
Purge & Then Purge Again
With everything out, you can start to get rid of items you no longer need. I had a lot of old medicine to get rid of (check those expiration dates!) and quite a few old baby items that we no longer need. A lot of stuff went in the trash.
I also made a big donation pile of extra linens, crib sheets, and more. We were getting in the habit of stuffing items into the closet, so I didn’t realize how much extra we had. I find that I tend to accumulate a lot of towels and linens and that’s unnecessary for us. I like a backup set of bedding for each bed, two towels per person, and four extra towels for guests. That’s all we really need.
The craziest area was our laundry room, with so many cleaning supplies. I could hardly believe it when I took all of the stuff out! I don’t do much cleaning these days since we have a cleaner come every other week, so I rarely take stock of what we have. If she says she needs something, then I add it to my grocery store list. Well, turns out I had a lot of those items; they were just smashed into the back of our cabinet. I swear, I found five bottles of toilet bowl cleaner! Things had gotten out of hand and I’m so embarrassed that our cleaner had to sift through all of that junk each week to find what she needed.
Wait to Buy Bins
We have a lot of bins around here and I’m all about using what you already have. Finn and I gathered all of our baskets and bins and I kept them in a pile to pull from as I worked away. I especially like these clear bins and I used them in almost every space.
It can be tempting to go out and buy all the cute organizational supplies before you even get started. But I find that it’s much better if I make a plan for all of the stuff first and then I can buy the correct sized items and be intentional with the volume of bins I’m bringing into our house.
The New Hallway Closet
Let’s take a look at how far the hallway closet has come…
Before, towels or sheets were likely to fall down when the door was opened. Now, it’s much more streamlined. Here’s what we store in here…
- Kid Supplies (wipes, diaper pail bags, formula, etc.)
- Changing Pad Covers
I ended up moving all of our towels to our main bathroom (more on that below), which freed up a lot of space in here.
On the top shelf, each rope basket has a set of extra sheets. When I organize my sheets, I like to tuck one pillowcase, the fitted sheet, and the top sheet, all into the second pillowcase. That keeps all the pieces together and prevents sets from getting messed up. I am happy that I can now grab a basket and take it to our room to change the sheets. So easy!
The clear bins are helpful because I can see how many diapers and wipes we have left. No more guessing.
The New Kids’ Bathroom Closet
Okay, onto our second closet.
This space is a lot lighter and that’s because we took all of our adult medicine out of this closet. Now, this only holds items for the kids.
- Kids’ Medicine
- Towels & Wash Cloths
- Bath Toys
- Kids’ Toiletries
Every time one of our kids was sick, I would rush to this bathroom and have to sift through tons of random medicine to find what I needed. Now, it’s all neatly tucked inside here (in these pink bins) and I can find what I need. Such a gamechanger.
I often get asked where we hang the kids’ towels in this room. I’m a big fan of door hooks. I have one on the back of the main door to this bathroom and another on the inside of the closet. Both are great spots for towels. Oh, and one more thing. I have this lock on the top of the closet door to keep the kids out of here. The medicine is up high so they can’t reach, but it gives me reassurance knowing that the door is locked too.
The New Laundry Room Cabinet
Onto the third space…
This one doesn’t look that dramatic at first glance, but I promise you that this is so much better! The laundry supplies are together and the cleaning supplies are grouped. It just makes a lot more sense. Here’s what we have in here…
- Laundry Supplies
- Cleaning Supplies
- Extra Paper Towels
- Clothing Accessories (shoe shine, sewing kit, etc.)
- Ironing Board & Iron
I can now find what I need a lot faster and our cleaner has easy access to all of her stuff. So much better! And I must note, that I still love these broom holders that we added here. They’ve been up for almost three years and still work great.
The New Main Bathroom Cabinet
Finally, our bathroom cabinet that was mainly empty is now all filled up!
Finn and I talked a lot about what made sense to put in here and I’m really happy with how it all turned out.
- Extra Towels
- Extra Beach Towels
- Toilet Paper & Tissues
- Adult Medicine
- Extra Adult Toiletries
In the drawers, I have a lot of my extra toiletries and beauty items. It’s nice to have such large deep drawers for those.
We moved all of the medicine to this cabinet and put them in these large bins. I know you’re not supposed to have some medications in humid environments, but our bathroom fan is amazing and it really doesn’t ever get humid in here. Just do what works best for your family and lifestyle.
Extra towels are up high because we won’t be reaching for them that often. All in all, I love having so many of these items in our bathroom because they’re really easy to find.
My Favorite Organizational Supplies
Here are some of my favorite bins, baskets, and organizational supplies.
I hope these closet organization tips inspire you to tackle a spot in your home that is giving you a headache. Even if it’s just one small drawer, I promise it will be well worth the effort!
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.