How I organize it: Utility Closet (a before & after!)

We have a utility closet in our kitchen. It has always bugged me, but we need the space because we don’t have a garage, and our basement isn’t easily accessible (and it’s a very “basementy” basement, old and cementy and yuck).

Anyhow, back to the closet. When I painted our kitchen in late 2011, my husband asked me if I was also going to paint the closet (which desperately needed a paint job). Ugh. I said heck no, that it could wait until spring. Closets and shelves are a pain in the butt to paint.

Needless to say, I didn’t get to it last spring, either. I reorganized the closet a bit. Decluttered a little. Other than that, I did my best to ignore the closet. Until last weekend, when I decided It Was Time.

I took EVERYTHING out of it. I purged. I reorganized it all. I labeled. I repainted. And then I put everything away as neatly as possible.

This project was not fun to do, especially because I decided to do it while my husband wasn’t around to help. Other than about 30 minutes when my mom was over and I could focus on painting, I had to do it in little spurts throughout the entire weekend. My kitchen was unusable. It sucked. But I’m glad I did it.

Here’s the before (which isn’t as terrible as it was about a year ago, but still icky):


And the after! Much better.


Total cost: about $40

I already had the teal paint from when we painted the nursery in 2010. We bought way too much paint. We purchased painting supplies (you can buy a set with a tray, roller, and brush for under $10 at Lowes). And then I bought the brown & black boxes at Michaels… which I will write about in another post soon. They are for storing photos, but I use them around the house and they are awesome. They retail for $3.99 each at our store, but they frequently go on sale. They were 6/$10 at our store last week, plus I had a coupon.

My biggest piece of advice? DECLUTTER. Seriously. Get rid of stuff and your closet (and house) will be easier to organize and clean and maintain.

Here’s a bit of a breakdown as to how its actually organized:


The very top shelf (not really shown; it was difficult to photograph as the closet door opens up and almost touches the refrigerator) just has a bag of potting soil, cans of paint, and the photo boxes for painting and gardening.

The next shelf has yellow canvas bins, which we already owned. One contains spray paint, one contains fabric & ribbon, and one contains educational items for our children.

The next shelf is full of the photo storage boxes, and contains household items. Things from light bulbs to batteries to power cords. Labeled carefully, of course.

The next shelf contains boxes with our Scentsy bars and for candles. The striped tote contains cleaning supplies (although I plan on ordering an organizing utility tote from Thirty-One very soon to better store those items). The little drawers contains “junk drawer” type items, such as Command strips, hooks, emergency candles & lighter, Tide/Clorox pens, etc.

The bottom shelf is for crafting. My sewing machine is there, and the boxes contain various craft items. My son’s markers and crayons and paints are stored elsewhere, but messier child crafts as well as my own craft items (glue gun, glitter, etc.) are in these boxes. There used to be one of those over-the-door shoe organizers on the door (the black and white monstrosity in the before picture, to the right) that contained craft items. That’s no longer there, as everything was able to be organized in the boxes and bins.

Under that bottom shelf I have two storage drawer thingys. The one on the left is for our medicine and first aid items (I will be posting separately about that one soon). The smaller one on the right contains DVDs, video games, and games.

Hanging up on the wall we have a basic tool kit (red thing on the left hand side), and hanging on the right hand side is a metal basket for paper towel and tissues, and I have a quick push mop hanging up as well. The vacuum and the steam mop are on the floor.

So there she is. I am very glad that I took the time to do this, even if I should have waited one week so I’d actually have some help doing it. It is SO EASY to find things now that they are carefully labeled in those boxes. My mom was over a few days ago and needed batteries for something my son wanted to use, and she was able to just go get them without me having to explain where they were. I’m hoping this means that my husband won’t have to ask me as frequently where basic household items are as well (although I doubt he’d want me to also store his wallet, phone, and the remote controls in there as well).


One thought on “How I organize it: Utility Closet (a before & after!)

  1. Pingback: How I organize it: Pantry (a before and after!) | o is for owl

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