The theme. The theeeeeeme!

We have a theme today, and as you know, when I have one of those I like to delve right in.

As you know, from your Big Book of June Events, I have a small house, built in 1932. A house that was built by the Cones, who were not pointy people but rather a rich family who had mills here in my Southern town. They built a whole neighborhood of matching houses for their workers to work in while they bathed in wealth a few miles away.

My neighborhood encompasses three blocks and 14 tons of drama. Most of the houses were built in 1922, but my ultra-modern home was built 10 years later, although they used the same plan so mine looks just the same. They didn’t add any 30s doo-dads. Everyone was too depressed in the ’30s to doo-dad.

I realize this photo ^^^ is looking outside but it was all I had on my phone, from my Ring camera, and you know how I get. If I get distracted we will NOT GET TO THE THEME, and you know I hate to miss a theme when I have one.

Okay, fine. FINE, then. I went online and got you a photo of the outside of my house, feat. Edsel.

I’ve been here pertnear 2 years. When I got here, it turns out 999 square feet isn’t much, and I had to get rid of my three floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, my hutch I drove you all crazy about updating in aught 11, and many many books.

I got 999 square feet but a hutch ain’t fittin’.

Wow, June.

Okay, so as the years have ticked by, the big two years, I have sort of, you know, gotten disorganized. I do, however, have much cuter lights lining my walkway than is shown up there. Remind me to take a photo for you. They have this lacy look that shines all on the walk. Oooo, it’s adorable!

Okay, fine. I plundered my Instagram. Don’t ask me what brand they are. I went to Amazon and typed “walkway lights.”

Oh my god, my theme.

My theme today is Help June Organize. If you are the organize type. And if you do comment, and I can’t believe I am still saying this but it happened again this week, you do not need to leave a name or email to comment. You don’t have to sign in in any way. You can just type to your heart’s content.

Okay, here are the things I need help with. I can’t believe we’re finally on the theme!

Despite donating 32949430420 books, I still have who knows how many. Also, my birthday was 2 weeks ago so maybe I could get rid of those cards. But the point is, despite these three bookshelves, I have leftovers and put them…

… in the kitchen cupboard. Now that I am cooking, as you can see, actual, you know, kitchen stuff needs to go in there.

I keep lots of pots and pans in the bottom drawer of my oven, but it’s no longer enough room. So I’m not apologizing for needing my kitchen for, you know, kitchen supplies.

So I need an idea for where to put the books in the kitchen. Keep in mind there is LITERALLY NO MORE ROOM for any bookshelf action. Maybe I just need to get rid of more books. Ugh.

Also, storage. It is likely, if you are an organized type, that my closets are going to kill you. What I need is advice on where to move stuff around so it’s not so all over the place.

The closets in a 1932 millhouse suck asp. Apparently no one had clothes and workout equipment and sheets. I keep MOST of my sheets in a drawer in my dresser, which you advised me to do ages ago, but there is overflow.

Here is the one closet in my bedroom. Oh, 1932 charm! My asp. I need to stop saying that.

In here is the draft thing I put under the door in winter, an umbrella, some beach towels, a pillow and leftover sheets that won’t fit in the drawer with the rest of the sheets. Hi. I’m Marie Kondo [bows].

Above my useful “closet” is a cubby I can’t open unless I try it with a knife. Relaxing.

In the room I’m in now, the computer/work/kitten room, the one with the fireplace. You’ve seen it. In here are two large closets and here’s what I have in them. Prepare to die.

In one closet are all my winter coats, winter clothes (I change them out with summer clothes in winter) as there is no coat closet in the 1932 living room, as apparently there was no winter in 1932. Also included are my suitcase, a fan, a workout ball and some art I haven’t hung. Above this is a shelf that has mementos like Grammy’s old papers and slides and stuff.

Here’s the other big closet. In it are bedspreads that Iris sleeps on, shoes, weights, resistance bands and The Resistance, dresses, summer clothes and shoes. In the shelf above are old papers and purses. The tote has SOME gloves and scarves, but other gloves and scarves are in the dang living room in drawers.

In the living room are two dressers.

Mostly they have DVDs, blankets and throws and the rest of the gloves and scarves. Also there is a coffee table that opens to … more throws!

And finally, I have a hope chest here in this computer/kitten room that I CANNOT OPEN for some reason but it too has (wait for it) blankets.

So that is my situation and it bugs.

Your thoughts?

Themefully, Theme from a themefully,
June

90 Comments

  1. I only skimmed the comments and agree with the suggestion that one or both of the short bookcases might be replaced with a taller ones. The only under-bed storage I’d consider are the rolling shoe storage bins. I’d move my shoes there and use those cubbies for folded clothes, linens, or even books. The closet in your bedroom has lots of possibilities. If you have room for everything you need in your bedroom, I would keep coats and seasonal stuff there. If I were looking for more functional storage, I would add shelves.

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  2. So I live in a house built in 1910 and yes it has closets that maybe hold one winter coat – these closets are small. So in the theme of not adding more furniture to your already tiny house.
    Remove cubby door – doors that do not open without a tool are tempting fate to become wood for a fire. Replace cubby hole with books – you could have handyman put in shelf or shelves but books stack nicely – just keep front facing looking nice so when you wish to peruse titles they are all there – when looking for that one particular book that is shoved in the back you will haul out your step stool or ladder and get in the back
    Closet under cubby becomes linen closet – so again maybe shelves or maybe it becomes the stack of blankets, sheets, towels etc they can be rolled or folded or shoved in here – once again if no shelves you may have to deal with the tumble of towels as the blanket you want is on the bottom – but all linen all in one place
    Drawers now emptied of linen become the containers of out of season clothes – so the sweaters, the parkas, the scarves the mittens, the hats for now until it changes to the bikinis, the tank tops, the shorts etc
    The small brown book case now emptied of books (because they are on display in the cubby hole) becomes the shoes and purse display for the current favourites.

    And I could go on and on because old houses have no storage – but they are cute.

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  3. You should get vacuum seal bags. I got a box on Amazon for $24 and it came with a little pump. I got the XL and you can put so much in them, put all the clothes that are not in season, and then you pump pump pump and all the air comes out and it flattens. You can put jackets in one and blankets in another and literally flatten them down to a pancake and stick under your bed or someplace. It was a game changer. And its so satisfying to get the bag flatter and flatter.

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  4. The only place I see with space potential is the low two-level bookshelf next to the cute white cabinet. It looked to me like there was space there for a much bigger bookshelf.
    Other than that, I got nothin’. But lots of inspiration from all your organized readers. Good luck.

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  5. The little closet in your bedroom — what about removing the door and getting shelves built in?

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  6. My first thought…just how many blankets/sheets do you NEED? For us it’s one extra for when the other is in the wash. Clothes/shoes – this has been a tough one for me but once I really assessed what I was actually wearing – then it became much clearer what needed to go. Books? Even worse…as I currently have TWO boxes of books that have been waiting to be unpacked since we moved in about FOUR years ago! are currently sitting on the edge of a rug that tends to curl. We have been walking around said boxes since about Easter. So yeah, let me know how you figure out THAT particular dilemma.

    Basically, for me, I’ve been purging, purging, purging (other than the books, obviously) because I’m tired of dealing with it/looking at it/cleaning it.

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  7. I skimmed the comments. I have SO much purging to do in my own house it was making me feel bad for reading! One thing I want–a hidden door! OMG–I am picturing my closet doors as BOOKSHELVES. I may not be able to ignore this. Thank you, Crystal!

    Lovely post, lovely June!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Here’s my two cents….buy a bunch of plastic hangers and get rid of those wire nightmares (in my house I think of them as Joan Crawfords). When you open your closet and your clothes are hanging all neatly and even everything is better. Trust me on this. Plastic hangers.

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    1. Even better, get a couple of sets of those slim velvet flocked hangers. Stuff won’t fall off of them, and they look sooooo good!

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  9. I love organizing. I agree with all your readers who suggested higher vertical shelving and shelves in the odd closet. If you would like to get all the books together, that closet is key. You seem to me to be quite handy, and building closet shelves is not difficult. As for your irritation with having bunches of like objects in different places, which groups truly irritate you? For example, I hate having to store clothes. I’d rather have less and keep everything (other than outdoor wear) in one closet. Other people are different. I would say that perhaps you could go through your gloves/hats/etc situation–the way you described seems like there might be room for some culling.

    In the end, you live in a container. And then you contain things in other containers (closets, cupboards, drawers, shelves, boxes, etc). That’s a finite amount of space.

    Ps–I live in 1200 square feet with my partner and three kids, so I completely understand what you’re dealing with 🙂

    Good luck!!! And some before and after pictures would be almost as good as being there.

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  10. I’m going to come back and read all the helpful comments. I’ve used a professional organizer before, and yes it was awesome. I have this Marie Kondo checklist (found online), that is very detailed, so it’s not just ‘kitchen’ but smaller and smaller sections, so much easier to manage. With my ADHD, I like to think of the different areas of my home as departments. That can help me focus on what does/does not belong in an area, as well as what should leave.

    Just looking through your pictures. Keep the charming bookcases and books if you want. They give you pleasure. Your two big closets are seriously underutilized, and lots of wasted space. Look at the Elfa systems at the Container Store for great ideas for planning. You’ll see so much before and after that’s truly functional, and that’s the best part. Then find a good closet system you can afford, have Alf install it.

    It seems like you have too much stuff that’s scattered in multiple places, like the blankets. Round them up, and keep them in one spot. Give some thought about how you could use your dressers differently. Use under your bed. I’ve seen rolling underbed storage that’s easy to slide out. I certainly would check out your attic. That could be a nice spot for very seasonal items (Christmas tree, luggage). Someone mentioned just getting it functionally finished off, with the walls and floors. Great idea. Any doors or lids and such that don’t open, get them to work properly so you can access the space.

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  11. Your home is lovely and charming, but in 1932, people were skinny from malnutrition (see Depression), had only one outfit (again, see Depression), died young (no vaccines), and one small closet would suffice until they died of old age at 41. You cannot possibly be expected to cram a 2020 life into a 1932 home. Acceptance is half the battle. Anything that can’t be stored out of sight becomes part of the decor. Embrace it and move on to the important things in life like watching Bette and Joan rumble. Suggest keeping snacks and beverages handy should they provide another evening of entertainment.

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  12. As my middle Eastern brethren would say, all sing-songy: “I ahmm stahndeeen heere beesiiiiidt myyyyyysellllph,” that I could not participate until now! Everyone has great ideas!! Beth from the woods must have a Big Book of June Commenter Events since she remembered I am on vacation next week. I can barely remember I’m on vacation next week, except that is why I am stressed and frantic. I picture some huge Work Issue coming to light while I’m out of the office and unable to defend my honor. Plus Also Too, I will probably have to quarantine for two weeks when we get back because too many anal adjacent idiots refuse to wear masks and social distance.

    I use a lot of containers, bins and baskets. I am a big fan (read: huge pain in the ass) of everything having a specific place. A place for everything and everything in its place. Ugh, how nauseating. Mary Poppins called. Wants me to take a spoonful of shut-the-fuck-up.

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    1. You could possibly get more room out of your present bookshelves if you stack some horizontally and some vertically.

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  13. We’re retired military. Many, many, moves. Corner shelves. Either hanging or full length. I once used a doorway as 2 bookcases. Had a local carpenter build us 2 deep perfectly sized bookcases. Put them back to back in a doorway. The room had two entrances. Also, a storage tip that I learned much too late in life. I use a pillow case to store sheet sets. One pillow case and put in top sheet, fitted sheet and any additional pillowcases. You have one neat packet and no rooting around for lost things. If you put things under beds it’s helpful if they are rolling.

    P.S. Don’t be messing with my books. It’s a problem. A book carefully chosen is a fit friend for life.

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  14. I like the idea of the empty closet holding shelves, but what about lowering the rod (that’s what she said, sorry couldn’t resist) so you can hang your dresses – have it so they are just a couple of inches from the floor. Then have shelves built in above to store items that you don’t need to reach on a regular basis.

    Also it’s just me, but I love Container Store plastic hangers. You can get a box of 72 hangers in a pretty color for just over $20, which will make everything look more organized.

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  15. I don’t know how this will go over, but you could store your suitcases in the trunk of your car.

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  16. I wish I had something to add but I am making notes of all the good ideas. I struggle with accumulating things and am trying to force myself to purge. I wish you well in the effort!

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  17. Bless you for this opportunity to procrastinate! The 72-page booklet on weight loss surgery can wait. This organizing shit is my JAM. (Well, shopping for organizing thingies is, anyway.) I’m going all in on this, so buckle up.

    I have similar space challenges because I’m living in a guest house with lots of windows. Windows are fantastic but they limit your furniture choices. And I have one big closet that’s on a separate floor from my bedroom.

    Get these and put them in all your closets and near the litter boxes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BJ1DJZG/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_t.AiFbK5Q8B5E

    No coat closet? Try this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H26MXW5/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_8lBiFbQ4Y45V9
    Things I keep on mine: a bowl with masks in it (let me know if you want some fabric masks), dog leashes, poop bags, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, a basket of sunglasses, several hats.

    First picture:
    Get this and put it where the current book-holding apparatus is: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MP2Q0OQ/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_AVAiFb5XME62Z
    This is another great option for that space: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/lack-wall-shelf-unit-white-60282186/. It’s very simple and I think would complement the hutch beside it. Modern, but not intrusively so.

    For the bedroom closet:
    Put these in the top space (no tools needed — they’re tension rods).
    Closet shelves: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DPL976M/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_pOAiFb8Y67MD4
    And get these for underneath:
    Stacking wire cubes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0735CKFJK/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_0SAiFbR47RDNQ
    These are LIFESAVERS. Buy several sizes and use liberally:
    Vacuum storage bags: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075ZT41PR/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_4ZAiFbKB3TEMY
    I pack with mine when I come to the East Coast for long visits. Put your extra linens/bedspreads and other things you don’t use as often in these, then shove them in the knife cubby. In fact, put anything you don’t use much but are loathe to get rid of in the knife cubby. In six months, reassess and get rid of what you’re not using.

    For the big closet without cubbies:
    Hanging organizers for clothes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YXN1D1D/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_D5AiFbJR87GXZ
    For shoes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081KB7Q72/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_s6AiFb1SN06Q6
    Or: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K7DH22E/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_1bBiFbQ1BT6QG
    And, again, vacuum bags! Puffer coats take up 1% of the space they do just hanging if they’re in those bags.
    Put the bags of winter stuff that will fit in the suitcase.
    For the closet shelf:
    These are wonderful. Find them cheaper at Lowe’s and do curbside pickup. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C858S1B/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_P8AiFbDTZSZ9J

    Big closet with cubbies:
    Cut 8″ wide strips of this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KSXGLGG/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_mhBiFb6XRZ5YP, Attach Velcro to the ends to make rolls for pairs of shoes. You can reinforce the Velcro strips with staples.

    Then shoes will stay together and stack more easily.
    Get these for pants and skirts: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MHM15ZZ/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_GkBiFbTZ5FRBG
    And again with the vacuum bags. Those comforters can wind up in the knife cubby.

    Dressers:
    Dare I say it again? Vacuum storage bags. They come in every size imaginable. They’re clear, you can write on them, and this will get all your gloves and scarves into a small space in a bottom drawer.

    If the formatting gets fucked up on this, I’m going to be so mad. I spent way too much time on it!

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  18. Thinking that I have an organizational tip worth mentioning is hilarious. My house is stuffed to the gills and the past months has made the organization nonexistent. But, Flylady has said extra sheets should be stored *between* the mattress and box springs. Maybe keep only 1 or 2 extra sets. That will free up some space elsewhere. The stuck door on that cubby? Maybe just remove said door. Install a shelf or two. Could the door be repurposed as a shelf there? That way it would be available if you ever want a door on the cubby again. Voila, open book shelves! You all have given some great tips here!

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  19. I just love, love your home! It makes me miss my little adobe, 1929 house that I had in Phoenix. But you have such charm here! I agree with your mom – keep books. Well not every single one but I love books too and so many times I have given up several when I moved and was sad. But if you keep the books – don’t store them away in boxes. No point in having them if you cannot look at them. So that little closet – what a magnificent bookcase that will be with shelves. The white shelf – I had one so similar except it was larger and had two doors…I was forced to leave it behind years ago and have always tried to find another – do not give that up. I think you have some wonderful suggestions here. Can’t wait to see how you put it together! And, hey – you can never have enough throws!

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  20. Can you use sheets to cover the furniture? They take up less space than blankets and wash faster too.

    I need to purge as well, but it’s so much easier to “help” others.

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  21. I would seriously cull through the books. How many do you think you’re ever going to read again? How many have you reread? They take up SO MUCH ROOM. If you really ever want a book that you have given away, you can probably get it from the library or download it. Except for the books you haven’t read yet, are reference books or are sentimental for some reason, there really is no reason to store something you’re likely never to look at again.

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  22. Great suggestions! Make use of the vacant vertical space you seem to have. I agree, keep that cute white shelf with the glass doors. Replace the short brown shelf with a tall as possible bookshelf (going vertical). The closet with the draft dodger needs shelves, so much unused space in that closet. Decide how many sets of sheets, towels, blankets, bedspreads/comforters, kitchen towels you really need (keep the comforter in the bottom of the closet for Iris) and purge the rest. Use the space under the bed, blankets can be stored under there in the bags that can be reduced down with the vacuum, as can out of season clothes. Put your dresses and longer coats in one closet, then add double hanging to the other closet. How many purses do you really need? How many shoes do you really need, are they all comfortable? I donated so many shoes that hurt my feet. Same way with clothes, if they aren’t comfortable or don’t make you feel good when you are wearing them, time to go. (Can you tell I’m all for comfort?) Store the suitcases in the attic, how often do you need them? Try to keep like things together. Purge gadgets from the kitchen, I have discovered I only use my good, basic tools (knives, pots and pans, etc.) If possible, get the hope chest unlocked (and keep it unlocked, that’s not a smart remark) and purge the contents. Obviously, you haven’t used what is inside that thing for a long time and probably never will, so donate it to someone or organization that can use the stuff. Books. Do you re-read them? I know. I love them, I have lots, I’m looking at 12 full, shelves right now, how often do I use these books? Not often, I need to donate these, so I’m talking to me as well. How many cookbooks do you need? How many do you use? I just cleaned out 30+ videos, we don’t even have a way to view them, so they are boxed up ready to be donated. This can be an overwhelming task. I have been watching a few YouTubers that have gone minimalist, which I am not, but they have given me lots of great ideas. Unfortunately, organizing and purging is not a once and done project, it’s an ongoing process. I’ve been working on my house since 2015.

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  23. man, I show up late and everyone has already said all of my ideas… we are a like-minded (and nosy AF) bunch!

    I figure you’ve already done this, but the first step – not just the books — may truly be just pulling everything out into piles and figuring out what you have to save/store before you figure out how much space you’ll need. (For example, it seems like you have a lot of blankets and throws — as someone who’s cold a lot, I get it, but can you winnow that down?)

    I think someone else mentioned it already, but do see if FB Marketplace (or even better, a BuyNothing FB group for your area) exists. Yes, there’s a risk, but everyone (mostly) wants to mitigate it, at least in my area…. pickups are contact-less (left on porches, with disinfecting wipes for the pickerupper). You can donate your unwanted items there, but also may be able to get an armoire for coats, etc. Small, old houses suck ass at closet space, so you’ve got to be innovative!

    Good luck!

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    1. I love all of these ideas except for adding furniture. I got RID of an armoire already. But there are a plethora of ideas. A plethora! I guess I have so many blankets because I use them to cover the chairs (pet fur). I change them out each week. But yeah, under the damn bed.

      And who thought I had an extra room I’ve just not managed to show here? Pulleeeze. It’s the living room, the kitten room, my bedroom, the kitchen. There’s a little area at the back of the house where the laundry is and also the litter box.

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  24. Having moved 11 billionity times myself, I am ruthless with streamlining my possessions. I’m not really sentimental either. We don’t keep a lot of extra linens. As others have said, one set of sheets to use and one to wash for each bed, two bath towel/washcloth/hand towel sets per person (pick the max number of overnight guests you would ever have stay with you) and one extra blanket per bed, plus a few throws in the living room. It cuts way down on the extras you have to store, and you can do laundry if you need to and have access to fresh stuff in a couple of hours if it came down to it. I do laundry every 2-3 days for my family, so I don’t keep more than 4-5 dishcloths and dish towels, either. For books, I only keep them if I KNOW FOR SURE I will read them again, or if they are sentimental or antique. That has helped us cut way back on them. And be ruthless with your clothes and seasonal items. You can only wear one outfit or coat or pair of gloves at a time. Think about how frequently you do laundry and how many of those things you actually wear, and purge the rest. And get rid of specialty one-use kitchen gadgets, if you have them. No one needs all that crap. We live in a big house, but we’re hoping to move to a much smaller place within a year, like half the size so we can be mortgage free, and I’m so ready to get rid of aaaalllll the things.

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  25. If you have two beds, then four sets of sheets. One on the bed, one folded and stored. You can have three sets for each bed if you like flannel sheets when it’s cold out. One extra blanket for each bed.. Keep the nicest and donate the rest. Same for towels and throws. Your skinny closet with shelves added would make a good linen closet.If you get the cubby sanded so the door opens that might be a good spot to stash your off season clothes. I bought cheap shoe boxes and labelled them, it keeps the dust off them and they are easy to find. Not that I’m wearing shoes much these days. I put my extra/less used linens in large zip bags, like the ones my comforters came in, which makes it easier to keep my shelves which are very deep, organized. A taller, maybe slightly wider bookcase to replace the brown one gets my vote. My organization style is like with like, keep things close to where they are used, keep up is easier than catch up and don’t put it down, put it away. Yes, I taught kindergarten, we spent lots of time on this stuff.

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  26. Can you put shelves along the ceiling at door height? That would store a lot of books. How many sheet sets do you have? It sounds like more than 2. The rest are redundant.

    I like the idea of seeing if you can get flooring and drywall in the attic. Smoking lounge snakes like hiding places and dark nooks. Eliminate those and they will leave. The attic would give you a lot of storage for blanket overflow and Christmas decorations.

    Is there any possibility of something on your porch that is protected enough from weather that could be used for storage?

    Definitely looks like more can be done to your bedroom closet. Have you ever opened the cubby above? That probably has loads of possibility as well. Once you get cubby open, it shouldn’t be hard to sand down the high parts to stop the sticking. I would trick out the bedroom closet with shelves after determining just what needs to be stored there. You could have deep shelves for clothing or blanket storage with a shallow shelf in between the deep ones to tuck some books.

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  27. I don’t like to get rid of books, so I would advise you to start elsewhere. I would definitely have shelves put in the narrow little closet. That would hold many things. Also, do you need as many blankets and sheets as you describe? If not, you could increase room for other things. The idea of under the bed storage seems like a good one too. Your house is so cute. Oh, a closet organizer thing in the closet with all your coats would result in more storage also. Good luck, honey.

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    1. If you can’t let go of some of the sheets and blankets, get those plastic bags that you can attach to your vacuum and such the air out. The bag ends up flat and much easier to store. I’ve bought these bags at Target and Amazon.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I like Mother’s suggestion. Also, are you willing to install storage racks in the Snake garage?

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  28. Add some shelves to your cubbie. That would hold a lot of books. While your handyman is adding shelves, have him shave off the edges of the door that is making it stick. Add a fancy door pull, Amazon has some great ones as well as Hobby Lobby.
    If you have just a smidge of room by either front or back door, a cool vintage coat rack would hold that umbrella, your current purse and whatever jacket/coat is current.
    Also, purge those sheets and spreads you know you’ll never use anyway.

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  29. I guess I’m just going to echo everyone else. The tall closet with the cubby above: shelves in that closet and fix the cubby so you can use it. Store things under the bed in containers. Go through your belongings twice a year and honestly assess what you need. The reality is that there’s only so much you can do with the house as it stands. The flexible part is how much stuff we own.

    Personal experience tidbits:
    I had FIVE pie plates and I don’t usually make pies. I got rid of four of them. Then I got rid of a whole bunch of kitchen stuff I didn’t use or was redundant.
    I have been a reader since before kindergarten and have such love for my books, but the idea that they need to be displayed finally struck me as unnecessary. It’s OK to package up your beloved books and store them (under the bed, for instance). From there I realized that I could let go of even more of them. It was a process that took several years. It’s emotional, not practical, to keep all those books. I get that.
    I also had tons of blankets. The ones that were made for me or sentimental, I kept, but we don’t need so much. Ditto with sheets. Three sets: one on the bed, one in the wash, one in case a pet barfs or someone gets a fever.

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    1. Back again. If your kitchen cabinets go all the way up to the ceiling, use the top shelf in each cabinet for storage. It’s your house: it doesn’t have to be kitchen stuff.

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  30. Oh my god I’m here for the advice. If you saw my house you would die twice. Basement is a wreck. “My room” (which is one spare bedroom) is a wreck, see also 345638232 books. And blankets. And lord knows what else. Why do I have so many purses? I don’t go anywhere anymore.

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  31. Your house is lovely. Do you have any empty wall space where you could get someone to put up shelves to contain all (or most of) your books. We have put shelves up on the landing, in what would have been dead space, and we have most of our books there.

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  32. Freecycle for book shelves , then paint.
    Freestanding wardrobe.
    Lumbee help/ truck, unless Audra has one.

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      1. Do you really have a spare bedroom?
        The short bookshelf could be set up on a large furniture piece such as dresser , if it matches well enough.
        Use the space there for something else.
        Sheets and blankets could be stored under your mattress(princess and the pea).
        I know I have dog blankets,sheets,beds,towels…I keep separate.
        I keep ’em separated. la la la
        They probably make a storage box on rollers for under bed storage, books or shoes.

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      1. Send someone up there to check it out for you. You might be able to simply get drywall sheets hung on the walls and plywood on the floors to make it less friendly for the smoking snakes.

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      2. Well, Mr. Hiss has to go, you need the space. I’m going to ask my retired home inspector if he ever encountered a snake in an attic, I know he found them in crawl spaces. I’ll report back.
        Tee

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          1. A home inspector told me once that if you throw mothballs into your crawlspace, the snakes hate them and will leave. Not sure if that would work for sheds too, and actually not sure if it’s true or if he was just trying to make me feel better when I nearly fainted from fear.

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  33. Jan lived in a 650 sq. ft. house with my husband, a toddler and a baby that only had one closet. says:

    I actually love to purge and organize- it calms me when I’m stressed over something I can’t control.
    My first question is whether you have a basement or an attic. If I recall you have an attic but no basement.
    I think you need to do another good purge. How many sets of sheets do you have? How many do you actually use? Same with bedspreads and throws. Hats and gloves and scarves.
    A closet organizing system, even a small one, would help get the closet space you do have to work better for your needs, not those of the mill workers of the 30s.
    As for the books… I currently have several bins of books in my basement because I can’t part with them yet. I usually look through them every few years and find I can part with some that I couldn’t during the last purge. I agree with Natalie F. up there. A taller bookshelf might be in order.
    I have many more suggestions and ideas but I don’t want to write a novel before my coffee.

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  34. What I wouldn’t GIVE to come there and organize, I love to organize! First, the magic word: purge. Start with just books for now, once you have them narrowed down you’ll be able to see how much space you need. It seems because of the pandemic, lots of people in my hood leave books in a box by the street for people to take, just think of the joy they’ll have reading a new book. Then, once books are done, and give yourself a month to do the books, keep the task light and fun, purge clothes and blankets/sheets. The blanket/sheets can be donated to your fave animal shelter(s), they’ll appreciate them. Have one closet be for coats, hang them on the top and add cubbies or shelves underneath for scarves/gloves. Then the other closet for clothes, the one you have is great, love the shoe cubbies. On the top shelf get some clear bins so you can see what is in there, it just makes life easier when you can see the organization. Keep the dressers for now, they’re lovely. The key is to not be overwhelmed, just focus on one thing at a time. Love the path lights, I must find them. And I repeat the magic word to close: purge. Have fun!

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    1. PLS – yes! were it not for COVID, and you know, being stalker creepy, I’d be ALL OVER just barging in there and helping to clear out!

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  35. I keep my sheets and extra blankets in plastic under the bed boxes. That freed up a lot of room for me. Shoes you don’t wear often could go in under the bed boxes too. I occasionally watch Hoarders if I want to be inspired to get rid of crap. That and clearing out houses after my mother and mother in law passed really made me want to cull.

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  36. June, you have a wonderful home! My overall impression is that you have a lot of little storage pieces, but you could benefit from swapping some out for one big storage piece that will allow you to keep like things together. I suggest looking for one large shelving piece that has closed storage at the bottom and open shelving on the top to replace your two small wooden bookcases and the little white one. Even if you don’t get rid of one single book, in my mind, one big thing feels more calming and tidy than three little things. The Nester would tell you likewise. Ha!

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    1. I guess I should mention that I LOVE LOVE LOVE that white bookshelf and do not want to get rid of it. But the closet bookshelf idea! See? I knew people would come up with good ideas. I think my mother said that, too, when she was here and I was in a surgery fog.

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      1. That white bookshelf is charming and maybe you can use it to honor some of your favorite books OR – use it as a display case for cool things and use it as a side table at the same time. for instance, I have a salt and pepper shaker collection and have a special cabinet for them and it becomes a conversation piece where I can see them more clearly and appreciate them more fully when not hidden away on a shelf with other things.
        I’m not suggesting you start collecting more stuff, lol, but I’m sure you have some things you could use in this way… just a thought.

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      2. I love your white bookshelf, too, but I don’t think it’s living its best life. I bet some of your super cute dishes and other tchotchkes would be perfect for that! The reason I mentioned it in the first place was because I was aiming to get all books together. FIIIIIINE. NEVERRRRRRMIIIIND!
        heeee! 🙂

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  37. I second Missus B and Audra. Actually, move Paula H&B in, introduce her to Audra, and come back in a month to see what the two of them have cooked up.

    Aside from zero useful suggestions, I want to say that your oak dresser/dry washstand in the living room is beautiful.

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  38. Theme later …Bah…can you take off your taxes a new office chair for your house,since you are working from home?

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  39. Hmm, this is tough. I am always cold so I appreciate a good blanket but maybe you could eliminate a few drawers of throws and move the few things from the bedroom closet to the dresser drawers in the living room. If you emptied out the bedroom closet I would have shelves put up in there to store books. Another idea would be a few wall mounted book shelves here and there, maybe up high on the wall and sort of out of the way. But not sure you have the wall space for that. I do love a good end table that doubles as storage but maybe that is the point of the dressers in the living room. Oh, what if you got rid of a dresser and found a book shelf that also held your TV?

    So dumb that old houses did not have more storage space.

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    1. Back when those houses were built, people didn’t have/need as much stuff so there wasn’t a need for a lot of storage. My house was built in the early 50s and the closet space is seriously lacking, which is why I do purges at least twice a year.

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  40. Hmm…

    1. Books.
    a. Easiest solution, replace the shorter brown bookshelf with something taller (it looks like there’s space on the wall for a taller piece?).
    b. Get some bookends, or repurpose decor pieces that are heavy enough, and stand books up on top of the white cabinet and the brown shelf next to the chair.
    c. Pull the TV forward on the white dresser and stand some clusters of smaller books up behind it.

    2. Closets.
    a. Doesn’t give you more space, but will make it look more organized…group all of your hangers of one type together. So hang all your summer shirts on the pink hangers or whatever.
    b. Get Alf to fix the cubby that has to be opened with a knife. Add shelves to it and the closet below, and store linen stuff, or the mementos, etc. Or shoes. Or books.

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  41. Lovely post, Coot.
    I too live in a small house built in 1953. We have 2 really small closets. There are 2 of us. I had to suck it up and cull. I now own maybe 4 outfits total for going out into public. The shoes. OMG the shoes I got rid of would shod a herd of millipedes. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. My point. It might be time to par down again. Also learning the fine art of folding is essential. Where only one set if sheets set now holds 4. Gloves,socks, bras etc can be oragomied into smaller packages contained in a single drawer.

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  42. Ahhhh, closets…… how about making the one you store the draft thing in, into an open bookshelf to house all of your books. Make it like a 5 or 6 deep shelved built-in bookcase.

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      1. Great ideas, everyone! Now that I have quarantined at home for almost 5 months, I am ready to purge everything. I’m just tired of looking at all of it. So I can certainly use a lot of these suggestions.
        June, do you have a Kindle? I am a purist book-lover AND a Kindle convert. I go through my books every year or so and unless it’s an author I love it it has lots of pictures, most of my new book purchases are on my Kindle. I get a thrill out of carrying a teeny little thing in my purse that holds 10,000 books. I could be reading anything at any time!
        I guess that’s my big space saver idea. E- readers.

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    1. Maybe start small and donate a few books, a few blankets, and do you need all those winter clothes? Reading is my most favorite thing, but I have it down to about 100 books and since I go to the library 2x a week I really don’t buy any more. My condo is 900 feet as well, no attic. Oh! Remember, I’m the snake lover and expert and I would be 90 percent sure no snakes like attics.

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