week 1, are you now ready to tackle getting your house organized and ready for the holidays? OK, then it's time to start big with the one area we're all most likely to have disorganized: the closets.
It's true. When you have visitors five minutes away from your house and clutter in the living room, where do you stash it on short notice? The closet. When you need to get the laundry off the guest bed, where does it go? The floor of the closet, of course.
It's the perfect hiding spot for anything out of place, although it then becomes a black hole of out-of-place items, when actually your closets can be one of your best tools for staying organized!
So this week's challenge: clean out those closets and get them organized! And we've got tips from me, Lisa, Kelly and Heather to help you along the way.
Living room/Hall closet
The hall closet often has a mix of outerwear, family games, cleaning supplies and other random stuff crammed in it. So the first step is to pull it all out of the closet. Get yourself some boxes or laundry baskets to help you sort it all, along with a trash bag.
First, make sure all trash immediately goes into the trash bag: lost paperwork from kids' backpacks, a torn mitten, broken toys, or anything else that can no longer serve a purpose. Take anything that belongs elsewhere back to its proper place.
Next, take all out of season items (if you live in a climate where it gets cold) and toss them in one box or storage container. Sandals, sunhats, light jackets and anything that screams summer need to give up their spots to make room for winter coats, scarves and snow boots. If anything in the closet is too large or too small for anyone in your family, place it in a different box to either save for a garage sale or give to a charity like Goodwill.
Finally, put it all back in place. I like to use an over the door shoe holder to keep track of mittens, scarves and other accessories for my family, but small plastic containers can do the job, too.
Now is the time to tackle all of that laundry and store away clothing you won't need until it's swimsuit season again to make room for all of those wonderfully cozy sweaters. The hardest part for me is taking the time to gather up everything that I won't be using for months, make sure it's all washed and then store it away.
Now, laundry isn't my favorite chore, but it needs to be done. And when tackling a massive project like this, it's best to sort it all out into 1-load piles each, and set aside an evening or a weekend afternoon to get this done. I hate taking the time to pre-treat stains - or worse, re-treat stains and try again - which is why I'm a big fan of Tide with Acti-Lift. It's the best detergent I've tried at getting out stains the first time, while still keeping my clothing looking bright and new.
Also, when washing clothing you plan to store away, add just a little extra fabric softener in a scent you love. If you keep them stored in air-tight containers, your clothes will still smell fresh when you open them again. This year I'm using the new Ultra Downy Sun Blossom scent - when I open up the storage containers in the spring, I know I'll still have that fresh, just-washed scent to greet me!
We have several clear plastic storage bins in the back of our closet to hold out of season clothing and linens. The clear plastic makes it easy to see what's inside, in case you do need to break out short sleeve tops but aren't ready for shorts yet. If you don't have clear plastic containers, any other storage solution will do, but make sure you label the boxes or bins so you know where to find things when you need them.
Finally, the biggest hurdle of bedroom closets is simply putting everything in its place. Match up shoes and line them up or put them on a shoe rack. Keep all of your pants together in one area, skirts in another, tops and sweaters in yet another. You don't want to be frantically searching through your sweaters just to find the one little black skirt you stuck in the middle somewhere. If you share your closet with your spouse, assign each of you one side of the closet to keep your clothing sorted out.
We're going to get you ready to tackle all of that laundry in your closets with a little help from Tide and Downy! One lucky reader will win 3 bottles of Tide with Acti-Lift, as well as 3 bottles of Ultra Downy in the new Sun Blossom scent!
To enter, leave a comment below with your best organization tip for keeping your closets from turning into a jumbled mess. (mandatory entry)
For additional entries:
2. Leave a comment here with your best laundry or stain-fighting tip! (one entry - separate comment)
3. Follow me on Twitter @mommystory and tweet this contest leaving me a link here in the comments. (one entry)
4. Follow @Tide on Twitter and thank them for helping you get your summer clothing ready to be stored away with a link to this post. (1 entry - leave a comment here with you link)
5. Write a blog post about how you plan to (or already are!) getting your closets organized and ready for winter and link back to this post. (1 entry - leave a comment here with your link)
Giveaway will close on Friday, October 15 at 11:59pm ET. One winner will be selected by random drawing to win the Tide/Downy prize pack. Winner has three days after being contacted by e-mail to respond or another winner will be chosen in his or her place.
Full disclosure: This giveaway prize is being provided by Tide and Downy. I received no compensation nor was I given any free product. I just really like their products and reached out to them to join us in this series. Thanks, Tide & Downy!