Thursday, March 22, 2012

Organizing the Closet Under the Stairs

The home pictured at the top of my blog is where I live.  It was built in 1902.  There is a small closet that is under the front staircase that was used for coats until the late 1930's when it then had some wooden shelves added.  Since then nothing had been done to it.

I have to admit that it had been a while since I last organized this space.  I also have to admit that one of my favourite things to do is cook.  I have almost every kitchen gadget going and I find it very difficult to part with many of them.  But I have realized that I need to practice what I preach and so I have been ruthless in cleaning out this space.

These are a few before photos (cringe)

As you can see it was difficult finding what I needed.

While I do use a lot of these things, some are only used a few times a year.  Certainly they are not used enough to be taking up valuable real estate in my pantry.  So I purchased a large shelving unit that I had my dear husband install in the basement to store things such as my panini maker, some large serving platters, the fondue set and many other things.

I chose to use open wire, chrome shelves because I did not want to be dusting shelving in the basement.  I then proceeded to empty the closet and paint the shelves and walls.  For the shelf colour I chose a goldenrod colour that was leftover from an outside paint job.  Quite frankly, I'm pretty sure that this space has not been painted since 1902.  I think it looks great now!

I noticed that the linoleum on the floor was not attached so I decided to lift it up and see what was underneath.  To my pleasant surprise it was the original flooring and it matched the shelves perfectly!

Now to fancy it up a bit!

And then I put everything back.....well, not EVERYTHING!  Dear husband installed a light near the top on the left and we are back in business!

Now everything is easy to find and only the things that I use regularly are in there.  Don't let seldom used items take up valuable real estate in your home.  If you can store things elsewhere then do so and if not, then it's time to say goodbye to the ones that are rarely used.  If worse comes to worst you could always borrow a waffle maker from a friend for that Sunday brunch that you host once a year.  Or perhaps your sister has extra serving platters for when you host that 50th birthday party that happens once in a life time.  Just be sure she's invited to the party before you ask!


  1. Congratulations, Sherry, on your new business venture and blog. Your photo of your home looks as if it belongs in Architechtural Digest magazine! I love the inspirational sayings on something as mundane as kitchen pantry walls; are they decals? If so,where can they be obtained?

    In my case, if worse came to worst, I would be unable to borrow pieces I would need occasionally, as I have no relatives nearby, and my friends have all moved out of my neighborhood, so I do tend to accumulate (legally) small appliances, party ware, and such. Then again, with everyone far away, I don't have much opportunity to entertain. Any tips to help decide what can go, and what should stay?

    1. Hi. Thanks for checking out my blog! The saying on the wall is just a decal that I picked up a Home Sense for about $4.00. I was so pleased that the first letters in the words matched the paint that I used on the shelves!

      When deciding what should stay and what should go, try to think about items that can do double duty in your kitchen. Do you really need the blender if the food processor can do the job just as well? Instead of a large panini press you could simply use a weighted plate to make your sandwich and let the panini press go. Dollar stores have some pretty sturdy serving trays that you would have no problem sending home with your guests (with leftovers piled on of course!).

      If you haven't used it in over a year it's time to say goodbye. If you didn't need it at your last party then chances are you could come up with a winning menu that wouldn't require it at the next.

      Thanks again for stopping by!