Spring cleaning and cheap organizing.

A while back, Cim mentioned a pet peeve about Finnish apartment shelves in her blog. I’d meant to respond to that, but for some reason never got around to doing so. Considering the amount of time I’d put into figuring out a system that would take advantage of deep shelving, I thought I’d babble on a bit about it in this spring cleaning post.

The problem is this — most US shelves are made to accommodate just one row of folded clothing, typically making them about 12 inches deep. Give or take a few. The shelves we have here in this apartment measure 20 inches deep, and I’m guessing that Cim’s are similar because most apartments around here seem to be made from the same cookie cutters with minor alterations. 20 inches is deep enough for 2 rows of stacked and folded clothes, which can get annoying if you’re trying to get at the back row of stuff for some reason or another. The only way to make everything openly accessible in the shelf is either to ignore the extra space and only use one row, or to have everything chucked in a giant messy pile.

Now, I took a three-pronged approach to making the most of these problematic shelves. For the top couple of shelves, I keep folded stacks of out-of-season clothing (such as thicker tights, thermals, and layering sweaters now that spring is here) in the back row and put the in-season clothing in the front row. Then I just switch them around depending on the season and keep the stuff I don’t use out of sight. For the middle few shelves, filled mostly with t-shirts, tops and jeans that get constant use year-round, I fold or roll the shirts longways and stack them like skinny logs. I can identify which is which easily this way and just slide out the needed garment like a Jenga puzzle piece. Then, there’s the socks and underwear drawers. I’m not showing my underwear to anybody, but here are the socks:


The ones in the box are in season. The ones outside the box are going out of season. The ones outside the box and near the front are still usable, but get slowly pushed to the back as they become unsuitable for the time of year. You can see the long woolen socks and leggings starting to migrate to the back in this recent photo. These two lower shelves slide out, so it’s easier to organize and pick things out than with the upper shelving.

Besides the shelves, there’s also the garment rack that I use for dresses and skirts (anything that can’t tolerate prolonged folding), the hanging wardrobe for out-of-season outerwear, and the hallway wardrobe for in-season outerwear. Plus the folded and rolled scarf, glove, shaped hat and flat hat drawers. A place for everything, yo. I am not giving a full photographic tour here because it’s not entirely to my liking quite yet and I plan to do some rearranging soonish to fix that. But yes. Funny thing, closets.


Speaking of hanging things, this is something I whipped up last fall to keep my jewelry in check until I get a proper jewelry box that can handle all my earrings. I’ve got tons of colorful lace that I’ll never actually use on any clothing, so it seemed as good an application as any.


It’s also nice to have all my jewelry hanging on the same rack as the dresses — makes it tons easier to pick something that matches without having to go hunting for different containers. We do something similar but more utilitarian for keeping outfits together on the racks when working on projects, too.

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