I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve gone on quite a few trips this year. From graduate school visits to bachelorette parties, weddings and showers, I’ve logged more than 40,000 miles of flying time. To say my luggage has taken a beating would be an understatement. To start, my hard-case suitcase is a hand-me-down, which has already had its fair share of fly time. Now, it’s been beaten so badly it fights back. My other half, Scott, even cut himself gripping the handle, which has been stripped down to the metal.

The good news is that ditching this piece of luggage will open up a tremendous amount of room in our storage closet. Just thinking about it has got me thinking of other items that can go, such as another piece of luggage we haven’t used for six years and Halloween costumes we’ll never use again. The storage closet has always been a catchall for things that don’t have a place anywhere else. It’s also always been an eyesore, but now that it’s gaining some extra space, it’s finally time to tackle it head on. Over the years, I’ve amassed piles of information on organizing the storage closet. Here are some of my favorite pieces of advice.



• Start by designating a spot for the largest item(s). In my case, that would be my and Scott’s sets of golf clubs. For smaller items, such as toiletries and paper goods, freestanding drawers work well.

•Think about how often you use different items. Everyday or weekly essentials, such as cleaning products, should be kept at eye level and within easy reach. Other items, such as seasonal products, can be stored up top.

• Take advantage of every available space. This includes the wall and the back of doors. Mount brooms, dusters, rackets; anything that can be hung should be mounted.


• Add clear or decorative bins. They’ll keep smaller odds and ends organized and give the space a cohesive feel.

• Measure first. Before you go out and purchase wall mounts, drawers and shelving, make sure you know what you’re working with. This will save you from back-and-forth trips to the store and help you map out a plan before you attack.

The storage closet, although capable of attack, will always be a work in progress. Keep in mind that it may never be perfect, and realize that it’s OK. Tackling it slowly and periodically will help keep it in control between overhauls.


Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.