Cleaning, Organizing, & Eco

Open Wide

Ever since we saw an image on bhg.com a few months ago with open shelves and baskets, we started thinking about taking the door off of our bathroom’s linen closet. We realized that a few chic baskets could convert our claustrophobic closet into clean and functional open shelving (by now you know we’re crazy about open living). And then when we crashed Lesley & Jeff’s fabulous home, her doorless bathroom closet sealed the deal:

But first some photographic proof as to why our current closet door situation was so not working for us. Check out the serious door war that regularly occurred between the linen closet door and the bathroom door. Argh! Talk about a design flaw.

So one day while John was sittin’ pretty at work, I took a screwdriver, a hammer and a crowbar to the door and off it came (along with the door jamb so that the opening looked a lot more like a built-in shelving nook than a doorless linen closet).

After we erased any evidence that a door once existed (by caulking the hinge holes and removing the door latch) I extended the bathroom’s soothing tan wall color into the nook (Glidden’s Sand White) and painted the door frame and the shelves a crisp glossy white.

Then I just reused the baskets that already housed our sheets and towels and introduced some other creative storage solutions from a few objects that we had laying around the house (two cheap white Ikea planters for nail polish and toothbrushes). Even the toilet paper looks great in its newly spiffed home.

But the entire project wasn’t entirely free, we did splurge on two bigger baskets (for a few more towels) to stack on the floor of the closet. Luckily we scored ‘em at Michael’s for 50% off, so we basically got two large rectangular woven trunks for the price of one (25 measly bucks total). Not bad for the entire bathroom closet project.

So what do you guys think? Could you live with an open linen closet or do you think some things are better left behind closed doors? And don’t worry, we’re totally aware that we’re waaay more into open storage than the average bear. Luckily we’re also waaaay more compulsively neat than the average bear (to a somewhat insane degree) so it’s perfect for us. Whatever works, right?

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Put A Lid On It

Inspiration can come from the strangest places, so I wasn’t even surprised when I saw some cool old canning jars in a recent Pottery Barn catalog and needed to take a closer look. Upon closer inspection I realized they were antique bell jars filled with shells, sand, and even just ocean water with fancy labels that said things like “Mikonos” and “Fiji”. Adorable. So I looked around and realized I had at least one or two keepsakes from each and every vacay that John and I have spent together. Why not put them on display instead of in a box in the closet? So after a trip to Michael’s to pick up 6 canning jars (for just six smackaroos) I returned home and slipped the items into little labeled jars of my own.

Now we’re hardly as posh as the imaginary family who loves in the Pottery Barn catalog, so our labels (hand written with a fine point Sharpie on clear tape) boast locales like San Diego, Rehoboth, Madeira Beach, Alaska, and the Outer Banks.

But they’re just as charming lined up on a shelf in our sunroom near the back door (which we pass through at least five times a day). And it’s nice to glance at our little vacation time capsules on a daily basis instead of keeping them out of sight (and out of mind). I even made a little reminder of our old life in Manhattan complete with our last MetroCard, a buy-ten-get-one-free hot dog card from our favorite little hole in the wall, and matching business cards from the advertising agency where we met.

It’s nice to know that even when we go somewhere sans sand and shells, we can still stick little keepsakes (a ticket stub, a matchbox, a hotel key) into a $1 jar to fondly remember the trip. In fact, to document our Alaskan honeymoon, I used a rock from a hot stone massage that we enjoyed along with a tiny ceramic bear from a craft fair in Anchorage. I can’t wait until our modern day snow globe collection takes over our entire three-tiered bookcase… better start planning some more vacations. And since everyday objects work just as well as shells and sand, it’s no big deal if we don’t make it to Mikonos or Fiji for a while. Whew.

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