Speedy little project – scarf organization

Oh man, this is a little annoying to admit, but we have a mouse in our house. Well, presumably, we have more than one, but then you’d lose the rhyme. We suspect it doesn’t help that we have an open wall in our living room (you’ll see it on the house tour soon, promise!), but we have some furry little buddies that pop in occasionally to check things out in our living space. We sometimes seem them darting out of the corner of our eyes, which has led to the discovery that while I am not scared of the mice, I will still squeal like a piglet when I’m startled by one, heh.

Their favorite place, however, is our coat closet, probably because for a time we were keeping tons of dog treats and food in there, so it was a little mousey smorgasboard. We’ve since learned how to store the food better, and moved most of the treats into a separate area, but they’d been having such a field day in the closet, that the whole thing needed a MASSIVE cleaning, which Tim undertook. He said it was revolting, and I believe him. He scoured and disinfected a bunch of surfaces, we discovered that mice will eat candle wax (whaaat?), and also that my computer-paper box full of scarves was a fun little place for them to take a nap. Ew.

While Tim was pulling everything out of the closet anyway, he decided it’d be an excellent opportunity to weed out some things to donate, so I went through all of the scarves and chose which ones I could part with and which to keep. Then everything got washed thoroughly, because again: ew. The freshly-washed keeper scarves then sat in a pile on the dining room table for a few weeks, as I tried to decide how I wanted to store them. Putting them back in a paper box in the closet didn’t seem wise. Even though Tim had managed to block off the easiest way for the mice to come in (a gap along the interior door molding), and we’d removed the food temptations, the most intrepid mice were still finding a way in through the light fixture (whaaaaat?) and while we knew they wouldn’t stay long without food, I still didn’t want to give them a cozy place to nap before they found their way back home.

I needed a new place to store the scarves, and until I figured it out, they lived on the dining room table with tools from the origami letters, a Christmas CD I just bought (dudes, I collect Christmas music like it’s my job, plus I just saw them in concert and couldn’t resist), glue from fixing the roman shades, packaging material I was reluctant to throw out, and a bunch of other stuff. I have a tendency to drop things on the dining room table, and then go a little crazy from feeling like the house is never clean. It’s a silly cycle that I deal with almost weekly. I knew I had to tackle the scarf storage, and reclaim the clean table again. I kept thinking about where I’d most likely want to keep the scarves (nearish the door, nearish the coat rack) and how to store them. I toyed with the idea of hooks on the wall, but even after weeding through for donations, I have a lot left. Plus, hanging them from hooks didn’t really solve the problem of the hats and gloves that also lived in the box.

Then I realized that I had a underutilized shelf in my bookcase (underutilized =  not chock full of lovely textbooks, 5 different copies of Pride and Prejudice, British editions of Harry Potter books, well-worn novels of EB White from my childhood, etc). While I didn’t love it as a permanent solution, I thought it’d be a good temporary place to store cold-weather gear, at least until we redid the dining room. I measured the dimensions of the shelf and headed to Target with my friend to locate some storage options. I was pretty sure I wanted a fabric bin of some kind, maybe two, in a color/pattern that made me cheerful. I opted not to do baskets, because I figured it was going to need at least a liner to keep from snagging my more delicate scarves, and I’d rather have something graphic and cool on the outside than a woven basket. I walked away with two fabric bins at $7.99 each, in a fun grey/teal color combo.

At home, I sorted everything into two piles. One bin would hold all of the things I’d need when it was actually cold (warm scarves, hats, a knit headband, a few pairs of gloves), while the other would hold what I kept referring to as my “accessory scarves.” I have lighter pashminas in a handful of colors that I use both around my neck and as layering for my shoulders when air conditioning is still out of control in the spring and fall. I also have some spectacular, delicately-knit scarves made by my little sister (plus some totally functional warm ones that she knit, in the other bin) that look lovely around my neck, but don’t do a whole lot in the way of actually protecting me from chilly breezes. Clearly it was all going to stay, so the second bin is filled with my lovely non-deep-freeze scarves. Since those are more about the look, I folded and rolled each scarf, so I can see quickly what my color options are (surprise! 50% of them are blue-related!), though I’m guessing in Actual Life, I’ll have to make myself go through periodically and fold/roll again. Because I knew I wouldn’t need to get into my cold-weather stuff for awhile, I tossed my collection of Sseko straps on the top, so I also had those near the door, though I’ll put them away upstairs after it gets too cold to wear my sandals daily.

It’s nice to have all of my scarves in one place (the computer paper box was pretty full, so some of my pashminas were hanging out up in the bedroom or draped on the coat rack) and especially to be able to see all of my choices quickly. The old method of digging blindly through a box on a shelf in the closet was ineffective, to say the least, so I ended up rewearing a lot of the same things and forgetting I had some of the other options. Now with my pared-down collection (and a few of them I couldn’t bear to get rid of yet, but I made myself a deal that I had to wear them a reasonable amount in the next year, or they’d get donated next time) easily accessible and visible, I’m hoping to rotate through more often.

I’m not convinced the Target bins are the final answer (I like the pattern, but I’m not so desperately in love with it that I can’t imagine something a little more clean and graphic there), so I kept the tags on until I can check out the stock at a few other places. I also don’t love that they stick out off my bookcase a little, but the bins will fit turned in the other direction on the shelf. We have to keep the white noise machine in that spot for the time being, but once we don’t, I’ll probably turn them so they aren’t sticking off the edge. I’m pretty sure I’m going to like this system a lot, though, so I’m eager to live with it for awhile and see how it goes. Now I just need some cooler weather so I can pull out all of my lovely scarves again!

So there you go, the world’s most simple “update” which was basically: put things in a prettier container. But if it makes an impact, I’m all for it!

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One comment on “Speedy little project – scarf organization

  1. […] may have spotted this cross-stitch from the scarf organization Before picture. For want of a better spot, the frame had been tucked on the bottom shelf of my […]

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