I've always thought of the term "closet space" as an oxymoron. My closets were so packed with stuff their doors needed "Caution, open at your own risk" signs. They had ... no space.
Recently, however, I hopped aboard Netflix's "Tidying Up" train. It inspired me to attempt unearthing my utility closet. As much as I wanted to call Marie Kondo for help, I took a more realistic first step: the Home-it Mop and Broom Organizer with more than 5,000 reviews on Amazon.
Home-it Mop and Broom Organizer, $14 (usually $20), Amazon
TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.
Home- It Mop and Broom Holder, 6 hooks
Also available at Walmart
Low cost, high expectations
Although the organizer's list price is $20, with Amazon Prime I saved 30 percent. Could the cost of one Sunday brunch really give me back my utilities closet? According to the 5,365 reviews and 4.6-star rating , yes.
But since I've never heard of the manufacturer, Home-It, I still did my homework and looked into its other products. My research was reassuring. Home-It's adjustable bed risers have 3,600 reviews and 4.6 stars, its velvet hangers have 2,000 reviews and 4.8 stars, its nail polish organizer has 4.7 stars and 2,500 reviews and its kitchen drawer divider has 4.7 stars and 1,600 reviews.
Installation (and tools) required
"Can you wait until Dad is in town this weekend?" my Mom asked when I said I needed to mount something. Because I've never used a power tool, she had little faith. Fortunately, Dad's old drill in my garage wasn't too hard to figure out how to use. It's disappointing that this organizer — which comes with six screws and six plastic wall anchors — doesn't come with installation instructions. However, there is a picture of the finished product, right-side up, on the box, so it wasn't that hard. It was also easy to find a helpful article for mounting hardware online . Ten minutes later, with the help of a drill, screwdriver, pencil, level and hammer, the organizer was mounted and set in place.
Let your kids fail. To learn self-sufficiency, kids need to occasionally dust themselves off (literally and figuratively) without your help. "Most parents know what their children are capable of but step in to make things easier for them," says Sheri Noga, the author of Have the Guts to Do It Right: Raising Grateful and Responsible Children in an Era of Indulgence. Remember: Long-term benefits—a teenager who knows how to do her own laundry, for example—trump momentary discomfort. Before you rush in to help with any physical task, ask yourself: "Is my child in real danger?" Then—and this applies to other challenges, like the social studies poster due tomorrow—think about whether your child has the necessary skills (dexterity and balance) or simply adequate sleep and a snack. Yes? Time to back off and see what happens.
How the closet organizer works
Unlike most racks, which only have hooks, this one uses slots equipped with gripping balls. They automatically adjust to fit the handle thickness (between .68 inches and 1.12 inches) of the object you're hanging. While the rack only has five slots, there are six hooks that fold down for additional storage — meant for lighter items like dustpans or rags. Each slot can hold up to 7.5 pounds.
On my storage organizer , I hung a broom, a sponge mop, two Swiffers and a vacuum attachment. While some reviewers observed their items slipping as the balls lose grip, I've yet to notice it. In fact, the grip is so strong it often takes two hands to get a handle in and out of the slot.
The result? Closet space!
Thanks to this organizer, I can now walk around in my walk-in closet! Goodbye leaning everything up against each other and moving a pile of cleaning tools when I need to reach my water heater or access the storage under the stairs. The best part is being able to alternate how objects are hung. If it was just a hanger with hooks, everything would have to be hung handle-side up. (Plus, I'd have to mount the rack higher up on the wall.)
I look forward to showing my dad my handiwork when he's in town. In the meantime, I'll be binge-watching " Tidying Up. " Perhaps I'll tackle organizing the kitchen next. If I can do a closet, surely I can do a cupboard.
Related: The Real Joys of Being a Mom