Saturday, May 6, 2017

Getting Organized

I remember when the majority of my doll collection used to fit on two shelves of a desk. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago.

For a long time, I used to take comfort in the fact that my collection was contained in one room of the house (for the most part). But now, there has been significant "spillage". Several of my dolls (and boxes) have invaded my master bedroom.


The Master Bedroom Closet

I am hesitant to show you photos of my master bedroom closet. But I'm going to take a big deep breath and I'm going to show you. And I just know that I am not alone in this. The bottom portion of my closet is fairly organized. But the top - not so much. I have been piling dolls and empty doll boxes in this closet, because my doll room closet is nearly full. This is my master bedroom closet and it's not supposed to have dolls and doll boxes. This has to change. I can't even reach the top of the stack on the top shelf of my closet, so many of these boxes were just thrown up there with me hoping that they would land in a somewhat organized fashion.

The spillage into the master bedroom was not contained only to the closet. I had a stack of boxed dolls on top of my husband's chest of drawers. That also happens to be my favorite spot for taking my doll photos because it's next to a window and also has hanging lights directly overhead. My husband never said much about me keeping dolls there, except when the stack would get too high and he would warn me that my dolls were in danger of falling over every time he opened one of his drawers. He did give me a sign of his silent protest over one of my dolls recently, though. For a while, I had my nude WorldBox AT-006 boxed doll there right at eye level, and I came home one day to find that the doll was facing the wall. So naturally, I turned the doll back around. The next time I came home, the doll was facing the wall again, and my husband this time verbally let me know that he doesn't want to see "that" when he's going into his drawers for something. I opened the figure soon after that and my husband no longer had to be subjected to male doll nudity.

In the master bedroom, I also have an armoire with the top shelves full of dolls, and a desk with some dolls sitting on the bookshelves.

The Doll Room Closet

My doll room has a walk-in closet, so I'm supposed to be able to walk in there, right? Currently, this is not so. I'm not even going to show you the chaos that is currently taking place at the bottom of that closet. But I will show you the shelves.
For that top shelf, I'm going to move everything off of it except for stuffed animals. That shelf looks like it's sinking in the middle, so I don't want to add any weight and cause the thing to come crashing down.
For the top shelf in this photo, I'm going to find another spot for those drapes. That's prime doll box real estate right there! Maybe those drapes can share the sagging shelf with my stuffed animals. Hmmmm...


I don't want much - just to be able to display my dolls in an organized and attractive fashion. I want my collection contained to one room. I want to keep my dolls and doll accessories safe from my cats.  I want to:
  • Move the vast majority of the dolls out of the master bedroom and master bedroom closet
  • Have the vast majority of my dolls contained in one room
  • Have the majority of my dolls out on display
  • Have all of my dolls easily accessible
  • Keep my closets organized
  • Have a well-lit designated spot for taking my doll photos and videos - in the doll room
  • Have all of my doll accessories organized and easily accessible
  • Have a spot for my sewing, crocheting, painting, and crafts - in the doll room
  • Throw away most of my empty doll boxes


Doll Room

So far, I have managed to clear off my husband's chest of drawers for the most part. There's just my husband's Barbie, 2 of my boxed dolls, 2 other dolls, and some stuffed animals there now.

So you know that you're a doll collector when you see something meant for a different purpose, and just know that it would be great for your dolls. Someone posted a photo on Facebook of a shoe organizer similar to the one hanging on the door on the left below, and I just knew I had to have some for my dolls. While I was shopping, I also purchased some plastic storage/organizer bins (in the photo on the right - black and clear). There's two in the photo, and I probably won't leave them stacked like that. I think I want them side by side, and I'll probably keep boxed dolls on top.
On the shoe organizer, there are 24 slots. There's really enough room for me to put 2 dolls in each slot, but these guys vigorously disagreed with that idea. I have another shoe organizer that I will use for female dolls, and the females will probably have to share space on that one.

These shoe organizers also work great for actual shoes, so now I'm using one for that purpose in the master bedroom closet. That means that I've cleared off my old shoe rack. It has now been re-purposed in the doll room to hold stuffed animals and boxed dolls.

Nothing is fully organized yet in the doll room, I'm just moving things in there and stacking things up and thinking about how I want to put everything. Meanwhile, the dolls below are languishing on boxes in the middle of the floor, waiting on me to put them someplace, and hoping that the cats don't get into the room while they're in this vulnerable state.
One day I will actually learn to use the sewing machine that's barely visible in the top left corner of the photo above (a gift from my mom-in-law). One day. In the meantime, I need to find a good spot to keep it, so that it will be easily accessible to me when I do decide to use it.

I used to want a curio cabinet for my dolls. Then I found out about detolfs, and I've been wanting some of those ever since. The challenge is that I don't have an Ikea store here, and to have them shipped here would double the cost. The nearest Ikea store is a 3+ hour drive from here. I want them, but not that badly. They would be ideal to display my dolls and to keep them somewhat safe from my cats. The cats are not allowed in the doll room, but every now and then either me or my husband will accidentally leave that door open. They are older cats now and don't chew on stuff like they used to, but I don't want to provide that temptation to them.

I decided to reclaim my bookshelf from out of our home office. It was filled mainly with computer technical manuals that I hadn't cracked open in years. I cleared off those shelves, and my husband moved that bookshelf into the doll room. You can see the top couple of shelves of that bookshelf on the left on the photo below.

I've been working on my doll room for the past 4 days, and I still have a lot of work to do. Play time is put on hold until I get that room and my closets at least somewhat organized. I'm sure that the doll room will remain a work in progress. I already have thoughts about the next phase of that room.


  1. Oh Roxanne, you are a girl after my own heart! I was going to take photos of my doll mess, but I don't have to because it looks a lot like yours, haha! Dolls have taken over my bedroom! Luckily for me, I don't have to share my room with anyone, so no one is complaining! However, my kids want to be able to use our basement family room to entertain now that they are young adults. Right now, it is pretty much taken over by my dolls. I have a sewing room too, so we have decided that will become my doll room. As so the organizing begins! Thanks for all your tips!

    1. Thank you, Phyllis! My ideal doll room would be about 2000 square feet (for starters), with lighted display cases for my dolls around each wall as part of the walls. The space in the middle would have different stations - a sewing station, a photography/diorama station, a computer station, a painting and crafts station, and a comfy station for me to just sit or recline and listen to music while crocheting or whatever.

      My current reality is that I have limited space. I have to get organized so that I can keep getting more stuff! I've already realized that I need more racks and organizer bins. Best wishes to you in your organizing! And I do want to see photos! :)

    2. Now this sounds like Heaven! That would be a wonderful doll space! I will take some photos and post progress in the near future!

    3. I'm looking forward to reading about your progress! I'll post a progress report here too soon.

  2. Your ideal doll room sounds totally awesome!! This is the story probably for all of us collectors. I have started on mine, but it has gotten cluttered again...🤣 I plan to hold off on commissions for awhile and get back on my organizing project. I also miss blogging. I can also remember when my walk-in closet was full of dolls. That was 20+ years ago, now they are in 3 rooms. I am working hard to get them out of my bedroom. Fingers crossed that I will sell a lot at our doll show next week.

    1. I hope that you sell a ton of dolls at your doll show next week, Georgia Girl! Good luck!

  3. Wow. Great start to organzing. I have a few of the shoe bags that hold my dolls. They came in handy. Good Luck with fixing your doll room. Looking forward to updates

    1. Thanks Male Doll World! I found out that the shoe organizers damage the paint on my doors. That's the only drawback I see, but I'm continuing to use them since the damage has already been done.

  4. I started getting palpitations just thinking about organizing! I have 1:12, 1:6 various other scales, soap making and several other crafts! However, you ARE inspiring for getting in there. I still think your husband doll story is funny LOL I got an idea...I wonder if the show bags could be hung sideways in a closet? That way you can hang lots of them! going to check that out!

    1. Hi The grandmommy! That's a cool idea about hanging the bag sideways. I think I'm going to put a rack in my closet, so I'm probably not going to go that route. And yes, my husband is funny with his one Barbie doll (still in the box after all these years, I might add). :)

  5. Oh my goodness, your ideal doll room sounds like perfection! I think every collector wants something like that, but what you described is EXACTLY what I would want to have.

    Trying to organize always seems like a momentous task, and it is really, but when you see stuff all neatly put away and displayed beautifully, it calms and thrills you. Well, it does me at least, lol.

    1. Thanks Muff! I can only imagine how satisfying it will be once I get through this first phase of organizing. I hope to create a space that is both calming and thrilling, as you describe.

  6. Love this topic... organized spaces make me happy. I'm weird that way. I want another Detolf, though I don't really have space for it. My biggest challenge now is how to store all my doll furniture and larger diorama items. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Jewell! I'm hoping that I will really have a sense of accomplishment (if not happiness) after I finish everything that I need to do. I don't have any ideas for storing larger diorama items at the moment. I have a couple of larger storage containers, and my larger stuff may have to go in there, though I would prefer to have it out on display.