My Pinterest account, which I’ve had for about three years, has 29 boards and almost 1,300 pins and I can still count the projects I’ve actually completed on one hand. I do use most of the recipes I’ve pinned but my boards for home improvement and organization have sat relatively untouched.
If you have a Pinterest account you can probably relate to this. Sure, you have great intentions of actually completing projects, but then you get lazy busy and realize you don’t have the tools (or sometimes, the skill) to get the job done.
Josh and I both took some vacation around the holidays in December so we took the time to get a project done that’s been on our radar since we bought our house – redoing our laundry closet.
We have basic bedroom closets, but we don’t have a linen closet or a garage, so w’ve struggled with finding good places to store the things we use frequently. And even though we moved in almost two years ago, we’ve had to do several rounds of purging belongings that we just don’t have room for.
The one place we do have an adequate amount of space was the laundry closet. But the existing shelves were installed too far apart and too high for me to reach easily, and as a result they were disorganized and underutilized. It was too much of a pain to get a stool every time I needed to reach something on the top shelf so I’d just toss things on the top shelf haphazardly.
In anticipation of fixing this problem, I had been pinning ideas
for how we could improve the closet’s
storage without spending a lot of money. The space is definitely a closet and not a “room” (it’s in our bathroom and has a sliding door) so I was relieved that there were plenty of solutions from other homeowners with similar storage problems.
If this weren’t real life, we would have replaced our current washer and dryer with efficient models that can also stack, and then shopped atThe Container Store for a custom system. But there was no way we were going to spend that much money on a closet (remember this post
?) so we opted to keep our current washer and dry and install DIY shelves. If at some point we do need to replace them, there are plenty of efficient top loading machines we could purchase that should fit in there fine.
We have a few more projects like this planned for our house over the next year as part of our efforts to live more efficiently in the space we do have and to get organized before we expand our family. Our goal is to stay in our house as long as possible, even as our family grows. If we can get organized and purge all of our extra stuff now, we hope we will be less likely to let it pile up later. After all, if everything has a place, it’s more likely to be put in its place.
Anyway, back to the project. As you can see from the before photos, the previous shelves didn’t have a solid surface, so things often fell off if we bumped the shelf. They were also too deep and set too far apart so there was a lot of unused space.
Our first step was to remove the shelves and wipe down the walls to remove all the grime that had accumulated (we didn’t clean the closet when we moved in two years ago so who knows the last time it was cleaned. YUCK). Then we filled the holes and pained the walls (Glidden’s Shady Blue in case you’re curious). Once that was done, Josh installed the supports for three floating shelves. It’s hard to see in the photos but we had a few things to work around that ended up deciding where we would set our shelves. Ideally the bottom shelf would have rested on the top of the washer and dryer but we had to move it up slightly to access the water shut off and an outlet. Once we placed that shelf, we measured up 18″ and placed the next shelf. The top shelf, which holds things we rarely use, is about 12″ high. We chose to build floating shelves to avoid having to work around supports.
Once the shelves were installed, we added hooks to the walls to hold the mop and broom and also a retractable clothes line to air dry small items like scarves, bras and in the future, cloth diapers(!). I also spent some time organizing what we wanted to store in the closet and was surprised by the things I found and was able to get rid of. Then, I took a trip around the house to look for extra baskets and containers to hold everything. It was like going shopping in my own house! We did have to buy a few more crates to store rags and bottles in, but I saved a lot of money just by using things we already had. It may not be as beautiful and perfectly styled like the examples I found on Pinterest but I had to remind myself that it’s a closet and nobody other than the two of us will ever see it. Well, us and anyone reading this post. Ha.
It has been about a month since we finished the project and it is impressive how much more functional it is. It has stayed more organized because the shelves aren’t overflowing, and everything has a place. Plus, I can reach things on the bottom shelf now which has improved my mood when doing laundry. In fact, I almost like doing laundry now.