Friday, April 18, 2014

Linen closet overhaul- DIY

My linen closet was a source of great frustration in our home. It was built, I suspect, as an overflow space for the two master bedroom closets. I believe this because it contained two main shelves, two removable rods and a tall cubby shelf off to one side. Usable space was plentiful, but the way the closet was installed, most of that space was generously wasted. I had only two shelves to stack my towels, which were constantly falling into the floor each time you opened the door...which meant more washing for me. Something had to be done.

I honestly wish I'd thought to take a before picture, but I honestly forgot. This picture was taken shortly after the shelves were installed, but pre-paint. You can't see the cubby shelves from this angle.

After: a colorful, pretty, and functional linen closet that makes all our items easy to find. No more avalanche of towels every time we reach for only one towel.

Total cost:
Lumber- 46.60 (we had enough left over for another project).
White paint: free- already had on hand from another project
Nails: $4.00
8 Fabric drawer bins: $8, Dollar Tree
3 Glass canisters: $3
Ceramic vase: Ikea, <$1
4 Locking containers: 4.97 each (I bought 5)
Total cost: 87.35 (*The lumber accounted for more than half the total cost).

Since we weren't using the closet rods, we opted to remove them. We chose to make the newly added shelves removable so the rods could be used if necessary.  The "wallpaper" that you see on the shelf wall is actually wrapping paper that I already had on hand.  The lumber used to create the shelves was purchased form Lowes for about $50, and was by far the most expensive component of this project. We originally intended to purchase paint-grade lumber, but none of the stock was really usuable. It was split, had lots of knots and just didn't seem to be durable enough for my shelving. We opted for a better quality lumber instead. I chose brown fabric bins that I found at the Dollar Tree to store items on the cubby shelf, and the glass canisters were picked up from Dollar Tree as well. The little white pot was purchased at IKEA for less than a dollar.

I organized my bath linens and bed linens by color. making them easier to find. I do prefer white linens as they convey a sense of cleanliness and order, but we do have a few colored towels on hand. Lesser used items like flannel sheets and bulk items like toilet paper are stored on the hard-to-reach top shelf. Dangerous items like first aid items and medications are stored on the second highest shelf and out of our two-year-old's reach. I utilized locking bins for both mine and the hubby's meds, as well as kid's medicines. They are organized by their function (allergy/sinus, stomach, pain/fever).

All the bins and containers got color-coordinated labels I found for free on the Better Homes and Gardens website. I ran them through my laminator to make them more durable.

Our luggage is stored under the bottom shelf and performs double duties- our extra duvet and travel hamper are stored in the tall suitcase, and our bathroom bag is stored inside the blue duffel.

I believe organization should be three things: Practical, pretty and inexpensive.
It needs to make sense or there is absolutely no point whatsoever in doing it. If it doesn't help me or save time, I'm not going to put forth the effort to keep it organized. It needs to be pretty because that also motivates me to keep it organized. Plus, who doesn't want a pretty linen closet? I have to open it each and every day, so why not enjoy the view? Also, we don't have tons of income at our disposal, and if I did, there are things I'd rather do than spend it on my linen closet. I am a big proponent of using things you already have on hand for new purposes.

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