My 'junk drawer' shelf, FINISHED!! Before & after pics

talley_sue_nycApril 2, 2012

OK, I'm ridiculously proud of this. So I'm going to fill up an entire thread w/ pics and commentary.

Then you can all pat me on the back!! And maybe there will be something inspiring or useful for you.

BACKGROUND: I have a triangular closet that is my only "linen/storage" closet for the main part of my apartment. (We own our apartment, so no worries about permission.)

I've been on a mission to straighten it out, and had gotten all the easier shelves done. The "junk drawer" and tools section was left.

Because the closet is triangular, I end up w/ odd spaces left if I use rectangular things. Nonetheless, this is working out nicely. In fact, I've capitalized on that very fact.

So, here is the before:

Note that these are the big challenges:

-what to do with the tape??

-what to do with the light bulbs?

-what tools to keep?

-How to improve access?

And here is the after:

I definitely tossed a bunch of stuff, but a lot of it is simply reorganized.

Lots of tools went to the basement.

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And here are some of the individual components

The top drawer, before:

and after--the incandescent lightbulbs:

Note that all the stuff from that top drawer is somewhere completely else. Some of it went in the garbage. Others of it went into the Altoid tins.

The charger is in another drawer; one iron cleaner went away. The diamond file for glass chips went on the magnetic tool strip. The black radiator knob went downstairs.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 9:04PM
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Here's the second drawer:

and after:

Again, almost all of the original stuff isn't in this drawer.

Shoestrings are in a little plastic box in the bottom drawer; the tape measure went in the basement, and I tossed the suction-cup hooks that were in the little blue bottle, because I'd never used them (and they were turning yellow). I threw out about 8 random plastic pieces that I don't even know where they came from.

Notice the iron cleaner and the lock de-icers that were in the top drawer. And the plastic organizing compartment that fits PERFECTLY across the back.

See how nicely the P-touch labeler fits? And the tapes wouldn't have stood up in the original drawer. That extra quarter inch made a huge difference.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 9:17PM
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This was the heavy-lifting tool drawer, before. And the tools are now on the wall.

And after:

This is still the heavy-lifting "junk drawer," but it holds fewer tools. I think I may take some of the clothespins out--I don't really need that many, and they share the compartment with some other things that will be easier to use if there are fewer of the wooden things.

And closeups of the sections of the drawer:

My version of the Altoid tins:

And the back, w/ the plastic containers that are slightly larger than the Altoid tins. I don't have any more of those (well, I do, but they're holding nails and screws), but I like having these because they are just THAT much bigger. And in this set of drawers, they also will stand on an edge.

And another divider across the back.

Oh--the cable ties. I took a small bundle of each size to keep here in the drawer, and I sent the rest to the basement tool box!

And I have more matches than any one arsonist needs, let alone someone like me who never burns candles or incense, doesn't smoke, and uses the Zippo long lighter for everything else. I should probably just toss some of those, too.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 9:29PM
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Great job! I've reviewed it 3 times; thanks for sharing your challenges and achievements.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 9:39PM
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This is the silliest part, but I'm most proud of it. And I think it's the most revolutionary in terms of how it is changing my storage.

I cut foam-core board to size, complete with the triangular shape, to make a drawer to hold all the fluorescent spiral lightbulbs. And stuck a Command hook on the front to be a knob.

Note the notch in the back. Once I'd gotten the drawer made, I realized that I'd forgotten that there's a cleat (shelf support) that runs along the back of the shelf above. So I cut away the top part of the box so it would slide neatly under.

(I did have to go chip off a drip of paint that was rubbing against the box.)

Here's what it looks like in situ:

There are longish fluorescent tubes for the over-the-counter lights in the kitchen that I keep up on the top shelf. (In fact, I haven't really tackled the top shelf. I'm not sure what TO put up there, because it's not that accessible. Then again, I suppose paper towels would fit nicely there, as would Kleenex and napkins. I don't really need that picnic stuff anymore. We used to do a lot of hoity-toity lunches in the park, but not anymore.)

Otherwise, ALL the lightbulbs--all of them, even extras--fit in those two drawrs.
(I did cut away the extra plastic-clamshell packaging to save space, but I kept the part of the label that told me wattage-equivalences, etc.)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 9:46PM
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This is the main key to the success of this effort: the tools.

On the shelf above, where I can't really fit the cleaning bottles out at the edges of the triangular shelf, I installed magnetic strips, and stuck the tools on there.

Note: the vertical solution works ONLY with the lightest-weight of tools. For anything heavier than a small screwdriver, you MUST hang the strip horizontally.

On here among the screwdrivers are several large nails, which I often use to make pilot holes for screws.

Some highlights:

Note the small Altoids tins that are holding the bits for the electric screw driver and the extra blades for the utility knives. (I was lucky that the tin w/ the slide-off top was JUST long enough for the knife blades.)

Note the tape measure--the belt clip on the back is ferrous enough to stick--Yay! I was afraid I'd have to put that sucker in a drawer.

Note the pocket on the right--it was intended to suction-cup to the bathroom wall, but I mounted it here with Scotch double-stick foam mounting squares. It also sits on the edge of the shelf. It goes in an area where I wouldn't have been able to drill to mount anything any other way.

Note the white tube holding the electric screwdriver upright--it's a length of PVC pipe that my FIL helped me cut off and sand down. I stuck it to the back wall w/ a strip of Command-hook adhesive. Later maybe I'll have to caulk it or hot-glue it into place, but we'll see. (My FIL the pipefitter is upset that I'm not attaching it w/ a strap)

Note the L-brackets holding the rolls of tape. This is another incredibly powerful tactic, in terms of its end result. What a huge difference this makes!!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:03PM
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Awesome job talley sue nyc! Brilliant use of space. I especially love the foam core drawer you made.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:10PM
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Talley Sue - that is wonderful organizing! And it took a lot of planning and imagination. Made me very aware that I have not taken a really good look at my kitchen cabinets since they were put in 6 years ago (or more?). You done good!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:58PM
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And here's the other suction-cup wall pocket intended for the bathroom that I pressed into service. Before the flashlights stood on that section of the shelf. You had to reach around the tape dispenser to get to them, and they'd fall over, etc. (bcs you were usually reaching for them in the dark)

Yay for heavy-duty Scotch mounting strips!

also note where the hammer is. If I'd put it on the strip at the top, it would have taken up the entire strip.

At first, I just left it standing on its head in the corner, but I wanted that space for the electric screwdriver, and I didn't like that it was loose.

I'd purchased a 7"-long magnetic strip, so I put it deep in the triangle area, where it's hard to store anything else, and stuck the hammer to it. Keeps the hammer out of the way, in the same spot always, and it won't fall over, etc.

Also note the gap BEHIND the drawer unit, and the note on the wall. In that gap are some things that I wasn't willing to get rid of but may not need anytime soon--like extra bleach pens, extra trash-can bags, and the magnetic strips that go w/ the blackout curtains.

And on the left, Command hooks (and some other off-brand stick-on cup hooks) for the extension cords--this is really having a big effect, too.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 8:29AM
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Here's the long view:

BEFORE the junk-drawer project (but an AFTER for the linen shelf below it, and sort-of-after for the cleaning drawers above--note the "light bulbs" box)

Also note the huge plastic bag on the door (the bag of bags). It's too huge, and it's been annoying me for a long time. We just don't need that many bags on hand.

Another item: see the things hanging from the front edge of the shelf? They're now hanging in the corner. I've vowed, no more obstructions in the front; they really junk it up, visually, and make it seem inaccessible, etc.

And after:

I used a small shopping bag, which limits how many bags can go in there.

And I added a Command hook for the reusable nylon shopping bags.

I also added a hook so I could move the Swiffer duster to its own hook (the adhesive is still setting in this pic); it just seems less crowded when they're not sharing.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 8:44AM
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Congratulations, Tally Sue! You should be proud of yourself! I did something good but it took me a month. In January 2011 my husband was hospitalized. I let my housekeeping really slip. I knew he would be coming home in a wheelchair so I crisis-cleaned the house so he'd have paths to get from room to room. In our bedroom I piled stuff just outside the closet door, in an area about four feet square. I piled clothing (clean and dirty), books, magazines, unopened mail, just anything there. I could still open the sliding closet door to get to my hanging clothes. That pile stayed there for 15 months. About a month ago, I started removing 5 things a day from the pile. Things went where they belonged or in the trash. I finally finished this past weekend. I dont have before and after photos, but I really enjoy seeing that area of bedroom floor after 15 months! Relax and enjoy our successes!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:10AM
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Congrats, jannie! I love your "5 things a day"; it reminds me of my "do a dozen" or "toss 10."

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 10:21AM
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Great job, Talley Sue. I especially like your custom made lightbulb drawer, with command hook handle. It makes a huge difference to take something from "works okay" to "Finally works!"

Congratulations on a job well done.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 12:21PM
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    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 2:47PM
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A work of art!

You should be very proud.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 7:31PM
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Thanks, everyone!
Claire, thanks for your comments on my homemade drawer. I did feel sort of silly about making it, but I'm SO very glad I did. It really does make a difference to have something that fits so well and maximizes the space.

My cleaning lady was very impressed. She's very tidy, and I haven't been able to keep up with the tidiness in the rest of the apartment that I had intended. (but hey, the place is clean when she gets done)

I really wish I had taken "before" pictures of the other shelves. Oh, well.

Oh, and now I have to put away all the "craftermath" -- the stuff that I got out in order to do this project.

And last--I want someday to paint the shelves. I should have done that before, or shelf-by-shelf as I tackled the project. But I think if I had, it would still be undone.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Great job! Love love love your closet. Like someone posted up-thread, your work makes me realize that it's high time to look into the laundry room cabinets that were put in seven years ago.

This is how I store plastic grocery bags (FWIW). I have a half-gallon milk jug, and I cut the circle out of the front (which allows the milk to expand if you freeze the jug), and threw away the lid. I fold up my grocery bags (but you can just stuff them in) into the big circle, and I fold up the thin, clean produce bags that are resusable (I get mine from Sams, at the meat department and bag small loose items in these produce bags) and stuff those bags into the top of the jug. This works great for us, everyone knows where the extra bags are and the jug has a handy handle.

Finally, we have a triangular void in a wall, your closet inspires me to knock down the wall and put a closet in the void. Can you give the dimensions of your closet? How wide is your door?


    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 4:30PM
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It's a standard-size-looking door--so roughly 24", I think. But I've never actually measured it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 2:52PM
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