Getting ready forThanksgiving #2: "mudroom" cabinet

talley_sue_nycNovember 11, 2012

The dining room has another trouble spot--the cabinet that I call my "mudroom."

It's right by the door to the apartment, and it was intended to the stuff that you might put in a mudroom: shoes, boots, kids' backpacks, umbrellas, etc.

It has also become the charging station for the small electronics.

It was thought out at one point, but in practice it doesn't completely work. It's another one of those things that needs a big rethink, but I don't have time to do it before Thanksgiving. Nonetheless, getting it decluttered is needed, AND it may make it easier for me to see where to go with it.

One problem the cabinet has is that it's so deep. But w/ narrow shelves intended for shoes, the stuff deep in the back is not accessible.

Here's the BEFORE picture:

Here's the top shelf, where the charging stuff is stashed:

And the closely spaced shelves that were supposed to be for shoes:

And the bottom, where school bags were supposed to be:

Note that huge stash of papers on the bottom--those are from The Girl's high school days--she's a freshman in college. I had asked her to tackle some of those papers while she was home for a week on break, but she didn't.

So that's how I spent my Saturday. You'll see the afters soon.

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OK, here's what it looks like now:

Now that I see it in the picture, it doesn't really look all that improved!

This is an object lesson in the value of taking a photograph of your place and then looking at THAT--it really does give you a different perspective.

However: I tossed two HUGE shopping bags full of school papers. And *still* kept a ton.

To the left of the "mudroom," in the pink wall unit, there is a door on the bottom that was intended to be "books for school" storage. It had become a depository of a huge (like, 2 feet high) stack of school papers.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:26PM
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OK, this is definitely midstream.

Here it is:

There are two big problems here.

1) the charger equipment (this bleeds down onto lower shelves, too). It's messy, there is too much, and the containers I use for it are easy to USE but not very attractive, etc.

2) the excess organizing stuff--that dark-green box on the left is empty (I tried to use it to hold the chargers, but it didn't work well bcs it had a lit), and the light-green zigzag one holds all sorts of empty containers (Altoid tins, etc.). I know from experience that I might actually use these, but they shouldn't be HERE. I'm going to get them downstairs, I think.

But it feels like progress because I got a LOT of stupid little things out of the way--see?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:32PM
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OK, here are the "shoe" shelves. When I was setting aside the papers to save (The Girl is a writer, so lots of printout of her novel-in-progress and other stuff that I couldn't toss), I decided to capitalize on the depth of the shelves.

I stacked the papers crossways deep in the back, all the way to the top. That kept the front half of the shelf free and moved the papers to a place where they are out of the way but protected.

Not a permanent situation, but good enough for now--it'll get us through Thanksgiving and into Christmas break, when I can maybe make her actually whittle it down herself. There are 3 stacks there--the one on the right had to go end in because I was short 1 lousy inch.

See that zigzaggy thing in the back on the middle skinny shelf? That's an organizing doodad for sock drawers that I used to use and can't bring myself to completely toss. For now, it's OK where it is--it keeps other stuff from sliding back and getting lost.

See what I mean about the charging thing? The strip on the right doesn't have enough room below it to plug in chargers; if I move it up it won't have enough room above. I'm thinking about removing one of those shelves and re-spacing them.

The before, again:

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:38PM
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And, here's the bottom. I emptied The Girl's book bag--it was about 10 inches thick w/ papers she didn't need anymore. It's empty, and perched on top of the cardboard box. I think she might want it up at college, so I'll ask her at T'giving.

I pulled out The Boy's at-home textbooks from last school year; they were hogging space in there. I'll ask DH to take them down to his old school instead of trying to sell them for money. It'll get them out of the house faster!

The box has mostly books--it's one of the two boxes in the "before" picture. The other one was emptied and is being recycled.

Now The Boy can put his bookbag in there instead of leaving it on the floor!

This is definitely not a permanent solution--but it's tidier. And even if I don't get it any prettier looking, the mere fact that The Boy's bookbag can go in there is HUGE!!

Again, a repeat of the before:

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:45PM
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The bottom shelf of this compartment was stuffed full of papers, etc. I didn't think to take a picture of it, because it wasn't on my list.

But then when I got going on all the papers, I remembered this, and I figured I'd just keep going. And now--STORAGE SPACE!!!

(in the basket are the Christmas carol songbooks that I use each December for the caroling we do on our block--that's a nice place to keep them, especially since it's coming up)

Not sure what I'll put in here yet.

(and those are kumdo uniforms on the top; The Girl doesn't do it anymore, and neither does The Boy--though he might like to. Need to have a conversation about what to do with those. The Boy is too big for his, I'm pretty sure!)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 11:02PM
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The charging station:

I want to make a set of pockets to go on the outside right-hand end. I've ordered a power strip that has the outlets oriented perpendicular to the strip AND has a switch on every outlet so I can just leave the blocks plugged in.

And I'm going to put buttonholes in the back of every pocket, so the wires can travel behind the fabric panel.

In that bottom section, I want to leave a lot of clearance so the bookbag is easy to get in and out, and easy to access. But that leaves a big gap that isn't "doing anything."

I'm thinking I might put some sort of rack on the back wall to hold umbrellas--lying across instead of hanging up and down, maybe.
(sort of like the Nerf gun rack)

And, as I said, the top section doesn't work anymore. I can move the shelves pretty easily--just drill new holes for the L-brackets. So I might just put one in the middle and see how it works out as a general storage space.

We have WAY too many books, but this isn't a great space for books.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 11:07PM
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One thing I hate, that just makes something neat look trashy, is dangling strings or cords. (this is part of why I'm so unhappy w/ the charging-station setup I have now, and why I'm going to hide the cords behind the fabric pockets)

I make a big effort to tuck my shoestrings into the shoes on my hanging shoepocket storage because it bugs me so badly.

So these umbrella were bothering me. But I was complaining about them to my DH, and I realized--I can flip the umbrellas around! There's no *law* that says I have to leave them with the handle out. It's not like someone is going to immediately open them, and that flipping it around will be annoying!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 11:12PM
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I wish more problems in life were so easy to solve - LOL!

You are a brave woman to be posting the "before" pics!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 6:07PM
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Ok Talley Sue - here is my 2 cents after reading all of these straight through. To me, it seems you are trying to tell yourself that the unit really doesn't work. Have you thought of getting something different for that spot? Maybe even building custom cubbies for the spot?

JMHO. It actually looks so much better now! You did a great job organizing and purging.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 11:37AM
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Great job! I would re-space the shelves I think they might be more useful. Could you put the umbrellas in the zig zag box?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:36PM
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Hmm, I didn't think of container-izing the umbrellas. That's an idea. But they are actually very different lengths; one of them wouldn't fit, that's for sure.

Mommabird, you're right, I think I am trying to wrap my head around that idea that this doesn't quite work.

I like the *idea* of it, but the shoes thing might need some other approach.
The backpack part is mostly good.

It could adapt easily--It comes apart. The little brass clips on the corners are simply nailed on from the front. And one shelf is held in place by L-brackets. If I do adapt, I'm going to need to think more.

And I think I might like doors for parts of it.

Thanks for all the comments!
It's very encouraging.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:22PM
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Tally Sue, I agree with graywings, you are really brave to post before pix.

Getting the feeling you need doors for this cupboard, or buy one with doors. If the books have to stay there, they might look better upright instead of stacked. You could also try baskets for some items so that they are not visible until the basket is pulled out.

My spot that defies logic is my desk at home; we brought it via CL and it has no drawers. So I feel your pain.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:28PM
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I agree with colorcrazy that the books might look better upright and could save a little space that way. If you have room to move the books from the lower right hanging shelf up with the other books, that could make a space for the umbrellas.

You've made great progress!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 10:54PM
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The umbrellas can't fit in the hanging shelves; a few of them are way too long.

I want to eventually get the books out of there.

Right now, I'm going to just clear a few things off the top and call this "good enough for Thanksgiving," but I might come back in a couple of weeks with sketches.

I made this cabinet w/ my mom's help, so I'm sort of attached to it. But it also isn't quite working.

As I said, it's easily modified. Though I'm no sure how to put doors on it. It might be a fun experiment.

I'm a fan of drawers but not always of baskets; I've tried baskets in this, and they sort of didn't work either.

I've thought about having a tall cabinet made to coordinate with/match the wall unit to the left, and making it more like a real coat closet. Narrower, but taller.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 12:27AM
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The books aren't there permanently--I want to move them out but didn't have time before the holiday.

and they won't *fit* if I stand them upright.

Anyway, here's an image of what it looked like at the end of the holiday.

I took all the organizing boxes downstairs to the storage bin; I took the large empty green box and filled it with sewing stuff from another section of the cabinet where it was stuffed among the 2nd set of china, and then put it in the empty compartment that used to hold school papers.

After the holiday weekend, I'll be tackling the sewing stuff.

And of course, this cabinet still needs a lot of work and some rethinking. I'll come back and post updates, once I actually start on it.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 12:07AM
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