Cleaning up and out

I had another busy weekend going out and having fun with friends (and working my neglected Saturday shift again), but I did finally get some time at home and some stuff done.  Or rather, The Household got some stuff done.  Stuff that we’ve been meaning to do for a while.  Stuff that will hopefully make our home a little neater and easier.  Sister and BIL’s house is a classic two-story built in the mid 70’s.  The bedrooms are small with sad, little closets.  I’m the lucky snot who has the “big” bedroom, but Munchkin is stuck in one of the little ones (the other little on serves as our office – three computer desks and a ton of junk).  In fact, the whole house suffers from a lack of adequate / well designed storage.  I just feel it particularly badly because I had to take a whole apartment (and a large one with tons of storage at that) and compress it into a single bedroom.  Okay, I also have a storage unit; most of my furniture doesn’t get to live in the house.  (And my twenty-three boxes of books really don’t get to live in the house.)

Thus, a couple of years ago, I embarked on a plan to improve the storage in my room.  The first and easiest thing to tackle was my aforementioned sad, little closet.  It was partially first because I wasn’t sure how long it was going to stay a functioning closet.  The rod supports and shelf were in pretty sad shape.  Even if they hadn’t been, though, the “standard” layout of single rod with shelf along the top really just wasted a bunch of available space.  I had huge, teetering stacks on the shelf that were terribly hard to keep from tipping over whenever I pulled out a garment, but a lot of the height of the closet was still unused.  I had a lot of junk down on the floor, too, but that may have just been poor organization and random storage from when my room had been the guest bedroom.

I considered building my own closet organization system, either from scratch or using shelving systems from Home Depot or The Container Store.  Then, while looking up shelving spacing and hanging heights for various things, I saw several blogs / hacks of people using BILLY bookcases from Ikea for the shelving and then just bracing rods to either side.  I definitely liked that idea.  I decided to go with a fairly easy / standard arrangement of shelves in the middle (probably off-center), double-decker hanging to one side and long hanging to the other side. When on went on the Ikea website, though, I ended up changing up the concept a little.  Browsing found me something that I though fit my needs even better: the PAX system.  PAX are intended to be freestanding wardrobes in rooms without closets are freestanding organization in walk-in closets.  I decided to buy two and slide them into my regular closet, and span a small bar of long hanging between them (at the time, I owned one dress).

It worked wonderfully.  Mom and VetFriend helped me with my shopping trip.  BIL helped me assemble and install the wardrobes and hanging bar.  The hanging bars in the PAX frames are easy to install, and I went with two shelves at the bottom of each frame.  The only iffy points were the moment when we had the sudden fear that we didn’t have quite enough clearance to get the frames into the closet and trying to attach the supports for the rod.  I decided not to try screwing through the plastic (or whatever) veneer on the PAX frames and to just use Liquid Nails, given the rod is very short and doesn’t need to support much weight.  In retrospect, I really should have attached the rod supports before we leveraged the frames into the closet; gravity was not on my side.  Eventually, though, BIL got them to stay up, and I have a great closet for a non walk-in.  I have since added Rubbermaid Bento storage boxes to the shelves, creating drawers of a sort, and making the closet look even tidier.  I even have some of my shoes living on top of the PAX frames.

Anyway, back in current times, we’re now working on a similar plan for Munchkin’s room.  Her room was perfectly fine when she was a baby / toddler and had a little bed and minimal stuff.  When she got a full size bed, though, and started wanting to have space to play with stuff in her room, thing got a little tighter.  We had long since gutted her closet, and the low-boy dresser that had been the base for her changing table was in there.  That worked pretty well for a while.  We stored her jammies and blankets in the low boy, and all her clothing went in the regular dresser that came with the set that included the changing table and the bed that converted from crib to toddler bed to full sized bed.  We added some of those flimsy, assemble-any-which-way cubes and we were good for a while.  She’s even bigger now, though, and her clothing doesn’t all fit in the dresser and the cubes are inadequate for her stuffies and dolls.  Time to rearrange and improve her storage…and have a closet again given that her dresses live in Sister’s closet.

Another Ikea shopping trip netted us a neat STUVA wardrobe that’s more kid sized…and has the option for pink doors.  It’s been sitting on the floor in her play room for quite a while (as much as a year?!?), and it’s not assembled yet, but we finally made some progress on the project.  First we did a toss / keep / donate / upcycle sort on her clothing and toys.  Then we packed up everything from the cubes and the floor (doll furniture, etc) and started re-arranging the furniture.  The bed remained in place (it’s pretty much the only place a double bed fits in that room), the dresser moved to the opposite wall, and the low-boy went where the dresser had been.  The cubes we disassembled and put in the donate pile.  We still need to build the wardrobe.  It will only take up part of Munchkin’s closet, but we’re going to use a pressure rod and a curtain to make her a “magic” changing room.  We’re also going to get one of my old bookcases out of storage, re-paint it, and run bungee cords down the front to make a stuffed animal “zoo.”  I’m very excited to see this all get started, and as a bonus I also cleaned stuff out my closet to add to the donate pile.  So, although it wasn’t really a Rainy Sunday kind of thing – more of a Heat Wave Saturday thing (we have AC), I’m still getting that sense of fulfillment and peace from the project.  I’ll take it.


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