This time of year brings out my inner OCD/ADHD beast. Like a real shrew, it’s small, hyperactive and has a voracious appetite. Like the aptly named figure in Shakespeare’s story, it is difficult to tame. My shrew(d) monster yearns to lay waste to messy closets and gut the cluttered cabinets …at least until something else captures its attention. It was briefly awakened last fall when I ogled IKEA’s closet organizers; I came home and announced to Mr. Official that all I really wanted for my birthday was a weekend trip to Atlanta and return with everything to re-do the closets. I then made myself wait until after the holidays to start tracking down the specific gadgets and gizmos that promise to bring peace, harmony, tranquility and organizational nirvana to my world.
Now that the holidays are over, and my birthday is looming large, I began the hunt. After a few
hours okay, days (if we’re being honest) of ferocious internet hunting, I found myself with a wish-list of to-do’s as long as my arm, and arguably more expensive than said limb. Organization doesn’t come cheap. At least not the pretty kind.
Then reality and frugality set in. For starters, once I had the measurements sketched it out on paper, I had to accept a bitter pill: the IKEA pieces that had danced like sugarplums in my head were too big – and just too expensive – for the space. After scaling back my dreams, I found a modest system with a natural cherry finish I really wanted. And then I discovered it was on clearance. A few months ago. Not only can I not get that style for a song, I can’t scrounge up the pieces I would need at any price, period. Sigh.
Back to square one. To further complicate things, all those online expeditions had me dreaming up myriads of other home improvement schemes…painting, curtains, bedroom redux, stairwell photo gallery, framing the mirrors in the bathroom…the list goes on. Eventually the mist cleared and sanity took back its rightful place in my head.
- First of all I can’t do everything all at once.
- Second, I’m quick to want but slow to spend $$$ on semi-permanent fixtures (like closet systems or paint jobs.)
- Third, I know myself well enough to know that no matter how feverishly I organize, if I don’t maintain it, all is for naught.
That said, we have lived here for almost two years and beyond painting the bedrooms when we moved in, I’ve held off from any drastic changes or expenditures. So here’s my 2013 wish list, in order of intended purchase and installation:
1. Master bedroom closets. Our closets are not huge by modern standards (each is 72″ x 68″ x 47″ x 44″ with an angled door), but they are palatial compared to past closets, especially the one in our last home.
The builder installed wire shelving in these closets. (Yes, I know it’s the cheapest option. I also know what this house sold for originally and in that price range, you should not find wire shelving in the closets.) I’d like to say I’m not a shelving snob, but I confess, I am. If you can have built-in closet storage without taking food from your children’s mouths, it’s worth it.
The builder also committed the heinous crime of painting the closet walls white. In a house that does not have a white wall anywhere else (save the garage), they painted the closets and pantry white. Gah. Before I can install the new closet fittings, I’ll have to remove all the contents and the wire shelves, patch the holes and paint the closets (and the bathroom, while I’m at it, because it doesn’t match the bedroom.) I predict several days of dealing with clothes everywhere. Ugh.
The plan is to install stacks of white corner shelves, rubbed oil bronze clothing rods with white shelves and side pieces, lots of shoe shelves (for me) and storage towers with drawers and cubbies for my jumbled jewelry and scarves, and a hamper in Mr. Official’s closet for his dry cleaning.
And maybe even some snazzy new lighting to make it easier to see our stuff.
After much measuring, fretting, re-measuring and comparing various systems, I’ve settled on pieces that will – I hope – optimize the space and storage, and give the look of custom built-ins without the hefty pricetag of custom built-ins. Something that looks like this:
My original IKEA dream closets would have cost $1400 per closet. The bill for my smaller and more modest-priced pieces will come at about 25% of that. I’m taming the shrew(d) beast.
And if all goes well, for my second act…
2. Kitchen cabinet makeover. I love my kitchen’s size and openness. I love the massive granite island and having a second sink across from the stove, and a coffee bar. But I don’t love that the base cabinets are bereft of pull-out drawers. Our last home had a kitchen that clocked in at 90 square feet. When we bought cabinets for it, I ordered double pull-outs in every base cabinet and it was worth every extra penny.
However, I’ve found a source for aftermarket two-tiered pullouts and pull-out racks for baking sheets. No more squatting on creaking knees to fish out a pan from the bottom of the stack in the furthest, darkest depths of my cabinets. The total bill comes to $400 plus shipping. Another frugal victory; both closets and all the cabinet hardware is still less than the cost of one IKEA closet.
And that’s going to be the end of my organizational quest for now. Because no matter how much I save, it’s still a pretty good chunk of money, time and effort. There are changes and improvements in our future (Mr. Official keeps muttering about putting in a putting green), but I’m happy to train the beast to focus on these two jobs for now. I’ll snap some before, in-progress and voila! shots along the way, along with sources for my frugal finds. Stay tuned!