Neat Freak Chronicles: If I step on one more Barbie shoe!

How many times have you walked through your child’s room to kiss him or her goodnight, only to have the moment ruined by the pain of a Barbie shoe or a Matchbox car impaling the arch of your naked foot?  And how many times do you tell your children to put all of their toys away, including the rock they found in the garden and the piece of yellow paper with which hey cannot part?  Well hold back your explicatives and hop around the room writhing in pain no more!  You’ve heard the expression, “A place for everything and everything in its place,” and it’s a mantra I live by (and nag by).  For less than $20 I was able to turn my daughters doll, rock, bead, and acorn treasures into a neat freak’s dream.  Come, I’ll show you…

My daughter’s room is small, and even though she had the option to choose the bedroom she wanted (my son could care less), she chose the small room with the four-poster bed and the cat.  I explained to my then six year-old that the bed and the cat were moving with the previous owners of the house, but she insisted on that room.  Fine.  Challenge accepted.  When we unpacked, everything fit beautifully, but 4 years later, her “collections” (aka crap) began to grow.  So I recently devised a plan to store all of her stuff.  I headed out to the shops to see what I could find.  I had instant success in Target (isn’t it the greatest?) in the dollar bin section of the store.  I picked up 12 small baskets, each for a dollar, and a few other items – you can never walk out of Target with just what you came for!

Back at home, I sorted all of her treasures in each of the baskets and used my handy-dandy label maker to mark each one, so as they got dumped out, they could be refilled with ease.


Organizing the “collections”

Once all the items were sorted and the baskets labeled, it was then time to find a place for them.  There was absolutely NO ROOM left in the closet… or so I thought.  I used the 3M Command Hooks and hung them on the inside of the closet doors – not a drop of closet space wasted!  These hooks are amazing.  They can go up on a wall and come down without damaging the wall or the paint.  I use them all of the time.  For about $8, I was able to get 12 hooks and hang all of the baskets.  $20 bought me some peace of mind and neatness in a small space.  There was even a place for the Barbie shoes.  My feet are so thankful for this chapter of the Neat Freak Chronicles.


Ahh, everything in its place!


Barbie and her shoes.

This project would work well in almost any closet:  Baskets of hats and gloves in the hall closet, baskets of washcloths and extra toiletries in the linen closet, baskets of socks and underwear in a bedroom closet, baskets of lunchbox snacks in a pantry closet, to name a few.  Let me know where this project will work for you!




The Unlazy Days of Summer, Volume 3: Making shadow box book shelves, Part 3

If you have been following along on my quest to make shadowbox bookshelves for my daughter’s room, this is the third post.  I’ve already finished building the boxes and painting them, and now it’s time for the final step: Assembly and Installation.  Time to put the whole shebang together!  First stop, back to Mike Pekovich’s shop for assembly.  I brought all of the frames and the boxes so that we could attach the hardware to hang the finished products, and attach the frames to the boxes using a power tool!  I bought D-ring hangers to hang the frames, but they were a bit thick and would cause the frames to tilt forward (and books to fall off the shelves!)  Luckily, I found rubber bumpers to stick to the bottom of the boxes to balance the difference in thickness.  Now all the items will sit level on the shelves.


The hardware


All the pieces out and ready to assemble

The first step was to attach the D-rings.  We put them on either end, but not right on the edge because I wanted them hidden behind the frame.  We made marks on the first box and then cut a piece of wood that fit the distance between the inside edge of each D-ring so that, going forward, all frames would have the hangers the same distance apart, making hanging easier.  Then we used a combination square on the next frame and set it to the measurement between the wood piece and the edge.  We butted the piece of wood up to the short edge of the ruler side of the combination square, so that the the position of the D-rings would not only be the same distance apart, but would also be on the same place on each frame. This step would also make hanging easier by saving time with measuring.


This is the piece of wood that measured the space between the inner edge of each hook to be attached.


This is the combinations square. The vertical piece was placed at the edge of the box and the wood piece was butted up against the ruler’s short edge.

Next, we drilled pilot holes in the frames and hand screwed in the hangers.  But then, it was time:  Power tooools!  I was getting to use a nail gun that shot the tiniest nails which sink into the wood and register them almost invisible.  Mike had me take a practice shot on scrap wood to get the hang of it.  My concern with this gun was that it didn’t have a rubber tip and left a dent in the wood when fired.  I really didn’t want the frames dented, so Mike pulled out a wood shaving and we tested to see if the nail would go through it without attaching it to the frame, and protect the frame from denting.  It worked!  Time to get nailing!


Drilling pilot holes for the hanging hardware.


The wood shaving that saved the frame from dents.

I did the yellow frame first.  Mike suggested that I start by nailing in two opposite corners to secure the frame from moving while nailing around the entire frame.  Eight nails, two on each side about two inches from each edge of the box, is all it took!  And the first one is done!


Mike holds the first of five shadow box book shelf frames.

I worked quickly to finish the remaining four boxes before rushing home to hang them.


Me and the power tool of the day – a nail gun!

Once I got home, I got out my drill, a screwdriver, a level, a measuring tape and screws with self screwing anchors.  I mapped out the placement of the frames on the floor and made some marks on the wall.  Then, I took my level and put it up to the back of the first box where the D-ring hangers were installed.  I used tape to mark off the center of each hook on my level.  This way, when I put it up to the wall, I could easily mark the drill points once I found a level line.


Marking the center of the hooks on the level with tape made the hanging process easier!


Time to drill. Anchors support the screw in the drywall when there is no wood behind the drywall.

The first frame is up!


The first frame on the wall.

I hung the rest up and loaded them with books.  This project is done!


Frames up and filled!


The view my daughter will have from her bed.

Check that box!!  Let’s see what’s next.  I only hope it involves power tools!



PS Did you know that besides doing DIY, my real expertise is as a Registered Dietitian? I subscribe to a non-diet philosophy and I am a Health at Every Size® practitioner.

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