Tuesday, May 23, 2017

23 Quick Tip Tuesday: The Difference a Dollar Makes

I have been spending some time helping a friend clean out every last drawer and cabinet of her kitchen, and it has been a really fun and rewarding process. We are working on the project in phases to be sure we are addressing all of the family's needs. Step one was to take before photos and come up with a plan. Step two was to remove all of the cabinet contents and purge. Step three was to put things back where they made the most sense, based entirely on how the family utilizes their kitchen. And step four was to have them live with the first round of changes prior to adding any specific storage items. We are currently in the step four stage, no storage added, just cleaning out, purging and putting things where they make sense.


We have some more big projects planned for the space, as well as some additional re-arranging, and then I plan to share the entire process and after photos. In the meantime, we decided to do something that made an instant impact on a budget and I thought it would be a perfect quick tip to share.

Here is the cupboard before. This is in the process of moving items and cleaning things out and determining proper placement for the contents.


The contents were removed entirely and everything was wiped down. Then we added black poster board behind the shelves with very small pieces of double-stick tape to hold it in place (small amounts of mounting putting or glue dots would also work). A single piece of black poster board should cost no more than a dollar from any dollar or craft store. But this ridiculously simple act (no painting required), really makes the dishes stand out and heightened the overall feeling of the cupboard!


I have taken the time to paint foam core boards for a similar result, but that can be much more time consuming and the result in the black poster board was just as effective. Plus, the poster board is easier to work with; both cutting to size and layering if multiple sheets are required.

The Mr. of the house was also impressed and instantly mentioned how much he preferred the end result of such an easy change. He opened the cupboard and let out a "Woah!" which I always consider a major high-five moment.

Aside from the poster board, we didn't add any fancy organizers. Much of the difference really came down to storing items that belonged together in a single cabinet. 

As you can also see, there was a little debate about storing cups up or down. I once learned that glassware should be stored up so no moisture is trapped after washing, but was always raised with glasses stored down. Which do you prefer?


Next time you are at the dollar store, grab a sheet or two of black poster board and pop it in the back of one of your cabinets. There is sure to be instant gratification from such a simple step, and that gratification will continue to surprise you every time you open the cabinet door. The absolute best part is this project doesn't discriminate, it really works just about everywhere in any setting (think rentals, bookcases, nooks and medicine cabinets...).

Have I convinced you to give this quick update a try? What is your favorite dollar store purchase?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

16 Space Saving Storage with an Organized Medicine Cabinet

We have recently made two changes to our home that I just can't stop lovin' on. First, we added the board and batten treatment to our family room and it was such a dramatic difference in the overall feeling, not to mention it totally amped the coziness factor. The second change was in our main bathroom in the form of major space saving storage!


This was 100% one of the "Why in the world didn't we do this sooner?" projects. Sometimes the obvious solution isn't even on the radar. We have a very, very small main bathroom, and it has been played with so many times over the years. Tall storage cabinets, short storage cabinets, no storage cabinets... I have struck out so many times attempting to find that perfect storage balance, without taking up too much real estate in an already teeny tiny space. I have been tempted to utilize the wall over the toilet, but I find that too much wall shelving can also make a room feel cluttered and small... I would much rather conceal things. So for the past couple of years, some bathroom items and toiletries would live in the hallway linen closet, and other daily essentials would be tucked below the bathroom sink. And to protect their personal care items even further I added some sanitary storage drawers.

The last update took place almost three years ago, here is a quick refresher of what the bathroom was looking like up until recently:


Not bad, but the mirror was broken and completely rigged with objects to hold it away from the wall at the proper angle. And the topper to the vanity was never my first choice, but it came stock with the cabinet and I really was having a hard time finding a replacement piece that came in the correct size. And finally, the boys would get careless and just toss their toothbrushes into their drinking cup on the counter instead of back into their storage drawers below the sink. Oh! And teenage boys! I had no idea that they would need any type of toiletry beyond a toothbrush, but suddenly I was storing a razor, shaving cream, deodorant, cologne, face wash, hair paste... the list goes on.


I had thought about adding a medicine for a hot minute but immediately dismissed the idea because I had visions of oversized and boxy dated wall cabinets (which our builder originally installed in a couple of our bathrooms and they were promptly removed after we moved in). You guys, that is most definitely not always the case! Medicine cabinets can be recessed into your bathroom wall cavity which also allows the mirror to remain flush! And you know what else? This has been happening for years and years and years! Totally not a new concept, just new to me. Because I live under rocks. And piles of laundry....

Once I spotted a vintage style recessed cabinet at Pottery Barn, I promptly placed an order. Although the cabinet is intended to have a vintage appeal, I found it to be simple and modern and perfect for our growing boys.


We were able to open up the wall, cut away part of a stud and create a picture frame for the cabinet to be mounted to inside of the wall cavity. I shared the entire installation tutorial over on the Angie's List website here.


As you can see, this was just a quick weekend warriors type of update, the walls stayed the same but I also swapped the vanity top, faucet, and light (the light was a floor model clearance score!) to compliment the new mirror.


The medicine cabinet added the storage and freed up clutter, while the white vanity top made the room feel larger and brighter.


The actual cavity/interior of the medicine cabinet is smaller than the mirror, but it still holds everything the boys utilize each day.



The entire interior is made of metal so it is also magnetic! Magnetic equals the ability to add an endless variety of magnetic organizers and bins. Suction cup organizers will work just as well!


I found the interior to be quite dark in all black, so I added some vinyl shelf liner to the back wall. I love that it brought in a subtle pattern and some color, and it is also easy to wipe down and clean. The one thing it also did was reduce the effectiveness of the suction cup razor holder, so I just hot glued a strong magnet to the holder and the problem was solved.


For the smaller toiletries, I always hunt my house for organizers, dishes, votives and jars. The toothbrush holder is an old IKEA cup that we have had for years, while the floss sticks are now easy to access in an egg holder.


Another small kitchen dish holds random grooming tools and objects that needed to be corralled inside of the cabinet.


The shelves are adjustable to fit a variety of bottle sizes and shapes, and deep enough to fit typical bathroom canisters and organizers.


Counter clutter in small spaces makes my head spin. I find that just a couple of items on the counter can really impact the entire room. I would much rather use free space for a pretty votive of flowers and handsoap than see all of the daily toiletries scattered around the sink. And I am not sure why a cabinet over the sink is easier for my boys to maintain than a cabinet below the sink, but it seems to be working that way for now! #yes #momwin



So now I am able to use the area below the sink to hold extra towels, cleaning supplies, paper products and a small basket of bulky overflow items. The pretty stuff stays out and all of the daily items are tucked away.


I will never shy away from medicine cabinets ever again. The difference this upgrade made has been huge! No more oversized cabinets taking up floor space. No more worrying about adding extra shelving. No more running down the hall for cotton swabs and extra towels. We really couldn't be happier with this upgrade to a very high traffic area.






Are you thinking of adding a recessed medicine cabinet to your bathroom? Don't forget to head here for the full medicine cabinet installation tutorial. Also, please join me Thursday, May 18th for a Twitter chat @ 2:00 p.m. EST! Just follow the #DIYBlogChat hashtag and we will be answering questions and talking through the entire project!


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