Friday, December 20, 2013

93 Under the Stairs Storage Reveal!

As we have been spending our efforts on other areas of our home over the previous couple of years, our storage areas have suffered.  We have been spending a huge amount of time and effort focusing on these areas to put in place sufficient storage solutions, to ensure that these spaces don't fall to the wayside again as we continue to work on the remainder of our home.  When it came to under the stairs, it all started with an exciting plan!


But let's back up a moment...

Once upon a time we built a house with under stair storage.  Our basement was unfinished for many years, and under the stairs held some of our home building remnants.  After we finished the space, it started to hold bins.  Those bins contained our memories and were stacked all nice and neat in a row.  And then I added bins of toys, and baskets, and home decor, and binders and things to donate and projects to work on and more memories.... oh my.  As I added more and more {it was for sure becoming a stash and dash zone}, things were becoming more and more challenging to get to.  And things started building up and piling and the entire closet became a giant chaotic embarrassing mess.

Sometimes I get so excited to dive into a project, that I start working on it before realizing I should have stopped for two seconds and taken a before photo.  So, I took one of my studio right after the area under the stairs was completely empty.


Just imagine all of that, plus the same amount behind me, all stored in a not-so-neat way in the 3 1/2' x 8 3/4' storage space.  Not cool.  But what was cool, was having a great, blank slate to play with!


By emptying it out completely, we took advantage of the chance to finish the walls and give them a fresh coat of paint along with some pretty white trim.


Then I had to look at everything I wanted to put back into this closet, and come up with a plan to keep it tidy for the long haul.

There were two areas of the storage space I wanted to address.  Being that the closet is right off of my office/craft room, it was important for me for this space to be the hub of all of my projects.  Once we emptied under the stairs, we donated about 40% of the items!  It was amazing.  So you would think I wouldn't have all that much to put back into this space, however, I still had quite a few things that came out of our utility room and other items that never had a proper home in my office, that needed a place to call home.

So phase one was to use an existing cabinet to turn it into a functional gift wrap/packaging station.  This has been on my drool list since laying my eyes on the Martha Stewart station a few years back.  Phase two was to add in a wall of drawer storage, allowing me to navigate a "hallway" to access everything being stored in the awkwardly shaped space.  When items under the stairs were stacked from the back forward, I had set myself up to fail.  Items in the back were lost, not simple to access, and never maintained.  That created a forward motion for the rest of the closet, and eventually, I had to run for cover upon opening the door.

As I mentioned, I initially thought about splurging on the Martha Stewart cabinets and hutch to put together the primo storage space for gift wrap and boxes and bows.  But the cost of the cabinet combination alone came in at $520!

For the drawer system, again, I was dreaming big.  I have purchased one small set of Elfa drawers in my life {to use in my wardrobe}, and I heart them like crazy.  The quality is amazing and they roll so nice and are extremely sturdy.  So, I initially came up with a plan to check out the Elfa system again.  I am OK in investing in good quality if it is something I think will last the life of the house.  Sticker shock!  $540 for the system I wanted to build out of their drawer frames and baskets.  Yeah, no thank you.

So, we were resourceful, pulled a cabinet from the laundry room, and with the help of some inexpensive wooden dowels, scrap wood, paint and hooks, for around $20, I was able to create my own gift wrap station!


And for the price difference, I am pretty sure the amount of joy I had for this project is unexplainable!


IKEA makes a drawer system which is similar to the Elfa.  However, it is IKEA and not Container Store, so there is a huge price difference.  When I pieced together a similar setup at IKEA using the same number of frames and baskets as I initially planned with the Elfa, it came in at $184.  Sold.  That meant two tall frames, two short frames, 10 small baskets, 5 large baskets and three toppers.  I will admit, the IKEA frames are not as sturdy and the drawers don't roll as nicely, but that is such a huge price difference for the same amount of storage!  It just made the most sense to me given how the space was going to be used.  To glam them up a bit, I gave them some gold spray paint lovin'.


So in the end, my dream vs. reality:

{ALGOT system from IKEA, Martha Stewart Gift Wrap Station, Elfa system from Container Store}

You have seen the gift wrap awesomeness, now, for the remainder of the space under the stairs!


Please forgive the photography.  This closet is so small that with my lens, I was having a heck of a time getting it all into one photo, and no tri-pod could be used either.


I am over the moon for the gold drawer system.  I think the gold spray paint should hold up fairly well, as it had about a month of cure time while we finished the closet space.  And if not, I have a small paint brush for touch-ups.


To label all of the drawer fronts, I added my favorite sticky bookplates found at Staples.  There are always coupons for the Martha collection, so I pick them up whenever I can get them on sale.


I know in the photos above that it looks tight, but we measured for this project about eighteen times, certain we couldn't make it work.  But it did!  And I can easily walk in and access the contents of the drawers from sides because of the small "hallway".


Please forgive my awkwardness.  I hate being in front of the camera, but I asked the hubby to take a few photos to show that I can easily use this tight space.


 
So now what do I have stored in these drawers?  SO much goodness!
  • Camera accessories: Lighting, lenses, camera straps, camera bag inserts, flip cam and smaller digital camera, chargers, etc...  Anything camera related now lives in the top drawer.

  • Planner and binder making accessories:  Although I am not to a point where I have the resources and capacity to be mass producing these puppies in my Etsy shop, I do create them for locals on occasion and stock up on materials when I can get them on sale.  The binders and inserts and materials take up two drawers.

  • Fabric:  Two drawers are dedicated to my years of fabric purchases for pillows, table runners, upholstery projects, curtain panels, etc.... 

The next cart holds home accessories and project materials.


  • Accessories:  Candle votives, vases, figurines, etc... anything that I love that I set rotate out with other accessories around our home.  I am always collecting inexpensive votives and dishes from thrift stores because I love to use them for flowers, pens, paperclips, etc...
  • Paint samples:  I purchase these to get a custom color on small painting projects.
  • Trays:  Use these around the home as well as for entertaining.  Mostly to corral items on a desk or dresser.
  • Unfinished Projects:  I am always coming up with projects for spaces we are working on, but can't always get to them right away.  This drawer holds those.
  • Project Life:  I am planning on starting back up in 2014 with a photo per day, and use Project Life to document that.  
  • Artwork:  We have a stash of frames from 12 years of hitting up IKEA and thrift shops, and I have been wanting to do a gallery wall for.ever.  I have been saving some canvases and prints and also needed a drawer to stash frame glass and mats.
  • Shelf Liner:  Always lining cabinets and drawers around here, also love to use it to cover shoe boxes and cereal boxes!

  • Free:  This drawer is basically a drawer which can be used to expand my storage, but in the meantime, I toss my extra printer cartridge in there.
  • Frames:  We have a stack of large frames tucked at the end of the drawer setup.  All of the smaller sized frames from over the years, now fit inside of the final drawer.

And that completes the full under the stairs closet tour!




It was so fun to play the High/Low game in this space.  And it really feels like I finally am setting up my work area for success.  I love having a designated place for current and planned projects, for home decor and accessories and for all of my wrapping supplies.  Smitten doesn't quite describe my feelings, over-the-moon-happy-in-love starts to cover it though....

Such a wonderful feeling to have the project crossed off of the list.  Although we still have a lot of work to do in the utility room and garage before calling the entire storage room overhaul complete, we are taking the rest of the year off from projecting and organizing to focus on our family.

Anyone else been high-fiving over a high/low storage solution you have implemented?  How do you make the most of your under the stairs storage space?


93 comments:

  1. I am so impressed! We store all our stuff at my parents but this gets me excited for when we have a basement and can finally store our own things again.

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  2. I spray painted my Algot system too!

    http://createbakecelebrate.blogspot.com/2013/08/create-quick-laundry-room-update.html

    It has held up wonderfully- I am now thinking of using their wall shelves in a custom closet. You just can't beat the price.
    I love how well you utilized this space- inspiring!

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    1. Looks so wonderful! Lovin' the addition of the puppy bowls!

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  3. Looks fantastic! Great job!

    I would love to hear how the IKEA drawer systems have been holding up - we did a closet drawer system with IKEA and they kept popping off the track constantly when the drawer got heavy! So frustrating and my hubby is ready to forbid anymore IKEA drawers :( I'm looking for a way to organize all the misc office/crafting stuff I have - but so leery of IKEA drawers again - so if they are working great even if they're heavy, do tell! :) thanks!

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    1. Hi Kacy! Did you add the stoppers to the drawers? I didn't at first, but once I did, I stopped having any issues with them at all. I also placed heavier drawers on the bottom and less filled drawers up higher. :)

      xo!

      Delete
  4. How is it that you always manage to be so amazing!? This is awesome! If I had waited like 12 hours I would have realized that I needed the Algot systems instead of what I bought.

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    Replies
    1. You're the sweetest! Trial and error and a little research thrown in there. :) I definitely am always learning when it comes to storage! xoxo!

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  5. Is it weird that I could look at this all day long?
    xoxo
    Rachel

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    Replies
    1. If it is, then I am pretty weird! :) Catch myself going in there and just standing there....

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  6. Absolutely beautiful! I've been working our under the stair area for a while now. Ours serves as our pantry and the difference between "useless" and "perfection" really is in the organization. I just finished a post on part 3 of the process (shelving) if you would like to see it. I haven't finished the full organization, but simply adding appropriate storage has helped immensely!

    http://www.projectsimplehome.com/2013/12/20/doubling-storage-space-under-the-stair-pantry/

    By the way, I am totally jealous of your stunning gift wrap area!

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    Replies
    1. WOW! My jaw is on the floor! Love that you painted it all out and added so much smart storage! What a great use of space!

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  7. So beautiful Jen and I'm super jealous over your wrapping station. We are currently working on the basement remodel, so all my crafting/wrapping accessories are all over the place. Our under the stair storage has our deep freezer in it right now. I can't wait till the playroom is done so we can utilize that storage area better.

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  8. Great job utilizing a small space for a very practical purpose. I love that you splashed a little gold into it too! Our under the stairs space used to be for baby storage, but it's soon-to-be converted to our little "north pole" to house our Christmas decor! Enjoy the rest of 2013 relaxing with your family!!!

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    Replies
    1. Love the North Pole idea! Have you seen Carmel's from Our Fifth House? So darling! http://www.ourfifthhouse.com/2011/12/my-very-own-north-pole.html

      xo!

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  9. I LOVE this idea! You are amazing!!! And yay for IKEA!

    Dana

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  10. Nice work! I have to ask where you shop for fabric - I love your collection!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Rachel! I shop at spoonflower.com and fabric.com most most fabrics. xoxo!

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  11. Wow this is amazing , I love your blog and your projects always look awesome ! We recently brought our first house and your blog gives me soo much inspiration! Xx Siobhan

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  12. well done! I can't believe how much you're able to store in there, and how darn pretty it all looks.

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  13. Darling you've done a great job! As usual!
    I love that u used the Algot system!
    I have been sticking it in every nook and cranny that I could find in my home!!

    I even made an auto sorting laundry center out of it :)
    You can read about it in this blog post: http://www.restfulliving.com/the-auto-sorting-laundry-center/

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    Replies
    1. Totally in love with this! And those labels... sigh... so great!! <3

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  14. This is AWESOME! Great job creating such usable space. I love the spray painted IKEA system. For me the hardest part of organizing is figuring out the best way to categorize things so that they make sense. Sounds easy, but it's daunting for me. You seem to do it so effortlessly. All your drawers are categorized to perfection.

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  15. Fantastic and so inspiring!

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  16. You did a fantastic job, it looks so clean and organized. You're lucky you can do that work yourself!!! Beautiful!!!

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  17. More amazing work! I didn't get the organizing gene so I appreciate all the details you share doing the footwork for a challenged organizer like me. May I ask how you get the Martha Stewart bookplates in the gold tone? I found them at the store in chrome only and your links also display them in silver only. Do they actually make the gold tone ones or are you painting them that color? Love your work. Thanks
    Sharon

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sharon! I find them at Staples, they are called "copper" tone. This should take you right to them: http://www.staples.com/Martha-Stewart-Home-Office-with-Avery-Adhesive-Metal-Bookplate-Horizontal-Copper-1/product_368016

      xo!

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    2. Thanks very much and Happy Christmas!
      Sharon P.

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  18. Awwww so so pretty! And greatly organized! Wish u could come here to nashville and help me!
    I absolutely love love all your ideas! And your home is so beautiful ! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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  19. Ahhhhhhh.....mmmaaaazzzziiinnngggggg......

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  20. WOW! Great job in both design and cost savings! I wish I had understair storage to organize :)

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  21. Love it! Not surprising, since you designed it!
    Curious, though: did you use your Silouette or label maker on your drawers?
    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Amanda!

      Just printed them and cut them out. :)

      xo!

      Delete
  22. I can't say enough how much I love this... I wish I had somewhere to put one of those Ikea drawer sets. Those are AWESOME!!! Amazing job,

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  23. wowzers, what an amazing transformation!!! You've inspired me to take a crack at my basement storage space :)

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  24. Your organizing projects are always so inspiring and I love your unique personal touches. Thank you for sharing!

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  25. Thanks for all the step by step pictures. You inspire me to do great things! Love the gold frames!

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  26. I have a closet like that except the door is looking in the long way. Haven't figured out a good system for it yet. Any tips?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carrie! What about shelves on a track system that wrap from wall wall around to the back?

      xo!

      Delete
  27. Oh, man. I can feel the inspiration. I have been in my house two years and am still trying to figure out what I want to get out of my spaces to maximize functionality, but this post has set my wheels turning, and I think I'm getting there... So thank you!

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  28. Incredible transformation! Congratulations on a beautiful job well done!

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  29. Bet youre wondering why it took you so long to organise this space! Looks like a great utilization that many people (including me) are envious about!

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  30. Your closet looks awesome! I've been waiting to get all the details and it finally happened. You definitely have a gift for figuring the right products to use to store your goods. Thanks for all your inspiration. And, where do you store all the fun items you have in your pictures and that adorable shelf paper.

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  31. This is really a great transformation! Love your result and am impressed and inspired by your perseverance through the "meanwhile" chaos! Happy holidays to you and your family - I suppose Santa is jealous of your gift wrapping station!

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    Replies
    1. Haha! Santa is the one who inspired me ;)

      Delete
  32. Wow, I love it - really inspiring! My under stairs cupboard has got to the stage of throwing things in and shutting the door quick - who knows what lurks at the very back! Thank you for sharing - feeling encouraged to have a go at mine now.

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  33. Jen you are so talented and inspiring.
    There are so many "conquer the clutter" things/people/systems out there, that it is overwhelming - you are the exception. Your ideas are AMAZING, and yet still doable for us disorganized newbies. You save when you can, and splurge when it is worth it. I read your page daily and it is so inspiring.
    I can't wait to see what you and your boys get up to in 2014. Merry Christmas and a huge THANK YOU for helping 'us' get our lives organized! xo

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    Replies
    1. Such a sweet compliment, thank you and Merry Christmas to you as well Tara!

      Delete
  34. This is just awesome and could not have come at a more timely time since I am planning out our home projects for the new year and making better use of the space under the stairs is on that list. Right now it houses our house paints and God only knows what else. Honestly I have not peeked in there in oh, 2 years or so. I would love to turn it into some functional storage for the house paint (too cold here in Wyoming to store paint in the garage) and also maybe other home items - batteries, light bulbs, and that sort of thing. Things we need and use but don't need cluttering up our main living spaces and storage areas.

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  35. I think I am in love! I don't know how you find time to do this.... I need to hire you!

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    Replies
    1. I don't sleep ;) For real, it is not always easy, but I don't watch a lot of TV and I live in a cold climate, so once the kids are in bed, projects are my hobby.

      xo!

      Delete
  36. Great job as always! I appreciate how easily you make the styling look. The organization comes easy enough for me, but I lack the pretty, crafty, chic side to polish the project.

    What I'd love to know is...how you are able to get such great lighting for your basement shots? I have been taking photos of my home office in our loft and can't seem to get the lighting right. Any suggestions?

    ~ Ferly
    Gifts We Use {to grow, love and serve}

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ferly!

      I actually just invested in these and have been really happy with the difference in shooting photos in dark spaces: http://amzn.to/1d1K7Qh

      xoxo!

      Delete
  37. You are seriously the queen of organizing! I LOVE this!!

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  38. You have inspired me to finally tackle my storage mess. Thanks!

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  39. Gosh this is so doable at my house. I currently have a very similar configuration in my unfinished basement that is holding a couple empty bins and boxes and some miscellaneous memories - about 10 minutes worth of clean-up is all. I could implement this system you have showed and allow myself so much space upstairs. Thank you, as always! I am also local to Mpls and wish I could get you to assemble a planner for me!!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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  40. Great job! I bet you look at that area about 10 times a day and smile!!! And LOVE those Ikea bin systems, I have a closet dedicated for crafts and use them there too! I love your idea of the labeling on front of the bins, didn't know those sticky plates existed! Next stop for me now! Merry Christmas!

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  41. This is so amazing! Beautiful & functional! love it!

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  42. Wow that is an amazing space! Love how you sprayed the organizer frames all gold - sooo pretty!

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  43. You are too cute Jen ~ I absolutely love this. It's spurring some ideas for our tight office/guest room!

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  44. Lovely use of the bookshelf. What are the clips that you used to hold the rods for the wrap and ribbon?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Camille! Those details can be found here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2013/12/diy-gift-wrap-organization-station.html

      xo!

      Delete
  45. Jen!! That is sooo awesome! I can't stop looking at it! Your outfit is super cute too. And the top knot :) Can you have a post on how you keep in shape?! Totes jelly!

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  46. Oh how I love your idea! This would also do a great job for all my decoration items..to store them by color or theme..wow! Thank you very much!
    Merry Christmas!

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  47. So amazing and inspiring! To finish my basement, the cost could run up to $10,000. I can only dream of spaces like yours. Thanks for sharing.

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  48. I love everything about this space! Hopefully I can put this awesome inspiration to use in my own home soon!

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  49. Absolutely genius! You did an awesome job in using a small space. Thanks for sharing.

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  50. I want Santa to bring me this entire closet for Christmas!

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  51. Your projects are always so inspiring! I wish we had that much storage in our apartment! We also used the Ikea system, but we placed it in our basement. I serve as a storage space for extra pets supplies, grocery bags and seasonal kitchen accessories! You made a good choice with these, they hold up great!

    Axelle
    Style playground

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  52. I LOVE THIS!!! It just gave me a great idea for storage of our Christmas items where we don't have to go in the attic anymore where we have a spare closet.

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  53. Are the clips holding the drawer systems on top of each other an accessories with this system?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tammy!

      That is correct, the clips come with the system to allow them to stack.

      xo!

      Delete
  54. Ok, just come design/decorate my entire home please? I can't stop looking at how bright & perfect this looks!!

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  55. Please come live with me for two weeks and help me with my house! haha. Your post are inspiring, fun, and stylish. I am organized in my dreams when in reality its overwhelming. I have a goal to start the new year by finishing my new office to kick start an new organized year. Keep the post coming and have a happy new year!

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  56. This is AWESOME!! I especially love the gift wrap station. :)

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  57. omg!! This is amazing.!!! I'm pretty. sure that the first week I would have put a sleeping bag in there and slept so it would be the first thing I see in the morning. LOL!!
    ok... gotta ask... what color/ brand of lipstick or gloss are you wearing in this pics!?! you're adorbs!!

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  58. I love this! We have a cupboard under our stairs that is probably the same size that is stacked with wrapping paper, boxes and baby gear we aren't using. It definitely needs a good makeover. I love the mesh baskets because you can access everything so easily. We currently have the plastic drawers and they are awful.

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  59. This post was my a-ha moment. We're trying to organize our storage room and after weeks of staring at it, it still looks like a Monica closet because I couldn't figure out the right storage option. When I saw this, the light shone down and angels sang. We'll be working on it right after Christmas. Thanks Jen!!

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  60. Where do you find your shelf liner? always looking for cute liners!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Brooke!

      I typically find the shelf liner at HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and Marshall. I also love the MacBeth collection on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1cN4S46

      xo!

      Delete
  61. I just noticed that the Container Store Elfa system is on sale. Any idea if their gift wrap accessory piece would clip on the Ikea system?

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    Replies
    1. Great question, and not sure? Anyone else give this a try?

      xo!

      Delete
  62. Jen - I didn't see this in the comments, so wanted to see where you get the fabulous drawer liners. I have never found ones so lovely!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle,

      I typically find the shelf liner at HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and Marshall. I also love the MacBeth collection on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1cN4S46

      xo!

      Delete
  63. What a fantastic organization system! i have an under the stairs area that is completely open, and I hope to one day be able to utilize it like you have. In the meantime, it is set up as a little craft area for my daughter so we can craft together without stepping on each other. :) Here`s a link if you`d like to see it: http://inkup.blogspot.com/2012/08/before-and-after.html

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  64. Hi!!! Everything looks awesome. Love the colors and how creative it is! Can I ask where you buy your wrapping paper and those neon nesting storage boxes? Love them!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Nikki!

      I find many of my papers at HomeGoods {and Marshalls} and Target. Here is a link to the boxes: http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10033305&N=&Ntt=nesting+boxes

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  65. Jen,

    Where is your bookshelf from? I'm interested in pulling something like this off in my office.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Desiree!

      The bookshelf was initially from IKEA as part of their older "EFFECTIV" line. However, I would imagine something similar would work in any ol' bookshelf.

      Best of luck!

      Delete
  66. Hi Jen! Any tips on where to buy the blue planner covers? I would love to purchase your printable planner for 2015! <3

    By the way, AMAZING blog! I just found this through Pinterest and instantly fell in love. I'm inspired to do your projects when we finally have our own home. Thanks so much! <3

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Egay! The blue planner cover is the Martha Stewart line from Staples, however, I have heard it is challenging to find them at this time. I am not sure if they are being discontinued, but my planner pages can fit in just about any standard or jr. sized discbound or three ring binder.

      Thanks again!
      Jen

      Delete
  67. Jen, I just found your blogspot today. The weather is as gray and dreary as my storage unit is. In desperation for inspiration, I googled "well-organized storage unit" and found your post on paint storage and my mood improved dramatically. I clicked on this under the stairs post (even though I'm in a 1-story) and was overjoyed at the ideas you shared for storing gift wrap and for camera equipment. Thanks for sharing. I was near tears prior to reading your posts, but now I have hope that perhaps I too can find what I'm looking for without having to engage a search and rescue team in my storage unit. I'm going to start organizing now. Best regards, Nemo.

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