Wednesday, November 19, 2014

68 Our Storage Room is FINALLY Organized!

I am sighing one of the biggest organizational sighs of relief that I have sighed in a very long time.  Earlier this afternoon, I finally stuck the last label on the last bin in our storage room.


On one hand, this was one of my least favorite projects.  There is NOTHING exciting or glamorous or pretty about deep dark storage rooms (that also double as a utility room).  The space was messy, cold and unfinished.  It was also stacked with pretty much everything we have been avoiding for the last year (again).

On the other hand, I was quickly reminded that what I love so much about organizing, is not just that overwhelming joy in finishing a project, but the small projects that help get us there.  You know, the painting, the pretty papers, the labeling... basically I enjoy the creative aspect and that is a huge driving motivator when I work on projects. 

And that is not to say that we couldn't do all of that in the storage room.  Although this is more of the man cave of our house, I did get to do a little painting and even lined some shelves, just to stay inspired to keep at it.  But when I asked Bryan if he wanted me to paint the pegboard or trim it out or dip the screwdrivers (ha), he showed very little interest.

So yes, this project challenged me.  Big time.  We started working on it over a year ago (seriously, how does a year go by so quickly!?).  Then, after organizing all of our paint supplies, we changed our minds and removed the paint we had spent so much time organizing (oops).  From there, we organized the closet under the stairs, our garden shed, and our garage.  Then we then built new paint storage and ultimately got distracted with more fun and entertaining projects.  Every day that went by meant that the storage room was collecting more and more clutter.  And with very few finished and working systems, everything was being piled within bins in the center of the room.

Here is what the storage room looked like last year when we started.  Warning, the following photos are not all pretty.  Brace yourselves.


Obviously, keeping the room piled as shown was dangerous, and on top of that, there were so many things that we couldn't find or access and even forgot we had. 

You can read about the beginning of process here.  After painting the cement floors, painting a free hand-me-down dresser and installing some new shelving, we were left with this.


Ever since, our piles have been moving from one storage room (shed, garage, closets, etc...), to the next.  And the storage room was the very last room on our bucket list to get organized before starting our kitchen project.  Eek!

And that my friends is what drove me to finally get stuff done!  Bryan and I were in need of a little project-free down time, so we took a few days away last week to visit his parent's place down in Florida.  If you live in Florida, consider me jealous.  GORGEOUS  state.  Anywho.  I have another trip coming up this week (so please hang with me during the lighter posting schedule), which essentially gave me a few quick days to finish the storage room once and for all.  My goal was to tackle it by using 100% of what we already had on hand; no purchases allowed.  I always love a good challenge!

But why the mad dash this week?  Well, after we finished making room in our garage for working on the kitchen, all of our tools ended up in piles and bins in our storage room.  Of course, we will be needing many of those tools over the upcoming months. So having them easily accessible and super organized will be a HUGE sanity saver.  Also, the storage room is located right below our kitchen, which means we will need to have access to plumbing, gas and electrical.  There is no way we are going to DIY a kitchen, with the utility room below it such a mess.  Speaking of, when we returned home last week, this is close to what the room looked like (pic taken a few weeks ago).


Told ya!  Not good.

With kitchen floors ordered and being delivered next week, this room had to get organized STAT!  So I did what I always do, and pulled everything out of the room to give it a blank slate.  I then put on Netflix and sat in the middle of my family room floor for the past three days, sifting and sorting.  Here is a halfway through progress shot.  Another great reminder that it always gets worse before it gets better.


The only breaks I took were to play in the snow, read stories in our fort, and make dinner.  After every last drill bit and tool was sorted, my hands were raw and I was tiiiiiiiired.  

I get asked a lot about the actual process of organizing, so here is how it goes down.  I start by emptying out the drawer, closet or room I am working on.  I prefer to work with a blank slate.  I then sit and sort and sort and sort some more.  I keep a giant bin next to me for trash, and another for donate.  I also keep a rag and all purpose cleaner nearby so that I can wipe things down and get them looking shiny and new again.  Hand sanitizer is key, as I touch a lot of items in a short period of time.  I also wear old clothing because I am bound to get dirty.  As I sort, I create piles all around me, placing items into specific categories. I try to find empty bins for these things as I go, but if I don't have a bin, I create a pile and find storage when every last item is touched.

And here is the storage room now!


It feels SO big and spacious now!  I can easily walk around the entire room and not worry about tripping on something or scared that some deep dark basement creature is going to bite my ankles. 

Let's start with the tools!  When we started this project, we inherited an old dresser that we always intended on using to hold our small tools.  We gave it a coat of paint, lined the drawers with cork (to prevent items from sliding around), and put it on rolling casters.  But that was the end of it, and a year later, it was not functioning as anything more than a clutter catcher.


The box in the wall with the cords coming out of it is our component cabinet for all of the electronics in our family room.  Not only were the cords driving me nuts, I felt like we were losing so much vertical storage.  Because the cabinet backing was indented, we were able to install more pegboard (and re-route the cords through the side).  Such a storage score for us, as now it holds all of our most frequently used items.



It is so nice to have everything organized out in the open (yet sort of concealed since the door to the room is always closed).   Easy to find things, easy to put things back!  I especially love having a charging station set up for our cordless drill. #littlethings


Also on top of the dresser is an old organizer that now holds miscellaneous small tool pieces and hardware.


It was previously hung in our garage on the wall, and before heading into the storage room it received a quick cleaning as well as a coat of pretty plum spray paint.  I also labeled all of the drawers by printing labels onto clear sticker paper.


We had a few extra items that didn't fit on the top of the dresser, so I painted a few spice racks I picked up at IKEA a few months back, and we attached them to the side.


As I mentioned, the drawers were lined with cork.  I also lined them with empty plastic shoe boxes, which ultimately made really great drawer dividers for all of our random tools.


Many of the specialty hardware items were sorted down into stackable plastic dividers.


The remainder of the tools and hardware were paired down and placed in the remaining shoe boxes on some shelves across the way.


I created the labels on my computer and printed them onto white sticker paper.  Super quick and easy solution to labeling a stack of bins.  Peel and stick baby!



The lower portion of the shelves hold all of the larger tools, such as our circular saw, jig saw, socket set, palm sander, Kregg Jig, Dremel, brad nailer, etc...


Our air compressor as well as a few other random items fill the remainder of the attached shelves.


The shelves on the opposite side of the room hold all of our holiday bins.  We have quite a few of those, so they take up most of that real estate.


I organized the bins last year while putting away all of my Christmas decor, so for now, I pretty much left them alone.  I did add some tags to the fronts of the bins, which will allow me to write down the contents of each bin this year while I am re-packing things up.  That way I won't have to play any guessing games when looking for a tree skirt or my favorite holiday ornament down the line.


For the labels, I created them on my computer and printed them out on regular white paper.  Because I wanted to be able to easily pull out the labels to write on them, I used ID badge holders I found in my labeling supply box.


I purchased the ID badge holders at Staples quite a few months ago, but I am guessing they still sell something similar.  I used my paper slice to remove the top portion of the holder, leaving me with a clean and clear pouch.  I affixed the labels to the fronts of the bins with some mounting strips.  I am also sharing the label template with you for free, which you can download here.


After everything was put back, we had nice open spaces on the corner portion of our shelves.  You wouldn't believe my excitement when all of our suitcases and travel gear tucked away perfectly inside!


And those boxes you see making an appearance on the left side of the picture above, are the memory boxes I organized almost a year ago to this day.  They are still working beautifully for us!


Earlier this year I purchased a set of FLOR Carpet Tiles from a flash sale on Zulily.  They do such a good job of keeping our feet warm while working in the room.  And of course I love that I can wash them and that they are color happy!  I was school girl giddy to finally get these puppies on the floor!


The caddy on the stool is one that I typically use for smaller, around-the-home projects.  It is stocked with a few basics that I can just grab and take with me (see more here).  For bigger projects, we can just load it up and tote it to wherever, just as long as everything gets put back when we are done.  That always seems to be the hardest part...


And that completes the tour!

No giant organizing project is worth this many words without celebrating the super exciting before and after shots of the outcome.




Now, if only it can remain somewhat orderly through this next very exciting project ahead!


68 comments:

  1. Dear Jen
    Awesome post! This post is actually a life saver for me. I am from Malaysia. Ive been following your blog since I start my life changing journey 5 months ago. Ive been decluttering and organizing my entire house for almost 48 days as I can only organized my house during the weekend because I am working mother with 4 boys. Ive managed to organize 3 rooms, 1 kitchen and 2 bathrooms but it still left with me with many other rooms and hall and garage. Ive got overwhelmed and this week was a very tough week for me as I finally feel the energy were drained out from me. BUT reading this post give me the motivation as I could see the changes that can happen if we took charge of everything and life will be beautiful again. Thank you so much Jen! Thanx for the effort.

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    1. Thank YOU! I love hearing from readers who are on a roll! If you ever start to feel overwhelmed, take some time off and celebrate the things you have accomplished. Sounds to me that is A LOT for you! :) Congrats on everything you have done so far and know I am cheering you on from here. xoxo!

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  2. Beautiful...sei bravissima!

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  3. Wow, this is really something that impresses me almost beyond words: That you can take an "unattractive" organizing task to the point where you make me wanna go organize my storage room right away. And such a great job you did (again)! I bow to your phenomenal skills and persistence - and sure hope some of it will rub of on me if I just keep reading your blog and let me be inspired by you!

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    1. Wahoo! Hearing that is even better than celebrating the completion of the dreaded project. You made my day! :) xoxo!

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  4. Wow, it's beautiful! I'm still in the throes of an after-move, a year later! You give me inspiration to tackle what needs to be done. Thanks

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  5. What a great reveal! Oh, I wish I could get motivated to do our basement.....I just need to keep looking at this transformation to get motivated! Rosie

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  6. It's always hard to make areas that are industrial and storage-like not only clean, but have an organization system to them. Great job!

    xo, Sara Kate
    Sara Kate Styling

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  7. I am so impressed! and that pop of color from the rugs makes it look so nice!

    LegallySouthern

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  8. Way to go!!! Big high five!!! Now... can Bryan teach Greg?? LOL I have been begging Greg to clean our mechanical room. For a long time. Then his dad passed away... 3 years ago. We inherited all of his tools and bits and bobs. 10 years ago when we moved here, I bought Greg an organizer like the one you painted purple. I also bought some other kind of snap closed container system that he can pull out of the cabinet and sat on the garage floor organizing all of his bits (screws, nuts, bolts, washers, etc). Yep. That man is a hard nut to crack. Basement storage room, still a mess. Garage... still not organized. A few years ago, I wanted to get the wooden shelves from IKEA. He was skeptical, so we didn't. How do you like yours? They seem to have held up well. And may I say, kudos to you for not having so many boxes of Christmas decor! Cuz man, I have a lot. Well, I should say, I have a Christmas Village collection that takes up a lot of space to store, not a lot of other decor. Greg and I started slowly collecting it about 16 yrs ago after our middle child was born. http://momma-paparazzi.blogspot.com/2013/12/foto-friday-christmas-style.html

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    1. I totally understand Michelle! This is about the third time we have organized our tools, so my fingers are crossed that third time is a charm! My hubby doesn't have the same organizing "gene" that I do, so hopefully our new systems are simple enough for all of us to easily maintain. xoxo!

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    2. I swear, home projects makes you go out and buy more tools to make the jobs easier. But then you accumulate more and it's more to keep organized. I am not going to complain too much. We are sheet rocking the basement, finally. Hopefully, by this next spring, we will have it finished. Fingers crossed. Board and batten on the half wall under the look out ground level windows, planked ceiling, white woodwork. I found an elec. fireplace on clearance last spring at Lowe's. I can picture it finished. :)

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  9. This is so inspiring! We have an entire room in our basement intended for storage, but right now stuff is just thrown in there. We definitely need to get some shelves and spruce things up.

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  10. Hi Jen. Wow. You have inspired me to make my stuff room pretty. How did you do the polka dots on the back of the shelving system? Thanks!

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    1. That is great! The backs of the shelves are lined with foam poster board, which I spruced up with gift wrap.

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  11. LOVE THIS! While the majority of people are into the pretty-ness of organization, I'm much more into the raw organizing, so this post was like my mecca heaven of organizing. Lots of inspiration here for me to use for our storage areas!

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  12. Just like everything you do, I love this too. So clean, organized, and beautiful. I wish I had a nice little room that I could use for storage. I really hate having to put stuff in the attic. I am not a fan of attic stairs.

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  13. This is motivating to me as well :-) We just had our basement finished and what was a huge storage area is now a beautiful space I want orderly. My unfinished storage room isn't much bigger than yours. I've decluttered but I'm going to do it again once the renovation is complete. You did a great job!!

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  14. Hi Jen! So happy to see your storage room post today...I got excited when you started it a year ago and then got more excited to see it on your 2014 to-do list again. Your room looks great! My basement will never be what your basement is, I have an old house with a half basement (I forget what they are called, think low ceilings) so it will never be fixed up but I'm determined to keep it organized. I can't wait to incorporate some of your systems down there so that I can find what I need. When I start a large project such as gutting a room or fixing up my porch, I call in my brother who brings all of his tools and equipment along. I end up with the leftover screws, nails, wood, etc so even though I don't need a large space, I do need to keep things easily accessible for the next time one of my brothers come to help me out. BTW, my kitchen is on my to-do list as well so I'll be happily following along on your remodel...dirt, dust, ugliness and all...because the end, no matter how long it takes to get there...will be so worth it in the end!

    Peggy...

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  15. AMAZING!! I absolutely love it and am now inspired to do something similar in our storage/utility room... Maybe after the front entry gets finished though. I can only handle one project at a time😊

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  16. Wow! This is sooo impressive. I've been waiting for this post and wondering how you were getting on - congratulations! I especially love the tool board and the little storage cabinet for nails and widgets. I wish we had a storage room. All that lovely space! Going to have to tackle the cupboard under the stairs now. I'm feeling all inspired. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Very nicely done. I love your garage organization and am taking tips on hanging up our bikes and shelving. I am a minimalist (less is more) and despite having less things, I still feel we have too much 'stuff'. I always get rid of half the stuff in my house. How do you feel about it? I know you have a blog which requires you to maintain that lifestyle, but seeing as you have so much to organize, do you ever wonder - why do we need all this? Why can't it be simple? Just curious to know.

    Thanks,
    Meghan

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    1. I tend to frequently feel the same way. I get overwhelmed by too much stuff, and clearly, it requires frequent organizing and maintaining. It seems I am always purging something, so I just try to be really tuned in to the things we are letting go of, and why, and try to avoid over-purchasing or making bad choices down the road. I also believe in creating a home that is warm and makes us happy, so occasionally that means swapping things out, DIYing, etc... Not to mention, we spend about 6 months of our lives inside during cold Wisconsin months, so we have a lot to keep us busy (board games, toys, movies, craft supplies, building tools, entertaining, etc...). xoxo!

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  18. Your storage room looks fantastic Jen. It is definitely motivating me to finally get to work in our much neglected garage.

    As a longtime reader, I am super excited for you to be updating your kitchen. I know you have waited and saved for this for awhile now. Are you starting this project now, or after the holidays?

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    1. Thanks Toni! We are starting right away. Crazy I know, but we don't have plans to host anyone this year for the holidays, so we figure it will be a good project to keep us busy through the winter.

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  19. Yay, just noticed the logo/branding update on the blog, looks great!!

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  20. Thank you for the before and after shots! I was beginning to think you didn't have any room like the rest of us! Glad to know that this is the reality-even for the organizing Goddess!

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    1. Oh yes! We have our share of messes. It comes with being a busy family of five. :) Or at least that is what I keep telling myself, lol.

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  21. Jen,

    Your skills are absolutely amazing! I have the exact same preference concerning a clean slate when I start organizing. In a nerdy way, organization is one of my favorite ways to fix a room! With everything going on in our busy lives, we definitely don't need extra junk! I'm about to move into a new space and feel VERY inspired! Thank you!

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  22. Omg I love this!! Perfect ideas for organizing my disaster of a storage space! Thank you!

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  23. Congrats! I gasped with glee when I saw the title to this post, I have been eagerly anticipating the completetion and it was totally worth the wait. It looks sooo functional and pretty now you must feel awesome!

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    1. It does feel pretty great! And I am excited that it was worth the wait for you as well. :)

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  24. I love how realistic and messy your before is! I frequently see "befores" on blogs that are deemed horrible but often better than my afters!

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  25. Wow, I bet that feels good to have that room sorted! I can't wait to see you begin your kitchen. I've been following your blog for a few years now and I know how much you have been itching to get that started!

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  26. Wow what a great work! I really need to organize our basement too! Thanks for all the tips!

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  27. What a great inspiration! I have a studio and 2 sheds that look like your "before" pictures. I've been slowly chippy away at the mess and your success is very encouraging

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  28. That's the type of project that I really need to do. My basement will have much more storage space if organized in that way. Thanks for the inspiration!

    http://stylesprinter.com/

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  29. While the storage room looks good, I have a few concerns. 1) Nothing should be stored that close to the hot water heater (or furnace). 2) The junction box/electric box, or whatever you call it, should not be blocked by anything. 3) The cords coming out of that cabinet, although I'm not sure what they are for, should not be confined. They should be allowed to be cooled by the circulating air, if they are in use. I wonder if you are being realistic about what you will use and need in the future. Do you really need that many cup hooks? Have you considered nesting the luggage? And, finally, when people spend this much time and money on their stuff, they have too much stuff.

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    1. Thank you for your concerns Rush. I do believe in safety first, so I will consider your sentiments and be sure to look into things further. We recently had our annual furnace maintenance done and I checked with our expert to see if he had any concerns with our shelving placement. Also, we can easily access our electrical panel by pulling out a suitecase (which is doubling as more storage as we have weekender bags, toiletry bags, etc... stored within each). They are not crammed in and are not up against any wires or the panel.

      As far as what we opted to keep, we do a lot of projects and DIY and we have a lot of leftover hardware because of that. We donated a huge pile, yet kept what we thought we may be interested in using down the line.

      Thanks again,
      Jen

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  30. We're getting ready to organize our garage. It would be so great if you could post a list of how you categorize all your tools..plumbing, electrical, hardware, etc. Keep up the awesome posts!

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    1. Hi Dana!

      I just label according to the piles I create when sorting. If you are ever stumped when it comes to categorizing or labeling, revert to how a similar store is set-up. For this project, I would think about Home Depot or Lowes, and create labels and categories similar to those found there. It really depends on how much you sort down and how specific you personally want to get. Sometimes we were generic in tossing all of our spare plumbing parts into a box and labeling it plumbing, while when it came to specific hardware, we sorted it down to individual types.

      xoxo!

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  31. Another win! This is so timely and inspiring...I'm in the process of creating my own organized storage/utility space! Thanks!

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  32. jen: this looks beeeautiful!!!!! - as always! But...........i am SO excited to see your kitchen transformation!! i know you have been planning and waiting for a long time and i am sure it will be great! yahoo - what a great Christmas present. :-)

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  33. I have GOT to do this, right after the holidays! We have a LARGE storage area, actually 2: one is my "dish room", and both spaces need to be ORGANIZED better. We installed ALOT of shelving and bought lots of bins when we moved in here, but gradually it has become a little mess. It is making me crazy. I know I need to PURGE some stuff too. You are such a good inspiration!

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  34. Wow! I have a laundry/utility room that needs this same treatment. I desperately want it to be neat and organized. I just haven't been able to get motivated. This post was a great nudge.

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  35. Love everything about this, especially the carpet squares!
    Quick question, when you changed the stool color from yellow to white, did you remove the yellow or just paint over it? And what type of paint did you use?

    ~Megan

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    1. Hi Megan!

      I just spray painted over it with white spray paint. I am a huge fan of Rustoluem 2x coverage. Super quick and easy.

      xoxo!

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  36. I feel better knowing someone else has successfully tackled a storage room. I not so fondly call ours the hoarding room. So much stuff. I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and empty it out and start with a clean slate too. Yours looks wonderful!

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  37. Jen, I totally "heart" your utility room organizing project. You have such a talent for making even the most mundane and utilitarian spaces cheerful and bright. Can you share the labeling tape/font/method used for the plum drawer organizer box? I've never seen clear tape with that blue font! Love it. Your blog brings such joy. Keep creating and inspiring. Hugs💓

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    1. Thank you for the sweetness! I used a clear sticker paper (can be found at some office supply stores, but I used this from Silhouette: http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/shop/MEDIA-CLR-ADH-3T

      I printed the labels onto the paper using my computer and printer. I used American Typewriter font.

      xoxo!

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  38. Wow, I love your new storage room!

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  39. This looks AMAZING!! And I never thought I would say that about a storage room - now I need to get working on mine x

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  40. Thank you for this post! It's the kick I needed to finally get started on our basement organization! We moved in 6 years ago, and the old owners left their workbenches and ALL of their bolts, screws, nails, etc. The workbench is old and doesn't function how we need it to. Last night I went through one of them and sorted everything out. I'm headed back down to paint the peg board a bright white right now! ;) I looooove your blog and especially your photos. Keep it up, girl! :)

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  41. Wow! Your storage room looks amazing! Organizing my storage room is my Winter project, and believe me..it's going to take me all Winter to get it done. Seeing yours has really inspired me and given me some new ideas to organize. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

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  42. Wow! What a difference! That is the prettiest storage room I've ever seen! It seriously looks amazing, and now I want to organize everything I own!

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  43. I'm not kidding, your storage room is better designed and organized than my bedroom!! Come help me!!

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  44. Congratulations, Jen! Your storage room looks fantastic!! I now imagine how happy you feel having every space of your home organized. SIGH Enjoy!

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  45. Wow!! Amazing! I have a dark, dingy storage space which is absolutely crammed to the rafters with all manner of stuff. This is so inspiring to me. I think I will have to wait till Spring to sort it as it's kinda like a shed and so cold at the moment, but will be referring back to this post when I get to it. Thanks from London, England, Kerry x

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  46. Awesome storage! My husband refuses to let me organize his tools!! I am dying to organize them!! lol!

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  47. Love the shelves! Could you please share where you got them? I've been on the hunt for wood shelves that are adjustable and what you have would be perfect for our space!

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    1. Hi Stacey,

      The shelves are from IKEA:
      http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/11703/

      We still love them! :)

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