Tuesday, May 23, 2017

31 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?

31 comments:

  1. I use plast-o-mat ribbed shelf liner and store them upside down. I don't want the dust in my glass and the ribs allow the moisture to escape! Love the black background - everything pops! XO, Amanda @ lifeonlinton.com

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  2. The biggest difference to me between your before and after photos is the fact that you cleaned up: no more food in the dishes cabinet, and plates and glasses arranged better. I'm not sure a black or white background makes such a difference in itself, though. Your pictures look great.

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    1. I completely agree with you Cecile, that the biggest difference was in the act of cleaning things up and filling it out appropriately. But I will say, I have since added a black piece of poster board to one of my cabinets without doing anything additional in terms of rearranging and organizing, and the change was still dramatic and wonderful! I highly recommend giving it a try, it just elevates things and makes the cabinet contents pop. :)

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  3. I bet this idea would work equally well with other colors too! And it seems like if i take the shelfs out first and cut the back as one big piece, the shelfs will still fit, yes?

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    1. Absolutely! Just a single sheet and there is no worry about the shelves fitting because the sheet should be thin enough. ☺

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  4. Stupid question Jennifer: is poster board like a big sheet of floppy card? Or is it rigid like cardboard? xx

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    1. I am not 100% sure what floppy card is, but poster board is just like a giant sheet of cardstock (not as thick or rigid as cardboard).

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    2. Floppy card is a good description I think!

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  5. I always had glasses stored down growing up as well but then my Dad took a fancy wine class and he was told that because glass shifts over time, you always want to store glasses up, otherwise, your rims will thicken over time. Glasses are all up, now!

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    1. I have never heard that before but thank you for chiming in! So interesting and I would never have guessed that it can shift like that! #goodtoknow

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  6. What is your bottom shelf lined with? It looks like an oxford stripe. Please LMK and thanks!

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    1. Hi Evelina,
      The stripe at the bottom of her cabinet is an adhesive shelf liner. :)

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    2. I thought so - do you have a link?

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  7. Glasses should be stored upright. The most fragile part of any glass is the rim, so you shouldn't put the weight of the glass on it. If your glasses get dusty, you probably have too many!

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  8. Just checked on Amazon for the blackboard and there are different qualities ... giving number of ply, counts, points ... almost as if you're buying Egyptian coton sheets :) ... Anyway, is any of these numbers important? (I do not have access to a Dollar Tree store). TKS.

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    1. Hi Lucie,
      If you are just aiming for the effect of color/creating a bolder backdrop for your cupboard contents, then I don't think the weight matters all too much. You will just want it to be thick enough to basically stand on its own and hold up to any cabinet traffic. Something compared to a thick cardstock quality. :)

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    2. You can buy poster boards at Walgreens, grocery stores, office supply stores. Anywhere that sells school supplies. It's what people use to write yard sale or garage sales info and then attach to phone poles or to stop signs.

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  9. We're moving into a very bland apartment complex next month. I've been brainstorming different ways to give the place some temporary personality and I think this little touch will go far for me. <3

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    1. Love that! Best of luck with your upcoming move. ♥

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  10. Black poster board. Great idea. Will have to try that.
    Thanks for posting.

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  11. Wow what an impact that makes indeed. Love this! Such a simple change too! xoxo ERIN

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  12. Love the change! I store our glasses upside down. Mostly because we live in an old house we're still remodeling. It's also not as sealed up as I'd like. Between the dust and the bugs, it's safer storing ours upside down for now.

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  13. I wish we had a dollar store in England :D I love how the glasses are all lined up :) it looks so tidy.

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  14. The only cups I store down are the ones sitting on a rack in my cabinet. I guess I WANT them down but I'm a lazy dryer!

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  15. I have never liked the idea of storing glasses rim down. I don't want the part of my glass that touches my lips being stored against a shelf that "things" can crawl on and that dust sticks to.

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  16. We've always stored glasses down. I never really thought about storing them up. We store bowls up, though, so why should glasses be any different? Hmm... Something to ponder. :) I like the poster board trick. I think wrapping paper would look good too. I painted the inside of one of my cabinets, and it looks immensely better than the others. I also removed the door and left it off. I love having open cabinets for dishes! So much easier to access. :)

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  17. I store my glasses and mugs in alternating up and down to maximize cupboard space.

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  18. You could get all crazy and get a poster board and wrap it in shelf liner. Still super thin but a nice little pop of pattern.

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  19. I can't wait to try this! Our cabinets are painted black on the exterior but the interiors were left the cheap wood veneer. It really bugs me and hopefully this will help.
    Glasses always up. I'm a nerd and rotate my dishes "restaurant style". That way they wear evenly and the unused ones don't get a cabinet smell in them.

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