25 July 2012

Real storage wars

EVERY TIME I see “Storage Wars” on the cable listings, I get excited! Because in my head, I think I’ve suddenly found a previously unknown show about how to combat all the storage and organization problems you may have in your house! A show with helpful tips and beautiful organization systems! And then I realize it’s a show about people auctioning off abandoned storage units WITH A DECEPTIVE NAME. Depressing. And dumb. Also a huge disappointment, because the show in my head is way better.

Anyway. You guys remember the amazing master closet in our old place, right?

Yeah you do. Because it was amazing.

When Mr. P and I moved in to our new place, in a 100+-year-old house, we knew we would be facing some storage issues. True, having space in the attic AND basement means that long-term storage of old boxes and Christmas decorations isn’t an issue. But... the closet space. Our teeny, tiny, turn-of-the-previous-century closets. No one wants to crawl up in the attic just to get dressed every day, so we had to find a way to fit the things we use regularly into our four small closets.

Which, combined, have about 84” of hanging space. Or, to put it another way, less than one side of our old master closet. Oh my gosh I miss you, old master closet. And your little sibling downstairs with the additional six feet of hanging space.


Worse, our current hanging rods here are all about three feet high, which means long dresses have to be gently spread out on the floor somehow (and my wedding dress lives on the back of the guest room door). But somehow, we managed to fit it all in. Mr. P gets the deceptively tiny master closet, the winter coats live in the... living room, our bathroom towels go in the dining room closet (?!), and my clothes have to stay in the guest room closet. Not ideal, but at least getting dressed doesn’t involve a trip to the basement or the attic.

Even more prime real estate than hanging space, though, is closet floor space: I have less than six square feet of shoe storage space on the floor. Now, I thought I was a woman who kept shoe purchases to a minimum. But as it turns out: I am a cliché. Maybe I’m not as bad as the women on House Hunters and the like, crowing about the lack of shoe storage space, but I do have six pairs of sandals, six pairs of ballet flats, four pairs of heels, three pairs of boots (including a pair of wellies), and two pairs of outdoorsy shoes for running, hiking, and yardwork.

Those will not all fit in a 2’ by 3’ space. The boots alone took up a third of the space! So I decided I’d have to store some less-frequently worn shoes on the upper shelves of the closet. And for that, I tried to work with some existing storage cubes that we already owned:

Yeah, that didn’t work so much. Instead, I dropped twelve bucks at Lowe’s for this little kit (pro tip: this cost more at Target than Lowe’s, who knew!):

Maybe it would have been cheaper and more efficient to build one from scratch, if I were the sort of person who keeps scrap wood on hand and tools easily accessible and could come up with measurements quickly. Which I will never be. So this was easiest! Plus, it came with very specific directions:

That I promptly ignored.

Mr. P came in halfway through my construction and pointed out that, uh, I was attaching the shelves upside down. But then a second later he realized my GENIUS IDEA! See, by attaching the shelves that way, this is my usual view of my shoe shelves at the top of my closet:

Perfect! I honestly forgot the “tops” of the shelves are unfinished, because I never ever see them. And this works well for those few shoes that I couldn’t fit on the closet floor. Maybe TOO well, as I now want another set – assembled as directed – to combat this jumble:

But hey, they fit. Take that, House Hunters wife who needs more shoe storage space. It can be done!

And I won this battle, eh? BUT THE WAR RAGES ON! (Seriously, auctioning abandoned storage units? Least useful show ever.)