Sunday, April 29, 2012

Transforming Wasted Space in Walk in Closet

For three years we have struggled with our master bedroom walk in closet. I knew there were things I could fix, like how we used the space but there were bigger things I could not change, like the fact it is small. It amazes me that a builder would make our bedroom the ridiculous size it is, but put a small walk in closet. Wouldn't the average person prefer to have 2 or 3 less feet in an enormous bedroom and have a larger closet? Maybe it is just me.
 I did not have the budget to rip all the builder grade shelves out and start from scratch, so I had to figure out solutions to the things I hated without spending much money. I had tried patch fixes to deal with the builder grade closet, like adding hooks on the back of the door and putting those horrible 'hanging organizers' from Ikea to arrange our sweaters and t-shirts. You know the ones. They hang from the rod with no support on the bottom of each row, so nothing says nicely folded and if you put too much in them or bump it the wrong way everything falls out of the back.
Source Ikea
So I felt like I was back to square one. Here is my list of problems I felt I needed to tackle to make this a workable space:
  • we stacked our sweaters and pants on the top shelf  all the way up to the ceiling, making the piles over three feet high
  • we had our t-shirts housed within hanging closet organizers
  • my purses were in a big pile on the floor
  • we had no room for a laundry basket
  • there was always so much stuff hanging on the back of the door that we could barely open it.

So with a small budget and but big dreams, I dragged my husband and two kids from hardware store to hardware store in search of a miracle solution.  Obviously, there was not one. So here is what I did.

The first thing we did was get rid of all of those hanging closet organizers and replaced them with the Expedit shelf. I love these shelves because they are deep, not too wide and sturdy.
Source Ikea
It is pricier at $80 but it works so much nicer and it fit perfectly into the space. I was able to fold all our t-shirts, fitness clothes and still have two spots for purses at the bottom.
We then thought we would tackle was the wasted space above the top shelf.  I thought if we could move our off season clothes us higher without having the 3 foot high stacks, then we would have more usable space. So that is what we did.
We went to Lowes and found decorative black brackets for $10 for a package of 2 (we needed 3 packages in total) and we bought the cheapest white shelves we could find. We could have used the really cheap industrial brackets at under $1 each but we thought we would splurge a bit :)
See how lazy I am...I didn't even take down all the clothes when he was putting up the shelves. I moved them from side to side so they wouldn't get dust on them. Shhhh my little secret.

My husband cut the shelves to the correct length and he installed the new shelf half way between the ceiling and the previous top shelf.
I would like to say we had the forethought to line this new shelf up with my husband's dress shirt shelf but we didn't and got really lucky that it all lined up. That would have been an oops on my part because it would have annoyed me horribly if they didn't line up. Now it looks like the new shelf was suppose to be there.
I really should have done the fancy folding and color coordinating but as you already know I do not stage photos. Organizing all our clothes and refolding them would take way too long and I believe there are better things to do then convince you all that I can keep my closet color coordinated. I am a mom to two busy kids, I can't even get my laundry put away.

So here are my official after photos:

No more 3 foot high piles. Don't you love my new light? See the previous post for how I made it.
We use the ultra slim hangers from Costco and LOVE them.
I can now fit a laundry basket under my hanging shirts.
 So how did I do with my list?
  • we stacked our sweaters and pants on the top shelf  all the way up to the ceiling, making the piles over three feet high - FIXED
  • we had our t-shirts housed within hanging closet organizers -FIXED
  • my purses were in a big pile on the floor - FIXED
  • we had no room for a laundry basket- FIXED
  • there was always so much stuff hanging on the back of the door that we could barely open it - Sort of fixed. We still have the hooks but they aren't overflowing anymore!
I am very happy with how it turned out. I can't say it is my dream walk-in closet but reality is, it is a space that holds our clothes and does it really need to serve any other purpose than being practical? I don't think so.

If you missed my first two posts I did for my walk in closet, the budget closet light transformation and hanging my sleeveless/short sleeve dress shirts on pant hangers, be sure to check them out. I love both of them too.

So have any of you tried to deal with a builder closet and succeeded? Or have you failed a few times like me before you found a solution that works well?

We will be adding the top shelf to our other three bedroom closets to store off season clothes too. It really is a cheap solution with a big impact on space.

Have a great day,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

UNO First Birthday T-Shirt

As I mentioned a few weeks ago when I posted the little gardener gift basket, I have a lot of parties around this time of year. Well, last week my youngest nephew turned one and I knew I had to make him a shirt I saw on Etsy that I had pinned here. The UNO shirt is sold for $25 (which really isn't bad when you look at some Etsy prices) but it can be made for under $5.

I designed my UNO logo on Sure Cuts a Lot software but you could do this using Cricut cartridges, Silhouette or if you have a steady hand, just designing on Word and cutting it out with an exacto knife.

I used a rounded rectangle and placed an oval on top.
I turned the oval slightly so it pointed to opposite corners of the rectangle. If you are using SCAL you now need to delete the oval from the rectangle by selecting Path, Back minus front.
 I  inserted the text and found that Arial Rounded MT Bold font was the closest to the UNO lettering.
Here is the most important part, I cut the design out on freezer paper with shiny side down. Once cut, your iron the freezer paper onto a preshrunk/washed t-shirt.  Let me tell you, I had a really hard time finding a plain shirt or onesie. I purchased mine at Walmart for $3 but I had been to many stores before I found it at the second Walmart.

Once the stencil was ironed onto the T-shirt, I used white fabric paint with a foam brush to cover all the exposed shirt.
 I also did his name on the back.
I used a glossier fabric paint this time and I realized that I should not let the paint dry completely before I remove the freezer paper stencil. In the past I have been too impatient and removed the paper when the paint was still wet. Well, this time I was distracted and I let it completely dry and I had a difficult time removing the paper. Good news for all you impatient people out there like me, let the paint dry slightly (or not at all) and then remove the freezer paper.
 Once all the freezer paper is removed, this is what I had.
 Cute huh!
 And the back.
Isn't it absolutely adorable on my nephew. (Sorry for the horrible photos, I only had my little camera in my purse and it seemed to be having some issues)
Super cute for $3!

What do you think? Have you ever made birthday shirts for your kids?

Have a great day,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Light up my life - Master Closet Light on a Budget

Work has officially started on my one major household master walk-in closet. By walk-in, I mean a closet that I can step into and turn around. It is not grand by any means, but it is bigger than I have had in the past.

I have dreamed about having beautiful built-ins though out the closet along with hanging a lovely chandelier from the ceiling. Until I, out of curiosity, priced how much it would cost for us to install the built-ins; I mean with us doing the work and buying them from a big box hardware store. Well that bubble of a dream was popped really quickly. Then I realized the idea of a chandelier hanging from our ceiling, where the is no room to get around and in a room where we get dressed (hence lifting our hands above our heads on a daily basis), wasn't really practical either.
Well my beauty desiring subconscious has been beat up and kicked to the curb by its evil nemesis, my practical subconscious.   So my plans for my walk-in have changed and gone to the dark side, practical!

The first thing I have finished in our walk-in closet is replacing the horrible light. When we moved in we had, what I called, upside down mushrooms in almost every room. Here is one for you to admire:
Nice huh!

I had Pinned a few ideas that I thought would be beautiful since I can't do a chandelier. These two images were my inspiration:
Embarcadero Mount sells for the extremely reasonable price of $278! It is nice isn't it but come on $278!?
Source Amazon
Then there was the Lithonia Lighting Linon Black Bronze Flush for the more acceptable price of $100.
Source Amazon
I loved the brown/black trim, the linen and woven texture of the fabric and the metal medallion in the bottom. However, I still could not justify $100 for my small, not grand walk-in closet. Who really could?

So one day when my husband and I were at Ikea picking up something else for the walk-in (more on that tomorrow), I saw this ceiling light for $30. I have seen it before and walked right past it thinking nothing of it. It is a great size at 14 inches diameter and 6 inches deep.
Source Ikea - Alang Ceiling Light
Well this time I saw it, I knew there was huge potential! A little grosgrain ribbon, a wooden disk spray painted and you have a close duplicate of the much more expensive ceiling lights.
Alang ceiling light - Ikea ($30)
5/8 inch Brown Grosgrain ribbon
2 x 1/2 inch disk -  painted Brown

I had the grosgrain ribbon on hand so I do know what it cost (I think I bought it for around $3 at Michaels). It was 5/8 inches wide and 8 yards long. I did not use the entire package to do the ceiling light. This is what it looked like.
I melted the one edge of the ribbon to prevent fraying. Be careful when doing this. I always do it next to a sink in case I need to run it under water.
 Here is what it looks like after you carefully put a flame to the edge of it.
I fired up my fancy hot glue gun, and started gluing the ribbon at the seam on the light. I could have used permanent fabric glue, but I worried if it didn't work then I would be out $30. But of course since I am sharing this, it did work well. Once I got the entire way around, I overlapped the ribbon slightly. Be sure to melt the other end of the ribbon too.

I had initially thought I would only do the top of the light with the grosgrain ribbon like my first inspiration photo, but when it was done and installed, I really thought it needed a second band like the second inspiration photo. Here it is with only one band of ribbon.
So back to the hot glue gun I went. I glued another row of grosgrain ribbon around the bottom.

I then had my husband cut a small disc of wood off a dowel we had laying around. It was approximately 2 inches in diameter and we cut it about 1/2 an inch in depth. 
 I then spray painted it dark brown to match the ribbon.
We located the middle of the base of the ceiling light and put a small dot with pencil. I again hot glued the disk to base of the light.
That was it! 10 minutes of work (plus drying time for spray paint) and I have a new beautiful light. 
I tried to do one of those fancy slip shots with the before and after images with my inspirational photo (left) with my end result photo (right) but it didn't work very well. You get the idea though that I did a pretty good job at getting them to look similar.
What do you think? Not bad for $30 and 10 minutes of work. I think this is my favorite DIY light so far...and I have done many. Click here for all my other DIY lights.

I hope everyone has a Happy Easter tomorrow and if I can find a few minutes, I will share with you what we are working on today.



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