Office Closet

After bringing my lovely new desk with extra drawer space for supplies into the office , I needed to rearrange a few things in my office closet thanks to some brand spanking new space. I store my extra craft supplies, home décor store, camera equipment, gift wrapping supplies, and a few other misc. junk in this particular closet.

I don’t have any notable before pictures because the closet was in pretty good order before. I just tweaked it a bit. Here’s a little tour!

I didn’t do much to alter the space because I wanted to keep the closet intact for future buyers. Hence the reason no custom shelving units have been installed, although those are pretty nice to gaze upon.





I simply picked up a shelving unit from Lowe’s and threw it in there. When we put the house on the market, we can remove the shelving to turn it back into a regular clothes closet if we need to for staging purposes. I removed the doors to make the back corners accessible but I didn’t get rid of them. Just in case the new owners prefer closet doors. Strange, I know, but you can’t be too careful. The doors are hidden in the back of another closet. Everyday I’m shufflin’.

I installed a plain tension rod and hung up some curtains I bought at World Market, which I don’t see online but still see in our local store. The curtains help conceal any clutter that may arise, like when I take on too many projects at once. Not that that ever happens. *cough*

 I went with white storage containers to keep everything neutral and easy to coordinate. The solid white boxes are from Wal-mart, also not online apparently, and the patterned white boxes are from the Container Store, available here.The white baskets are from Target, available here and even here. I love these baskets because you can stack or nest them. Very versatile!

I keep our luggage and some boxes with sentimental keepsakes on the very top shelf. Easy to get to but out of the way, just like I like my men. What? I don’t know, moving on.

The next shelf holds supplies for jewelry making, random leftover craft supplies, a few tools, sewing supplies, gift boxes, and random gifts I keep in stock.

The silver bucket holds tools and came from the Target dollar section. I love that section.

Next, I keep my art supplies together in a large basket to make it easy to bring all of my art supplies where ever I feel inspiration might strike. I also have a box full of fake flowers, basket o' ribbons, and my greeting card storage, detailed here.

Continuing to the next shelf, I store some of my scrapbooking supplies such as paper, pages in progress, and books in progress. The white baskets hold photos and things I want to add to my scrapbook, such as ticket stubs.

I keep my scrapbook paper organized by color in this sorter

Pages in progress are stored in a simple 12x12 container to keep every thing safe and dust free until I (eventually) finish them.

 Available here. 

Below that, I keep home décor items not currently in use. I like to rotate that kind of stuff to keep things fresh. It’s not a weekly habit or anything. Just when I feel like I need a change. Having my own “décor store” keeps me from buying junk I don’t need or, at least, it’s supposed to help. I used to keep this stuff in baskets but I find I prefer to have them out so I can see what I have and enjoy these items, whether on display or not. Makes me feel like I got my money’s worth.

Last but not least, probably my favorite shelf, my organizing items. These are baskets and bins that I keep on hand when I get the urge to reorganize. Just like my home décor, it isn’t a weekly thing but it happens often enough to justify hanging on to a few things. I don’t keep more than I can store on this shelf. That has lead to some hard but necessary purging. I suppose that’s called being an adult? Whatever.

Small organizing solutions are kept in an itso bin from Target, to make it easy to grab what I need for a quick organizing session.

I use some pot hooks from Bed Bath & Beyond (available here) to hang my bag with various camera equipment, portfolio, and mini light studio on the side of the wire shelves.

I ordered two of these inexpensive yet effective gift wrap organizers from Amazon. I believe they were cheaper when I bought them but that was a long time ago. Larger gift bags are hung on another hook.

One for Christmas and one for everything else.

Behind my gift wrap, I store my wedding dress, evening gowns for Mardi Gras balls, and extra pillows. A clear bin on the floor stores my fabric remnants.

I haven’t decided what to do with my wedding dress yet. I doubt my future daughters or daughters-in-law will want to wear them at their wedding, considering (if I have kids) that will be about 30+ years from now. I’m sure I’ll be completely out of style by then, if I’m not already. I’m torn between having it hemmed and dyed to wear as a regular dress, a la Sherry from younghouselove, seen in this post. Or I may cut up the dress and use the lacy top part as a background in a shadowbox, which I would fill with little keepsakes from our wedding. I like the idea of still being able to wear the dress but I might enjoy it more if it was on display for years to come. I may not always be a size 4 and able to wear the dress for that much longer. Ah aging metabolisms. Until I decide, it shall stay safely tucked away in the back of the closet. I swear I’ll make a decision soon, like maybe the next 20 years or so.

In case you’re curious, here’s a pic of the dress.

Wouldn’t all of the lace make a lovely backdrop? I’m almost sold on that idea. Photo by my amazing photographer (and dear friend) Eri Photography.

So, there you have it. A peak inside my office closet. Thanks for stopping by!


Desk Makeover

I had planned on doing a post about our patio makeover after I posted our DIY canopy, but (alas!) the weather has been rainy and gray for the past two weeks straight. It’s supposed to continue for all of next week as well. Not even exaggerating.

Not exactly outdoor photo friendly weather. Source here.

So, as much as I know you’re all waiting for my patio makeover post (Hello? Anybody out there?), my OMG-I’m-so-happy-with-this-project desk makeover will have to do.

As mentioned in my family post, Husband has a YouTube channel here. He posts video tutorials and reviews for Droid X mods (plug!). He’s been making more videos and having success with the channel. I think it’s wonderful he’s found an outlet for his love of all things Droid X, mainly because he’s stopped talking my ear off about it. He says the same thing about me and my new blog.

With this new project, Husband needed a dedicated workspace. In an effort to make space for him, I started to hunt for a new desk for myself. I know it might make more sense to make a new desk for him but I have been looking for the perfect excuse to get a desk and this was it.

I blame this guy

I was inspired by this post from Manhattan Nest. Daniel, the wonderful and talented author, used a nightstand he found curbside and made a gorgeous desk. Unfortunately, I had yet to find anything useful on the side of the road, by the dumpster (like my chair), or even a thrift store. 
A few weekends ago, I went shopping at my favorite local spot, Goodwill. As luck would have it, I found something even easier than a nightstand to turn into a desk.  An already built desk!

This should do it.

I loved the simple lines, the number of drawers, and the large work surface. It had a few scratches and dings, but nothing too intimidating. It seemed sturdy enough. Here are some more before pictures.

It even came with office supplies!

My supplies.
I couldn’t wait to get started on this project. First, I cleaned out those icky desk drawers and I believe I was the first person to do this in about twenty years. There was an unmentionable sticky substance all over the inside of the two larger drawers. There was also a plethora of pens, notebooks, paperclips, peppermints (from long ago), and smelling salts.

Still not exaggerating. Rabenhorst is our local funeral home.


Here’s where I should tell you I primed the desk. But I can’t because I didn’t prime the desk. I thought I had grabbed some spray paint that included primer but, apparently, I no read good. My lack of primer required another trip to the store for 3 more cans of spray paint. So, this painting process took all damn day. Will I ever learn?

Even though this wasn’t a nightstand, I still wanted the two tone look like Daniel’s desk. I loved the white/wood combo so I was keeping the top “wood.” The laminate top had a few scratches, so I used a wood touch up pen to fix them. After you run the pen along the scratches, just buff it a bit to take off the excess ink. The sides were a little damaged too but I knew some paint would make those disappear. Plus, prying off the veneer on the sides was going to be a pain. Paint covers all blemishes. That’s why women wear makeup, right?

I also wanted to leave the chrome legs to keep a little of the shine. I taped off the legs and the top of the desk, then got to work spray painting for the rest of my life.

After many, many, many, many, many, coats of white spray paint, I noticed the color coverage was even but the gloss finish was splotchy. I tried to use a spray version of a glossy protective coat but that came out splotchy too. Moral of the story, glossy spray paint over a large surface just doesn’t come out right. I already knew that but I’m lazy and wanted to try it anyway. I never learn.

I even tried the spray stuff on the top off the desk because I wanted the laminate to shine like polished wood. Even with sanding in between coats, it was still splotch city.

Another trip to the hardware store and a lot of label reading led me to get this stuff.

Here I come to save the daaay!

I picked this stuff because it is safe to use on painted surfaces. It helps gives you an even finish and adds a protective top coat to your project. A definite necessity for a hard working desk! The label recommends three thin, even coats of poly with a light sanding (use 220 grit) in between coats.

Each coat went on quickly so I was able to slap one on after work, before it got too dark. You only need to allow a few hours of drying time between each coat but I waited 24 hours because I have to sleep sometime. Allegedly. Everyday, as I walked past it to my car (which was out in the friggin’ rain), I would stroke the shiny top and say, “Soon my love, soon,” in a deep and inappropriately husky voice. After an extra week outside, I was finally able to move this baby into the office.

Now, what you’ve all been anxiously awaiting, the after!

I'm smitten.

I seriously grin every time I go into the office now. And I have so many supplies at my fingertips!

Wrapping paper used to line inside of drawers from Target.

I have officially moved all of my stuff out of my former desk so Husband could make it his own. His new desk didn’t take nearly as long to set up. Lucky bastard.

Budget breakdown: (all supplies from Lowe’s)

Desk - $20
Paint - $30 for six cans (Primer, people. Primer.)
Touch up pen – on hand
Sanding block - $5
Brushes and rags – on hand

Grand total - $55

I did a little research online after I completed this project and, wouldn’t you know it, I found a desk almost EXACTLY like mine for sale.

Google search results here.

Cheapest cost online is $233 (without shipping) but some were as much as $550. That means I saved at minimum, hold on. . . getting my calculator/phone. . . carry the 2. . . $178!!* I totally squealed and then brushed my shoulders off when I saw that. Husband was also very grateful for my savings. He was originally skeptical of the desk but, as always, he said go for it.

If I had to do this project over again, I would have used roll on paint instead of spray, to avoid a splotchy finish. Even though the poly worked, it would have been one less step. It probably would have taken fewer coats of paint as well. If you try a similar project, either method could work though. I’m just such a sucker for spray paint. I can’t help it.

They fear I will spray paint them next. Totally reasonable.

So, what do you think of my savings? Have you ever had a blog make you want to get a new piece of furniture, whether you needed it or not? Yeah, happens to me all the time.

*This amount, combined with my Dumpster Desk Chair savings, means I saved a total of $295 for my new workspace. I saved more money than I spent. Holy thrifting, Batman!
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