How To Create Storage in a Small Space

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Last week, I shared a remodel reveal post of our laundry room/mudroom. I mentioned several times in the post how one of the main motivators for us to redo the room was a severe lack of storage. The only storage options were a wire shelf and some stackable drawers that we borrowed from one of our closets, which resulted in a room that felt constantly cluttered and overflowing. Because the room itself is quite small, we brainstormed ways to incorporate the right combination of cabinets, shelves, and storage containers to create a space that would be as efficient  – and visually attractive – as possible. Ultimately, I think we came up with some great solutions. Today I’m teaming up once again with our favorite brand for home improvement, Lowe’s, to show you exactly how we did this!

The two images above give a basic idea of what we were working with in terms of storage in the room before the remodel. We were cramming necessities into cardboard boxes on top of the wire shelves and the stackable drawers, which we also used for shoes. (As you can see, there wasn’t enough room in them for all of our shoes, so they ended up spilling onto the floor.) There was also nowhere to fold laundry, so it was piling up in baskets. It felt chaotic, and even smaller than it was.

I’ve mentioned before that in my relationship with my husband Robbie, when it comes to home design, I am the visual/artistic person, and he is the practical/numbers person. I loved the idea of all open shelving with everything on display, and he loved the idea of functional cabinets where we could hide potential clutter. We sketched out some possible design ideas and agreed to put two rows of cabinets above the washer and dryer, and three rows of open shelves to the right of the cabinets. We also decided to create a counter for folding over the washer (which eliminates the need to take up more room with a folding table and allows space for baskets/additional storage), and to build a bench for changing shoes, under which we could keep two large baskets for shoe storage. For the cabinets, I chose White Shaker Door Wall Cabinets from Lowe’s (this 30-in W x 30-in H x 12-in D size and this 30-in W x 14-in H x 12-in D size), along with some pretty Stainless Steel Cabinet Pulls, also from Lowe’s. I also found this gorgeous Wood Wall Mounted Shelving that would be a perfect complement to the butcher block counter and bench.

After the counter and bench were essentially built and the room was painted (I talk more about these projects in the before and after reveal post) we got to work hanging the cabinets. Neither of us had ever hung cabinets before, but it was much simpler than we anticipated. We recruited my dad (who had experience) to help us, did a little research online and followed some simple steps:

1. Prep the room by looking for studs with a stud finder, measuring, and marking guidelines. (You can see my dad and Robbie doing this in the photo above, where we temporarily put the counter in place to determine exactly where we wanted the cabinets to hang.)
2. Using a level, attach a 1×4 into studs to use as a brace for cabinets.
3. Remove doors from cabinets. (This makes installation much easier!)
4. Starting from the left, measure from the edge of the cabinet to the stud, and transfer the measurement to the cabinet, accounting for the front frame.
5. Use a drill to drill hole in the back of each cabinet. Do this at top, middle, and bottom rails of each cabinet, with the top and bottom around 3/4 from the edge.
6. Hold the cabinet where it will be positioned and drill mounting screws into the wall, just tight enough to keep the cabinet in place.
7. Check to make sure the cabinet is level and plumb and shim behind it if needed. (We did.)
8. Now take the second cabinet and hold it in place, lining up the front so they’re even. You can now clamp the cabinets together if you want to keep them in position. Drive mounting screw into wall and use shims if needed.
9. Drill through the cabinet face frames and connect them with screws, then drill in the rear screams.
10. Take off the clamps and 1 x 4 board on the wall.
11. Repeat with next row.
12. Reattach doors.
13. For the handles, pulls, or knobs, measure and mark where each pull is going with a pencil, drill a hole in each door, then attach with a screwdriver and screws. (This was actually the very last thing we did in the room, but you can do it any time after the cabinets are hung.)

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Once the cabinets were in, the counter and bench were installed, and then we hung the shelves. Hanging shelves is a really simple process, and only took about half an hour.

1. For rows of shelves, begin with the bottom shelf.
2. Using a level and tape measure, make sure the placement is straight and centered (we measured between the cabinets to the left and wall to the right.)
3. Mark guidelines with a pencil or painter’s tape.
4. Ideally you’d like to screw into a wall stud (which we did), so use a stud finder, then attach shelf to wall using screws and wall anchors (these were included in the shelves we chose).
5. Repeat all steps for any additional shelves.

We also cut down a dowel rod and used white shelf brackets (we painted one black) to make a laundry rod for hanging clothes.

And finally, once the main storage items were installed (the cabinets and shelves), we focused on creating storage using smaller objects: Large storage baskets for housing shoes, smaller storage baskets to sit on the counter for rags and miscellaneous objects, and storage jars for clothes pins, dryer balls, and pocket change (you can make similar ones with mason jars and chalkboard paint, or get these cool vintage looking storage jars).

Through this remodel, we learned that it’s easier than you think to create essential (and visually beautiful!) storage in a laundry room/mud room (or any smaller room) with the right combination of cabinets, shelves, and smaller storage accessories like baskets. For any of you looking to optimize storage, I hope this proved helpful! And as always, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.

LIST OF PRODUCTS USED TO CREATE STORAGE FOR REMODEL
Large Cabinets: Diamond NOW Arcadia 30-in W x 30-in H x 12-in D White Shaker Door Wall Cabinet
Small Cabinets: Diamond NOW Arcadia 30-in W x 14-in H x 12-in D White Shaker Door Wall Cabinet
Cabinet Pulls: Brainerd Bar Pulls Center to Center Stainless Steel Cabinet Pull
Shelves: allen + roth 24-in W x 1.5-in H x 7.8-in D Wood Wall Mounted Shelving
Level: Johnson Level 48-in I-beam Level
Stud Finder: Franklin Sensors ProSensor 1.6-in Scan Depth Aa Metal and Wood Stud Finder
Shims: Nelson Wood Shims Shim (Actual: 1.25-in x 7.75-in)
Drill: standard drills
Screws: standard screws
Screwdriver: standard screwdrivers
1 x 4: 1 x 4 wood board
Dowel/Laundry Rod: Madison Mill Round Wood Poplar Dowel (Actual: 72-in L x 1.25-in dia)
Shelf Brackets for Laundry Rod: Blue Hawk Plastic 2.05-in D x 2.05-in L x 0.77-in W White Shelf Bracket
Large Storage Baskets: RGI HOME 18-in W x 12-in H x 14.25-in D Natural Fiber Basket
Small Storage Baskets: 11-in W x 9-in H x 10-in D Natural Water Hyacinth Milk Crate

Huge thanks to Lowe’s for partnering with us on this project and post! 

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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