Versatile Memory Boards
Turn plain cork panels into fashionable memory boards. Purchase 1/2-inch-thick cork pieces in square or rectangle shapes, and cover them with coordinating fabrics. Lightweight fabrics, such as cottons, wrap best. Fold the corners like you do for a gift package, then wrap the fabric to the back and staple in place. Space the panels about 2 to 3 inches apart and use construction adhesive to adhere them to the wall.
Editor's Tip: To ensure straight lines and even placement, use a laser level to help you place the panels.
Make wash day less of a chore with a well-stocked, space-saving cabinet. Start with any plain cabinet, from a salvaged buffet top to a new kitchen cupboard, and mount it securely to the wall by anchoring it to wall studs. Then expand its function by replacing door panels with pegboard, securing an iron holder and hanger holder to the side, and adding a wall shelf if needed. Inside, a lazy Susan keeps spray bottles at the ready, a plastic tray catches drips from detergents, and a shelf basket stocks dryer balls or sheets. Stow a clothes-sorting bin below.
Corral all your pet's gear in one slim, attractive cupboard. A cabinet from an unfinished furniture store is an inexpensive workhorse. Paint it a jaunty color to keep it from looking utilitarian. Then stock the shelves with airtight canisters for food and treats; as well as bins for toys, medicines, and waste bags. Finally, stick on some heavy-duty adhesive hooks to keep leashes at the ready.
Editor's Tip: A coat of chalkboard paint inside the doors lets you track vet appointments and vaccinations.
Hang versatile, customizable pegboard to create an outdoor taskmaster. Attach it to the wall using the supplied mounting brackets, then paint it a color of your choosing. When dry, insert pegs and hooks to store garden items. Use the hooks to snag basket handles, and turn metal buckets into cubbies by drilling holes in the bottoms.
Editor's Tip: Paint sections of the pegboard with different-color paint to designate areas for specific tasks, and draw an outline around each tool to help you find its home at a glance.
Outfit a secondhand bookcase for all the gear that comes with Baby. This unit was a curb rescue, but you will find similar ones at thrift stores and garage sales. Prime and paint it, then replace the drawer knobs for a fresh look. Photo memory boxes -- covered in patterned wrapping paper -- fit snugly on one shelf to store small items, such as booties and diaper-changing essentials.
Crafts Room Clutter-Busters
Gain some ground on ever-multiplying crafting materials with low-cost items from the hardware store. Use galvanized buckets to contain brushes and pencils. For items that dry out over time, such as glue sticks and markers, look for lidded canisters in the home-canning or food-storage section. Canvas closet bins hold papers and bulky tools, such as stamps and paper punches.
Keep a Lid on It
Corral small items in clear canning jars to keep them out of the way but easy to spot. These inexpensive jars hold flower-arranging supplies, but you could hang them anywhere that stuff needs sorting, from the kitchen to the home office. Simply glue the lids to the bottom of a shelf or cabinet using heavy-duty adhesive.
Medicine Cabinet Cure-All
To gain control of bathroom sundries, look for help in your kitchen cupboards. Employ ceramic baking dishes, small bowls, jelly jars, even footed dessert dishes to fit the shallow shelves of a vanity or medicine cabinet. Affix number stickers on identical food-storage containers so you can quickly identify what's inside.
Free your necklaces and bracelets from cramped quarters, and air them out on the arm of a paper-towel holder. Mount it to the wall above your vanity or dresser, and you'll gain a pretty focal point as well.
Nurture your child's creative spirit with a double-duty drawing table. You never know when inspiration will strike -- when you'll need to keep him occupied for a few minutes -- so designate an easy-to-access table, such as this casual dining spot. Screw a holder for a spool of paper to the bottom of the table, and keep crayons and washable markers in plastic tubs nearby.
Editor's Tip: Turn the table over to mount the paper holder using wood glue and screws.
Turn a simple wall shelf into your best storage friend with a few DIY add-ons. Line the front edge with cork stoppers and disks, available at crafts store. Glue them in place, then tack on notes, cards, and reminders. To keep books in place, sew a beanbag bookend out of a fabric remnant. Fill a quart-size resealable plastic bag three-quarters full of sand or dried beans. Cut two rectangles of fabric large enough to accommodate the filled bag, and hand- or machine-stitch seams on three sides. Insert the bag, and stitch the final side closed.
In a bedroom that is tight on space, eliminate the need for a side table by mounting the lamp and reading-material racks to the wall. Often called magazine racks, they'll sport eReaders and tablets, as well. Buy them unfinished at crafts stores and paint them to match the bedroom decor.
Editor's Tip: Mount the racks to wall studs for stability.
Make an Entrance
Turn a shelf unit intended for the bathroom into a storage asset for the entry. Often called a "bathroom space-saver," the unit does what the name suggests thanks to its slender, hallway-friendly profile. Screw hooks to the fronts of shelves for keys, dog leashes, and umbrella straps. In the open space at the bottom, tuck in a hamper, which you can fill with out-of-season gear, extra dog food, or a gym bag.
Editor's Tip: Screw robe hooks into a nearby wall stud to hold heavy coats and purses.
Fashion a vintage stool into a handy bathroom caddy. Originally intended to hold sewing supplies, these stools are easy to find at flea markets and online auction sites. Fill the inner compartment with baskets and bins to sort specific items. Attach fabric pockets inside the lid; you can sew them on if you are replacing the upholstery fabric, or, simply glue them to the underside of the lid using fabric glue.
Don't forget your outdoor areas when assessing your storage needs. Whether you have a tiny balcony or a spacious patio, you'll have to find a place for things like chair cushions, plastic tableware, and bug spray. Consider building this multifunction box (at left), which holds plants in the upper compartment and has trunk-size space in the bottom thanks to a piano hinge. A cushioned pad turns it into a handy seating spot as well.
A mudroom fitted with custom wall-to-wall cabinetry is every homeowner's dream, but you can gain similar storage capabilities with a DIY project that costs about $300. Shop the home center for beadboard paneling, trim molding, and peg shelves. You can cut the shelves to fit your particular space or have it done at the home center. Push a low bookshelf up against the wall for shoes and baskets holding gear. Add a perch for tying shoes and a hearty indoor/outdoor rug that can weather muddy prints. A boot tray lined with rocks will drain wet soles.
By stacking drawers from old dressers, you can build a unique headboard that's also a storage booster. Look for secondhand 4- and 5-drawer chests that are made of good materials. Furniture built before the 1960s is most likely to have wood -- not particleboard -- components and be sturdy enough for this project. After you paint the drawers consistent colors, lay them out in a pleasing arrangement on the floor. Mark a level line across the wall that is close to the height of your mattress. Screw the first row of drawers to the wall, piercing the drawer bottoms and using drywall anchors or screwing into wall studs. Keep stacking drawers and working upwards.
Editor's Tip: You can leave openings between drawers, which will become open cubbies, or cover them with hinged plywood doors.
Something's Under the Bed
Add casters to vintage suitcases for fun and useful under-bed storage. Paint the suitcases if you wish and let dry. Glue 1-inch-thick blocks of wood inside the bottom corners. Place casters against the outside, centered on the blocks of wood, and screw through the swivel plates into the wood.
Editor's Tip: You'll find a variety of caster styles, including these wood-wheel ones that suit the vintage feel of the suitcase, at hardware and online stores.
Blend form and function with this easy-to-make bottle rack. Purchase a length of 4-inch PVC pipe from the home center or hardware store, and use a hacksaw to trim it into six 12-inch lengths. Wrap the lengths with self-adhesive shelf paper, wrapping paper, or wallpaper. Stack the lengths and use a bead of hot glue to keep them together. A belt fashioned out of canvas ribbon and a buckle from the fabric store finish the high-style look.
Turn an old metal toolbox into a sweet stationery tote.