Repurposing Ikea Shelves into Built-in Storage

Dear Auntie Moonbeam

I’m big on organisation. Not that you’d guess it by coming into my home of course. There are bits of my apartment that could charitably be described as one big hot sticky mess. *ahem* my kid’s room *ahem*

However, if there is one area I try to keep organised it’s my closets. Apartments tend to be stingy with their storage space so every last inch must be useful.

Unfortunately all my closets are of the hanging variety with a sparse single shelf per. Hardly conducive to efficient storage.  ‘Jam-packed’ is a term I would use to describe their current state.

After a few months of my front hall closet expanding ever upwards, outwards and sideways I realized the time had come to take action.

That’s right – we’re making shelves, baby!

We begin with the sexiest of all project phases: organisation & planning. I always sketch out a project like this to make sure that every last item has a place to call home.  The great thing about this method of pre-planning is that it can be used for any kind organisational projects from kitchens to junk drawers.

Front Hall Organization Planning

Does this seem like overkill?  Oh probably. But anyone who has ever hustled a cracked-out four-year-old out the door at 7am knows the key is yelling having a system.

With a plan in place it was time to start de-cluttering…..looking at these photos I wonder how I ever fit so much into such a tiny space??

Front Hall Organization Before

Next up, construction.  I wanted something uber simple – after all I had only one morning to clean, build and install. Clock’s ticking!

Also, I shoulda mentioned earlier – I wanted to do this whole project for the low low cost of nada.  Enter extra Ikea shelves salvaged from my dumpsters.  Seriously people are tossing perfectly good building materials out there.  It’s no wonder I see contractor trucks regularly cruising the area.

Front Hall Organization Construction

So yeah, the shelves don’t match and there are definitely a few exposed edges but when the closet is filled up I barely notice such things.  Plus did I mention the free price tag?

And I can feel good about honouring one of the three R’s. My grade 3 teacher would be so proud of me!

Front Hall Organization Complete

One final note – when I started this blogging adventure I knew very little about how it worked. See my post where I compared widgets to Tolkien characters.

Over time I’ve been very lucky to meet some great bloggers who are patient and generous enough to teach me, share with me and be in all ways awesomely helpful. One of the first bloggers I connected with was Dria from Dio Home Improvement. She’s my blogging guru and today she shared some serious blog love with me. Check it out here. I’m still blushing from her kind words and crazily complimentary post! Thanks Dria!


11 thoughts on “Repurposing Ikea Shelves into Built-in Storage

  1. Amazing!! I’m curious. How do you handle
    wet boots and shoes when you come in?
    Do you put them directly on the shelves?
    We always have a huge stack of shoes
    sitting at the side door entrance. They used
    to be in the front hall which is also the centre
    of our home! All rooms go off it, so I moved
    the shoe issue to the side door.

    • Hiya!

      Good question – I’m glad you asked!

      Here’s a close up of a shoe rack I made out of 1×2 pine board and paint stir sticks. Over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of stir sticks so I’m glad to have finally found a use for them!

      In the winter I put this outside the closet for easy access. During the summer months when my shoes are less damp I keep it inside the closet.

      I thought about painting the slats some pretty colour but since most of the time it’s muddy & dirty I’ve decided to conserve my efforts and keep it raw!

      DIY Shoe Rack

  2. :) I’m so going shopping in your dumpsters!! You find the coolest stuff in there! Love helping your on your blog learning and of course I am so in love with your sketches!!

  3. “anyone who has ever hustled a cracked-out four-year-old out the door at 7am” Wow. You start’em early. I would never give a kid crack before at least 4 pm.

    As for the shelves, AWESOME! Especially because they are free. Are you available to come do my closet now?

    • Really? All my parenting books said crack at 7am would get the kid moving…hmm, maybe I should reread those books…. :)

      I’ll totally build them for your closet – what’s the cost of a plane ticket against free shelves? :)

  4. I plan my big organization projects just like you – with a lot of particularity and detail. No wonder it takes me ages to complete them. Good work on your closet – love that the shelves were free. I would like a dumpster tour next time I come to TO too, please!

    Oh, and might I offer a suggestion for your brown boots? Stick a couple of old rolled up magazines or rolled up non-corrugated cardboard in them to keep them upright. Your closet will look REALLY organized that way. ~M.

    • Great tip! I’ve got a big stack of Style at Home magazines by my bed I can’t bear to part with – now I can reuse them! Thanks M!

      Next time you’re out in TO you’ve got standing invitation to visit my dumpsters! I can’t believe what people leave there. I’m starting to suspect it must be more than just my apartment building. There’s no way one building generates this many quality cast-offs! I was down there tonight and there were no fewer than two dining room tables, one coffee table, a dresser and two couches. I have to remind myself that I have a limited footprint and can’t bring home every stray I come across! :)

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