Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sanity Saving Shelves!

I posted a long time ago about our new shoe/coat/backpack shelves.  But, I thought I'd give a little update because that post gets a lot of traffic from Pinterest.  You won't find a lot Pinterest-worthy here on this blog, but these shelves?  Really are awesome.

They may not look super stylish and I know a few commenters have sweetly suggested I could add some crown molding to make the shelves look built in, which sounds great to me, only way, way beyond the zone of my abilities!  But, these shelves really preserve the little bit of sanity I have left here mothering 4 children in the midst of the busy May-end-of-school-year season!

Here are the shelves as they look today (I cheated and took this while the kids were at school so they are not as cluttered without the backpacks.):

Remember the issue?  We needed a spot near the backdoor to house the things our 4 children needed each day for school and other activities.  We needed mudroom shelves!

But, alas, our house was built in the 1980s before builders realized that people like big laundry rooms!  So, our laundry room is exactly big enough for a washer and a dryer, nothing else!  My husband offered to hire someone to add on a mudroom to our house.  But, I am cheap and also don't prefer living in a construction zone for any amount of time, so we got creative.

We bought 4 Ikea narrow Billy bookcases, screwed them together, left off the middle shelf, and added hooks.  (We also attached the whole unit to the wall because I have no idea what age you stop worrying about your children climbing the furniture, but we are not there yet!)  And we put the shelving unit/mudroom lockers IN OUR BREAKFAST ROOM!  I know!  It's pretty crazy!  But, we don't actually use the room for breakfast because we eat all our meals at the only table big enough to hold all 6 of us -- the dining room one.  So the breakfast room is really more of a work/game/craft zone for the kids anyway.

You can find out more details about how we did the shelves and the 4 red canvas totes I made here.

Back to the shelves in action now 18 months after we got them:

From the top, the grey buckets were a cheap find at Target and they house things like winter gloves (that my kids need all of 2 days each year), swim goggles, ballet shoes and sunglasses.

Next shelf down are plain white boxes that perfectly hold 8.5 by 11 inch papers, so that's where my kids keep homework packets they are to work on over the course of several days before returning to school or instructions about projects, etc.  It's a work-in-progress type of box!  And when the kids remember to put their work in their box then it doesn't get colored on by a sibling or lost.

Next, is the shelf with the red totes that I made.  The black chalkboard label has each child's name written in chalk-ink but I smeared the names out for displaying on the blog.  However, the very visible names has made it so our 4 year old little girl can now write the names of her brothers and sister.  Even while she was at preschool today she made a note for her sister and because she's seen her name so often was able to pretty correctly imitate the letters all on her own!  The totes hold random treasures the kids want to keep but I'd rather toss, like party favors, prizes from school, etc!

Then there are the hooks for backpacks, jackets, and hats.  And then the shoe shelves -- obviously my girls have more shoes than the boys!

These shelves definitely work for us!  The kids can nearly always find what they need and we are not tripping over 8 different shoes each afternoon.  Although, I do still have to remind the kids of the shelf when the shoes somehow land 6 inches AWAY from the shelf!  I usually tell them their shoes are crying, "Please put us on the shelf!  We are not where we belong!"

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

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