Remember how Monica on Friends was always SUPER organized, but had that one closet that was a hot mess? Yeah, I barely do too. Anyways, I had an under-the-sink equivalent of Monica’s h-e-double hockey sticks hole closet. It looked like this:
Which from a higher angle looked like this:
Makes me itchy just looking at it. Mold, disorganization, a pile of empty sunflower seed shells; all of it was under there. Don’t ask. And every time I wanted to grab something, I had to root around that nightmare of a cardboard box to find it. I had had enough and finally just emptied it out and figured if I took stuff out and put it back in, I’d at least know what was in there.
Well, of course, after everything was out, I got inspired to at try and improve the space a little. That mold in the back was enemy #A1. I know, I know, mold is dangerous. Please, don’t let what I did diminish that fact. Anyways, I decided to let sleeping mold lie and painted over it. I figured the spores were better left in-tact and attached to the wall than airborne after of trying fruitlessly to scrub it clean. I got out the trusty Kilz II from the basement and painted right over it. I understand it may come back, but at least for now it’s under a thick coat of primter. I painted the rest of the surfaces under there also, just to start out with a fresh coat on everything.
Then, I had to come to terms with what was going back in there. Little space, lots of bottles. I laid it all out so I could take stock and start to scheme how to put it all back so it wouldn’t devolve into an abyss again.
So, what did I have under the sink?
- Big screw-top bottles
- Aerosol cans
- Spray bottles
- Trash bags
- Spools of aluminum foil and other misc. papers
- Rags and kitchen towels
- Emergency tea light candles
- Paper towels
- Trivia place mats. Once, when Mike and I first started dating, we spent a whole Friday night memorizing the presidents in order. I can’t bear to get rid of them.
Conclusion? Mishmash. I really didn’t know where to begin, so I took a look around the basement for inspiration. I found these old farm boxes (a blueberry and apple crate, I think) I bought off Craigslist when we first moved to PA. I committed to buy them and then realized they were about an hour and a half car ride away in rural New Jersey. Did you know New Jersey could even get its rural on? Trust me, it can.
I used two of the one on the left, and one of the type on the right. After fitting the jigsaw puzzle of goodies back into the cabinet, I was left with the spools of paper, paper towels, and spray bottles. For the spools, I hung the Ikea metal paper dispenser back up on the right side of the cabinet.
Paper towels got a custom job using these ingredients found in our Hoarders worthy mud room.
After marking out where the roll would hang,
I screwed in an eyebolt on the right side,
and a hook on the left side.
No exact science here, totally eyed it. It is on the back of a cabinet, after all. Then, I broke out the clothesline and tied one end to the eyebolt and measured to the hook, leaving a little slack so that a full roll could sit on the string without being too tight. I knotted a mini carabiner (from an eyeglasses screwdriver key chain) to the end. Voila! Feed the clothesline through the roll, hook, and grab a sheet.
The spray bottles were the last obstacle. There was an Ikea tea towel holder (I can’t, for the life of me, find the official Ikea name for it) screwed on the right side door in the ‘before’ cabinets.
The holes serendipitously were the perfect diameter for hanging spray bottles. I added two more holes, for a total of five by drilling VERY carefully and slowly. This wood wasn’t exactly industrial strength.
I wanted it hung up-and-out-of-the-way, which of course meant putting it where no screwdriver could fit. Mike was changing the oil in his car, and when he came back in to get something I lured him over with my endless DIY-in-sweatpants charm and made him hang it. He’s much more patient with hanging things. He got out the smaller screwdriver and toenailed in two screws by going up through the holes made for the bottles and screwing into the cabinet side. Boy, I do love that man.
BOOM. Spray bottle caddy, love ya.
And here is the organized, non-panic inducing and sunflower seed-less after. I must have opened the cabinets to just stare at the organized bliss at least 12 times the day it was finished.
Attack 1 of the 2012 Organizing Monster is a sweeping success.