My Old Apartment, Rental Remedies, Small-Space Solution, Storage & Organization

Clutter Control: It’s in the pot

Kitschy kitchen counter clutter is not for me. Sterile, empty counters are my dream.  No  appliances, no “cute” little containers of cooking utensils, no olive oil jars, no salt and pepper.  I’ll enjoy a scented candle or vase of fresh flowers on the counter, but that’s it.

Speaking of counter space, my landlord recently removed the wall between my kitchen and the dining room, installing a niiiice big bar counter between the two rooms.  See?

This spacious counter liked to accumulate my “keep-near-back-door-of-house” clutter.  It drove me crazy.  After a year I could take it no more.  I devised this DIY shelving solution that is custom-fit to the kitchen wall – i.e. landlord-friendly!

I measured up the space and got a board cut into shelves at Home Depot. Using handy-dandy “L” brackets, I affixed the shelves to the wall.

I gasped, horrified.  (Ok, so I’m dramatic. I take these projects seriously.)  The top shelf was slightly warped.  I didn’t want to redo it, so I glued an edge around the shelf to trick the eye.

(Photo below shows the warped shelf with the first edge glued on.  It also shows the abrasions on the wall where an ugly towel bar had lived.  Short of major sanding and re-plastering, I had no way to completely hide it.)

When the glued shelf edges were dry, I blended the shelves (and brackets) into the wall with two coats of that boring apartment-white paint that covered the walls of my kitchen.

And then came the storage – the fun part. Four terra-cotta pots were just the right size for holding the small items I wanted to keep at arm’s reach in the kitchen.  I painted them with the Glidden brand Granny Apple Green that I used on my accent wall in the dining room.  To finish things off, I installed hooks on the bottom shelf and hung my dog leashes, oven mitts, and a dish towel.  Voila!

Low Profile Apartment Kitchen Clutter Control


DIY Shelves Apartment Kitchen Storage

Above, the finished product.

Below, A close-up of the flower pot storage. Left to right, they hold:  dog cleanup bags, more dog bags, craft paint and brushes, and gardening tools/seeds.

Flower Pots for Storage Containers

In the future I’d like to spiff up the shelf edges with some molding, but for now, I’m just happy to have clean counters!

So remember, when it comes to clutter, the only way to really contain it is to re-think the storage solution in the space where it occurs.

For the detail-curious, here’s a cost breakdown.  Note that the bulk of the cost was for decorative storage.  The shelves themselves were much cheaper than anything I could have bought.


  • 1 Pine Board – $5.00
  • 2 Pairs of Metal ‘L’ Brackets – $5.00
  • 4 Metal Hooks – $2.50
  • Paint – Free (leftovers)

Decorative Storage Containers:

  • 4 Terra Cotta Pots – $12.00
  • 1 Decorative Storage Box – $4.00
  • Paint – Free (leftovers)

Total cost for clean counters: $28.50

So have any of you DIY’ed cute kitchen storage in lieu of purchasing those fancy contraptions at a store?

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  • Reply Julia at 8:36 pm

    Excellent Job Jane! I love that it blends right in with the wall. It really is such a space saver and a great DIY idea. Good work!

  • Reply Julie at 5:29 pm

    Cute, cute! Nice job, looks really nice!

  • Reply heidi at 11:27 am

    I love me some clutter control! Your clean countertops are fab – great solution- – – – I’d save my finishing bucks for italy too!!

  • Reply Katherine @ Grass Stains at 12:08 pm

    FABULOUS! That is what I call “bang for the buck.” I need something like that on my way out the back door. What a great inspiration!

    • Reply Borrowed Abode at 12:20 pm

      Thanks! My whole pet-owning life I’ve had clutter near whatever door I used. I absolutely recommend implementing something. I was fortunate to have a great little space for it.

  • Reply Jenn at 1:09 pm

    I love it! Blends right in and is very cute! (also love your profile story about rearranging the furniture in the morning, I got a good laugh over that!)

  • Reply Sedona at 2:27 pm

    I love that idea! Such a great use of space!!!!

  • Reply ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~ at 4:57 pm

    Very clever idea! . .and organized too. A container for everything. I’ve got some of those clutter spots at my place too.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  • Reply Angelique at 12:29 pm

    I love it!!!
    That was wonderful inspiration!

    I was thinking about doing something very similar!
    It came out very lovely.
    First time stopping by your blog.
    Will definitely be back!

  • Reply Clutter Control: Almost-floating office shelves « The Borrowed Abode at 9:36 am

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  • Reply Wanted: Rental decorating challenges | The Borrowed Abode at 6:48 pm

    […] home.  I’m still decorating and DIYing the heck outta this new home, but I no longer need to create cute storage for a tiny kitchen, or turn my dining room into an office. Credit: Crowbert on […]

  • Reply Renee, spear401 at 12:18 pm

    The shelves are great. I especially like the hooks. You’ve just got to watch how far that back door opens now. LOL.


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