Category Archives: Storage & Organization

How is it Now? Upcycled Window Frame Jewelry Organizer

My upcycled window frame jewelry organizer has been one of my most popular and most shared projects to date. Therefore I thought it a good candidate for a “how is it now” update, where I share how a DIY project has actually held up with time and use.

Upcycled Window Frame Jewelry Organizer

I’ve made two of these jewelry display windows over the years, the first having window screening in the panels to hold earrings, and the second having burlap-covered-boards in the window panels to hold earrings.

I’ve been using the second version, the burlap and lace one, for more than 2 years now. I’m pleased to report that it’s working just as well now as it was on the day I made it!

If you’re contemplating making this yourself, I strongly recommend the burlap version over the metal screen version. The metal screening was hard to work with, and the burlap looks nicer.

Having my jewelry hanging on display has made it so easy to see what I have and to easily put it away when I’m done wearing it. I’m really glad I came up with this idea and I can’t imagine going back to a different jewelry organizing system.

The verdict? I’d give this DIY project an A+ for durability and usefulness.

If there’s a particular project of mine and you’d like to know how it’s held up over the years, just let me know in the comments!

How To Hack an Elfa Closet to Create Decorative Wooden Shelves

On Monday I shared the Elfa closet hack that converted my standard Elfa closet system into a decorative bookshelf and clothes closet combination for the baby’s nursery. If you’re looking to blend decorative shelving with utilitarian clothes storage, this is a great compromise!

Nursery Closet After Elfa Shelf Hack

The main tip is to buy and stain solid pine boards to create the wooden shelves, because it is both cheaper and better than using the solid Elfa shelves sold at the Container Store. Their shelves are expensive MDF/Laminate, with an artificial wood grain, and don’t come in larger lengths than 30″.

Nursery Closet Wood Shelf Detail

Supplies Used:

  • Container Store Elfa Easy Hang Shelf Hardware: Top Track, Hanging Standards, and 10” Solid Shelf Brackets
  • 10” wide select pine boards from Home Depot*
  • Long screws
  • ORB Closet Rod and Closet Rod Supports from
  • Minwax Pre-Stain Conditioner, MinWax Wood Stain in Walnut, and Polyurethane Sealant

*Edit: my friend Becky commented with important info on the boards.  “The actual dressed size of a 1×10 is 3/4 x 9-1/4. In practice the width seems to vary between 9-1/8 and 9-1/2, but it’s *supposed* to be 9-1/4″.

The Process:

  1. Because my original closet design used Elfa Ventilated Shelves, I had to remove the shelves and the shelf brackets. This was a little wasteful, but I was installing Elfa in another closet so I knew I could use some of them there.
  2. I bought the 10” Solid Shelf Brackets from the Container Store, because they were the only ones that could have solid shelves or boards mounted on them. (I tried to use my existing Ventilated Shelf Brackets, but they didn’t work.) If you want more narrow shelves, they make shorter brackets as well.
  3. I bought 10” (really 9 ¾”) Select Pine lumber boards, cut them to length, and then sanded and stained them using this process.
  4. I placed the shelf brackets in the hanging standards, and then set the boards on them. The Solid Shelf Brackets have two small holes running through them. To secure the boards, I drilled screws up through the brackets and into the boards.Nursery Closet Attach Wood Shelf to Elfa Bracket

One challenge remained: The shelf with the clothes rod hanging down from it.

The closet rod was suspended from hooks that attached to the Ventilated Shelf Brackets. The Solid Shelf Brackets did not have the option to hang a rod. I set the board on top of the ventilated shelf, but after making the rest of the shelves look good, I didn’t like the mismatched style of the chrome rod, white hardware, and wood shelf.

Nursery Closet Elfa Wood Shelf Hack

It was hard to find closet rod hooks that would suspend from the board itself, but finally I found the closet rod and center support at OrganizeIt. I chose them in oil rubbed bronze to help them blend with the dark wood shelves. Nursery Closet Rod Detail

I installed 4 hanging closet rod center supports in the bottom of the shelf, hoping that that would provide enough support and it seems to.

Nursery Closet Vertical Shelf Detail

Disclaimer: I suspect this method of suspending a closet rod may not support a heavy rack of adult clothes.

I could have taken this project one step further by spray painting the shelf brackets to match the shelves, and painting the hanging standards to blend with the wall, but I wanted to keep the closet system white to work with any other configurations down the road.

Nursery Closet After Wood Shelves Elfa

This wooden shelf hack worked so well that I’m considering using it in other parts of the house where we’d like to install wall shelves but don’t want to drill a ton of holes and commit to one configuration.

Shared at iHeart Organizing, Tatertots & Jello, The DIY Showoff.

The Nursery: Creating Decorative, Useful Closet Bookshelves

Even before her birth, Maple had amassed a huge library of books; some were gifts and some were saved from my childhood.   I planned to install bookshelves on one wall of the nursery but was reluctant to put too many large holes in the walls because we rent.

Nursery Closet After Wood Shelves Elfa

Before I came up with a solution, I cleared my clothes out of the nursery closet. Because the space was previously my office and dressing room, I had already installed the Elfa closet system (from the Container Store) to maximize the large closet space.
Jane Office ClosetI wondered how I would possibly fill the closet with Maple’s clothes. Baby clothes just don’t take up that much hanging space. Then I was hit with the idea of using Maple’s wide closet as a decorative bookshelf as well as clothes storage.

This was the perfect solution – I would gain bookshelves while avoiding drilling holes in the walls, and I wouldn’t be stuck with a mostly-empty clothes closet.  However, the white wire Elfa shelves were neither pretty nor practical for displaying books and other items.

Nursery Closet Before

Inspired by this idea, I decided to replace the Elfa ventilated shelves with stained wooden boards from Home Depot.

Why didn’t I use the Elfa solid shelves sold by the Container Store? Because they’re expensive MDF/Laminate, with an artificial wood grain, and don’t come in larger lengths than 30″.

After the shelves were installed, I made some simple curtains to flank the closet opening and provide a prettier frame for the space.

Nursery Closet After Container Store Elfa Hack

If you’re looking to blend decorative shelving with utilitarian clothes storage, this is a great compromise.  Or if you’re interested in installing a Container Store Elfa closet system with decorative and durable solid shelves, this hack will help you save some cash and get better shelves in the process!

If you’re interested in how I did it (spoiler alert: it took a little more work than expected), in the next post I’ll be sharing the supplies and the process I followed.

Money-Saving Tip: The annual 30% off Elfa Sale is currently happening until March 2 at the Container Store. This is the best deal you can get on Elfa shelves – it happens every year starting on December 24.

Organizing the Awkward Space Under the Bathroom Vanity

Tips for organizing the awkward space under the bathroom vanity and quickly preparing it for guests.

Bathroom vanity with artThe new year is a great time to refresh your space, since the bad weather often has you stuck indoors. I get excited about it, because the weather inspires me to organize and clear the clutter out of spaces. Staying organized is especially important in small spaces like the bathroom, where good storage systems will help you remain organized through the rest of the year.

My bathroom was suffering from organization neglect. Even though I have a generous vanity cabinet, everything was messy from four years of disorganized use!

Get Fresh Bathroom cabinet before

To tackle this mess, I first pulled everything out of the cabinets and drawers, and ditched items I didn’t need. I threw out the old makeup, hair and body products that weren’t getting used, because you don’t need to create a storage system for unused clutter.

They key to good storage in the bathroom is maximizing the under-sink storage area, even though it’s awkward with pipes coming into it.

Before tackling the organizing, I covered the bottom of the cabinet in removable, adhesive shelf paper. Then, to maximize storage, I tried using a few different shelving and drawer systems from home improvement stores, but they were pricey, and all took up a lot of space without adding a lot of function. Instead, I resorted to the simple-yet-effective solution of clear plastic bins.

Get Fresh Bathroom cabinet organization bins

I grouped items in categories, such as “extra bath & body products” and “extra baby products”. Each group got its own bin, so we know where to check when we run out of a product.

Nail care items fit perfectly into a little plastic box that slid under the awkward sink pipes, making use of that small bit of space.

Get Fresh Bathroom soap storage

Smaller items, like bar soaps, razor blades and hair combs, went into a small plastic drawer unit that for easy access.

Get Fresh Bathroom makeup caddy

I put my makeup and makeup brushes into a little caddy to make it both easy to grab, and easy to put away.

Hair dryers, straightening irons, and big brushes are awkward to store. I solved this by hanging them on adhesive hooks inside the doors of the cabinet. If they didn’t have good loops for hanging, I made my own by adding a zip tie around the appliance.

The beauty of a good clean-out and organizing project?   When I was done organizing the vanity, I discovered I had more than enough space to store everything, leaving room for items that may get added through the year.

Get Fresh Bathroom vanity cabinet detail

Once you’ve tackled that under-sink storage, everything else is easier.

A clean, clutter-free counter is key to keeping your bathroom fresh, so I moved most of our daily use items into the vanity drawers. The key is to keep them easily accessible.

One vanity drawer holds my husband’s personal items that he uses daily, while another holds mine. There were two drawers left over, so one by the toilet is filled with toilet paper rolls, and the other holds our pet bathing shower attachment.

I used a pretty tray to corral the items that are best left on the counter; this gives the space a more cohesive look.

Get Fresh Bathroom vanity wall view

Be smart when you accessorize the bathroom. Due to its small size, it’s no place for clutter, but a few nice touches go a long way:

  • Hang some art
  • Add a live plant
  • Use pretty, matching bath towels and coordinating bath mats

Get Fresh Bathroom guest towels candle

Finally, when you’re entertaining guests, quickly freshen up the space with these three tips:

  • Wipe down the sink, counter, faucet handles, and mirror
  • Light a scented candle for elegance
  • Set out some pretty hand towels by the sink

When it comes to keeping a small space fresh and organized, just remember: If everything has a place, there can be no mess.

This post was originally published on, where I am contributing writer / brand ambassador.