Before & After: From Tired Cabinet to Bathroom Storage

Our bathroom vanity is only 30″ wide so we have always had to get a little creative with our storage situation. Up until recently, we had been utilizing a tall bathroom cabinet to house many of our daily toiletries. Over the years, that cabinet began to slowly fall apart. First, the bottom drawer front fell off so I just put a tall basket in its place. More recently, all of the drawer fronts had completely fallen off, the sliding drawer hardware had snapped, and the cabinet wasn't even hanging on by a thread. It was time to snip that thread, cut our losses, and look for an alternative solution.

(You can see my previous post on our bathroom organization here.)

The bathroom itself hasn't been updated in about 15 years now and is something we would like to tackle within the next year or two. Once we were sans cabinet, I needed something ASAP to keep our limited counter space free of my clutter and to make up for the loss of three drawers and three shelves. You know where I am going with this right? I really didn't want to invest a lot of money into something knowing that we aren't too far away from making more permanent changes to the bathroom.

With that in mind, I went straight to Facebook Marketplace to look for an inexpensive solution. I was looking for a piece of furniture that wasn't too deep (I didn't want it to be obtrusive in our modest-sized bathroom) and something with doors. With the germs that fly in the bathroom, I always prefer storage behind drawers and doors. Doors also cut down on the amount of surface that I have to clean and wipe down frequently. I initially thought a lawyer style bookcase would be a bit different, but with our bathroom being on the smaller side, I ultimately decided it would be nice to do something with more glass. So I started to search for curio style cabinets that were less than 14″ deep.

I figured that it would be a quick find, but it took some weeks of checking in and trying a variety of search terms. I finally stumbled upon something within my low budget, but it would require some modifying to make it juuuuuuust right.

The picture above is from the original listing, and my husband raised his eyebrows when I told him I wanted to take a drive to pick up this piece of furniture for our bathroom. Although the wood wasn't in great shape, the price was low and I saw a diamond in the rough.

What I was instantly drawn to was the top half of the cabinet. The glass portion was the perfect size and I also appreciated the decorative moulding for a more traditional look. The bottom of the cabinet wasn't at all my style and felt too bulky, but my hope was that we could construct something a bit more streamlined. As soon as we got the cabinet back into our home, we began to slowly deconstruct it to separate the top piece from the bottom.

We built the new base from hardwood 1″ x 2″ poplar boards.

Our Kreg Jig was our best friend for this project, as it allowed us to create a series of concealed pocket holes to assemble a clean looking finished product.

The base of the cabinet was going to be about 12″ deep by 24″ wide. We did two tiers of support so we would be able to add a shelf at the bottom as well. The legs were constructed of 2″ x 2″ boards.

We screwed the 1″ x 2″ side pieces into the 2″ x 2″ legs (twice). Then we attached the back and front 1″ x 2″ pieces.

Almost there!

We cut a 1/2″ piece of birch plywood to create the bottom shelf.

I always freak out a little during the middle. I was worried the clean and simple bottom wasn't going to tie into the more traditional top. But before I made any final judgment, I decided to prime and paint the entire piece a solid color.

Prior to painting, I did a few things to prep the cabinet. We used our brad nailer to affix the shelf to the base. Then I caulked all of the cracks around the legs. I used a sanding block to sand everything down. After that, I took a liquid deglosser to the top half of the cabinet because the wood had a chipping top coat and I wanted to be sure I wasn't going to have any trouble with paint adhering. Not done yet, I used some wood filler to fix any cracks, dents, holes, scratches, etc… Finally, I taped all of the glass off with painter's tape and found my oil-based primer.

Once the primer was dry, I sanded everything again and did two coats of Benjamin Moore's Westcott Navy.

Once painted, the cabinet turned out really lovely. The entire project came in under $75 for the cabinet, wood supplies, and paint. Considering I had been pricing out new options for between $250 – $1200, I am very happy with how this turned out.

I use the cabinet to hold everything I reach for on a daily basis. The top shelf holds a divided basket with face cloths, washcloths, and an extra roll of toilet paper.

An acrylic tray corrals all of my lotions and facial creams.

While a small handled basket works great to hide my makeup clutter. I also use a basic drinking glass to hold some facial cotton pads and a clear apothecary jar for cotton swabs.

The bottom shelf holds a couple extra clean towels, bath salts, and a spa brush.

Because we added a small shelf below, I was able to fit two tall baskets to conceal the less sightly toiletry clutter such as small grooming tools and a manicure kit.

Let's take a look at a side-by-side before and after to show what a little out of the box thinking can yield.

The original base was salvageable enough to donate so hopefully someone else can put that piece to good use also.

Don't you love a good “one man's trash is another man's treasure” story? The overall depth of the cabinet is only 12″ so I was able to add quite a bit of storage with a tiny footprint. And it's so pretty I hope it sticks around even after we get to updating our bathroom someday.

I would love to see/hear about your Facebook Marketplace finds too! Or how you are getting creative with storage around your home! Share the details in the comments below or tag me on Instagram!

P.S. I purchased this cabinet on Facebook Marketplace weeks prior to any news of COVID-19. I completely understand the sensitivity of the current situation and Facebook Marketplace may not be the best way to shop given current social distancing recommendations. I still wanted to share in case you have a piece of furniture that might need some new life, or if you are just looking for inexpensive and space-saving bathroom storage solutions. Please stay safe and healthy my friends.  

Published at Tue, 17 Mar 2020 16:00:11 +0000

DIY Sliding Closet Door

A while back we did a lot of work on our teen boy's bedroom closet which included widening the doorway to allow for a large, built-in storage unit. His room isn't all that large or “roomy”, so maximizing his closet to allow for both drawer and hanging storage was extremely important and has proven to be a great way to give him more space for reading, working on projects, having sleepovers, and doing his homework.

We knew there were so many benefits to widening the doorway to his closet, but then the problem solving began in terms of how to cover it all back up.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

There was a bit of planning and troubleshooting and decision making that went on with this project. Here are a few of the things we had to work through:

To keep the trim or not? That was the question. I decided that if we kept the trim around the door, that it ultimately should be completely covered by the door when it was pulled closed. But that would also increase the size of the door by about 4-5 inches in width, and the door was already measuring pretty large. The alternative was to remove the trim, but that would require more drywall work and some fussy refinishing.

Before making a quick decision, we thought we would install the rail to get a good idea of how far away from the wall the door would hang, and if the trim would interfere with it at all. Bryan easily had the rail installed in less than an hour and didn't even call me in to help (using the included installation instructions). Yay Bryan! Except I was instantly confused by the placement of the rail. He used the large bolts that came with the rail kit and installed them directly into the wall studs. Which made complete sense. But, this meant that the rail didn't go all the way to the corner of the room (it was just an inch or two short). If you want to be extremely specific about the rail placement, then you actually need to install a ledger board into the studs first, and then the rail can be installed anywhere into the ledger. Bryan knew I didn't want to use a ledger board if I could help it, so he just assumed going into the studs was the answer. But then I wasn't sure if I loved that the hardware didn't land exactly into the corner. And that led to another decision to make.

We now knew that the door would hang out enough to clear the trim, so the trim was going to stay. But before making any more decisions regarding the rail placement/ledger board, I wanted to construct the door and see it on the rail. The advantage of a ledger board is that it gives you the flexibility to install the rail hardware wherever you would like. It also allows the door to hang even further away from the wall/trim. The disadvantage is that it is another distracting element that adds to the entire setup (although painting the board the color of the wall would minimize that).

When coming up with the design for the door, I had a couple of inspiration pictures saved that I continuously referenced. This one and this one were my top two favorites. They both had a diagonal design that was trimmed out in a classic style. My son also really liked the design and gave me the thumbs up. With the hardware installed, we now knew how the rail system worked, where we wanted the wheel hardware to attach to the door, and the maximum thickness the door should be.

Quick Tip: We taped a couple of pieces of paper together that were scaled to the exact width of the door that we had planned to build. Then we drew the top trim boards based on our measurements and “installed” the paper on the rail with the hardware. This was a GREAT way to visualize how the door would cover the closet door casing and also allowed us to confirm that the boards we were planning on using to trim the face of the door would line up nicely with the hanging hardware. I like to visualize things before completely committing whenever possible.

Finally, my last but largest concern that I had was that the large door would be too overwhelming due to the smaller size of his room. The door was going to be just over 4′ x 7′ and I just didn't know of any other options in terms of closing off that wonderful opening we created. I told myself that sometimes larger things work best in small rooms to create more visual interest and to help balance some of the smaller accessories and knick-knacks. I also figured I could paint the door a similar color to the walls so that the pattern could be the focus, and the color would more or less fade away.

Now that we had worked through all of those points, it was finally time to start building that dang door!

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

Because our opening plus trim was over four feet, we talked through a few ways to achieve that width with as little wood as possible (to keep the door from getting too heavy). We began with a 4′ x 8′ piece of 1/2″ thick MDF because the actual dimensions are 49″ x 97″. If we were to trim out the edges with 1″ x 2″ boards, then we would be exactly where we needed to be. With that in mind, we thought we would construct something similar to our son's DIY headboard project.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

The rail was already installed so we had the exact measurements we needed so we began by cutting the height of the door accordingly.

Then I got to painting. I decided it would be easier to paint the back of the board, and the edges of the top boards, before assembly. I am telling you, doing this first was a major sanity saver later on! It made putting that final coat of paint on the finished door SO MUCH EASIER not having to get my brush down inside of every last groove.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

For the diagonal pattern we used 1″ x 4″ primed boards that we cut to length. What is hard to see is that we drew a couple of pattern lines lightly in pencil to be sure our first few pieces went in exactly where we wanted, as those pieces would set the stage for all of the remaining cuts.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

To affix the boards to the MDF, we covered the back of each board in wood glue and used our brad nailer and 1″ brad nails.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

We used a speed square along the edge to draw our cut line, everything was cut at a 45-degree angle with our miter saw.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

While purchasing material and paint, we noticed some extra-large paint stir sticks and thought that they would make for the perfect spacers. And they did!

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

After we got going, we cut, nailed, cut, nailed, cut, and nailed… All the way until the entire door was covered in diagonal planks.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

You may notice a couple of final pieces where the spacing doesn't look right, and that is because those areas were going to be covered by the decorative trim on the face anyway, we just popped boards in for backing.

Also above you can see how we trimmed the perimeter of the door with the 1″ x 2″ boards we purchased. Bryan ended up ripping each one to be exactly flush with the depth of the mdf board plus the diagonal pieces. Again, we added those boards to get the door just wide enough to cover both the closet opening and the closet door casing. This also added a nicely finished edge on each side of the door.

To finish off the design, I found some light-weight pine lattice moulding at Home Depot. It was the perfect width to frame out the door and hit the rail wheel hardware juuuuust right.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

I know, I know… This is that awkward middle stage where it is hard to see just how amazing it is going to look until it is all painted in the same cohesive color. But first, I had to fill every last nail hole with putty. And then I went over the entire door a second time just to be sure there were no pits. And then a lot of sanding everything nice and smooth.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

This step was worth every bit of time it took to really achieve the best finish possible.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

The color I went with is Benjamin Moore Wales Gray. I felt like it was just different enough from the walls (Sherwin Williams Nebulous Cloud), and complimented the ceiling (Benjamin Moore Blue Dusk).

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

Once the door was up, I decided it wasn't worth it to move the rail to the corner of the wall and add a ledger board behind it. The fact the rail stops an inch short isn't all that obvious because the edge of the door goes right into the corner. Plus, the details on the door steal the show!

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

The rail is able to support up to 225 pounds, and our door came in under that so we could scratch that worry off of the list, and the stoppers on each end are completely adjustable.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

Although the door still cleared the trim without a ledger board, we ended up having to inset the bottom bolt of the door hanging hardware into the back of the door to prevent it from rubbing against the white closet door casing.

I found the handle hardware on Amazon here. I like that it is substantial and coordinates with all of the other matte black hardware throughout his room.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

I put together a little motion shot of the new door opening and closing because we are just so excited to finally have this project checked off of our list!

As far as the organization goes, you can see that it is maintaining nicely! The only change is that all of his clothes have basically doubled in size. Oh! And we actually swapped the bottom shoe tray with a drawer we took out of our pantry cabinet (hoping to share more about that soon). We like that the drawer hides the shoes (yet they can still breathe), and that it can serve a different purpose all together down the road. You can read every last detail about his closet organization here.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

Here is a shot of the door closed. It does leave a blank space to the left and I haven't decided if I want to do anything there yet (we could add something up to the thickness of the door trim without any issues, but are OK just leaving it for now). The color of the door works really great with everything else he has going on, and although the door is quite large, we all love the addition and interest it has added to the room.

IHeart Organizing DIY Sliding Barn Door Teen Closet

I have one more big project I want to take on in this room (a DIY headboard), and then it will be FINISHED. Oh, what a feeling!

You can catch up on our previous teen bedroom posts below:
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Published at Sat, 14 Mar 2020 19:05:20 +0000

{articles|100|campaign}Happy New Year: Free Goal Setting Printable!

Happy New Year everyone! I sincerely hope that your holidays were full of warmth and love and happiness!

A new year means different things to different people, and although all of the highs and lows of years prior don't just disappear when the clock strikes midnight, January 1st does seem to signify a fresh start. I am here to say “cheers” to that!

Some years I set goals, and some I don't. There are times I worry about setting resolutions because of the fear of failure, or because I figure that they will all be forgotten by February. I also tend to over-analyze everything and can take goal setting too far. If goals become overly complicated, or out of touch, then I find I am less likely to feel motivated and encouraged. What I have found to work best for me is to:

  • Select 2-5 large scale goals for three areas of my life: Personal, Business, and Health. This is for the entire year! 
  • Use those goals to set smaller, bite-sized targets each week that ultimately correlate with my overall vision.

All of that said, I really want to give goal setting a real shot this year! Without specific goals, it can be easy to end up on a hamster wheel or to feel lost at sea. Using the method I find works best, I set out to create some printables to help organize my ideas. I am heading into this process with a mindset of why these goals are important to ME! It can be easy to select goals to fit a specific mold, or generic resolutions that have been set by society, but doing so doesn't ultimately aid in personal growth. I am also keeping in mind that I am not trying to give myself a total makeover, or change who I am at my core. The entire point of goal setting is to look at opportunities for improvement and to drive myself to succeed.

So while “getting more organized” and “go to the gym” and “budget” are all completely fine resolutions, I am going to challenge myself to think outside of the box, get specific about exactly what goals I am selecting (and why), and jotting down simple action plans to help me get there.

The printables I designed are intended to get us thinking and to put a pen to paper. The best part is that I left these pages free of timelines and dates, so they can be printed and reused or updated at any time of the year. I plan to clip mine to the front of my new planner pages so that I can check in on them as I do my weekly scheduling/planning/to-do lists.

To download, click the link below the image to be directed to the PDF file. There is no need to sign up/sign-in, you should see a ‘Download' button at the top of the screen to access the files for free.

I created an option for either Business or Educational goals so these can be used by anyone of any age! My boys tested them out and were able to use them with ease, and enjoyed sharing some of their responses with all of us during dinner the other night.


Although I didn't post nearly as much as I would have liked/hoped this past year, I had some really wonderful opportunities that gave me fresh perspective, confidence, and excitement for what I do. I am so excited to see what is in store for 2020 and I am endlessly grateful for all of you that have stuck around through this crazy roller coaster of life.

If organizing is a goal on your list this year, but you don't know where to begin, you can get a head start by collecting one item per day to discard from your home. Set up a box for donations that you can easily access and try to fill it by the end of the month. Less is always more when it comes to organization, and the small act letting things go is the best way to get started.

I also encourage you to take on organization in bite-sized projects. Focus on one small space at a time, and select areas that you utilize and touch the most frequently first. Organizing is always a process and you can't organize your life overnight. I have a few areas around our home that could use some zhushing, and I hope to share those this month as I tackle them. My personal organizational goal for January is to organize one thing that I have been putting off, and I have a few of those projects to pick from!

Last year I put together a super-sized series of posts with all of my favorite tips, tricks, and products. I am going to link them below as a quick refresher:

2020 here we come! Tell me, are you a goal/resolution setter? What organizing projects do you hope to tackle this year?

Published at Thu, 16 Jan 2020 00:57:37 +0000