Sometime shortly after our kids started back to school this past fall, my husband declared one day from out of the blue, “I can’t take it any more.”
“What are you talking about?” I inquired from the sink, elbow-deep in washing dinner dishes.
“This,” he said and pointed to the kitchen floor where our three children routinely dumped their book bags, lunch boxes, jackets, binders, and pretty much everything else they owned.
“Oh,” I said. “That.”
And thus a DIY project was born.
My husband and I knew there had to be a better method to the clutter madness than simply having piles of kid stuff on the floor. We also knew that we could not afford to spend a lot of money or time buying new furniture, hiring out custom built-ins, or taking on a big DIY project.
In the end, the project featured in this post allowed us to maximize storage and minimize the amount of wall space needed while still providing enough space to actually walk into the room and use the washer and dryer with which it shares a room.
For us, this DIY project involved both buying a few new things and using a few things we already owned. The final product includes a custom pegboard storage shelf (the new thing) with an accompanying bench, rugs, storage bins, and organizational calendar (the things we already owned).
The instructions given in this post will provide step-by-step directions for how to modify a custom pegboard storage shelf.
• 1 sheet of hardboard pegboard.
• 1 package pegboard hooks.
• 1 industrial shelving unit or bookcase, assembled.
• Large screws with appropriate washers and nuts.
• Spray paint.
• Sandpaper and/or electric sander.
1 • Acquire appropriate shelving unit or bookcase.
Be sure that whatever piece you use will fit in the desired space and that you will actually be able to use it. For example, because of the layout of the room, we needed to have hooks on the sides rather than the front of the shelving unit. We also needed the shelving unit to be narrow enough to fit between certain utility built-ins on the wall and shallow enough so we could still operate the washer and dryer, which would be directly across from it.
Be sure that whatever piece you use will allow for you to attach a sheet of pegboard. For example, the shelving we used has open slashes along the metal side posts into which we were able to insert screws for fastening.
We opted for a steel-framed open shelving unit with adjustable laminate shelves.
2 • Measure the sides of the shelf onto which the pegboard will be affixed.
The pegboard will be attached to the outside of the shelving. Measure the sides of the shelf onto which you wish to fasten the pegboard. We knew we would only be able to use the 2 sides of the unit. However, there some cases where the back of the shelf would be exposed and thus be handy for hanging tools, goods, etc.
3 • Mark the pegboard according to the measurements taken in step 2.
Be sure to take into account which side the pegboard should be the front (or outward-facing) side when marking the board.
Using a level when marking will help to ensure that cuts are straight.
4 • Cut the pegboard to size.
A table saw or high-quality circular saw sure would make this step easier and the final product more exact, but other saws will work, depending on what you have.
5 • Sand edges of pegboard.
This step is optional. Sanding will help smooth edges for safer handling and a more polished look. It may even help paint to adhere more readily.
6 • Paint pegboard.
This step is also optional. I wanted to paint the sides of the shelving unit since they would be used inside the house (and not in a garage or basement, for example). I used spray paint, but leftover wall paint would also work.
Before painting, it is a good idea to wipe off excess dust from pegboard or even wipe down lightly with paint thinner to ensure dust, etc., is removed from the surface to be painted.
Be sure to paint the appropriate side of the pegboard—the outward-facing side. It is up to you whether you want to paint both sides of the pegboard or only the side that shows.
Let the paint dry according to the instructions on the paint can. Add another coat of paint and let dry.
7 • Use screws, washers, and nuts to attach pegboard to shelving.
Line up the holes in the pegboard with the holes in the shelving sides. Add washer to screw; insert screw into pegboard then through into shelving; add another washer; add nut; tighten.
It is advisable to add washers to the screws so that a washer is on each side of the pegboard.
We inserted screws from the outside so that the nuts are on the inside of the shelving unit.
8 • Repeat step 7 for all sides onto which a pegboard will be attached.
9 • Add pegboards to sides.
We found that we were able not only to use hooks for the kidstuffs but also for other things like storing our foldable drying racks, grocery bags, and even a small vacuum cleaner.
Other things we did to the space:
› Added a small free-standing bench beside shelving.
› Included a wooden box for binders, gloves, and other assorted items.
› Affixed vinyl peel-and-stick dry erase calendar and note squares to keep up with weekly schedules and lists.
› Set out small coordinating rugs for under the bench and in front of the washer and dryer.