DIY your way to organized

08/07/2014 5:02 PM

08/07/2014 5:02 PM

It’s hard to get excited about organizing when you’re staring down an aisle of bland plastic bins or wire closet systems. But if you’ve got some basic tools and a little time, you can make your own organizing solutions that are fabulous as well as functional.

We asked retailers, bloggers and organizers for their favorite projects to help you put things in their place as prettily as possible.

Dowel mug holder

Keep your mugs handy and out of the way with this whimsical holder made out of wooden dowels. Lowe’s Creative Ideas, a publication of the home improvement retailer, shows us how to do it. On the Web:

What you need:

• Miter saw, table saw or handsaw
• Drill with 1/16-inch bit
• Sander, 120-grit and 180-grit sandpaper
• Screwdriver
• Wood glue
• Super glue
• Painter’s tape
• 2-inch dowel
• 1 1/4-inch dowel
• Three 1 1/4-inch white cup hooks
• Small D-ring hangers
• Clear satin spray finish

How to make it:

1 From the dowels, cut 14 2-inch-long pieces. Sand ends smooth.

2 Attach a small dowel to a large one with a few drops of super glue. When dry,add a small bead of wood glue along one side to reinforce the connection. (Painter’s tape will hold pieces together while the glue dries.) Continue joining pairs of large and small dowels.

3 Begin combining pairs of dowels, keeping visible glue joints hidden toward the inside. Then glue clusters of dowels together to form an oblong shape. Place at least two of the larger dowels toward the top at opposite ends. For outside pieces, use wood glue where it can be hidden and tape the final pieces together.

4 Sand outside faces smooth and flush with one another. Wipe and vacuum clean and apply two coats of spray finish.

5 At the centers of two large dowels near the top on opposite ends, drill two 1/16-inch pilot holes and install a pair of D-ring hangers. (The closer they are to the top, the less the rack will tip when loaded with mugs.)

6 At the centers of three large dowels spaced about evenly apart, drill 1/16-inch pilot holes and insert cup hooks roughly level with the hangers on the back. Space far enough apart to keep mugs from bumping. Hang on the wall.

asure and mark where to attach the hinged top. To align hinges align with handles in the wood crate, measure to find the middle of each crate, above the handle.

4 After marking the screw locations and hinge locations, stain the wood. Let dry overnight.

5 When you’re ready to attach the top, secure hinges on the door first. Use No. 6 1/2-inch screws. Find a helper. One will hold the top piece; the other will help align the hinges and hold them in place. The first screw is the hardest to position, but once it is in, the others will fit into place easily.

6 Fill crates as desired and close the top.

Landing zone organizer

Jennifer Burnham of Pure & Simple Organizing in Charlotte came up with this idea for Habitat for Humanity’s blog for its Charlotte-area ReStore locations. It helps corral jackets, umbrellas, purses and other things we shed when we rush into the house – or you could also make one to organize your necklaces. It’s a great way to turn something old and discarded into something new, useful and totally you. On the Web:

What you need:

• Cabinet door
• Cabinet knobs
• Screws
• Drill and bits
• Paint (optional)
• D-ring hangers

How to do it:

1 (Optional) Sand and paint all or part of cabinet door. Burnham used chalkboard paint on her organizer, which allows you to write messages on it.

2 Decide placement of each knob. Mark with a pencil on the back of the door.

3 Using a drill bit that is the same size as your screws, drill a hole at each pencil mark. Make sure to drill all the way through the door.

4 Attach knobs to the door with screws.

5 Attach two D-ring hangers to the back of the door. You will use these to hang the organizer from secured screws in the wall.

Magnetic board

Laurie Martin, owner of Simplicity, a firm of certified professional organizers in Charlotte, has been loving these magnetic boards in her clients’ homes. They keep things off your counters yet still handy, and add a sleek, modern look. Best of all, you can change their configuration to use them your way and add homemade magnets to lend a personal touch.

What you need:

• Magnetic board (The Container Store carries several sizes and colors)
• Magnetic hooks
• Or, to make your own magnets:
• Wooden shapes
• Paint
• Glue
• Small magnets (if you buy the kind with adhesive on one side, you can skip the glue)

How to do it:

1 Select a magnetic board in the size and color that best fits your needs.

2 Follow package directions to hang your board vertically or horizontally.

3 Arrange magnetic hooks as needed to hold necklaces, keys, craft supplies – anything you can think of.

4 To make your own magnets, select wooden shapes and paint them as desired. After paint dries, glue or stick a small magnet on the back and arrange along board as needed. In this configuration, a magnetic board is a great way to organize to-do lists, children’s artwork and more.

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