Huh? Confused by that title?
This is a post about what happens when I decide to “organize.” More often than not, it morphs into a much larger, more involved decorating project. Who’s with me on that one?
I work from home, and I’m lucky enough to have a dedicated office and craft room. I’ve been pretty busy lately with work and other obligations, and my office had become a dumping ground.
I didn’t take any before photos of the disorganization, so let me paint a picture for you. Papers strewn all over the desk. Two pairs of shoes, scraps of paper, a tape dispenser and other detritus under my desk. Three wreath forms and a basket of photo props propped against the wall. An empty laundry basket. Bags from Michaels and Hobby Lobby hanging from the door and cluttering the floor. An obstacle course of wooden beads spilled on the floor. Dinosaurs and several other errant toys and markers and scribbled paper abandoned wily nily. All protected by a nice coating of dust.
Last Friday night, I’d finally had enough.
“I’m going upstairs to clean my office,” I proclaimed.
I spent a few minutes filing some paperwork, then decided I needed to watch some Downton Abbey while I worked. When I sat down at the computer to stream the show, I started looking around the room and taking everything in. And ruminating.
To anyone watching, it would have looked like I was sitting down on the job. But that’s what I do when I’m planning a project. I sit and I look and a contemplate ideas in my head, and then I spring into action.
My craft storage armoire needed a makeover before the office organization project could go any further.
So, I set about emptying it of all the glitter, scrapbook paper, photographs, paint, ribbon and other craft supplies stored inside.
This is the armoire after I’d emptied about half of the stuff in it and stashed it in the hallway and the adjoining bathroom. (Springing into action means you sometimes forget to take good before photos.) I made quite the obstacle course for myself, then made a bigger one as I decided to stash some of the armoire’s contents in my craft closet with the Elfa shelving storage system.
I’ve had this pine, bonnet-top armoire for about 15 years. It was one of the first grown-up pieces of furniture I purchased out of college. I bought it unfinished from J.C, Penney, and my mom refinished it for me one Thanksgiving weekend. The armoire has moved with me from bachelorette pad to bachelorette pad to our first town home after we were married and finally to this house. Along the way, the ball feet were nibbled by my puppy, the once pretty stained finish became scuffed and the doors split so badly near the hinges that I removed them. (You can see my repurposed armoire doors here.)
The armoire desperately needed a paint job, but it was something I’d been putting off because I thought it would be cumbersome and time consuming to paint.
I finally put all objections aside, laid down a drop cloth, mixed up some Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in French Enamel and got to work.
A few episodes of Downton Abbey later (you will not believe what happens in Season 3) the armoire was finished. Painted, waxed and buffed — with hemp oil applied to the inside to restore the stain. (I decided to take the short cut and not paint the inside of the armoire.)
This was a completely no-cost makeover. I used storage containers and baskets I already owned to organize contents of the armoire. (I may be something of a container hoarder. Please don’t look in my attic!)
These pretty jute baskets from Michaels hold ribbon and fabric.
I added a little watercolor painting for a touch of pretty. The painting features two of my favorite things, flowers and shoes, morphed into one.
I love how the wood stain shows through the French Enamel milk paint where I sanded. Places that looked dinged and unsightly before take on character and patina with the milk paint.
Jars, magazine files, pottery, planters, a lazy susan, storage boxes, coffee mugs, acrylic organizers, stackable shelves from Ikea and even vintage ashtrays provide storage solutions.
The magazine files and storage boxes are from The Container Store. They’re the perfect shade of blue to coordinate with the French Enamel Milk paint.
I hung a bulletin board made from an old frame on the side of the armoire to corral important papers, business cards and other keepsakes.
While the organizing and cleaning is done, I’m still working on some finishing decorative touches in my office/craft room space. So, I’ll share the rest of the room with you soon.
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