Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I am organized: Entryway

Repurposing is my favorite "green" habit. Old, broken items can become something new and totally awesome--who wouldn't love that?

I am addicted.

There is a category of item that I could shop all day for. I drool over catalogs, I stalk sales, I happily wander stores imagining owning--

Not shoes.

Not clothes.

Not purses.

No, I, my friends, am addicted to organization supplies.
When storage bins go on sale in January, I am happy. When school supplies go on sale in August, I am in heaven. Show me a cute box, a bag with a myriad of carefully designed pockets, a desk organizer with a nifty feature and I. Am. So. There.

There are two problems with this addiction. The first is the same problem I face with food and shoes and clothes and purses: money, of course, that bugbear of dreamy housewives everywhere.

The second is the weird old house I live in, where everything from the doors to the drawers to the closets comes in non-standard shapes and sizes. Nifty little drawer organizers? Do not fit. Cool and practical over-the-door storage units? Do not fit. Anything ever in the history of the universe designed to bring the glory of Order to a chaotic closet?




Between the two, I have gotten rather creative (I hope) with making up and making do, that I might worship Order without going into hock or getting a degree in carpentry.

Let's take a look at one of my little projects.

Flip through any Pottery Barn catalog, and you will discover the Idealized World of the Entryway. These people who live in catalogs always have spacious mudroom-entryway places, filled with specially designed Entryway Organizers of Awesomeness that contain exactly the right number of perfectly sized nooks and crannies in which to store everything from your galoshes to your school books to your umbrellas to your keys to your mail to your everything you could possibly want to store conveniently close to the door. People who live in catalogs, they have these glorious rooms.

Do you know what I have, guys? I have a tiny stretch of wood floor with half a wall and a miniscule hall closet. (Our garage a. has an addition built above it and thus cannot fit a standard (!) automatic garage door and b. opens onto the stairs to said addition and then directly to the kitchen. So the front door is It).

Exhibit A.

Yet, given a budget of half a wall and zero dollars, and with the help of a handy husband, I managed to come up with this nifty mail and key organizer that does at least something to assuage my longing for an Entryway Organizer of Awesomeness:

Exhibit B.
Look at this handy thing! It hangs on the wall right by the door, it has hooks for keys and a decorative Freiburg shopping bag, pockets for mail for the DDH and me and for coupons, and generally is awesome. Best of all, it cost me precisely zero dollars.

How did this come to be, you ask? Well, friend, I will tell you.

The frame with hooks used to hold a mirror and hung above the couch in one of the DDH's bachelor apartments. The mirror fell victim to an Unfortunate Shoe Kicking Incident, but packrat me could never bear to get rid of such an intrinsically useful bit of wall hanging. It has followed us around for seven years now.

Then, the DDH and I discovered that the mirror bit could be removed, leaving the frame intact. We chopped apart a bulletin board (the frame had broken, but thinking, oh, corkboard is so useful! I had packratted it away, again for several years) and inserted it into the space left by the mirror.

For several months, that is how it hung in our entryway: useful hooks, coupons messily pinned to blank, boring corkboard.

Then I had to shred a bunch of old notes at work. The handy plastic pocket-covers of the notebooks just screamed, I can be used for something! as I was shredding their guts. I took pity on the critters and squirreled them away home.

I added a strip of black electric tape so stuff wouldn't fall out, since the pocket didn't go all the way across. I drew some nifty labels on scraps of scrapbook paper (actually, the boring white paper that you get for free with scrapbook inserts), stuck them in the business card viewer pocket, and voila! organizational pockets.

Please note that the labels are yellow on one side, blue on the other, and green in the middle, as if the blue and yellow bled into each other on the coupon pockets. IT'S SO CLEVER.

When I come home on lunch or at the end of the day, I take care of my mail right away, so my pocket is usually empty (I stuck the envelope in so my pocket didn't look lonely). The DDH is happy to let his mail sit for days weeks months, so it is usually full (supposedly everything in it is organized and this is just where he wants to file it. Why he feels the need to file his junk mail instead of throwing it away, you will have to ask him). When I get coupons in the mail each week, I toss the expired ones and add the new ones to the middle pocket.

You will notice that my keys are the only ones on the hook. Obviously one of us is more into this whole organizational thing than the other. I never tell him "I told you so" when he can't find his car keys, though.

A Thing of Beauty

Linked up with Your Green Resource on SortaCrunchy.


  1. OH i love the way you write! I think I like you :) Cute organization tool too! I might have to steal this idea!

  2. Why thank you!

    And you are welcome to. It works so well! I was so proud of myself for thinking of it. ^_~