"I love my cats because I love my home, and little by little they become its visible soul." Jean Couteau

Monday, April 15, 2013

cleaning up the bathroom

Our master bathroom has a large cabinet under the double sinks, but I kept feeling like it wasn't super useful because it's really tall, so there could be a bunch of stuff in there, but then all this empty space above it. I put some plastic drawers from Target in there, which helped some, but I still kept thinking it would be great to have more of that sort of thing. The problem was that there are pipes running everywhere, making empty areas that were too narrow for standard storage drawers or shelves. Then I found a tutorial on making under-the-sink storage, which, unfortunately, I don't remember where it came from. So thank you, whoever you are, and I will do my best to make a real tutorial here, though I didn't take any in-progress pictures, as I was not, at the time, planning to blog about it.

First, here's an after picture, so you know what the goal was:

After I finished and posted these pictures on Facebook, my dad informed me that, since they're going in the bathroom, which can get damp, I should paint them to prevent molding. I generally go with my dad's suggestions for house-related things, so I painted. However, if I had known I'd be painting these, I probably would have painted each board before assembling them into the shelves; I think that would have been easier.

The first thing to do, obviously, is measure the space. Between pipes and the existing plastic drawers, I had three areas to work with. I wanted to make drawers to make it easy to get to things in the back, since the cabinet is so deep. So after measuring, I scoped out Target and dollar stores to find bins that would fit. The key for the bins is that they have a decent lip on the sides. I ended up getting some at Target on sale. I was also only able to find bins that would fit on Zach's section of the cabinet, so my side would have to just have shelves. 

I had some plywood lying around the garage, so I used that for my shelves/drawer holder. I started with Zach's bin holder. 
1. Measure and cut the plywood for the two sides and the top and bottom. 
2. Measure the height of the lip on the bins to know how far apart to put the rails. 
3. Measure the height of the bins to know how far apart to space them. I actually only used this for the bottom bin and spaced the others even farther apart, so taller things could go in the bins. A good way to get the spacing figured out is to lay down one of the side boards and place the bins on their sides there, then just mark the top and bottom of each bin lip. Then measure the distance between your marks to figure out how tall to make each rail.

4. If you're going to paint your storage units, now would be a good time. Once everything's assembled, it can be hard to get a brush inside.
5. Use nails and/or wood glue to attach the rail boards to each side
6. Nail on top and bottom
7. Slide in bins and admire your handiwork :-)


The shelves for my side of the cabinet were even easier without bin spacing to worry about. The first "shelf" is really just a box because I have tall things I wanted to put there. For the other shelf that actually has a middle shelf, the only sort of tricky part is making sure to measure the inside width really well so your shelf fits properly. Again, I would recommend painting each piece before nailing/gluing them together.

And here are some pictures after we put all of our stuff away. So much neater now!


The final part of this bathroom storage makeover is our new medicine cabinet. I really had nothing to do with this other than picking it out at the cabinet store and being home to watch the guy install it. We already have a huge mirror plus a small mirrored medicine cabinet, so I really didn't want another mirrored medicine cabinet over the toilet. 

But I thought we really could use some more storage space, so I had the great idea to find someplace that sells the brand of cabinets that we have under the sink (and in our kitchen). Here are a couple of things we learned about buying cabinets:

1. Remember you will need hardware (i.e. door knobs). If your sales person does not ask you to pick them out, bring it up; there is no "default".

2. If you are getting crown molding around the top of the cabinet, verify if it will come pre-installed (unlikely) or if it will need to be cut and installed at your house. We didn't know this and so thought we could install the cabinet ourselves. However, it turns out that I do not yet have the tools or skills to cut and attach crown molding, so we had to go back and schedule installation after the fact.

We had the installation guy out the other day, and he did a great job. He was also very friendly, which dissolved my annoyance about his being late. And now we have a beautiful new medicine cabinet, and all the clutter of stuff in the bathroom is pretty much contained!

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