Shelf Life

I never thought I would miss our weird, old basement. But I do, I really do. One of the things I miss the most about it was the big laundry space we had. It was huge! There was a fabulously large double sink and plenty of storage for random laundry/cleaning items. Plus it was out of the way and no one ever saw it. So despite being on the creepy end, which most old basements tend to be, it was a pretty great space.

Enter our new laundry space:


What I like: I really like that it’s on the same floor as the bedrooms. I also really like that it’s not creepy looking, that’s a big plus.

What I don’t like: It’s tiny. There’s no storage. The washer and dryer are temporary craigslist finds that we bought for cheap to use for now, but they’re really quirky and really (REALLY) loud. Not the worst laundry room by any means, but definitely unfortunate in its own way.


Yeah… It’s embarrassing.

The thing is, Tim attempted to add a bit of storage a couple of weeks ago (that “shelf” in the top photo? Yeah, that was him). I liked the idea of doing a shelf, but he kind of started the project, and then just left it to literally “hang out” for two weeks. I’ve been using it recently as a type of drying rack for my… ahem… delicates. But on Wednesday, when Patrick woke me up at 6:30 a.m., I decided it was time to do something about this eyesore.

Step one was to take out the shelf Tim put in and repair the damage done.


I’m not actually sure how he did, I had to remove the darn thing with a mallet! It was in their pretty snuggly. Everyone but Tim was already awake at that point though so I had no qualms with making a little noise in the wee hours of the morning.

I then removed the one bracket that was holding the shelf “in place” on the right side of the shelf. It definitely put up a bit of a fight, but I soon had it out. Next, I tended to the gouges in the sheetrock from the ends of the wire shelving and the giant holes from the screws in the bracket I had just removed.

I scraped off the rough edges of the holes and two layers of spackling went on top of that. I wasn’t too concerned with perfection (I was racing to get done while Patrick napped) but the spackling went on nice and smooth so there was no need to sand.


Once the spackling was completely dry, my little helpers got busy and painted the wall with the left over paint the builders left for us. Have I mentioned I don’t like tan paint? That’s an issue for a different post. I did briefly consider painting the room a different color, you know, since I had it all torn apart anyway, but I figured I’ll do that later if it really bugs me in a year or so. We’re not going to be in the house for very long, so I’m trying my best to be continent with a live-with-it-for-now attitude. It’s not working very well.

I figured the paint would dry sufficiently while I cut the shelf to size and screwed in the new brackets so once the paint brushes were cleaned, I moved immediately to sizing up the room and cutting the shelf to size. The room is 65.5 feet long so I cut my white shelf (from Menards for $10) to 65 feet. I had less than a foot left over, so it was a pretty good match!

The brackets (3 for $4 each) were the next thing to do. So it was off to the internet to look up really complex skills such as, “how to  find the studs in a wall” and “how far apart should brackets on a shelf be”. It’s how I roll.

After I had sufficiently googled all the burning questions I had, it was time to take action! I found the center of the wall length-wise, 60 inches off the ground, and marked it. This mark happened to not be located on a stud so I used an anchor to give the screw something to hold on to so it stayed put. Because, you know, I hear that’s a pretty desirable trait in a shelf.


Anchors are awesome. I never even knew they existed! Can’t tell you how many times I’ve hung hooks up without them and couldn’t figure out why they kept coming off the wall. Oh the lessons I’ve learned. Two of the brackets are placed in the wall using the anchors and screws. The farthest right bracket is in a stud, which is good because I feel like it’s a good thing for a shelf to be anchored to something a little more permanent than a squiggly plastic tube.


This is a picture of me, using the drill, while taking a picture of me using the drill. Multitasking.

I would also like to point something out…


That leveler on your phone? It’s probably not the most reliable source (observe the wonky line underneath the very level shelf).

I thought we had a leveler, but I found out that we do not, in fact, have a leveler. Father’s Day gift option, perhaps? So my first solution was to use my friendly little leveler on my phone, but the line looked really crooked to me when I drew it initially. So, I measured the old fashioned way and figured out very quickly to never trust my phone again.

Once I had the brackets securely placed in the wall, it was time to place the shelf on the brackets and screw it in.


I really need to figure out how to get the walls of the laundry room to look the same in pictures. Right now we’re ranging from a light tan, to a muddy brown and I don’t like it.

Anyway, once the shelf was attached to the brackets it was time to load it up! So I did, I really really did.


Oh it’s so beautiful. Look at how everything is all up on the shelf, and happy. It’s so very happy all in a group. Organized. Off the ground. Sigh.

I’m trying to decide if we should add one more shelf above this one. Thoughts?

While I was in the organizing move, I also hung up the ironing board.


Get on with yo’ bad self! If this was our “forever” house, I’d totally get one of those ironing boards that folds out of the wall. Did you know they have drying racks that come out of the wall too?? They’re pretty swoon worthy. As swoon-worthy as laundry accessories can be… someday…

I still have a little situation with the rest of the cleaning supplies in the other corner of the room:


So that’s a definite “to be continued”, but I’m so happy that I’ve been able to bring a little bit of order to a whole lot of chaos. I’m also pretty proud of myself for wielding a drill and not gouging myself. Tim thinks the shelf looks pretty great too, but he’s a little bummed that we spent money on the wire shelf, and we didn’t even use it. However, since we have an entire basement a-waitin’ to be finished, I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to use it somehow. We will see!

Have a great weekend!


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