I have been dreaming about this project for over a year. It's finally a reality, and I can finally get rid of the mess you see below! (Picture me doing a happy dance.) Since we don't have a mudroom, this is what I have been using to store food, shoes, backpacks, coats, etc.
Those of you with sharp "Mommy" eyes, will notice that the shoe bags are almost totally empty, the hooks (which are on both sides of the closet) are lonely and longing to be used, and the floor is completely lost under the piles of food storage, coats, backpacks, shoes, socks and other miscellaneous junk that gets stashed in the closet.
As for the stacks of storage items that you can't see (piled all the way back under the stairs), they'd better be things I don't need often, because there is absolutely no way to get to them without a backhoe. And the best part? Because the hooks on the shoe bag go over the top of the door, the door is almost always open--giving all visitors and family members of lovely view of the disaster.
As you can probably tell, this is not my favorite room in the house!
Enter the idea of a storage locker. I found some easy plans that promised to be the perfect solution--with one tiny problem. I am not a builder. You aren't either? Good thing the plans I found on Ana-White.com are made just for people like us.
I was too chicken to start, but when my dad offered to help (or maybe I roped him into it), I was ready to give it a try. Guess what? I loved it! Not only did I love the finished project, but I loved building it. I see a Christmas list filled with power tools in my future!
Before I get to the instructions (which I know not everyone will be interested in reading), let me answer the question I know you all are dying to ask:
Do my kids actually use the lockers?
YES!!! They have a routine when they come home from school.
- Backpacks and sweaters get hung up.
- School shoes go on the bottom shelf so they are ready for the next day of school.
- Lunch boxes get emptied and put on the bottom shelf.
- It's time for snacks and homework.
I love my finished lockers. (I think I might have mentioned that already.) I was a little nervous about the color (Rapids by Valspar), but now I absolutely adore it. It brightens up my kitchen, and I can't wait to add more color.
For those of you who want to try your hand at building, here's how I did it!
DIY Storage Lockers
As usual, since I love my readers so much, I made sure to make as many mistakes as possible so that I could tell you what not to do! Isn't that nice of me? I know. I'm awesome like that. :)
For all of you building novices out there. The first thing you need is a Kreg Pocket Hole Jig. (I am not affiliated with the Kreg Jig company in any way. I just really love it!) You can build without it, but if you are a beginner with few tools, the jig will make your work so much easier!!! You can typically find the Jr. version for under $40, and it is well worth the investment.
I made a couple of changes to Ana's instructions. First, since I knew my kids would need individual cubbies on the bottom shelf, I added dividers there. If you want the dividers, too, you will need to add two 10 ½" cuts from your 1 x 12 board. (You won't need to buy extra. There is enough in the scraps from the project.) You only need to drill pocket holes on one side of these smaller shelves. Second, I chose to use bead board instead of plywood for the back of the unit. I love the way it turned out! Finally, there is one cut missing from Ana's plan. You will need a 45" cut from your 1 x 3 board. (This is the footer.)
Ready for my first mistake? I followed the first instructions to put together the outside box. Guess what happens when you try to add the third side? Unless you have some type of supports, the screws pull out of the holes, and your whole project falls apart. If you're lucky, the top board also hits you on the head! Obviously Ana White doesn't know me, or she would have included the following in her plans:
"Heidi--you're going to get hit over the head with a board, so you'd better sit down and do some planning before you start building!"
Thanks to my dad, who is great at planning, we came up with this chart. After you drill your pocket holes, put together the frame in this order. (This will not only help you avoid a giant goose egg, but it will also keep you from having to learn how to use the reverse function on your power drill. Honestly, I only had to take things apart once . . . or . . . maybe twice.)
- Screw together the top and one side (forming an L).
- Screw together the shelf above the bottom cubby and the other side (forming another L).
- Connect the two L's. You definitely need an assistant for this step!
- Add the top shelf.
- Add the large locker dividers.
- Attach the small locker dividers to the shelf above them. (Note. Unless you offset the pocket holes in the small and large dividers, you will be screwing the screws into each other. (For example--on the large dividers, make your pocket holes close to the outside edges, and on the small dividers, make your pocket holes close to the center.)
- Attach the bottom shelf to the sides.
- Flip the project over, draw guide lines on the bottom shelf (pictured below), and attach the bottom shelf to the bottom shelf dividers through the underside of the board. (You can use pocket holes instead, but they will only work if you have a tiny, angled screwdriver. Otherwise, there is not enough room for the screw driver.)
From here, continue with Ana's original plans.
All that's left of the construction is the back. Then it's time to fill the holes, sand, prime and paint!
*Several people have asked the cost of this project. I spent under $150, but that included the $40 Kreg Jig Jr. that I used for the project. If you already have that tool, you can make it for less money. Ana-White.com suggests that this is a $100-$150 project. (It all depends on the type of wood and the brand of paint you choose.)
If you are interested in purchasing a Kreg Jig, you can check them out on Amazon.com. (I used the first one shown.):
I'll share some painting tips in another post. If you try this project, I'd love to see it!
Want more projects? Try these (images are linked):
I'm glad you stopped by today. I hope you'll comment and/or share this post in some way!
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