Craft Drawer Cabinet Reveal

I’m going to start by saying that this is probably the creepiest DIY project I’ve ever done. Let me explain….

A friend of mine bought a foreclosure house that had been sitting vacant for 12 years. Vacant of people, but FILLED with stuff. Apparently the previous owner had been a pharmacist and among the items in the house were old doctor’s bags and pharmaceutical equipment. Most of the stuff was beyond repair, but I came across this gem in a tiny basement closet:

Metal Cabinet (1)

Super creepy, right? My first though was ‘this is disgusting’, but then something sparked in my mind and I saw the future of this ‘trash to treasure’ item. I have been looking for a place to store my craft supplies for a long time and I hadn’t been able to find the perfect thing. I knew this was what I was looking for. However, I had to wade through the creepiness before I could get it home. Every drawer was filled with old pill bottles, prescription pads, medicine droppers, the sinister list goes on and on:

Metal Cabinet (2) Metal Cabinet (3)

When I finally emptied it, I carried it to my car (don’t worry, I was wearing gloves this whole time) and took it home. It has been so cold in my little Colorado town for months, so this thing sat in my garage, blocking the way to my minivan. We had a couple of warm days, so my first project was to clean it up. I can’t even tell you how many times I almost gave up on this thing. I was just grossed out and swore I could feel the ghost of pharmaceutical patients swirling around my garage. But I persevered because the choice was to turn it into a work of art…..or have this asylum cabinet haunting my house. First I took all of the drawers out.

Metal Cabinet (6)

Then I sprayed two coats of white metal spray paint primer on the cabinet. Then I used 2 coats of tan spray paint on the main part of the cabinet. Here it is after the first coat.

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The spray painting process took a long time because I had to wait for warm days for each coat. If I didn’t, I knew the paint would run or crack or not dry properly.  After the main part was done, I moved on to the drawers. These took forever to prep. Apparently a couple decades ago, labels were applied with super glue.  See all of these black labels on the drawers?

Metal Cabinet (5)

I had to literally chisel them off….not kidding….with a chisel. Then I cleaned the drawers and sprayed a couple coats of primer on them.

Metal Cabinet (9)

I started with 6 drawers just to see how the color would turn out. I chose a bright teal because I wanted to have a little fun with this piece.

Metal Cabinet (10)

I loved the color so I went back to the store to get 2 more cans for the rest of the drawers. As I walked into the aisle, I saw two cans of teal sitting on the shelf waiting to transform my cabinet. A guy came from the other end of the aisle and went straight for the teal! He grabbed one and I immediately grabbed the other. I knew one can wouldn’t finish my project so I gave him my most pitiful look and said something like “too bad they don’t have more, I need two cans for my project”. And he said…. “it’s a pretty color isn’t it?” and walked away into the sunset with my other can of paint. I was so impatient at this point, I had to come up with another plan. I decided to paint the middle drawers a different color and chose a dusty blue. It turned out to be the best misfortune! I loved the blue (add a new paint color to my favorites!) and the contrast added some interest to the drawers.

Metal Cabinet (13)

Another week went by as I waited for a warm day to paint my last set of drawers. The weather was not on my side and I got antsy. I decided to just go ahead and paint…..bad idea. Immediately after I started spraying, the paint crackled and split.

Metal Cabinet (14)


I was so sad. I knew that I would have to sand off all of the paint, re-prime, and spray again. However, I decided to wait. I’m going to live with the crackle for a while until summer arrives. So please politely ignore the crackled finish on the bottom drawers. Other than that….Ta Da!

Metal Cabinet (16)

Metal Cabinet (19)

I used adhesive drawer liner paper on the bottom of the drawers and I have already filled every drawer with craft supplies.

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I had an empty frame that is spray painted in the same color to accent the top of the piece. In the summer, I will fix the bottom drawers and soon I will be making labels for each drawer.

Metal Cabinet (17)

I absolutely adore the way it turned out. It’s functional, a little sassy and has a great story.

Metal Cabinet - B&A













Cleaning out cabinets and closets…

I was able to complete several more tasks from my To-Do list over the last few days. I finished 3 ‘15 minute Projects’ and 1 ‘Small Project’.

2 of the 15 minute tasks were very easy and didn’t even take the whole 15 minutes.  Yea! Here is the breakdown of all 4 projects:

1) I went through our printer desk in the office just to see if there is anything that needed attention. I threw away a couple of wayward twist ties, rolled up the stamps into more compact rolls, and took out 10 used ink cartridges that I’m going to take to an office supply store to recycle. I only took 10 out because we get rewards points for cartridges, but you can only drop off ten per month. This project only took about 4 minutes since I had organized everything in this desk during my big Office Organization.

2) The second project was going through my short sleeve shirts that were hanging in the closet. I had gone through them this past summer so they were also pretty well organized. However, I did manage to get rid of one item. I also turned all of the hangers around on the rod.

When I wear an item, it goes back on a normal facing hanger. If I don’t wear the item by the time next summer, I’ll know it because the hanger will be facing backwards. If the hanger is backwards at the end of spring, then the item goes in the donate bin!

3) I also went through a small cabinet in our den. I had already gone through another cabinet (which you can read about here), but there was one place left to organize in this room. Here is the before:

You can see 2 small drawers and then the bottom is a very shallow open area. At one point, there was a small shelf in here but now it’s just a big shallow space. Did someone break in and just steal this shelf? Nobody knows. There was an old DVD player in here which we decided to keep, but it moved upstairs to an empty drawer.  This is what else was in there:

Lots of miscellaneous stuff that I couldn’t even get to because it was all just thrown in there. There was a bunch of extra baby proofing items, which are now in a basket in the kid’s bathroom closet. There were some lighters, which are now by our fireplace. There were some blank DVDs, which are now in the printer desk in the office. There was also a flash light, some nightlights and pet hair remover wands. After I put everything in its’ proper home, I only had a few items left to store in the den cabinet. Here are the drawers now:

It took me a few minutes to figure out what to do with the very tall and shallow space on the bottom. I put the taller candles back in there and then I thought of the perfect thing to store there. I have a wood tray which I love, but I only really use it when guests come over.

Until now, it has been stored on the floor of our hall closet (where our jackets and vacuum go). However, it was very hard to get to, as you had to take out pretty much everything in the closet. Now it has a new home! And I slipped the edge of the tray behind the lip of the cabinet so it doesn’t slide out when I open the doors. Nice.

4) The ‘Small Project’ I did was to clean out the linen closet outside the guest bathroom. Here is the before:

I took everything out and cleaned the shelves. Then I assessed what I had. Score of the day? I found a twin sheet set I had no idea we had in there. I actually don’t even recognize it, which is weird. Where did it come from???? I also found a throw blanket that we never use, but it’s the softest thing you’ve ever felt. It’s like hugging a cloud. So the sheets and the throw both moved upstairs for my kids to use. Right now, the blanket is hanging up with all of the other kid blankets, which I mention in my kid’s closet post.  When my younger son moves to a toddler bed, this blanket will be the perfect size and softness for him!

There were 5 extra pillows in the linen closet. I wanted to keep them, but they took up so much room in the small closet. But wait, didn’t I have an almost empty top shelf in the guest room closet? Oh yes I did! So all the pillows moved into the guest room, which makes more sense anyways.

After neatly folding everything and taking just a few items out, here is the after:

A world of difference and it took less than 40 minutes. I know this because I had a lasagna in the oven and it had about 45 minutes left to cook when I started. I finished the project with enough time to stare at the timer (mouth watering) until the lasagna was done.

So there you have it, 4 more projects off the list! Loving the list over here!


To Do List – Crossing ‘em off!

Today I did 2 more 15 Minute projects from the to do list mentioned here.

First I picked out ‘Clean lower cabinet in Den’. Here is what it looked like before:

I spent the first few minutes taking everything out and then cleaning the actual cabinet. It’s amazing how dusty a cabinet can get even though there’s stuff covering the bottom and the door is shut!

The top shelf was mostly CD holders, so I just put those back where they were and took out anything extra. I actually had a 4th CD case elsewhere that I put here since it would now fit.

The bottom shelf was a mish-mash of items just thrown in there. Most of it was Nintendo Wii accessories. Now we do still have our Wii set up, we just never (I mean never) use it. If we don’t use it at all this winter, it’s going in the sell pile. However, if we even have a chance of using it, it would probably make sense to have all of the stuff in the same place….and where the tv is. As it turns out, we had an almost empty shelf under the TV. Here’s what that looked like before:

Notice the layer of dust which has somehow collected in a cabinet that has not been opened for months. So weird…and now I will be opening that cabinet every week to dust! Soooo, I found an empty storage box in the office and put most of the Wii games and accessories inside.

Then I cleaned off the shelves underneath the TV and put the Wii stuff back in. Here is what that looks like now:

Back to the Den cabinet. After I put all of the stuff where it actually belongs, there was nothing extra to put back in the cabinet. So it looks like this now:

Things to note:

-Again, I found that shopping around my house for storage boxes was quick, effective and free!

-I am not putting anything back in that cabinet until I have something that really needs to go there. There is nothing wrong with having an empty shelf or drawer. It’s so much nicer than having clutter.

-Bonus: I found some photo software that I’ve literally been looking for since about 6 months ago!

So that project really turned into 2, but since the TV shelf was not on my original list, it doesn’t count towards the goal!

So the second 15 Minute project I did today was the cabinet and drawer in the dining room hutch. Here is the before:

You can see that this is where I keep a lot of my miscellaneous holiday and entertaining accessories. I wanted that to stay the main focus of the space, but organize it and get rid of any extra stuff. First I took everything out and sorted. This is what is not going back into the cabinet ever again.

Light fixtures, skewers, a bib and see that white cardboard box? Empty. Yes, I had an empty box with tissue paper in the cabinet. No idea why! So those things all found new homes and the box went into the recycle bin.

Then I put all the holiday and entertaining stuff back in the cabinet. However, everything was sorted and folded and now has a proper place.

I put the bigger holiday accessories on the bottom shelf and the placemats, tablecloths and napkins on the top shelf. I had thought about putting the place mats in the drawer because it would be the perfect size. However, I didn’t for two reasons:

1) I decided to put all of the small holiday items in the drawer because I have two young kids and they can open the cabinet but not the drawer!

2) When I can look at the place mats in the cabinet, I can easily each style all at once. It helps me to remember what I have and presumably I will use them more often. If they were in the drawer, I would only see one style and probably forget the other ones were there.

So all of the small stuff went into the drawer and everything is accessible and organized.

Cross two more projects off the list!



Another quick fix…kitchen cabinet

I have a deep corner cabinet in my kitchen that is home to lots of those extra kitchen type things that don’t really fit well anywhere else. It has cookie sheets, cutting boards, casserole pans, mixing bowls, a waffle maker, cheese graters, a turkey pan and a big Tupperware cake holder. Here is a picture of what it looked like last week:

While the overall impression wasn’t horrible, the cabinet was incredibly inefficient. The front of it was filled with items I hardly ever use and some of the things I used daily were not easily accessible at all. Case in point….where are my mixing bowls?????? Waaaaayyyy in the back:

See that red arrow? It is pointing to my mixing bowls which are behind the turkey pan and the cupcake holder? That hardly makes sense. So I did one of my 15 minute organizations. I took everything out, cleaned the bottom of the cabinet and assessed what I had. I realized that I never have used the drawer underneath my stove, so the turkey pan and the muffin tins went under there. The mixing bowls were moved to a ‘front and center’ spot and I restacked my casserole dishes to make them easier to get to. Here is what it looks like now:

Soooooo much better. There is so much more room, it looks cleaner and I can actually reach the items I use most. And it only took 15 minutes! Happy neatening!