My Room Wasn’t Built in a Day

As usual when starting a huge project, I had delusions of efficiency and expected it to only take a few days. It took closer to 2 weeks to get my bedroom and office space modified and rearranged. It also took approximately $400, though I can’t tell you the exact breakdown of how much things cost – you’ll have to ask the thieves in Vancouver who stole my notebook. Smegheads.

Anyway, I seem to have a tradition of doing a massive rearranging of my room every other year or so dating all the way back to middle school, so this is not my first rodeo. I had already drawn a to-scale room layout with cut-outs for each piece of furniture filed away, all I had to do was pull it out and update it.

Somehow all that crap has to fit in that tiny box…

I know there are programs online that supposedly help with planning room arrangements, but honestly I haven’t found one that is easy enough to customize to your furniture sizes to justify using it. Besides, they never really seem to account for everything that might take up floor space, like litter boxes, air purifiers, trash cans, etc. which may be small, but in a cramped room all those inches add up. A ruler, pencil and scissors tends to be way more efficient.

Before I started trying to cram ALL of that back in my bedroom I had to make some important decisions about how my bedroom was going to be used. I made a list of what I needed from my bedroom. That list is in the stolen notebook, but the main points I remember from it were:

  • I have to be able to sleep in the room.
  • My cat has to be able to be locked in the room for days on end because sometimes she’s a freak and refuses to leave.
  • It needs to function as a photo studio so I don’t have to wrestle Ragdolls for photo time.
  • All of my yarn and crafting materials need to be stored in my room and easily accessible.
  • I need to be able to get dressed in the room.
  • Not a need, but I would like to have my spinning wheel in my room instead of the garage.

Notice what’s not on that list? Office space. I wanted to make my room into a craft studio which I happen to sleep in, and I don’t think it’s physically possible to cram 3 rooms into a 9×13′ space. The office had to go.

Once my priorities were set, I did all kinds of shuffling and ended up with a potential arrangement to aim for.

I think we can work with this.

Every time I play with the paper-doll version of my room I end up being surprised by some ingenious Tetris move that I never would have thought of if I had attempted it in real life first. My biggest breakthrough this time was realizing that all those plastic drawers I had stacked up step-wise on my dresser fit PERFECTLY back-to-back underneath my bed!

Since I would be stealing the dining room table for photography I could stick my office in the underutilized dining room (all of this was cleared with mom first, of course). I really wouldn’t have room for the dresser anymore, so I would have to do a serious downsizing of my wardrobe (overdue for that anyway) and fit all of my clothes in the closet. I also made the decision that anything that wasn’t mine would have to leave my room. Except my sister’s bookshelf. I have all sorts of rationalizations for why I kept her bookshelf, but it really boils down to my burgeoning craft business and related book storage needs trumps her random book collection (which she never reads…strange girl) and I just straight up stole her bookshelf. She’s a little butt-hurt about it and that’s fair, but I can’t afford to buy another bookshelf (I already bought one and had to get rid of it, remember?), so tough.

Even with all of this downsizing and rearranging I knew storage space – specifically yarn storage – was severely lacking. Somehow I had to increase the square footage of the room, and that could only mean one thing: shelves.

With lots of help from my dad, I plotted to have shelves EVERYWHERE.

Look at all those shelves!

Seriously, EVERYWHERE.

More shelves! I left in the hooks that were used to hang the super klassy beer sign because hooks could be useful?

I actually had a whole wall of shelves, because square footage is important! Though this wall of shelves was not easy to install.

The shelves that almost weren’t.

Take note of how close the shelf edges are to the end of the tracks. Home Depot almost screwed us over. Normally, shelves come in standard widths corresponding to the standard width between studs in houses. Those shelves are only 1/4 inch shy of the standard width of three studs. That 1/4 inch almost made this installation impossible. Dad had to screw those tracks onto the wall at the very edge of the studs and then angle the brackets inward in order to get them screwed onto the shelves. There had been a few problems with the installation of the other shelves due to the studs not being exactly standard widths apart (there are so many weird quirks in this house I swear it was built by drunken chimpanzees), but on THIS wall they were absolutely perfect. It was the shelves. They were just too short, and there really isn’t any explanation we could think of for it. Whatever Home Depot, we were not thwarted by your illogically sized shelves, your plan for world domination failed. The shelving materials alone cost about $250, but man was it worth it.

Next I needed things to store my yarn in, since the shelves were not wide enough for the large plastic bins I had been using. I could have gone more utilitarian (and cheaper?) by using smaller plastic bins, but since this was going to be my craft studio and supposed to be the space in which inspiration happens I really didn’t want it to be ugly. I already had a sort of theme going with my cube storage, so I ran with that and got a bazillion more cubes in blues, teals and neutrals.


Since I was getting rid of my dresser I needed some way to store my dresser clothes in the closet. The best way I could think of doing that was to populate my closet shelves with drawer organizers to hold my socks, underwear, bras, and such.

Drawer organizers are not just for drawers.

I also got a belt hanger to tame the accessories mess in the closet, a couple of nice looking Command hooks to use for holding back the curtains when more light is needed, and an iPod speaker so I could listen to music unimpeded while spending time in the studio (now a useless lump on my desk without my iPod thanks to those smeghead thieves).

Look at that sad useless speaker.

For the office the only addition needed was more file space. I went to the state surplus store and bought one of their reject filing cabinets for $20, got a key made for it, and voila! More file space than I know what to do with. It’s not pretty, but it works. I could have spent $150 more to get one in black. I’ll take the utilitarian tan, thanks.

Let’s play spot-the-cat again! This time she decided to be more subtle.

Then I just had to put it all together…

4 thoughts on “My Room Wasn’t Built in a Day

  1. Wow. You are far more organized than me. I also rearrange my rooms every year or so, but it’s always on a whim, and always involves mass chaos. Will you post update pictures of how everything turned out?

    • Oh believe me, the only thing that WASN’T chaotic was the paper doll stage. Since it is such a small room, the only way to clean/rearrange it is to take everything OUT first. See that overflowing pile of yarn hiding behind the filing cabinet? That was the cleanest part of the house for the 2+ weeks it took to get my room together. Mom was getting a bit twitchy towards the end.

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