Our Storage Spaces: Storage Room Paint Organization

I have been so overwhelmed with the excitement and encouragement you all are throwing my way, as I tackle our storage areas.  You are the best readers a gal could ask for, and knowing that you are supporting me as I take on our biggest problem areas yet, keeps me inspired and motivated to keep at it with a giant smile on my face.

It's been over a week since we shared our last update on the space, and a week later, I can honestly say we haven't made a lot of progress, although, that doesn't mean that time hasn't been invested and that we still aren't happy dancing about what we have gotten done.  Our lower level living area still looks similar to the last update, mountains of miscellaneous items everywhere we turn, however, we have done two really impactful things:

  1. Took an impulse trip to Goodwill!  We dug through the utility room piles that were dumped into our family room and adjoining studio, and loaded up the back of our SUV with items that were worthy of a donation.  Things we haven't seen or touched in ages, things we no longer needed and some of those thrift store find blog projects, that would never be completed.  Just removing all of those items on a whim gave us a good look at what we are working with, made less visual clutter and gave us a feeling of warmth.  I am excited to do it again as we continue to dig through our mess.
  2. We organized our paint and supplies.  I couldn't believe how many gallons of paint we pulled out of the room.  With so much piled up, we couldn't see the shelves and floor which were lined with paint.  We also had bins of spray paint, spray paint on the shelves and even more in the garage.  It was everywhere.  Knowing that we will forever be peeps that play with paint, whether for a small crafty project or for an entire room makeover, we needed to address paint and supply storage asap.  

So that is where we are at today.  Last week I traveled to NYC for four days for a Better Homes & Gardens Workshop, so that pulled me away from the project for awhile {and left my family to live around my giant mess}, and I came home with big and inspired intentions.  However, this blog is all about being real, and as much as I wish I could knock out this entire space in a week, and give you a reveal today, that ain't happenin'.  In fact, I will be happy if I can get all of our three spaces done within the next month.  These areas are TWO years in the making, and it will take a long while to undo the mess.  And when you throw in two full time jobs and three boys with schoolwork and sporting events, well, life gets in the way of the hours of time it will take to just sort through things. 

I really, really want to get these spaces done right.  It is important to address each function of each space, and ensure we are making it simple to maintain those areas once we are finished.  I never want to have to do this again, so planning and massive efforts will be going into all we do within these zones.

We had a narrow, long wall behind the door of the utility room, in which we installed the IKEA Gorm shelving.  It was the perfect way to maximize the space, and to ensure we can't just create mounds and piles, which we had prior.

The shelves were the perfect candidates for our paint and supply storage.  As I mentioned, painting supplies were living in three areas.  Some in the garage, some here in the utility room, and the remainder on shelves in our laundry room.  They all need to be in one spot, so we hunted and gathered all of the items to be relocated here, to their new home.

First, I wanted to address the visual clutter that was just typical wiring, plumbing and open studs.  We decided not to finish the walls within the utility room, as all walls have so many components and wires, that we just didn't feel comfortable permanently covering them up.  We would have had to hire in a professional and we think our money is best spent updating the more visual and important areas of our home {cough, cough - kitchen}.  So, I had to come up with a different, much less expensive plan.  It really is just for aesthetics after all.

I initially was going to paint some drop cloths and hang them from the ceiling, but again SO many pipes jetting out past the studs, and the time and effort to paint some drop cloths, sheets or curtains just wasn't practical given the scope of the project.  Plus, with the items we were planning on storing on the shelves, we needed something with a little reinforcement on the backside.  So for now, I thought the next best way to get things done quickly and on a budget, would be to use foam poster board.  We purchased twelve sheets at $1 per sheet from the dollar store, to line the three shelving unites on the back wall of the utility room.  The foam style is much sturdier and thicker than your typical poster sheets.

To add some pattern and color, we used duct tape connect the foam sheets together.  Then, using pretty contact paper we already had, we covered the faces of the panels.

I didn't have nearly as much contact paper as I thought I did initially, so we had to use a three different patterns on the three individual panels, but I was all about using what we had on hand, and I sort of the love pops of color that it ultimately added.

The panels were just stapled to the back side of the wooden shelving units, with our staple gun.

The covered foam sheets now hide some of that visual clutter, and also act as a stopper, so the items placed on the shelves do not fall behind.

You may notice those black dots going down the center post of the shelving unit.  Those were just inexpensive magnets purchased from the home improvement store, and attached with construction adhesive.

More on those in a moment....

Let's talk about the paint.  I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of paint and cans and spray paints that we had.  Twelve years of shrinking our home, one layer of paint at a time, creates a lot of old paint.  And let's face it, those cans are bulky and could take up this entire wall of shelves alone.  

Last year, I created touch-up paint jars, and organized the colors on a cute little printable.  So far, the jars have been super useful when we need to touch up a ding here and there.  I lovity love the setup and the paint has stayed fresh within the mason jars.  We saved the small amounts of paint that were left after creating those jars, and not once in a year, have we needed to touch those cans.  I decided they need to go, for good.

It really made me think, why keep all of that extra paint?  Would we ever need to repaint an entire room with a same color?  And if so, we wouldn't have enough anyway.  So, I went through every single can, and transferred the paint into either a half-pint or quart sized jar.  If we had initially used a quart of paint, that paint was transferred into the smaller jar size, if we used a gallon of paint, that paint was transferred to the quart size.  This worked out really well, because 98% of the time, that is about how much paint we had left in either can {often times even less, I just swirled the front jars in the photos to appear full since they photograph nicer that way #bloggerissues}.  For the cans where we had more than what would fit within a jar, I just used two jars.  So now, instead of just using the jars for touch-ups and keeping the larger can for... I don't know what... we now just have ALL of our paint in jars {with the exception of four, which were almost completely full or specialty paints}, and have begun the dry-out process of all of the cans, within our garage.  We did a lot of researching to ensure we are following the correct methods of paint can disposal, you can find more details all over the web, but we relied on a few articles similar to this one.  We also found we had a few cans that weren't even opened, and duplicates of spray paint colors {which goes to show why it is important to organize.  Hello!  Over purchase alert!}, which we were able to add to our Habitat Re-Store donation pile.

I realized a few things weren't working with my little paint organization project from last year and it was time to address my organizing fails head on.  One, the labels were nicely printed and cut with my Silhouette, which was so darn cute.  However, that would mean that I would need to print and cut labels with each can of paint that I purchase, to maintain that cuteness.  And two, I never used that reference sheet one time in the entire year since I created it {the initial plan was to create a home improvement binder, just haven't gotten to that point yet}, so, I needed a quicker and different method.  Bottom line, if the system is not super simple to maintain, I will not maintain it. 

So, I created a label template on some Avery round sticker labels, and printed out a few extra sheets to keep stored on the shelves.  They have lines, so I can just hand-write the information on the top of the jar, no more need to head to the computer and print and cut something each time I add to my paint collection.

The other thing I wanted to do is create paint swatches of our colors.  I could have gone back to all of the stores I initially purchased each paint color from, and collected the swatches {and cross my fingers they still made them}, but instead I opted to take the DIY route.  I just used some super inexpensive marking tags {from Staples}, and painted each one with our paint colors.

On the back side of each tag, I then added the brand, color and sheen; even the room or piece of furniture that the color correlates to.  Again, just by hand, so I could quickly add to it in the future.

I strung all of the swatches on a piece of twine, and they now hang in the utility room, right next to the paints.

Other than those few projects {which let me tell you, were a bit more time consuming than I would have imagined}, I just dumped the rest of our paint supplies on the floor and sorted through them.

When placing everything on the shelves, I really thought about what I would putting where.  For example, I placed the spray paint {all pretty in color order}, on three different shelves, before settling.  I had them on a shelf they fit perfectly, but I couldn't see or easily access the colors in the back, so they were moved to a taller shelf to accommodate my extreme spray paint addiction.

Say hello to our newly organized paint shelves!

Now you know the "why" behind most of this setup, so the rest is just visual happiness.

Those magnets on the front the shelves now hold my paint swatches, paint can opener and paint brushes.

The top shelf is holding 18 half-pint colors and 12 quart sized jars!  Imagine all of the space those full sized cans would have taken up!  Crazy town.

I didn't transfer the specialty paints, as they were all pretty full and the containers were in great condition.

As I mentioned, I can now see my rainbow of spray paint colors, and reach the ones in the back.  However, I have been suspended from purchasing spray paint indefinitely.

The bottom shelf holds all of our empty paint buckets and trays.  I placed all of my mini-rollers within a clear, sealed container.  Now I can quickly see the rollers I have before I start a project, and they stay dust free.

All of the containers used throughout the update, were ones that we already had {and a few I found buried in this room!}.

The other shelf holds many of our supplies and tools for painting.  We already had the three painting baskets on shelves in our laundry room, but they made more sense in here.  They got re-organized and paired down.  I used some inexpensive plate stands to maximize the vertical space in-between the shelves.  You can purchase additional shelves for this system from IKEA, and even great slide on baskets, however, we don't live incredibly close to IKEA so we made use of what we had.

Drop cloths and rags are stored inside the clear blue bin.

Extra jars and a cup of tags now ensure that my paint maintaining accessories are all within one spot.

Caulks, adhesives and the caulking guns, were all tossed into a basket and labeled.

So now everything has a place, and we even have room to grow.  Those baskets on the top shelf were taken from the guest room and guess what?  They are empty!}  I can't even begin to type out the emotions I feel when I stand in the room now, and gaze at everything so tidy and beautiful.

Doing this part of the room took another six to eight hours, which included lining the shelves, going through all of the paint and transferring it, DIYing our own swatches and sorting everything down and planning out placement.  But it was SO worth it in the end, and I can't wait to continue on with project "Storage Space Takeover"!

We still have a lot on our list, like going through each bin and labeling the contents and even creating a tool station.  Just like our paint, we have tools coming out of every crack and crevice of our garage and utility room, so it will be another sit-sort-and-pair-down session.

And for those wondering if I am still motivated?  Absolutely!  Seeing that mess at the bottom of the stairs and begging our guests to turn their heads, keeps me driven to get it done as quickly as we can!  And with each project we finished, a new flame is lit under me to keep hustling!

Thank you again to those cheering us on out there!  And high fives to those taking on similar spaces right along with us!

For those just tuning in, you can catch up with Part One and Part Two of our Storage Spaces overhaul.

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