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Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Maybe even more than New Year's, I think the start of a new school year is a great opportunity to get things back in shape and organized around the house.  I've been working space by space to do just that!  For friends local to Oklahoma, did you know that our very first The Container Store in our great state just opened last week?  Woo hoo!  They were kind enough to partner with me on a project to celebrate the opening of our new store, and we decided that the kids' bathroom cabinets were long overdue some organization help (*This post may contain affiliate links, read my full disclosure policy here.).

In the past I've tried to make do with storage using random containers that I already had around the house, but it made such a difference to approach this project with an organized plan!  I started by measuring the space and considering my needs (add height, work around pipes and valves etc.) before thinking about containers to use.  Then, the big purge began.  Are you ready to see the sad state of things?  This is a vulnerable post for me today, guys... you're literally seeing our mess!  This is the exact scene when I started (you don't know how hard it was for me not to move anything before I took these "before" photos!)-

I started by taking everything out of the cabinets and drawers.  I had the kids be involved in this part so they could tell me what they still used and what could go.  We ended up with two bags of trash (amazing how many bottles with just a few drops of product in them accumulate!), some things to donate, and a few things that needed to be relocated.

After we were left with only what needed to go back in, I put our new containers in place and started assigning homes for everything.

Note:  Even if you don't have a store in your area, The Container Store website is VERY good with listing full descriptions, measurements, and even videos of their products.  I actually ordered all of my products online before our store was open, so I was able to sit in my space with my computer, look through all of the products, have my measurements right there, and decide what would be best for my cabinets.  It's a totally user friendly system even when shopping completely online!

So, here's my daughter's under sink cabinet before we started.  We had pipes to work around, and the water shut off valve to the entire house is back behind that trash can, so we needed to keep that easy to access too.  

And.... after!

I used a tall, narrow Elfa sliding basket drawer on one side to hold all of her tall cans and bottles.  Love the sliding drawer so everything is easy to access and nothing gets lost in the back of the cabinet.

On the other side we used a two drawer organizer will pull out drawers. My goal was to utilize the height of the cabinet and not just have everything sitting on the bottom with lots of wasted space above.  You can see that water shut off valve at the back, which we still have easy access to and nothing is blocking it.

Moving over to my son's side, we mirrored the same storage pieces.  Before-

And after!

This clear acrylic storage caddy fit perfectly in the middle, and I love how handy it is to pull out basic cleaning supplies when needed.

Next up, the drawers!  Their top drawers are the most used, so I wanted to make sure everything had a place and was easy to put back where it goes.  Before-

And after!  I love the clear acrylic stackable drawer organizers, they come in multiple sizes and you can create the best custom configuration for your drawer size and storage needs.  And, they're simple to pull out and clean when needed.

For the lower drawers that are a bit deeper, I used the Linus Deep Pantry Bins.  They were perfect for setting apart hair tools, and the bin in the bottom drawer holds all of their travel size products, ready to grab when packing.

Did you notice the best thing in some of the photos?  EXTRA SPACE!  We still have room to add things in if needed, it's so nice not to have every inch crammed full of stuff.

I moved on to the linen cabinet in their bathroom which needed some major help as well.   Again, I started by completely emptying it out.  I promise I clean this cabinet out periodically and straighten, but with no real organization system in place it always ends up looking like this again-

After a major purge of torn, unused sheets I used large bins to separate what I was left with into categories (twin sheets, full sheets, beach towels, bath towels, etc.).

*Tip:  I was going to throw my torn, unusable linens away until a IG follower suggested donating to an animal shelter.  Great idea!  They generally need a stock of linens that can be thrown out after use or washed and re-used.  My animal-loving sister was happy to take a bag full and find a shelter that could use them.

Now everything has a home and is neatly contained!

I used some binder clips and tags I made to add labels to the bins.

We absolutely LOVE how everything turned out, and it makes me motivated to keep going with other cabinets in the rest of the house!

I was so excited about having a physical store come to town.  It's one thing to shop online, but to be able to walk through aisles and aisles of dedicated storage and organization supplies just can't be beat!  I was able to have a quick conversation with our store's New Store Trainer, Charlie Lyon, at the Pre-Opening party I attended a few days before the Grand Opening.  Here are a few things I asked him:

"Tell me a little background on the company." 
We were founded 40 years ago in Dallas, Texas.  TCS is the original storage and organization store and the OKC location is our 105th store.  We have a strong employee first culture, with low turnover which speaks volumes for the company!

"What is your top selling item?"
The Elfa System has been sold since the company began.  It's completely adjustable and the pieces are flexible according to your space needs.  As your needs change the system can change to accomodate them.  I installed Elfa systems in my daughter' closets when they were toddlers, and now they're grown adults- their Elfas have grown and changed with them!  (Elfa Systems are on rare sale through the end of the month, and in-home consultations are available for a very small fee.  Let the pros figure out the best system for you!)

"What would someone be surprised to find you sell?"
Our wonderful selection of trash cans!  We sell a wide range of trash and recycling cans that are not only functional but beautiful as well.

"What would be your favorite thing to buy as a gift for someone from TCS?"
I love our travel section.  My family always expects new travel accessories as holiday gifts.  I love to give pieces from our Eagle Creek line.

Thank you Charlie for being so gracious!  He took a good 10 minutes out of a busy store opening to stand aside and visit with me, so I appreciate his time and attention.  And actually, that was one of my top impressions after leaving the store.  Every single one of the employees was so kind, eager to help (without being annoying), and knowledgeable about the store.  What a nice shopping environment!

One of my sweet Instagram followers was also at the event and she introduced herself to me.  Come to find out she's working with our new TCS locally as one of their professional home organizers!  Since I was a novice at this organizing project and felt like I was flying a little blindly choosing what I needed to organize my space, I asked her to tell me her favorite products for using in bathroom under sink organization.  Here are the suggestions Becky made and her comments about them- (I had already ordered my products before I met Becky and am happy with what I used, but I'm looking forward to using some of these suggestions in my own bathroom one of these days!)

Like It Bricks- very sturdy and stackable, locking together so they won't move.  They come in a variety of sizes, particularly handy for working around pipes.

Magazine Holders- handy for tucking hair dryers or styling tools inside

Madesmart Turn-It Organizer- one of Becky's favorites for tall hair sprays, lotions, or even hair styling tools.

Her #1 Tip- always use plastic bins under the sink in case of a leak, they will catch the water and prevent wood from getting moldy.

Products I used in my project:

Shortly after moving in 11 1/2 years ago, we stripped the wallpaper, painted, tiled the floor (it was fully carpeted!) and changed the fixtures.  This room really has zero personality, though, and I've got a design plan ready to go!  I'm excited to get it started in the near future, and it helps tremendously to know that the cabinets are already all cleaned out, organized, and ready to go.  Now to work on making the outside as pretty as the insides!

*This post is sponsored by The Container Store.  All project ideas and words are my own.

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  1. AHHHH you did such an amazing job. isn't it absolutely insane how we somehow manage to fit tons of stuff in all those areas???

    1. Thank you Ellen! Yes, and how quickly it accumulates! So glad we have a specific place for everything now!

  2. I love those pull out containers under the sinks!! Awesome use of the space!

  3. Now I feel motivated to clean out my cabinets! I'm like you, I get motivated to do house projects in the fall when the kids go back to school. I love what you did with your spaces and those pull outs are great!

    1. Thanks so much, Shelley. The baskets are so smooth, I love them! Happy cleaning out your cabinets ;) now I need to move on to another room!


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