Or, 5 Reasons Why I’m One Step Closer to Organizational Nirvana
1. I rescued this dresser from the surplus store.
If you live near a big university, chances are their physical plant has a surplus or salvage store. If you’re lucky, the store will be open to the public, not just the university community, cause there are some good deals there, y’all. You’re not going to find anything super fancy (although my store does boast a few nice antiques and collectibles), but I’ve had an eye on dorm furniture for a while. That stuff is designed with storage in mind and built to outlast successive years of abuse.
Bless her heart. She just needed a little love.
With the new school year starting, a bunch of the older dressers got relegated to the scrap heap, as it were, but they were still in pretty good shape. This old girl caught my eye as I wandered past. I felt an immediate bond. She was all, “Omg I’ve been through dresser hell. You don’t even know. Do me a solid and get me out of here.” And I was like, “Right on, talking dresser.” $37 later, she was in my garage and ready for a makeover.
Here’s what I used for the job. Ignore the thumbtacks; they represent a short-lived idea that was scrapped as soon as I realized how dang hard it was to push thumb-tacks into that dresser. Seriously, built to last!
2. I primed her the lazy way.
Buy this stuff, guys. It’s the only way. I barely even wipe the dust off a piece of furniture before I slap on the Zinsser. I’ve used it over chips, stains, polyurethane, you name it, and it never disappoints. And thank God, because sanding furniture turns me in the Autumn Monster.
I know it looks like it doesn’t cover well, but it totally does. One coat is all it takes. And it dries in ONE HOUR omg.
3. I painted her a fun color.
I found a quart of mis-mixed paint at my local hardware store that just happened to be in the family of colors I wanted. Naturally, if you buy discount paint you have to be a leetle flexible in terms of color schemes, so if you’re totally committed to that perfect shade, just pay the extra few bucks rather than drive around looking for unlikely deals. But this time I got lucky. What can I say—I saved a turtle on a bike path so I have awesome karma right now.
Didn’t the color turn out beautifully? I’m loving this seafoamy green right now.
4. I put labels on her drawers.
Ok, this part has lots of steps. You know what that means. Prepare for…A LIST WITHIN IN A LIST:
1. Find a free label shape online and print one you like. Then make a cardboard cutout and poke a hole in its center.
I used an empty beer case for my cutout. Reduce, reuse, recycle! Also, drink a lot!
2. Measure each drawer and mark the center (a level is the best tool for the job).
3. Place the cutout’s center hole over your center mark on the drawer. Make sure it’s straight, fasten it to the drawer with masking tape, and trace with a pencil. Repeat as necessary.
4. Paint the outline of your label (I used a can of leftover spray paint for a nice glossy yet translucent effect—just spray the paint in a cup and dip a brush in).
My original idea was to outline the label shape with thumbtacks, but I am loving the red paint so much more. Serendipity, y’all.
5. Use this recipe to mix up some DIY chalkboard paint and fill in your labels. (Tip: Don’t be lazy like me. Actually sand and condition like Martha says. Otherwise your labels won’t be very smooth.)
I needed two coats for good coverage. Also, be warned that the chalkboard paint is thickish, so use a good sturdy craft brush.
5. I filled her with crafty things.
This poor dresser. I can only imagine the horrors of her past (moldy food, wadded up clothes, bugs and rodents, bad music, roommate fights, awkward sexual encounters—ah, college!). But now she has a new life holding my pretty yarns and threads and fabrics in a highly organized fashion—clearly what all dressers aspire to. So tune in text time for “Reasons Why I Insist Upon Treating Items of Furniture Like Sentient Beings.”
I know that lampshade is too small for that lamp but I’m liking the color and I’m too cheap to buy a new one. Also, see how my chalk didn’t go on terribly smoothly? Heed my warning! Sand! Condition!
There’s another drawer of yarn under this one, but I figure the average blog reader can only take so much.
Silverware trays and other drawer organizers from the kitchen aisle are handy for all this little stuff. I love Target’s selection!