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Creative reuse: An old filing cabinet becomes a closet organizer

Since the kids went back to school in September, it seems like the list of projects I have to do hasn't gotten any smaller. I tell myself every year that I'll get so much done once I have more time, and then all that 'new time' seems to magically disappear. Why is that?

Junk-closet One thing I did recently accomplish that I'm quite proud about was organizing a messy closet in our guest room. Does everyone have a junk drawer? Well, this closet would best be described as a junk closet. As much as it embarrasses me, I'm going to show you the before picture:

Yep. Sad, I know. In my defense, this is the only closet in my house that looks like this. All the others are fairly organized. But this closet somehow became the home of every gift bag we'd ever received, every cardboard box, every undisplayed nick-nack, every to-be sewn remnant, every to-be-crafted craft project, every unhung picture or frame, every to-be-smoked hookah pipe (not really -- the hookah is part of the nick-nack department but now that I'm well out of college, having a pipe isn't as cool as it once was) and lastly a very big collection of vintage hats. You know -- the kind ladies used to wear all the time. Don't ask me why I have a collection of hats. Back to the closet. I feared for my life when I opened the door. Finally, enough was enough. I set aside some time to organize.

Here comes the part I'm really proud about -- because it involves another mini project on my endless to-do list. Over the summer, it became evident that the two particle-board file cabinets I had storing all of the important papers in my office were falling apart. The cheaply made file drawer supports were plastic, and its support pegs broke. I tried gluing them back together to no avail. Then I fumed over it for a while. How in the heck did I end up with two cheaply made file cabinets? Wouldn't it have been a better idea to make a date with a shredder rather than keep stuffing the files so full that the drawers got so heavy that the supports broke? My bad: poor shopping choices from long before I became an EnviroMom. So that was the conundrum: what to do with two broken file cabinets. The way I saw it they were not good enough to donate to anyone. Who'd want a broken file cabinet? With our one garbage can a month, it wasn't like I could throw them away. So I fumed some more and finally decided I'd have to take them to the dump and pay extra to trash them. But that still made me mad and I didn't want to. Finally it dawned on me that I didn't have to use them as file cabinets any more. The only part that didn't work was the plastic file supports. The drawers and the cabinet structure were still strong and true. The answer became suddenly clear. I could stick these in my junk closet and create order out of chaos and complete two projects at the same time!

Reused-file-cabinet So that's what I did here. I used one of the file cabinets vertically (on the lower right), and one horizontally on a shelf, middle right). Then I sorted my junk into categories, and found the new spaces created by the cabinets made it easier to see what I do have and keep it all organized. Meanwhile, I've shredded my way down to two file drawers full of important papers that now sit on the floor of my office (not pictured), and I've been searching high and low for an old metal filing cabinet but have yet to find one. Once those old drawers are emptied, I'll use them to better organize another closet because they really do the job. All in all, I'm quite please with the result of my closet organizing especially since it also managed to keep something surprisingly still useful out of the dump. So once again, the time that I was stewing (let's not call it procrastinating even if it seems like that) allowed a creative idea to develop that prevented waste and solved two problems at once. Hip, hip, hurray for creative reuse!!

And please. Someone. Anyone. Tell me you have a really messy junk closet to help me feel less embarrassed. Maybe you even have a broken down piece of particle-board furniture that's looking for a new life. Please share.


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