Monday, July 20, 2009
I'm a regular reader and love your blog posts. Can I ask for advice and feedback from you and your readers?
I upgraded to a stacked washer and dryer a couple of months ago and lost a neat cabinet in the process. I put in Elfa shelving which did increase the storage capacity of this space quite a bit but it looks sloppy to me and it's not quite working. In the cabinet, I had little, handled bins sorting everything and they haven't made the transition to open shelving very well. After studying the Elfa laundry room set-ups on The Container Store website very carefully, I'm considering white Tribeca bins (two large ones side by side on the "messy" shelves (see shelf with blue paper towels and shelf with square basket) but want to keep the striped bins since they're working well and I think they're cute.
Will two shelves with uniform white bins transform this space? My husband thinks we need to replace all containers on the shelves with white or translucent bins. Maybe we could try it in stages until it looks right - replace the blue tote on the top shelf with a white one as the next step and maybe put white Tribeca bins on other shelves to tie in? Will it ever look like the Elfa set-ups if I keep the striped bins and the round wicker baskets on the shelves on the right? Is it possible I have too much time on my hands and I'm suffering from TCS addiction? --Cynthia in San Francisco
Here are Cynthia's "before" pictures, with the cabinet:
Here's what I wrote back to Cynthia:
1. Elfa shelving is a very different look from your old cabinet. It might be that you really just prefer the cabinet look. (But the shelving is more convenient - no door to open.)
2. You might be happier with the Elfa solid shelving. (The Container Store will probably take back the ventilated shelving you currently have, too - they are great about returns/exchanges. When a client of mine bought a Elfa system, they specifically said he could bring it back after it was installed, if he didn't like it.) Or maybe it would help to use the shelf liners.
3. I love those handled bins you had - I just discovered them at The Container Store and used them extensively (in the white version) at a client of mine's. But this was inside a hall closet, not on Elfa shelves.
4. Those striped bins are nice - they are cute, they work, and you like them. I'd keep them. Who cares it your space looks just like TCS pictures? I'd be inclined to deal with the problem shelves first, and then see if anything more is needed. Those striped baskets could add a nice pop of color if most of the rest is clear or white. But then again, I'm into eclectic. Certainly, some other people would prefer the all-the-same look.
5. Obligatory organizer question: Do you really use and/or love everything you have in this space?
6. With your new set-up, it looks like it would be tough to get to the things on the non-ironing-board side wall - and the stuff on that wall really looks crammed in there. Are there any other places for that stuff?
7. You say "it isn't quite working" as well as you don't quite like the look. What specifically isn't working? Be sure to consider functionality as much as looks.
8. The size of the big blue bin seems out of proportion to the rest - it's not just that it's blue.
Cynthia wrote back, and it seems #5 was the most useful comment, along with #8. A lot of things can actually get removed, giving her more of the look she wants, with "extra space around everything."
Any other suggestions for Cynthia? I know I have a lot of organizers as readers; what might you recommend?