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Aha! Design: A DIY Garage Mudroom—On the Cheap, Thanks to Elfa

Simply Organized Garage Mudroom

Creating something from nothing is a talent, but so is working with what’s already there—quirks and flaws and all—and adapting it to suit your needs. Case in point: When professional organizer Samantha Pregenzer of the Simply Organized blog (follow her on Instagram here) decided it would be years before she’d be able to execute her vision for a stately mudroom area in the attached garage of her Northern California home, she simply did the next best thing: She found a temporary solution that works so well that she won’t mind waiting for her forever garage.

The trick to keeping costs (and labor) at a minimum: Elfa shelving from the Container Store. Here’s how the transformation happened.

Photography courtesy of Simply Organized.

Before

Before the makeover, Samantha used freestanding industrial wire shelves to store her family of four’s shoes, but, she writes, “this wall could be working harder.” Her goal: Add wall-mounted shelving to utilize every inch of storage space on this wall, which is adjacent to the door that leads into her home.

Simply Organized Garage Mudroom
Above: The problems with this setup—no place for her kids to sit and put on their shoes, not enough shelving, and no hanging storage for outerwear and backpacks.

The DIY Project

The entire project cost just a few hundred dollars, a fraction of what her dream mudroom would cost. Even though it’s a temporary solution, she reasons that the Elfa shelving can always be taken down and reused elsewhere when she’s ready to commit to a custom build. Here’s how she did it.

1. Clean and paint. After taking off the one wall-mounted shelf that the previous owners had installed and moving the two stand-alone shelves, Samantha got to work cleaning the wall, patching it where necessary, and painting it for a clean slate.

Simply Organized Garage Mudroom
Above: After prepping the walls, Samantha ended up applying two coats of Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee. Read more about how she did this here.

2. Install the top rail. The beauty of Elfa shelving is in its Top Track design; the only piece in the system that needs to be mounted to the wall is the horizontal rail at the top, from which everything else hangs. Drywall anchors, sold separately, ensure that the Top Track is safely and sturdily in place.

Simply Organized Garage Mudroom
Above: Samantha placed the Top Track where she wanted it to be installed and marked the spots on the wall where anchors were required (every eight inches in this case). Then she predrilled the holes using a three-eighth-inch drill bit and tapped the anchors in place. Elfa Drywall and Plaster Anchors are $5.99 for five.
Simply Organized Garage Mudroom
Above: The Top Rack after installation. Samantha used a Phillips-head drill bit to drill screws into the anchors. The Easy Hang Top Track in white is $15.99 to $24.99, depending on the length (32, 56, and 80 inches).

3. Insert brackets and shelves. Once the Top Track was in place, the rest of the project was tool-free. Samantha hung four vertical tracks from the Top Track and got to work figuring out where to place the shelves. Her tip: “It’s a good idea to begin by adding all of the brackets alone. This way you can step back and decide if some shelves need to be closer together or not.”

Simply Organized Garage Mudroom
Above: Samantha started from the top. She knew she wanted to store 14-inch-high bins for winter clothing on the top shelf, so she installed the first shelf a little lower than usual. Easy Hang Standards (the vertical tracks) are $12.99 to $34.99 each, depending on length (20 to 102 inches); Elfa Ventilated Wire Shelves in white start at $9.99 each.
Simply Organized Garage Mudroom
Above: Brackets in place. In addition, she installed three Utility Tracks so she could add hooks to the setup. Utility Tracks start at $9.99 each; Ventilated Wire Shelf Brackets start at $4.99 each.
Simply Organized Garage Mudroom
Above: Elfa Utility Accessory Hooks keep her kids’ backpacks off the floor; $8.99 for three.

After

After putting together a bench so that there’s a place to sit when removing and putting on shoes, Samantha was done. She now had enough shelving for her family’s shoes, hanging storage for jackets and backpacks, a place to store seasonal outerwear, even a dedicated spot for her son’s saxophone. S hooks on the side of a shelf provide storage for umbrellas.

Simply Organized Garage Mudroom
Above: An organized and pleasing garage mudroom. Note the Martha Stewart Living bench is discontinued; for a similar product, go here.

See Samantha’s post on her DIY garage mudroom here.

For more mudroom/entryway inspiration, read:

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