Affordable Storage Solutions for the Multi-Passionate Teenager
Do you have a child who loves to do everything, especially when it comes to creative arts? What on earth do you do with all of the stuff that comes with that passion? Emmy, my 13 year old, is exactly that child, and loves to create, whether it’s painting, sketching, doodling, bullet journaling, or trying youtube make-up tutorials. If it’s creative in any way, she wants to try it. In our old house she was blessed with two double closets in her room so we were able to dedicate one completely to her arts and crafts supplies. However, after we moved, we lost that storage and were in desperate need of accessible solutions for her. I absolutely love that she’s creative, and I want to encourage that as much as possible, so having her supplies where she can easily reach them as well as keep them organized is important. Especially now that the kids are home all the time, it became imperative that we put together a space where she could do all of the things that feed her soul. We were so thrilled with the track shelving we added in Sawyer’s room that we opted to do the same thing in Emmy’s room and today I am going to share with you how we created so much more storage with this extremely affordable solution plus a few more budget friendly pieces. At the bottom of this post, you can find several of the sources. (This blog uses affiliate links and I earn a very small commission from qualifying purchases. Thank you so much for your support.)
Before I go on with the solutions we created, I want to refresh your memory with what this space looked like most recently. As you can see, her desk was next to her bed which gave her great light, but the window made above the desk organization impossible.
On the adjacent wall sat her dresser plus a gallery of art. While it was pretty, it lacked function and was sort of quickly tossed up when we moved in.
We knew if we swapped the desk and dresser, we could create shelving around her desk to give her that easily reachable storage she needed. Her desk had a very cluttered surface and it was becoming hard for her to actually find space on its top to use it as a desk!
Last weekend as we removed the dresser to prep the wall for wallpaper, we went ahead and swapped the pieces of furniture, and Chris went out to get everything we needed for our track shelving. (You can read all about the wallpaper and how to install it here.) After the desk was in place, I found the studs in the wall and figured out where we would be placing the tracks for her shelving. Her desk is small enough, and the wall large enough that we were able to place a couple of longer tracks to the left of the desk to really maximize the storage, rather than just having it directly over her desk.
We purchased 3 of the 48″ track pieces and mounted those in the studs above her desk, and then 2 of the 70″ length of track to mount to the studs to the left of her desk. We also purchased 12 of the 11.5″ brackets.
We mounted all of the tracks and brackets before deciding on shelves because I wanted to figure out the spacing and formation first. Once I decided on that, I measured and as it turned out, out shelves needed to be a little deeper than the 11.5″ of the brackets for it to work well. Rubbermaid does make shelving to go with this system, but I wanted specific lengths, and we weren’t sure if we wanted white or wood. In the end we purchased common board in 16″ depth and had them cut to the sizes we needed. (Chris is our designated person in our house who runs any errands, does all the grocery shopping, so we do make sure we stay safe. Some may say that projects aren’t that essential, but let me tell you for my sanity and for that of Emmy, this project was for us. I just wanted to make sure you knew we weren’t all venturing out irresponsibly! This method involves many texts and phone calls because I am the one who knows what we need, but I have to stay home. 😉 )
While Chris was out getting the boards, I had him pick up some finishing wax as well. I generally prefer to use non-toxic but I had nothing on hand since we got rid of supplies when we moved, and beggars can’t be choosers! I got what Chris was able to find, which was this paste wax. We were honestly not sure if we wanted to leave them wood or paint them white, but Emmy and I both were leaning towards natural wood.
Once the boards were home, we placed them on the brackets, and loved them in their raw wood state, but of course wanted to make sure the wood was protected. We took them outside, I sanded the edges, and sanded off any marks, and then Emmy and I waxed them with clean rags and the finishing paste wax. After that dried, we used clean rags and buffed them to a hard and smooth finish. Emmy loved this process because after wax is buffed it always feels so smooth, like “buttah!”
Finally, we brought the shelves in, placed them on their brackets, and I screwed them in place from underneath to give them extra stability.
When it came time to style and organize this space, I placed the larger art where Emmy wanted it, and I added her books to the shelves in the order she wanted (rainbow order) and then I left the room and let her have at it.
A couple of weeks ago, when we knew we’d be home for a while, my parents offered to send the kids each something to keep them busy, and Emmy just wanted things for her bedroom which we had been planning to work on. She selected these plastic storage organizers which are perfect for her many pens and markers.
Her polaroid camera has been at the very top of her closet the past year, so now she can access it and all of its supplies which are in the box below it.
The other pieces that she really wanted to help organize her supplies was this rose gold cart that Michael’s had. We’d been looking for the right one for a while, and it just so happens that the Easter bunny got wind of it, and brought this one this past weekend. Emmy put it together on her own and set it up. I love that it gives her a little extra storage to the right of her desk, so everything is within reach.
The color works beautifully in her bedroom, too.
Her desk also has the cutest little makeup holder, a unicorn we found last year at TJ Maxx, Amazon has an almost identical one here.
Above her desk, we hung a dry erase calendar that she can use year after year. Of course, right now it’s sort of dismal with nothing going on but Wilder’s birthday!
This space is so well organized and much more visually appealing. Because I let her style and organize it on her own, I truly believe she will take much more ownership and care of the space. (At least that is my hope!) Now when I walk down the hall, if her door is open, the view is much more organized and less chaotic which makes this mama happy!
Lastly, one other thing she recently added to her room, thanks to my parents, is the most fun set of adhesive strip lights that can change to a multitude of colors. I took the same photo several times so you can see some of the many colors available. You can set them to stay on one color, or you can have them rotate, blink, whatever you want!
Isn’t that so much fun? Wilder loved them so much, that he know has a set around his door. 😉 They’ve provided us with hours of entertainment here!
Emmy and I are both so excited that this project, from the wallpaper to the track shelving to the organization, is finally complete and her bedroom is much more functional. If you are looking for any of the products used in her space, I’ve got all of the sources below for you, but let me know if you have any questions.
desk: vintage, makeover tutorial here
What projects have you tackled to make your own home more beautiful and functional while you’re spending more time in it?