It was Friday, and I had a mantra: “Stop thinking and just do.” Too often I waste time thinking about the how and why of a project, and at the end of the day I realize I didn’t actually accomplish anything. So I have been making a conscious effort to not over-analyze and just go with my gut instinct about certain things. That’s why when I let the dogs out through the kitchen door that morning I made a decision to finally deal with the disorganized and jumbled shelves in the nook behind the door.

I had been putting it off, trying to come up with the perfect solution for dealing with that space. (Would a tall cabinet be best, or would a short cabinet and shelves look better? And how do I deal with the radiator situation without everything looking off-center? And of course, nothing can be done until that horrible wallpaper is removed.) Since my borderline obsessive/compulsive, perfectionist brain throws a fit every time I ask it to do something that falls short of perfection (or at least attempted perfection), it didn’t even occur to me that I could do anything with the existing shelves until the job could be done “right.” Not until I looked at them with my new mantra in mind, so I got to work.

Step One: Clear the area!

This is the before shot of the space exactly as it’s looked everyday for the last seven or eight months.*

The first thing I did was remove all the stuff that actually had a home somewhere else in the house and had just been left on these shelves out of laziness or convenience. Then I found homes for all of the stuff that I knew I didn’t want to keep on the shelves when I was finished with them. The remaining items went to the dining room table, where I planned to gather all of the things I wanted to display in the newly organized nook.

Step Two: A blank canvas.

Once the shelves were emptied and the floor cleared, I took down the shelves themselves and cleaned the entire area (something I’m embarrassed to admit has only been done once or twice since we moved in).

Then I replaced the broken pulls on the cabinet above the shelves with a set from the garage. They were filthy (which is probably why the previous owner left them), but very cute once scrubbed clean.

Step Three: The search is on.

Now that I had clean shelves, I needed something to put on them. So I scoured the house for hidden treasures in every corner, closet, and cabinet and gathered them on the dining room table.

Step Four: The fun part.

Piece by piece I returned the accumulated items to the shelves, rearranging them in a relentless attempt to achieve a kind of relative perfection. It took longer than it should have, but it was definitely worth the time and energy spent.

Step Five: Mission Accomplished.

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying the fact that I no longer cringe every time I use the back door. Now if I could only keep that mantra in mind the next time I walk into the laundry room. 🙂

*You can click on the pictures to see a larger image. You can see additional images here.