Spaces for Life

The ReTouch Home Improvement blog



Spaces for Life: Organizing Hacks using IKEA

By Lance McCarthy

Organizing with IKEA Products Part I

This week I have asked my friend Mary Ellen Vincent to write about some of the ways she uses IKEA products in her home organizing.  She started her business Organize Me around the time I was starting ReTouch, and we have enjoyed a cooperative relationship over the years.  I hope you find some of her ideas helpful:

I recently met a friend, Lance McCarthy of Retouch Design. Build. Renovate., at the new IKEA store in Merriam. I was there answering questions from customers during Get Organized Month, and he was there with his three darling children, who wanted to explore the store by jumping on the beds and playing with the gadgets. I assured him that IKEA is very child-friendly and that my daughter Eve, who dislikes shopping, loves to come to IKEA.

Lance and I briefly chatted about doing something together, highlighting our talents for renovation and organizing and featuring the many cool IKEA products offered by IKEA. We decided to create a video showcasing the IKEA products I’ve installed in our home. After discussing our plan with a few friends, I discovered that the way I sometimes use IKEA products has a name, a product hack. For those of you who don’t know; (which included me, until recently):

Hack: The term hacking holds many definitions. The predominant meaning of the word used to refer to illegal activity performed by computer experts, however a new definition is slowly taking over. This new form of hacking is not done by expert computer users or digital criminals, but is in fact done by everyday people. This new terminology for hacking refers to the act of modifying or customizing everyday products to improve their functionality, repurpose them or just for fun.

Below are some IKEA organizing hacks I’ve used in my home:

Office Desk Expander using Drop Leaf Table

Problem: Daughter wants to create crafts, draw with crayons and markers, and use my office tools while I’m working at home on my computer. She needs space to work where I can see what she’s up to and we can share tools.

Solution: Add flexible space to my desk for the time she needs it. The same space can also be used by my husband on his laptop when Eve is in school. When not in use, it neatly folds away.

Kitchen Cabinet Using Shoe Cabinet Design

Problem: A custom refrigerator was too expensive and a standard refrigerator is too deep for our newly remodeled kitchen. It popped out from the wall, creating an uneven line that draws the eye.

Solution: Use a shoe cabinet design to build a bottom cabinet and adding a shallow upper cabinet that disguises our refrigerator problem by filling in the empty space. We purchased material from Lowes to match our kitchen cabinets and hired a clever carpenter to create this piece. This design is very similar to the old potato/onion bins from our historic home, but now it’s useful for kitchen tools, kid’s books and papers, electronics, small appliances and more.

Here is a link to the video version of Organizing with IKEA Products, starring Lance, myself and Eve.

I’ll wrap up next week with a couple more ideas…

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