We’re helping homeowners Bill and Toni Riales organize the clutter in their home and add storage space to their kitchen, attic, closets, and entertainment center.
Organization and storage improvement projects include:
- Kitchen: Add wire shelves to the pantry for cans, use hooks to hold rolls of sheet goods, and add a plastic bag storage container.
- Attic: Install freestanding metal shelving for storage containers, and add hanging rods for out of season clothing.
- Closet: Add 16” wide shelves to a closet to increase storage space.
- Entertainment Center: Install a hanging shelf under the sideboard to hold the DVD player and other components.
Read episode article to find out more.
- Improving Storage in Your Home (article/video)
- Garage Organization Tips (article/video)
- Adding Roll Out Wire Baskets to a Kitchen (video)
- How to Add Track Storage to Closets (video)
Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re tackling the issue of organizing. If your spouse has a slightly different view of what that means, you need to see this.
Chelsea Lipford: Good job.
Bill Riales: How we ever got married, I have no idea!
Danny Lipford: Hey, let’s face it. All of us want to be more organized and some of us are more organized than others. We’ve got a great couple here that are doing several small projects they’ve been wanting to do for a long time that all involve re-organizing certain areas of their home—their names: Bill and Toni Riales.
Bill’s the morning news anchor for a local TV station, and Toni’s the owner of a successful photography studio. With such creative occupations, it’s no surprise that these two are also pretty active improvers of their home.
Toni Riales: We moved here in 2000. And this place was an empty shell of white walls and nothing much. You know, just kind of… And it was a little bit boring. And over that time we’ve changed it probably three or four times.
Bill Riales: Yeah, when we redid the house just recently, we decided, and when I say “we,” I mean, she decided gray would be a good way to go. Before that it was a lot of colors.
Danny Lipford: Bill and Toni approached their projects from slightly different points of view. Toni is very meticulous and a little OCD.
Toni Riales: Now, let me be clear, my OCD is not, like, “diagnosed.” I just self-diagnosed it.
Danny Lipford: While Bill just enjoys getting his hands dirty.
Bill Riales: I’m just not happy if I don’t have some sort of a project to do.
Toni Riales: And I’m not happy if he doesn’t have some sort of project to do.
Bill Riales: She’s not happy if I don’t have something. So, I get it done.
Toni Riales: He gets it done.
Bill Riales: She tells me how to do it.
Toni Riales: I tell him how he’s doing it wrong. It’s awesome. Look, okay, I’m the designer and he’s the handyman. Division of labor.
Bill Riales: How we ever got married, I have no idea, but it seems to work.
Toni Riales: Division.
Bill Riales: Right, dear?
Toni Riales: Yes!
Danny Lipford: So with that understanding, we can check out some of their projects. First is a little reorganization of their tiny pantry closet. Then the not so tiny attic.
Bill Riales: Oh, the attic!
Danny Lipford: Which has space but needs a little structure.
Bill Riales: And Toni won’t let me put anything in the attic anymore. And, of course, when you have extra space, you have extra clutter that comes along and fills it up.
Toni Riales: And I’m okay with that if it looks like a store, with shelves sitting around and everything all merchandise. I’m totally fine with having extra junk. The problem was, is that Bill and Jack, our son, would just take something and kind of like shove it in the door and then kick it a little to where it was just inside the door. And so there would be this enormous pile of junk right inside the door.
Bill Riales: I mean, it’s out of the way. It’s behind the door and nobody’s seeing it.
Toni Riales: So, yeah.
Bill Riales: That’s my argument with the attic. Nobody’s going to go up there and look at our attic and go, “Hey, nice attic!”
Toni Riales: Until now.
Bill Riales: Until now.
Danny Lipford: Toni also has some issues with cord clutter in the family room.
Toni Riales: I’m bothered. And this is the face I give when I’m bothered. Everything has three cords that goes with it so they’re everywhere. And I just don’t know how to hide them, or make them cute. They need to be cuter.
Danny Lipford: Well, Toni, I can see why you’re a little concerned about that with all the wires. That would absolutely drive me crazy.
Toni Riales: It’s insane.
Danny Lipford: We can actually take like a 1×12 and build just a little U-shaped shelf. With these drawers you have a couple little runners here that we could use. It wouldn’t affect the use of the drawers, and we could attach the little 1×12 shelf here.
We could take all of those, stack them on there, some will need that line of sight for your remote, get some stain that matches that pretty closely and we can eliminate just about, or at least group those wires together where you really won’t see them.
Toni Riales: Oh, that’s an awesome idea.
Danny Lipford: Bill’s big concern is the office he’s created in an upstairs bedroom.
Bill Riales: Well, here’s the man-cave.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, this is quite obvious. Look at this.
Bill Riales: Yeah, this was actually Toni’s idea. She said get all these guitars out of the case and put them up on the wall.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, I love that.
Bill Riales: And I did that and actually Home Depot helped me out.
Danny Lipford: Yeah!
Bill Riales: I went and found these hooks there. The music store had them for about 18 bucks. These were four, five bucks at the big-box store, so there you go.
Danny Lipford: Perfect! That’s fantastic. I see a little video equipment down here.
Bill Riales: Got the video equipment, some of it down there and, it’s down there because I can’t get it in here. This is one of my problem areas.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, you got a lot of space in there. So, we got an idea of how we can actually do that. If we can relocate some of the clothing elsewhere, we can put some shelves in there that you can lift out. And then when you, if you and Toni ever move, you can lift those out, turn it back into the bedroom. Unless someone, you know, needs another man-cave.
Bill Riales: Boy, that would be a great idea.
Danny Lipford: All right, good.
Bill Riales: Any shelving would be helpful.
Danny Lipford: Oh, yeah. We can work that out, and then you could put everything and we can get Toni in here, and she can label everything.
Bill Riales: Oh, that would be great. And she will, too.
Danny Lipford: Perfect!
Joe Truini: Screw hooks are great for hanging up all sorts of items around the shop, the garage, even the basement. Simply a big steel hook with wood threads. The challenge is if you have more than one or two of these hooks to drive in how do you do it quickly and without tiring your arms or your wrists?
The first trick is to always bore a pilot hole first, just drill a hole slightly smaller in diameter than the shaft. And then, to drive it all the way in, we’re going to use a screw eye, which is simply an enclosed eye, not a hook, that you can chuck into a drill.
We’re going to power drive that hook right into the wall. Tighten it up, and then use the eye. So just hook it on to the hook, pull back slightly, and run the drill in a forward direction. There you go.
And it’s okay that it’s not perfectly vertical because you can come back with a screwdriver and straighten it right out. And these come in all different sizes, so you can hang up pretty much anything.
Danny Lipford: After the break… -Is there a thing to turn it on? – -Where’s the button? -Where’s the button? All right.
Danny Lipford: Like most couples, Bill and Toni Riales have opposite approaches to home improvement. But together they’ve made some great improvements to their home. Like this cool laundry room that Toni says used to be…
Toni Riales: It was a hot mess.
Danny Lipford: But Toni’s pantry is our first project today. Chelsea’s got some great ideas on just some real simple things that we can do to the pantry, or you guys can do to the pantry, that’ll make it, you know, a little more efficient. I’m going to head up in the attic and see what I can do there.
Toni Riales: Okay, thanks.
Chelsea Lipford: What do you think about a rack like this for all of your canned goods?
Toni Riales: I love that. You can see all of them.
Chelsea Lipford: And then I have some other little tricks we can add -and really deck it out nice.
Toni Riales: That’s perfect.
Danny Lipford: Once the shelves are clear, Chelsea and Toni do a little cleaning before they start with the first addition.
Chelsea Lipford: You know, there’s lots of different options of things to put on the back of your door. You know, lots of baskets and stuff like that. A lot of people don’t know but, all of the rolls like this actually have a little tab here that you puncture in and it’s meant to lock the roll there. So, you know, when you’re pulling it out it doesn’t come out.
Toni Riales: Oh, that’s a secret. I didn’t, I’ve never heard of that before.
Chelsea Lipford: Yeah. We’ll hang these hooks to where it hooks in that little hole and that’s how it’s going to hang up there.
Toni Riales: Oh, that’s clever.
Danny Lipford: Toni and Chelsea are kindred spirits so they’re measuring and marking the placement of each hook. These self-adhesive hooks are a great solution because they’re easy to install and they make installing and removing the rolls easy as well. They’re also using the back of the door to mount a paper towel holder.
Chelsea Lipford: Do you want to hold it and then I’ll do the screw and drive it in?
Toni Riales: Probably, because you’re risking your fingers. Push, girl, push. There you go!
Chelsea Lipford: Make it squeal like a little girl!
Toni Riales: Make it squeal like a pig! Are you an over or an under girl? I’m an over.
Chelsea Lipford: Oh, definitely. Definitely has to go over. There we go!
Toni Riales: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. I could use that.
Danny Lipford: Next, they’re using some standard wire shelving to create that tilted can rack, but cutting it may be interesting.
Chelsea Lipford: All right, do you know how to use a hack saw?
Toni Riales: Well, it doesn’t seem that complicated. Is there a thing to turn it on?
Chelsea Lipford: Where is the button?
Toni Riales: Where is the button? All right.
Danny Lipford: This looks like it might be entertaining.
Toni Riales: Oh, this is going to be hilarious.
Danny Lipford: Once they got past the challenge of cutting the wire.
Toni Riales: Whoa-ha-ha!
Chelsea Lipford: Oh! Okay.
Danny Lipford: The shelving mounts much the same way as it would for a regular closet except it’s upside down and angled toward the front, so that, as the cans are removed, the new ones roll right to the front.
Chelsea Lipford: And that is for like your little packets, like dressing, like dry packets.
Toni Riales: Mmm-hmm.
Chelsea Lipford: Just to kind of get them off the shelves, too.
Toni Riales: Yeah, those are hard to store.
Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, so there we go. One last addition for the door. Keep those plastic bags off the floor. Okay, be my eyes.
Toni Riales: Okay. Awesome!
Chelsea Lipford: And then you can pull them out this way.
Danny Lipford: Finally they’re lining the shelves before they start restocking them.
Chelsea Lipford: All right. Good job!
Danny Lipford: Next, Toni and I start laying out the new shelf for the entertainment center, so I can go ahead and make all the cuts from some clear pine shelving we picked up at the Home Center.
That’s all there is to it. See, that’ll sit right under there. We will stain it. We’ll have this piece that we’ll mount under, and then we’ll put screws on each side to hold this part in, and then we feed everything in there.
Toni Riales: Okay, great.
Danny Lipford: Make sense?
Toni Riales: Yeah, totally.
Danny Lipford: I’m giving Toni some stain options to choose from, so while she does that and starts applying the stain, I’m headed back up to the attic to wait for Bill.
Bill Riales: So what do you think of my mess up here?
Danny Lipford: Well, Bill, I’ll tell you, it’s not as bad as some that I’ve seen. At least, you’ve got the boxes going here. But I’ll tell you what I would suggest. First of all, getting it up off the floor is what we need to do. And great space back here to put some shelving
Bill Riales: We were thinking about building shelves back here because we’ve been trying to organize, you know?
Danny Lipford: It takes a little while, but this would be a lot easier. Usually I would say build something, but they’ve got these great metal racks at the Home Center that you can run off and get a section of those.
Bill Riales: Oh, yeah.
Danny Lipford: About 80, 81 inches, I think you’ll find one that’s pretty close to that.
Bill gets changed and picks up those shelves. Then, when he returns, the shelves start going together quickly, because the rails simply drop into the notches with a tap of a mallet.
Make a little noise like that and Toni will know we’re working. All right. We’re looking at in the clear 17 inches.
Bill Riales: Okay.
Danny Lipford: With the layout figured out, we can complete the shelves. The shelf surface is actually a heavy gauge wire mesh, which is really sturdy but it won’t collect dust in the attic. Finally we’re ready to stock the shelves and make it look like the store that Toni wanted.
When that’s all organized, we can turn our attention to using the other end of this area as a solution for those off-season clothes we need to move out of the closet in Bill’s man-cave.
And I did this in my attic where I actually put a closet rod in and then took some of the wardrobe kind of flexible cases and hung those in here. And this is so convenient to the middle of the house.
Bill Riales: Right.
Danny Lipford: That might help get some of the stuff that you have hanging in that closet in here. So maybe we can explore that.
Bill Riales: Conveniently, I’ve got a wardrobe to put in here, yeah.
Danny Lipford: To conceal the bare insulation in the wall, we’re covering it with house wrap. After that, we can hang the brackets and the rod itself before we add the clothes and the hanging bag to protect them. Down in the garage, Toni’s stain has dried and she’s adding a coat of clear sealer to wrap up our first day on the job.
Jodi Marks: You know, nowadays if you’re not super organized, you are behind the times, and there are a lot of different ways to keep yourself organized in your home in your garage.
And these containers by Rubbermaid—this is actually a part of their Roughneck series—and they can take a lot of abuse, if you’re going to be throwing it around in your garage or even storing it up in your attic.
But another place that you may not think of that you might need a storage bin is in the back of your car, like your SUV or your minivan. This is a great way to keep everything contained.
But here’s another thing, too, that’s just come out on the market. This is a Stayhold. And what this is, it’s got Velcro straps here along the bottom.
And once you have your container filled with whatever it is, or even if you don’t have a container and you’ve just got loose things in the trunk of your car. All you do is just push it up against the side, put this in place, and it stayholds everything that you need—thus the name.
So it holds everything in place so that your objects are not going to be flying around. So there are a lot of different options for keeping your life organized and there is also this option now of keeping all of your organization safe and in place.
Danny Lipford: We’re reorganizing room by room this week with Bill and Toni Riales.
Bill Riales: I don’t have any stuff.
Toni Riales: You have stuff, dude.
Danny Lipford: And we’ve already discovered that Toni is a bit of a neat freak with some pretty cool ideas.
Toni Riales: This is a screen. I put family photos in it for a minute and didn’t like it. And so it went into the attic or the back of the closet for a really long time. And then we decided to make a box out of it, put it on the lazy Susan, and put shelves in it and then you can just put your ugly junk in it that nobody needs to see ever.
Bill Riales: It was just MDF, cut it into the shelves, you just put some little angle brackets on the bottom of them and set them in there, screw them in, put it on a lazy Susan at the bottom on a couple of pieces of MDF and you’re good to go.
Danny Lipford: Yesterday, we tricked out the pantry, cleaned up the attic, and got started on a shelf unit to hide cord clutter under the television in the family room. Toni got it stained and clear coated. Now, we just need to put it in.
All right. Did it dry well enough overnight?
Toni Riales: I think so. Yeah.
Danny Lipford: Good, good. Well, I’ll tell you what. We can install this very easily. I’ve got four, five screws that we’ll need to install it and we can have this thing done and set up before Bill even gets home.
Toni Riales: Awesome.
Danny Lipford: Won’t he be thrilled? Nice little work light here. I’m laying out the mounting points on the shelf to line up with the drawer runners underneath the table so we can screw it right into them. Might need to break out the pillow. It’s like working under a car.
We had to choose screws that were just long enough to go into the guides, but not all the way through, so we don’t lock the drawers closed. I think that did it, didn’t it?
Toni Riales: I think this is the first time I’ve been in danger.
Danny Lipford: That scared you, didn’t it?
Toni Riales: No, No, of course not. Come on. Come on.
Danny Lipford: Now watch this. Okay. Now, is it looking good to you?
Toni Riales: Oh, it looks good over here, as far as I can see.
Danny Lipford: Okay. And you got to push it all the way to the top. Okay. If you’re comfortable, I’ll go ahead and put a screw in.
Toni Riales: Yeah, I’m super comfortable.
Danny Lipford: Okay. My side’s done.
Toni Riales: Then I shall supervise.
Danny Lipford: A couple more screws and we’re ready to move the electronics into the shelf unit. That should be perfect, huh?
Toni Riales: Yeah, I think that our family crest should be a tangle of wires.
Danny Lipford: Now it’s just a matter of corralling that tangle into a small enough bunch that we can hide it. To do that we’re also adding a vertical piece of 1×4 painted the same color as the wall so everything disappears.
All right. So, you can see now, with just that little board in the back, how it just hides all of the wires vertically there and, what do you think?
Toni Riales: I think it’s fabulous. It’s a lot better than the tangle of wires that we had before. A whole different decorating style.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, that’s quite a challenge. We had to figure something to do there.
Toni Riales: I like it.
Danny Lipford: Speaking of challenges, I’m going to help Bill with his little man-cave closet up here. I understand you’re not allowed in that room.
Toni Riales: No, I don’t know what that room looks like.
Danny Lipford: So, you take it easy. I’ll help him out for a sec.
Bill Riales: All right.
Danny Lipford: All right, let me get in here and measure this thing. I think, I think two shelves will be plenty in here.
Bill Riales: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: So if we went around 22 inches you’d have one shelf. I’m hearing music.
Bill Riales: Here let me help you out there.
Danny Lipford: So, you have plenty of room for those guitar cases there, more things there and then lots and lots and lots of..
Bill Riales: Yeah, a lot of odd shaped things in here.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, I noticed that. There’s no, it’s not like a standard box.
Bill Riales: Right.
Danny Lipford: So, I’ll tell you what, get all of your stuff out of here.
Bill Riales: Okay.
Danny Lipford: And I’ll get everything cut and ready to go in here.
Bill Riales: All right, it’s a deal.
Danny Lipford: Honestly, I think Bill has the tougher job here, because these shelves couldn’t be easier. I’m cutting some pre-primed 1x4s to length to act as wall cleats and two pieces of 16-inch shelf board down to the length of the closet. Once we mark the height of each shelf…
Bill Riales: That looks just about right.
Danny Lipford:…we begin tacking the cleats in place, always checking the level from the starting point at our mark. Tell you what, it would sit right there -but I think we’ll just peg it a couple of times.
Bill Riales: All right.
Danny Lipford: Once the brace is added, Bill can apply some trim paint to the new material to make it look like it’s always been there.
Danny Lipford: Barry wants to know, “How do I keep rust stains from bleeding through wrought iron?”
Everybody knows a successful paint job is all about proper surface preparation. And that’s particularly important when you’re dealing with some rusty, wrought iron handrails like we have here.
First thing you have to do is remove all of the rust and any of the paint chips that you may have. So you can sand that down with sandpaper, or use a wire brush, or—this is what I like—a wire brush attachment on a cordless drill makes it go a lot quicker.
But you want to make sure that you really get everything off that you can, wipe it down, then a very important step is applying one full coat of rust inhibiting primer. Very, very important to make sure that you cover everything—not just the rust spots.
After that, two coats of metal paint of any color that you want. And you can apply that with a brush, but it’s a lot easier to use spray paint in light even coats. Just make sure you cover everything up to prevent any overspray.
Danny Lipford: Our visit with Bill and Toni this week has been a lot of fun. We didn’t do any major renovations, or build a big addition, but we did complete some of those simple, organizational projects that viewers like you ask about all the time.
The closet in Bill’s upstairs office is ready to organize all of his video and audio gear for easy access and the attic across the hall has been re-arranged to handle the inevitable flow that attics get. Downstairs, that simple shelf we built under the TV table has hidden the cord clutter that was driving Toni nuts. And the pantry that she and Chelsea put together is so neat, she may not even let Bill open the door.
Toni Riales: Hey! How did it go upstairs with the man-cave closet?
Bill Riales: Well, I got plenty of places to put things now so you’ll be happy.
Toni Riales: And you can buy new things.
Bill Riales: I can buy you things.
Toni Riales: I’m so happy.
Bill Riales: And we can buy new food. How about the pantry?
Toni Riales: Actually, it’s perfect. Chelsea came up with some really great ideas, so we’ve got lots of room and cool places to put stuff in there.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, pretty simple ideas and I’ll tell you the little shelf under the television, that kind of cleans up your decorating that you had with the, , mess of wires there. So that helps a little bit as well.
Toni Riales: It does, quite a bit.
Danny Lipford: Now these are the kind of projects we love to work with homeowners on. You guys were a lot of fun to work with. I hope you enjoyed this week’s show and hope we’ll see you next week right here on Today’s Homeowner. I’m Danny Lipford.
Now, there’s a lot of other different other ways…
Toni Riales: Bill Riales, how come you don’t ever make me nothing like this?
Bill Riales: Who do you think I am, Danny Lipford or somebody?