Oh, What Beautiful Shelves You Have!

This is part 2 of the Laundry Shelving Unit Saga. To read part 1 (planning and building), go here.

On Monday I left you in suspense... I showed you how we were building a shelving unit to go over my laundry machines, and then I left you in the dark as to what they actually looked like. Hopefully you'll forgive me seeing as it was a short wait for once, right?

Let me tell you, it was quite a glorious moment when we installed my laundry shelves! I'd been waiting some time for them, and they were finally here! Check them out:

They are in the corner of my kitchen, so they are a little tricky to photograph as there is not much light coming into my kitchen.

Let me run you through the specifics I mentioned I wanted in the first post.

1. They needed to be free standing. Check! This was for a couple of reasons. One, we have no idea what these walls are made of but they are incredibly hard to screw anything into, they are made of plaster or something that crumbles really easily.

Two, this is a rental after all, so the less screws/holes in the walls, the better!

Here's a view from when you enter the kitchen.

Solid pieces of plywood support the 3 shelves of the unit, each 24" wide (which was 1/2 of the width of a sheet of plywood). At first my dad had planned to just have 4 narrow "legs", 2 on each side, with an empty space in between. I much rather like this idea (why he had to go buy one more plywood sheet that I mentioned in the last post).

I'll be able to decorate the sides of the unit (on the inside) with small frames and such for little notes, calendars, etc. But all in due time.

He did secure the unit to the wall with a few screws, just to prevent it from swaying. There's a few on the side, screwed in the wall next to the window, and a few on the back wall.

Just to be on the safe side, my dad screwed them in at an angle (as in not straight into the wall) so that IF it were to want to fall, it would be WAY harder to pull out the screws when they are like this.

2. We wanted the shelves to be made of wood and stained. Check!

These are made of pine plywood (which was the cheapest at 23$ a sheet, even cheaper than MDF) and have a really nice grain to it. We stained with Minwax English Chestnut. I really love contrast, and as you can see that wall of my kitchen is beige, so I knew I wanted a dark stain. Walnut was too dark, and this one was a little lighter and with tints of red.

3. (Because of 2.) We needed to built some sort of reinforcement to the plywood to give it more strength.

So we built a frame on the underside of each shelf. This shot shows pretty well the frames. And I already talked about the difficulty the shape of the bottom shelf gave us while constructing its frame in the last post.

4. The top shelf had to be longer than the others and have a rod to hang clothes to dry. Check! My favorite feature!

hanging a closet rod from under

It's not necessarily the prettiest rod, it's just a normal closet rod, but it's very functional!

Here's a close-up of how my dad hung it. He just got L brackets (not entirely sure that's how they are called...), attached it to the closet rod where you would normally screw it into place with nuts and bolts, and screwed it to the underside of the top shelf.

hanging a closet rod from the underside of a surface

I know it's a bit of an eye sore, but I'm ready to look past it (for the moment until I figure out how to hide it!) because I know it will be so darn useful!! If you've got any ideas what I could do, please don't hesitate to share!!

5. I needed to still be able to open the laundry machine lid, but didn't want a small 8" shelf.

BTW, the 2 lower shelves are 12", the top one is 28".

Of course I didn't just want a plain square cutout of the shelf, that would be too boring! So I got my dad to do the indent at an angle and round off the corners ;) I'm a girl that knows what she wants!! Thanks dad for indulging me :)

Bonus Point! 6. Provide LOTS of extra storage!

In my head, I did not have this much storage potential on top of the unit. I'm usually pretty good at picturing stuff in my head, but I don't think I realized just how tall and big it would be. Either that or how low the ceiling is compared to the height of the unit.

When I planned on building these shelves way back when we moved in, I started looking for baskets to use in this space.

One day I was at Michael's on a weekend trip to see my parents' (as I always do), it was shortly after Christmas and they were having a sale on baskets. I found this set of 3 baskets on super sale!!

It was the only set discounted at that price (even among identical ones...). They were 80% off!! Yeah, crazy right?! So instead of 45$, I paid 9$ for the biggest basket. I was super stoked to have found them. The middle one was 6$ (the bottom is convexed so it wobbles quite a lot, wish I had checked that out in the store first...)and the small 5$.

So I walked out of Michael's with a big smile on my face, 100$ worth of basket in my arms but with a 20$ hole in my wallet :)

When we were building the shelves, I took a moment to measure my baskets to make sure we were building the shelves far enough apart to account for the baskets. Now, here's the headdesk moment. For some reason, I didn't measure the handles in the height of the basket...

So this happened when I tried to put the biggest one on the shelves:

I felt real smart there... haha! Doesn't help that there's also the support frame that removes 2" to the in between space. At least the 2 other ones fit.

My only saving grace is that I don't think the 3 baskets would look very good all on the bottom shelf anyway. Nor would there be space for the 2 biggest ones side by side on the left of the indent, and only the smallest is small enough to fit where the indent is. I could saw off the handles, too, if I really wanted to put the big basket there.

So the big one goes on the very top of the unit. Just picture it up there... Forgot to take a picture of that.

I didn't really start moving stuff into the unit until 2 weeks after it was installed. See, it took us much longer to build and finish than we thought, and we finished sealing everything about an hour before leaving (my parents' house) to go install it at my apartment, so I still had to sand the rough surface left by the sealer. And I didn't have time until 2 weeks later...

Part 3 is now up: click over to see how I've organized my shelves!
And if you'd like to see it in action, check out this post. I can easily fit 30 hangers on there, if there's more which has happened then it takes longer to dry is all.
Thanks for reading, until next time!

Psst: If you enjoyed this project, be sure to visit my Projects page for more! Or check out the popular posts (in the right sidebar----->).

I party at these parties.

This post was featured!


  1. What a great custom storage solution! The shelves look great; it's awesome that your dad built them for you

  2. What a great idea - I need to do something like this in my laundry room! I love the yellow lining in the baskets. Stopping by from TT&J - Have a great weekend!


  3. This is awesome, exactly what I need in my laundry room. Thanks so much for sharing this!


  4. What a great and pretty way to get more storage! I am loving your baskets also. I am your newest follower and excited to see what else you have done! I would love for you to come check out my blog when you have time!


  5. Gen, you did a FABULOUS job!!!! And the pole... GENIUS and super useful!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream To Reality!

  6. You go girl! Way to make the space yours! Love this :0 Folloowing you now via GFC too.

    Thanks for sharing this at the Weekend Wonders party. Hope to see you back on Thursday. Have a great day!

  7. Hi there! I just wanted to let you know that I featured this on Weekend Wonders! If you'd like to grab a feature button you can fine it here.


    Thanks for sharing with us and have a great day!


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