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April 07, 2006

Organize This

A year ago I took a bad situation and made it better.  The subject was the bathroom vanity.  It was just a giant box full of chaos.  I installed a plywood shelf and a sliding basket.  It looked good.

2005_after I was proud. 

A year later, the once-improved situation had deteriorated.  Things teetered on top of things in piles that Dr. Seuss would have found irresistible. 

I began to feel crabby every time I opened the cupboard.

A_year_later This is what it looked like.  See?   I wasn't kidding.

Looking for radical change for the first time ever, I re-thought the concept of cupboards.  So much wasted space on the insides of the doors.  And still more on the interior walls of the cabinet.   

I went to the hardware store and bought $100 worth of removable adhesive strips. 

When I got home I was so excited my face was the colour of eggplant.  You know the look.  Furious with ingenuity.  I took control of my vanity.  Not my Vanity (that's hopeless); my vanity.  And look where it led. 


Is that pretty or what?  Is that worth $100?  Not really.   But wait, I wasn't done yet. 

I still had the office, kitchen and the bathroom to go.  And the freakish disarray of closets all over the house.  Oh baby.  (more photos below)

Best of all, I can rearrange articles anytime I want without ever having to repaint, because the strips are removable and leave absolutely no residue on any surface (a big juicy grateful kiss to the hot scientists at 3M, the company famous for overengineering every product they make). 

Command Adhesive strips are available everywhere in many configurations.  My favourites are Command hooks in white plastic or 'designer' brushed metal, and waterproof/weatherproof clips for Christmas lights or computer cables.  You can also get Command adhesive-backed Interlock (a genetically superior version of Velcro) which enables you to repeatedly remove and replace something from a wall - like a flashlight or a picture or a calculator.   Sweet.  If I'd had this stuff in university I wouldn't have spent half my life repainting apartments because some previous tenant had used those disgusting old brittle plastic hooks that ripped the paint off the walls when you removed them (with a chisel).

Closet_before_closeBEFORE:  Hall closet hell

AFTER:  Sweet or what?


BEFORE:  Sewing room mess Before_shot_sewing_room_mess

AFTER: Organisational Glee




I'll have to second the motion to use the command strips. My roommate introduced them to me after a long (and horrible) relationship with weak magnets or tack. Our apartment had all sorts of pictures up on the walls as soon as we found out about those, and moving out at the end of the semester was a snap. No repaint jobs needed.


Mag, always loved your show but since cancelled cable haven't seen you for years.

Good website here.

Need pics of your closet shelves and how you reorganized them. I have a dreadful mess above my hangers - a stack of sweaters. But each time you try to take one out they fall and get messy. And its getting to the point where I don't care anymore and just chuck them up there. An avalanche waiting to happen. Can't find anything that can help me sort it out. Help?!

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Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie