I’d say our home is a pretty busy place and because of that, there are lots of “roles” that we all take on, to keep things moving right along. For example, I usually make dinner, the kids all help with clearing the table, wiping, sweeping, and emptying the dishwasher, and then Steve finishes off the dishes. Our bedtime routine is usually split in half, where I get Oliver (20 months) ready for bed, stories, songs, prayers, etc…..and Steve directs the older 3 kiddos to change, brush teeth, etc and then I join them for prayers and Steve reads another chapter in Fable Haven (the current series they’re into). I tend to do most of the laundry and Steve deals with the trash and lawn care. The list goes on, like I’m sure it does in your homes, but I’d say we do a pretty good job of tag-teaming our house tasks. (Even though my kids sometimes tell me they wished they lived in a palace with maids that did everything for them…HA! I remember having the same daydream!)
One thing that Steve has always done….is grab the mail. I tend to forget about it and he is in the habit of grabbing it right after work. However, since the day we got married, we’ve always had an issue with our mail. Well, it’s been an issue for me at least….and that is that it always ends up in an ugly pile on the counter. And then the pile grows and grows. And for some reason, it drives me NUTS. Dishes in the sink? Meh…I don’t really care. Piles of mail on the counter? Makes my skin craaaaaawl. (But for the record, I still love the man to bits…mail piles and all!)
So we’ve been talking for years about organizing it all….but just never found the right solution. Until NOW! And yes my friends, all of mail-pile-anger-issues are GONE….because of our new Wall Mounted Mail Organizer!
Hallelujah…we have officially said goodbye to this pile of junk on the counter! (Which, I’ll be honest, this picture shows about 1/4 of what it usually was…..and the pile was rarely in a neat stack like this. And there were usually several little clusters of mail all around the counters….aggggh!)
The Mail Organizer is now neatly hanging in the laundry room….which is where you walk into right after coming in through the garage door. So, with the mail in his hand, Steve can now file things where they need to go, before even thinking about coming into the main part of the house. (And okay…me too, if I ever get the mail!)
(And yep, still loving our Laundry Basket Organizer!!)
And we decided on 4 categories. An “INCOMING” slot where he can just come in the door and slide it all in if there’s no time to look through it. And then when we have time to look through the mail a little closer, we can organize it a little better and then file them into a slot that says “DUE: 1-15” for bills due the first half of the month or the other slot that says “DUE: 16-31” for bills due during the second half of the month. Once those bills are paid, they can be placed in the “TO FILE” slot because as much as we intend to go and file them in the back office…….it doesn’t usually happen right that second. So, this way, nothing sits in a pile on the counter. Everything has a slot. And makes me VERY happy! But you can always change this and adapt it for your exact filing needs.
The base of the organizer is made from some scrap plywood (which is very inexpensive, in case you don’t have any laying around), and a few 1×2’s….also very inexpensive. Yes, you could always just install the metal organizers directly to the wall, but the base keeps everything together and organized and even and makes it a piece of wall decor, rather then just clutter hanging up there. And I’m all for making things a little more pretty! :)
The whole thing is hung on some screws anchored to the wall…..and it’s solid!
Oh, and just so you can see how it is in fact hanging in the laundry room, there’s the washer and dryer over there to left and then the door to the rest of the house, straight ahead.
And yes, I took out some of the papers we have filed in there so you could see more of the wood…..but I’m happy to say that all papers have been filed in this thing for about a month, and it has been an absolute SUCCESS!! And no more grumbling at Steve for piles of random mail that he deposits all over the counters. ;)
Would you like to make one too?
***The measurements in this tutorial were designed to fit the mail organizers I purchased above. But you could definitely use different organizers and just adapt the measurements to suit your needs…..and just use this tutorial as a design guide. :)
For the main shape of the mail organizer, you will need 6 pieces of your ply wood cut into 6 x 29 inch pieces. Then cut TWO of your 1×1 wood at 36 1/2 inches and TWO pieces at 26 inches. (There will be more to cut later on….but it’s easier to cut those after you get started.)
Lay your 1×2 pieces down flat in front of you, with the longer pieces laying vertically and then the shorter ones fitting between them horizontally at the top and bottom.
Add a line of glue along the bottom piece of wood and a little ways (at least 6 inches) up on both sides.
Place one of your slats along the bottom and match up the 1×2 pieces exactly along the bottom and side edges of your slat, making sure the ends of your 1×2 pieces are fitting together snugly to create the corner. Use a staple gun to attach the slat to the 1×1.
Repeat at the top, creating your rectangle shape.
Add more glue along the side 1×2 pieces and then place the rest of your slats on top, evenly spacing them all the way down. (The measurements will allow you to space them between 1/16 and 2/16…..which we thought looked best.) Just be sure to space each one right where you want it before stapling any of them in place.
Now, if you’re using 1/4 inch thick plywood like I did, you’ll notice the slats are a little wobbly. (If you used thicker plywood, you may not have this issue and might be able to move on and skip this next step.) Turn the entire thing over and cut two more pieces of 1×2’s that fit exactly between the top and bottom 1×2’s. Add more glue and set in place.
Turn it over and staple from the front (you’ll be able to see through the cracks where those wood pieces are).
Now, you need to reinforce the wood where the metal organizer will be attached on the front…..so determine from the front where you’ll need to attach your organizer. Then, measure down the same distance in the back and add a horizontal line of 1×2 wood strips by adding glue and then staple in place from the front again.
Now, your base is done! You can now stain your wood, paint it your favorite color, or even leave it plain…..whatever works best to fit your style! But here’s what I did.
I applied one layer of Provincial color stain (HERE’S the exact color and brand) the the front and sides.
***All wood takes stain a little differently but I decided I wanted to tone down the brown a bit, so I mixed some dark grey acrylic paint with some water (about 3 parts water to one part paint) and then brushed that over the top of the dry stain. Then, I used a paper towel and wiped off any excess and used sand paper in areas that the paint was too dark. I didn’t add a ton of this watered down grey paint….but it just added a little more grey tone to the wood, to cancel out some of the brown and make it look a little more weathered.
Then, I used my vinyl cutter to cut out the letters that I wanted and then stuck the vinyl to the wood near the top. But honestly, the vinyl didn’t stick very well, so it probably would have worked just as well to cut out the letters from paper to create a stencil, and then traced each letter onto the wood and then painted within the lines.
I used a sponge brush and white acrylic paint to fill in each letter.
Once I pulled back the vinyl, my letters were in place. (If you want to “weather” your letters a bit, you can use sand paper and lightly scuff up some of the letters after they’re dry.)
And then to add even more of a weathered look……I added very light strokes of white paint around all the edges of the wood slats and then a few more spots on the wood. Once that was dry…..I sanded a lot of it back off, leaving highlights of white along the edges and down into the grain, giving the wood character.
Then, I screwed in the metal organizer (THESE are the ones I used) and was done!!!