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Budget Ideas

My Former DIY Stylish Organizing Ideas And The Affordable (And Stylish) Options I Would Actually Buy Now

I’m neither terribly organized or adept at DIYing, and yet years ago I was the DIY contributor to Redbook. I had totally forgotten about it when Ryann found the above photo and we realized that most of these projects are actually still smart and good. PLUS now that it is years later I can tell you what I really think about them and give any tips and BTS insight that I couldn’t do for the magazine article.

First up, that DIY Entry Shoe Organizer (above). Now when we made this 7 years ago, there were no readymade shoe racks and now there are (I would likely just buy this in white). Sure, ours is prettier and more simple, but the wood we used was really slim and getting it to stay together with nails and glue was a challenge. It needs to be narrow so it holds the shoes, but not so narrow that you can only get ballet flats in there.

Also, DO NOT choose white painted wood, it got scuffed immediately (as did the walls, actually). It could be lacquer, but if you are going to DIY this, make sure that you use pretty sealed (matte) wood and make it slightly more special. Otherwise, just buy it. I also think that coat hooks like this could work for shoes and would look kinda cool. Here are some others on the market that I am pretty into:

Emily Henderson Stylish Organizing DIYs10

1. Wall Mounted Shoes Organizer | 2. Esdella Shoes Rack | 3. Spine Wall Shelves | 4. Eden & Co. Rack | 5. Esdella Shoes Rack Organizer | 6. Step Up Large Shoe Shelf

How To Turn A Dresser Into A Kitchen Island 

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This one cracked us up. We loved the idea of it, but all the bells and whistles cost like $300, which was hilarious for a ‘DIY kitchen cart’. So here’s the deal – IF you already have a dresser and you NEED a kitchen cart, this DIY is full of so many great ideas. But do not go out and buy that Ikea dresser and pimp it out like this (just buy a cute kitchen cart). The leather, those castors, the brass towel holder – it all added up and it definitely felt like ‘polishing a turd’ situation – putting so much money into a piece of furniture that can’t really handle too much wear and tear. Now if this were a vintage dresser, solid wood, then sure invest in making it look really pretty and unique, just don’t go buying this and invest too much money into it when there are good/already done kitchen carts out there. (BTW our job was to show ideas, rather than ‘you should do exactly this, but the magazine wanted things that could be sourced – aka that people could purchase if they wanted to’).

Updatedemily Henderson Org Bar Carts

1. Black Rolling Cart | 2. Metal, Wood and Leather Bar Cart | 3. Mid-Century Bar Cart

DIY Wooden Dowel Coat Rack

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This is cute and fun. I’d likely choose a different color palette now (or hell, just raw wood). It was dowels and rope, that’s it. It doesn’t have a large footprint for only holding 4 things and yes it can be easily knocked over. I actually bought this coat rack for the mountain house out of desperation because I needed it the next day and I really like it. No matter what coat rack you choose, it will be covered in garbage quickly if you actually use it, so keep that in mind. But for a cute project I’m still into that DIY we did.

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1. SONGMICS Coat Rack Stand | 2. Devon Coat Rack | 3. Porch and Den Suede Metal Coat Rack | 4. Topline Hat & Coat Rack | 5. Toby Coat Rack | 6. Levy Coat Rack

DIY Garment Rack

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Ok, this one was a stretch, but here goes. IF you have leftover ladders then this is clever and fun (and there are tons of ways to customize it). Or heck if you find a couple of vintage wood ladders at a thrift store then consider this. What I like about it rather than a store-bought is A. you are using what you already have’ and B. you can customize it a lot with paint colors and additional hooks. Plus, it’s unique. But it was a lot of work for a product that sure, you can buy readymade. Here are the ones that we love:

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1. Foldable Bamboo Clothes Rack | 2. Cameron Clothing Rack | 3. Single Rail Bamboo Garment Rack

DIY Jewelry Block 

Emily Henderson Jewelry Block Side By Side

These jewelry blocks went VIRAL you guys. It was the early days of Pinterest and people freaked out about them. I even had an Etsy designer reach out and ask if they could make them and sell them. Since I wasn’t selling them (I said ‘yah go for it’ because I’m the worst business person ever). They are totally cute, but this year I needed a necklace organizer but didn’t want to make one and I bought this one off Etsy and love it. Here are a few more that are similar and affordable:

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1. Y&Me Jewelry Organizer | 2. Wood Earring Display | 3. Stained Glass Mirror Jewelry Hanging Organizer | 4. Modern Home Jewelry Organizer | 5. Wall-Mounted Accessory Holder | 6. Graham Jewelry Organizer

DIY Office Wall Pockets

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Those wall pockets are actually really cute if you want to be able to really customize colors and words. We used alphabet stickers and tape and just spray painted them, then peeled off the wall pockets. You could do stripes or any other pattern, too.

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1. Pocket Wall Organizer | 2. Leather Hanging File Organizer | 3. Gold Wire Adjustable Wall Organizer | 4. Wall Mount File Holder | 5. Slate Blue Wall Pocket | 6. Brown Faux Leather Grayson File Holder

As I’ve said before, a part of “my new year, old me” mantra is to do more DIY’s because I forgot how much fun I had doing these. Are there any DIYs you are curious about that you want us to try? Do you guys remember any of these/have you tried them? If so I would love to see photos 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend and do let us know if you plan on trying any of these. xx

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4 years ago

Great article!!! I loved all the DIY ones!!!

4 years ago

This was FUN to see these projects put together like this Emily!
Does the coat rack from Amazon really work?! Seems kinda wonky. :))

4 years ago
Reply to  Jill

It’s totally fine. if you put too much on it it will topple over, but thats just physics. Its hard for me to spend real money on something that when its actually used you don’t really see it (we only have it out for winter by the back door when our winter coats pile all over the floor and It drives me nuts. So yes, for $24 I’m totally happy with it (and there are lower hooks for the kids coats, so its not just 4 at the top).

4 years ago

That jewelry holder! I DIYed that in our last place. When we sold the condo, the buyer specifically wrote into the offer that she wanted it to stay in the house. Haha! Sold!

4 years ago

Love these DIY’s!

4 years ago

What happened to your twice daily posts? ?

4 years ago
Reply to  Kate

I have been wondering the same thing.

4 years ago
Reply to  Bethany

I agree! And it’s something I wrote about in the reader survey that was circulated – you can’t make a big song and dance about twice daily posts and then only let it run for four weeks (and even then in those four weeks it wasn’t every day that there were two posts). It’s disingenuous.

4 years ago
Reply to  Chelsea

In the comments on 1/8/20 Emily had this to say about twice daily posts:
“Hey guys! we plan on picking them up as soon as the sites redesign is finished. currently the blog posts are getting buried too fast because we only have room for 5 posts on our blog roll page before you have to press ‘older’. so a lot of people are actually not seeing the posts because they disappear too fast. so as soon as it gets redesigned (six week, dear god its been a year and a half) we’ll publish them again. xx”

4 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Perhaps a DIY on how to share productive comments in this section. Or, a DIY for how to share DIY content ideas. Or, how to get outside in the winter to avoid counting daily blog posts. Love the entire emily henderson crew.

4 years ago
Reply to  Gina

“counting daily blog posts” so true! It couldn’t be clearer that the EH team works so hard to get these posts out and then the staff shrunk by half. Read and support another blog in the afternoon so EH doesn’t have to carry the weight of all bloggers on her shoulders. Speaking of…. any tips on other good blogs? 🙂

4 years ago
Reply to  erin

I agree that the team works super hard, but if there isn’t enough content to support two posts a day, that’s fine! Just don’t make it a big announcement and then not follow through. Not asking EH and the team to “carry to weight of all bloggers on her shoulders”, merely asking them to be honest and clear about what they promise. Holding people to account, particularly when they earn money from our page views, is not rude or unproductive. *my two cents*

4 years ago
Reply to  Chelsea

Chelsea, I agree with you 100 percent. I don’t think offering critique or asking questions is rude or means we don’t appreciate the EHD crew. But I do find it frustrating when the team makes a big announcement about a change to its model and then… just doesn’t follow through. Blog three times a day or once a week — I don’t care! But you should do what you say you’re going to do or offer an explanation on why you’re making a change. And it should be a public explanation, not buried in comments. Just my two cents — which the EHD team is always asking for via reader surveys, by the way.

4 years ago

I made the jewelry blocks! I used just a standard saw-tooth hanger on back, hung on one and they ended up being scales that had to be precisely balanced each time. I didn’t care enough to fix them, and they got tossed in my last move.

Roberta Davis
4 years ago

Love the jewelry organize ideas! Thanks! So many nice product options out there these days.

4 years ago

I also love DIY projects and would like to see more of it!

4 years ago

Thank you! Was literally searching for decent looking wall and shoe organizers today. Still searching for a shoe bench unicorn that fits our small vintage Tudor, accommodates shoes for 4 people too lazy to take shoes to their room, and isn’t ugly.

4 years ago

Love these ideas! Any DIY/cheap tricks for storing baseball hats?

4 years ago

HA! I actually made my husband make me two of those wall mount shoe holders years ago. We don’t wear shoes in the house and at the time we had a really slim entry. We left them raw wood and ended up using them in multiple homes. I still have them in the garage and was just going to pull them out again to mount in our mudroom for my little guys’ rain boots. They held up great and we had no issues with them!

4 years ago

The mass-produced options you recommend are definitely lovely, but to me they don’t feel like they have as much soul as the DIY originals. (My family has never been in a position to throw gobs of money into our home, so vintage, thrifting, and DIY are the rule of the day around here.) This post reminded me of OG EHD, and I’ve missed that! It’s nice to see projects that don’t take themselves quite to seriously. I love a perfectly-curated space, but a little weird is much more fun!

4 years ago

I actually like the ladder/garment rack! It seems everybody has one of those old wooden ladders kicking around that are too scary to actually stand on, but are too good to just trash. And if you don’t have one, bet your grandpa does!

4 years ago

Love organizational idea posts! Would love to see more! Especially more ideas for home offices! 🙂

4 years ago

Really love the coat rack idea! More DIYs please!

4 years ago

Loved this blast from the past along with your current thoughts!

4 years ago

Ooo, i’d be interested in any tips you have for building out a reach-in closet with drawers, shelves & hanging space! All the ready-made ones even around $300 seem to be garbage from the reviews and all the custom ones are waaaay more expensive than that, as evidenced by your California Closets post a few years ago

4 years ago

Love your DIY’s Emily! I’m one of the readers that messaged you this week on instagram because I’ve been here for the long haul. I saw this DIY 6 years ago: and had to make a table immediately. I made that copper pipe base but with a wood top for drinks as a side table near a chair. I still have it and personally love it 🙂

Joanna Goddard
4 years ago

I love this, I need to be better at throwing away old products. I use takeaway plastic food containers that I already have to organize my drawers, they work perfectly. Every January I do the annual sock cull. I try on all my pairs of socks and any that are looking tired/threadbare/have holes go and are replaced with nice new ones. Mats Corner

4 years ago

I made those office wall pockets! You can get cheeky with the words you choose (which I did), and I used all white paint, which worked great. Several years later they’re still going strong.

4 years ago

“Polishing the Turd” YOU CRACK ME UP!!!