Office Storage

The back bedroom has become, for the time being, my home office. Both Noel and I work from home the majority of the time, even without a quarantine, and having a place where I can go and shut the door to get work done is pretty nice. Over the last couple months we've been working to get my space functional, and one part of that was getting some cabinets.

Initially I put together a design and sent it out to bid to a couple cabinet people I know, including the guy who did our library cabinets. The prices were very reasonable for what I was asking for, but as folks told me, perhaps this was not the place to go for custom cabinets, since my needs were pretty simple.

So I ordered cabinets from IKEA, which as it happens was 1/5 the price (which obviously does not include installation; the custom cabinet makers all included installation).

I placed the order in mid-April, and the earliest I could get them delivered (pickup was not available) was May 26. So in the meantime I sorted everything I had into a series of cardboard boxes stacked around the room that each contained the contents of one drawer.

IKEA delivery

Finally, on a really hot day (it was 90F!), the delivery company showed up and dropped these boxes off.

Elevator comes in handy

It is pretty nice to be able to just load stuff into the elevator to carry it upstairs, instead of having to haul everything up the stairs.

We started with the wall cabinets. I had to move everything from the bookcases on the wall where this stuff was going, so while Noel assembled the wall boxes I moved all the books and stuff into stacks on the hall floor, then we moved the bookcases into our bedroom. Because, you know, it's not a project around here unless it involves moving stuff from room to room.

Installing the hanging bracket

The cabinets hang off a metal brace that is tied into the wall. This is true for the upper cabinets and the lower, though the lower cabinets also have feet. We installed the upper cabinets first because a) all my books were all over the hall floor getting in the way, and b) it's easier to install the upper cabinets without the lower ones in the way.

Wall cabinets in place

The cabinets came with doors but I want to use them as open bookshelves, so assembly was fast and easy.

Day Two

I spent some time the next afternoon putting all my books on the shelves.

Wall cabinets filled

I've been working, over the last few years, on reducing the stuff in my office and studio space, and part of that is getting rid of books. In particular I am sending on primers and intro books in areas where I no longer need such basic instruction, especially if it's a book I know I will never need to refer back to. I did one big pass through these books when we unpacked after moving back, and this time I did another pass. That was a pretty productive couple of hours.

Base cabinet boxes in place

There were only three base cabinets, but the construction was a little more fussy. I mostly assembled them while Noel put in the wall brace. For reasons I don't fully understand I suck at nailing things so Noel nailed the backs on for me.

Day Three

This was the day of the assembly line. I made a couple drawers and then decided the most painful part of the process was taking everything out of the packaging (at this point we both had multiple paper cuts from the cardboard), so I started just unpacking things first. We've learned from years of putting together IKEA furniture that you can batch the work and make a small assembly line and it goes faster, so I started by screwing the attachments onto the drawer fronts while Noel installed the drawer guides into the cabinets, then we made quick work of snapping the drawers together.

Drawers and pulls installed, plus the countertop

The cabinets we got are the normal Sektion cabinets, with Maximera full-extension, soft close drawers (full extension drawers are 100 percent worth the cost of the upgrade, because you can use the whole drawer). The door style is Häggeby white, which is just a glossy slab (not super high gloss, but not satin). The pulls a Billsbro, a pretty simple tab pull.

In different times, the cool thing about IKEA cabinets is that you don't need to buy any parts that are packaged separately. In these times, I was unable to order the upper cabinets without doors, so I have a stack of doors and hinges in the hall until I figure out what to do with them (or change my mind and install them on the upper cabinets).

I then spent a couple hours transferring all the stuff in those boxes into the drawers, making a ton of space in the office (which had been there until I put cardboard boxes everywhere). I'm now in a stage of life where too much stuff is keeping me from being able to do the things I like doing, so an ongoing project is: does it fit into the storage space we have? No? Goodbye.

posted by ayse on 05/29/20

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