Teen bedroom organization solutions

Was it really 3 weeks ago that I started my 4-day teen bedroom makeover challenge?

Yes, it was–which means I’m at least 2 weeks late with this post that should probably be titled “New Ways to Use a Crap-ton of Old Ikea Products in a Teen Bedroom,” but I think I got so worn out from my self-imposed challenge that I just couldn’t bring myself to relive it until now. :-)

In our last post I shared essential questions to answer before starting a teen bedroom organization project, much of which was philosophical. Today, it’s all practical:  Actual solutions to the question of how and where to store teen-age girl stuff. So let’s get to it!

Teen bedroom organization tips

1. Raid the pantry

First up is probably my hands-down favorite find in this project: Ikea’s Bygel rail and S-hooks. (Who says you can’t use kitchen storage in a bedroom?)

Rail and hooks for teen bedroom storage This (sorta) Old Life

Before I fell for these I was smitten with another kitchen product, the green Fintorp condiment stand. I didn’t want it for condiments, but for hair-care products and lotion bottles and such. At $16.99, it was more than I’d normally spend for something like this. But that minty fresh cuteness!

Use Ikea's Fintorp for storing toiletries  This (sorta) Old Life.jpg

I balked at the price of the other seemingly-necessary items:  A Fintorp rail ($8.99) and hooks ($2.99 for 2) to hang the condiment stand from. That brought the total price of a little bucket to store lotion and hairspray to nearly $30.00.

Um, no.

Then I discovered the holy grail of rails: The Bygel rail ($2.99) and the Bygel S-hooks ($.99 for a pack of 10. TEN.)

$21.00 was still a splurge for such an item, but one I could live with (and I’d have 8 more hooks). My only regret was that at $3.20, I couldn’t find more things to hang from that rail/s-hook combo. I did use it to hang an earring holder Grace already had:

Ikea's Bygel rail and hooks for jewelry storage

And here’s my big think-outside-the-box rail tip:  Rails can also be hung from the bottom of shelves, as well as on walls:

Ikea's Bygel rail and hooks for jewelry storage.jpg I know. The world just cracked open a little bit, didn’t it? 😉

My other favorite versatile bargain hanging item (not from Ikea, btw):  A box of cup hooks. I used these to hang a painting from the inside of a window sill, dream-catchers from the ceiling, and a collection of award ribbons from the ceiling.

Teen bedroom organization tips This (sorta) Old Life At $3.50 for a box of 40, these were well worth the price.

2. Trofast for toiletries

Although I get ready for the day in my bathroom, both our teen girls prefer to put their game faces on in their bedrooms. That means lots of little bottles and tubes and bobby pins and whatnot.

Ikea’s Trofast storage system is part of their children’s line, but as a recent Apartment Therapy article pointed out, it can be hacked all kinds of ways to meet big people needs, too. I didn’t do any fancy-schmancy alterations because it works just fine as-is to contain all kinds of  little toiletries in one space.

This (sorta) Old Life Teen bedroom storage solutions

Here’s the Trofast hanging out next to the Fintorp. And no, this post is not sponsored by Ikea.

My daughter is a revealer (big thanks to reader HeatherL, who shared the revealer/concealer paradigm in her comment to our last post). That means she likes to have things out where she can see them.

The beauty of the Trofast solution is that she can easily pull those tubs out when she wants to use their contents and have them on the counter where she can see them. When she’s done, she can shove them back into the wall unit. The best of both worlds.

This (sorta) Old Life  Teen bedroom storage solutions.jpg

And here’s the Trofast with some of those bargain S-hooks hanging from it.

And while we’re on the subject of Ikea hacks (OK, I know I wasn’t really, but I just have to share this), look at what this person did with those Trofast tubs!

trofast studiohttp://www.ikeahackers.net/2013/06/my-trofast-studio.html

Definitely thinking outside the Trofast box. Via http://www.ikeahackers.net/2013/06/my-trofast-studio.html

3. No-closet? No problem!

As mentioned in previous project posts, one big drawback to this room is that there’s no closet. Searching for “no closet solutions” on Pinterest and in Google images took me to some beautiful, creative bedrooms. Like this one:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Teen bedroom storage solutions

This image (from Live Simply by Annie) comes from a post full of possible solutions for a bedroom with no closet. (She found this one on Decor8, which originally comes from the home of the creator of Design Shimmer.) Although Annie shared lots of great ideas, none of them were going to work for me.

My teen liked her “system” just fine.

This (sorta) Old Life:  Teen bedroom makeover

While I favored scrapping this arrangement entirely, preferably for something that could be hidden behind doors, she wanted to keep her dresser and the hanging shoe rack that she uses to store T’s, tanks, and other small items that don’t need ironing. (Remember:  Revealer.)

Given my bottom line for this project, I decided the most important thing is space to store all of her stuff so that the floor wouldn’t be her solution for overflow. Although many of the no-closet images I found were lovely, most don’t have enough storage space–at least not for my girl. So this is the compromise I came up with:

This (sorta) Old Life-teen bedroom organization-no closet closet

And yes, those are new knobs on the dresser. We bought them over a year ago, and I found them when I emptied the room.

It ain’t too pretty, but it’s way more functional. I used Rubbermaid’s Homefree closet system (which I found at Lowe’s). Why do I love it? It was simple, I could install it myself (which means:  anyone can), and it didn’t require any side walls to mount rods or shelves against. It’s all rails and brackets (much like the groovy 70s storage we have in our family room).


A big benefit of this system: I had 5 feet to work with, and I was able to customize the pieces to fit it. I learned that 4 feet and 6 feet are the standard widths for closet-system components.

There are quite a few accessories and drawers and such that you can add to this system, but all I used were shelves, a hanger rod, and this belt hanging accessory, which is great and well worth a little splurge:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Teen bedroom organization solutions-belt rack

I’m glad Grace insisted that I not change her closet too much. I was able to increase the length of the  hanger rod, so there is more hanging storage than she had before. This solution was much less expensive than anything else I considered, and it meant we used a big item that we already had. (And if you’re wondering what I did with shoes, read on!)

4. and 5. Shoe locker/Flip-flop organizer

Shoes. They are the bane of bedroom organization if you ask me. The pretty closets in most catalogs and magazines never hold as many shoes as anyone I know actually owns. (Unless the “closet” is a whole dang room, which is never going to be a solution I can–or want to–employ.)

Originally, I thought I’d go with something like this in the space under the desk:

cookie loves milk shoe rack

Via http://cookielovesmilk.wordpress.com/tag/shoe-rack/

But when I priced out the cost of large PVC pipe, this was not the bargain I thought it’d be. On the day I went out to do my supply shopping for this room makeover, I still didn’t know what I was going to do for shoe storage. I just knew I had to get them out of the “closet.” (She’d been tucking them under the dresser.) I hoped I would see something awesome and easy. Luckily, I did!


I cannot get a decent pic of this locker in her bedroom, so I stole this one from Ikea. Considering all the free advertising I’m giving them in this post, I consider this fair use!

It’s pretty much impossible for me to get out of Ikea without cruising through the As-Is room, and that’s where I found a PS storage locker.

At 30% off this still wasn’t a super-steal, but it was less expensive than the PVC pipe would have been, and cuter, too. Inside, though, is a storage solution that’s all my very own and that I like even more because it makes me feel kinda clever.

If shoes are the bane of bedroom organization, flip flops are the bane of shoe organization. I corralled them with a plastic file folder thingy from an office supply store.

This (sorta) Old Life-teen bedroom organization

I just love solutions that are cheap and easy.

I’m not quite sure where this idea came from. In my research phase I did Pin this image–

flip flop holders

Via The Sustainable-ish Life, where this is just one of several clever ideas of new uses for old magazine files.

–which I really liked as a solution for flip-flop storage, but I didn’t have any old files and the price of new ones made this too pricey for me.

6. Brag shelf

Ikea to the rescue again–this time the Ribba picture ledge.

This (sorta) Old Life-teen bedroom organization-award shelf

I hung it over the bedroom door to store plaques and ribbons she’s won for various activities. At first Grace objected to this because it seemed too braggy, but she decided that it’s OK because over-the-door is an out-of-the-way place.

Using the cup  hooks mentioned above, I hung ribbons and medals above the shelf for one, unified display.

Teen bedroom organization solutions from This sorta Old Life.jpg

7. Library book holder

I like to think of the overdue fines I pay at the library as a charitable contribution, or, perhaps, a rental fee. Hoping my daughter will not follow these particular footsteps of mine, I decided that it would be great if my voracious reader had a dedicated space in her room for library books. I turned to yet another Ikea product (surprise!), but this time with an item that we already owned from years ago.

This (sorta) Old Life-teen bedroom organization-book storage

These magazine racks are discontinued, but I’m sure their current magazine racks could be used in the same way. What I like about this method for storing library books is that it keeps them out, visible, and separate from her other books, increasing the odds that they’ll get returned on time.

She likes that it will hold only a limited number of books, which are her biggest indulgence. If she has more than this set-up holds, it’s too likely that she’ll get sucked into a reading marathon and forgo sleep.

8. Corralling cords

Ah, hair appliances. I looked at all kinds of solutions for hair appliance storage. In the end, I went with something super-simple. Teen bedroom organization solutions from This sorta Old Life.jpg

Unlike most bathroom counters, the desktop in her room has holes drilled into it so that cords can go through it. (It was used as an office, not a bedroom.) I wanted something that could hold/organize the hair appliances and allow them to be plugged in.

I found this basket with grommets cut into the sides (Bed Bath & Beyond), which seemed like a perfect thing to gather all the cords. I tossed the appliances in the basket, threaded the cords through the grommet and then through the hole in the desk, and called it good.

9. I love big bins and I cannot lie

My teen has things that don’t need to be stored in the “closet,” but that she still wants to have accessible. My (concealer) solution? A set of matching bins:

This (sorta) Old Life Teen bedroom storage solutions

From–you guessed it–Ikea!

Revealer that she is, Grace wasn’t thrilled with this. She quickly found a way to make it work for her:

This (sorta) Old Life-teen bedroom organization

I’m just glad that the bins are being used, and they mean that it will be easier to clean those shelves off quickly for an occasional dusting.

10. Magnetic art display

Sick of the Ikea products yet? I’ve got one more:  This magnetic bulletin board.

This (sorta) Old Life:  teen bedroom organization-magnetic art display

You could use this as a traditional bulletin board, but I really love this as a way to display art. Going through Grace’s things, I found these three prints she’d long been meaning to frame and hang up. For less than the cost of 3 frames, I was able to display them here, and I saved myself the time of having to put the prints in frames. When she gets tired of these, it will be easy to swap them out for something else without worrying about making whatever it is fit into frames.

The final Ta-da!

If you’ve looked at the images in this post carefully, you’ve probably realized that they weren’t all taken on the same day and that some things have changed since I finished the project.

This (sorta) Old Life-teen bedroom organization

I originally put this cabinet under the desk. Grace moved it here and put a mirror on top of it to enclose the space under the loft bed and make it cozier.

Truth be told, my daughter didn’t love everything I did. We had a touchy day or two, but since she’s had time to “graceify it,” she seems to be pretty happy with her room.

This (sorta) Old Life-teen bedroom organization

Nope, the Fintorp bucket isn’t hanging. I’ll live.

BUT–even though I am a concealer and like clean, uncluttered spaces–I have to say that I like her room better now that it’s more her.  My girl is colorful and energetic and overflowing with energy. Just like her room is.

This (sorta) Old Life: Teen bedroom storage solutions-scarves

I know this room doesn’t look like the teen bedrooms you see in magazines or catalogs or even most blogs. But I’ve come to like it because it’s functional, it reflects the person who lives in it, and it’s real.

This (sorta) Old Life-teen bedroom organization

Can’t tell you how much I love this big “G” she made in elementary school, filled with words that expressed what she was and wanted to be.

And–oh, yeah!–it’s clean.

This (sorta) Old Life-teen bedroom organization

This wasn’t an easy project. Because I was in a hurry, it was more of a BIY than DIY endeavor, and I wasn’t able to wait for awesome thrifty finds to cross my path. Both things were hard for me. Still, in spite of those process issues and the fact that my hard work didn’t result in a picture-perfect room, it’s one of the most satisfying I’ve done in awhile.

I learned a lot about my daughter and how to be a better mom–and that means more to me than a pretty room ever could.

This (sorta) Old Life-teen bedroom organization

I think the stuffed puppies approve.

 Your turn!

If you’ve got any other great ideas for bedroom storage, please leave a comment. (Links to your own projects are welcome!) Or, if you’d just like to chime in with your own 2 cents about any of this, you know I love to hear your thoughts.

Hope you’re all having a great summer. We’ve been having a leisurely one, which is the main reason we’ve been posting so sporadically. It’s nice to have that be the reason for slow posting, especially after the spring we had.

Although we haven’t done much on the house (other than this project and a floor replacement project in Ella’s room), we did stumble across a great find recently that’s spurring us to make some finishing touches to our family room.

This (sorta) Old Life:  wool rug

Hope to share that story soon! 

If you’d like to see this project from the beginning, all links are here:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Questions to ask before beginning