Dear James: I really need to organize my bedroom. I have noticed how organized my friend’s room is. Do you have any suggestions for some easy-to-install shelves that won’t take up my already limited floor space? — Theresa H.
Dear Theresa: There comes a time when people need to get rid of stuff cluttering their lives. There also is a time when all they really need is to organize that stuff cluttering their lives. Thankfully for you, this situation seems to be the latter.
Since you are not ready for a garage sale and want to install some shelves, you have many options from which to choose. There are many styles of shelving that are simple and easily installed by an inexperienced do-it-yourselfer.
The easiest type of shelving to install is the standard and bracket shelving. For this shelf, the brackets fit into U-shaped, slotted metal strips, called standards. Some standards even come with numbered slots to make your assembly job easier.
Many hardware stores sell precut boards specifically designed for shelving. These are more expensive than buying the wood and cutting the pieces yourself, but they can save a lot of time.
The best kind of shelving board to purchase is a one made of laminated materials. These are great because paint, oil or even spilled hair gel won’t attack the finish. Even so, it is wise to clean off any standing liquids.
Once you have selected your shelving boards, you need to choose the standards and brackets. Both of these come in many finishes and can be purchased to hold shelves from 4 to 24 inches wide. Brass finishes are the most popular.
To install your new shelves, determine the height above the floor for the bottoms of all the standards. You must make sure to attach the standards to a wall stud so they can hold heavy items without tearing your wall apart.
To find the studs, which are usually 16 inches on center, use a battery-powered stud finder. Use a level to make sure the standards are straight. This is a very important part of the installation because, if you do not do this correctly, or not at all, items will roll or vibrate off onto the floor. Next secure the standard to the wall with screws.
Place one end of the level on top of the secured standard and mark the position for the next standard directly over a wall stud. Again secure the standard to the wall using screws. After you have properly attached the standards to the wall, hook the brackets in place at the desired height.
This is where the numbered brackets come in handy and makes positioning them easy. Using a hammer handle or rubber mallet, tap the brackets down so they fit securely into the slots you. This is another important step in installing your shelves because if you don’t securely fasten the brackets, your shelves may be wobbly.
The final step is to lay the shelf across the brackets and put up your books, CDs and hair care products wherever you think they look best. Now they will hopefully stop cluttering your bedroom and your life.
Send your questions to Here’s How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.