Sunday, February 1, 2015


In Part 1, I described a clothing storage and organization solution constructed out of PVC sewer pipe.  In this post, I describe how I repurposed a portion of a nylon mesh shoe organizer from Container Store to help organize dry goods in our Interstate's overhead galley cabinet.
This is the shoe bag of which I speak.  The pockets were the right dimensions for dry goods storage in a confined space.  I had to wait more than a month to receive it because it was backordered.  It's a good shoe bag and apparently a lot of folks want them.  
And this was the cabinet that I needed to retrofit.  It is located directly above the stove and sink, and is 31 inches wide.  
Close-up of the cabinet, showing its 45-degree rear wall.  Owners of older Interstates and many Airstream trailers have this kind of a slant wall in the back of their upper cabinets.  Newer Interstates have a more squared-off back wall, meaning that the cabinet can accept conventional storage containers such as boxes and baskets.  Triangular cabinets cannot fit such conventional storage containers, and so we need to devise other solutions.  
Instead of fighting the limitations imposed by that 45-degree wall, I wanted to devise a storage system that would work with it.  Repurposing a shoe bag seemed the way to go, as it would create a series of handy pockets into which objects could be inserted, thus taking advantage of the slanted space.

The fabrication sequence for this project is described in the photos to follow.
The nylon shoe bag was four pockets across or 19 inches wide, whereas the cabinet was 31 inches wide.  That meant that a six pocket array would fit best in the space.  
I cut the top row of pockets off the organizer, then cut two more pockets off the bottom row, so that I could attach them side by side in a continuous horizontal array.  I left the largest possible amount of nylon fabric on the top portion as that would need to be turned into a rod sleeve.  Normally when sewing, you'd run your pins perpendicular to the intended seam.  This nylon mesh was too stiff for that, however, so here you see them parallel.   
Notice how I oriented the pins back-end pointing to myself so that I'd be able to pull them out while sewing.  
For the top edge of the shoe pocket array, I used an ordinary adjustable shelf mounting track available at any big-box hardware store.  And I used a hack saw to cut it down to the correct size.  
The idea is to sew a receiving pocket in the top edge of the shoe pocket array, much the same way as you'd sew a pocket in the top of a drapery panel to receive the hanging rod.   
View from farther out, pre-pocket sewing.  You get the idea.  
Close up of the finished pocket.  The piece of shelf track just slides in.  
So that was the fabrication above - now for the installation instructions.
In order to have better access to the work area, I temporarily removed the front facing from the cabinet.  It unscrews on the back.  
I used small screws to first secure the top edge with its metal bracket, and that was straightforward because there were fewer obstructions to the work area.  Getting pilot holes started on the lower edge was a bit of a pain however, because there wasn't much clearance.  I used a variety of pointy objects to create a small hole for the drill bit to grab onto, then drilled pilot holes for the screws.  

And then I also pre-screwed the screws before inserting them through the nylon fabric.  I oped to use a fairly large number of small screws for this project.  That 45 degree panel on the back of this cabinet is very thin plywood, so I did not want a lot of weight hanging from just a few screws.  Furthermore, I know there are utilities running behind that little bulkhead.  I didn't want screw tips to protrude far into the space.  The screws I used were very short, perhaps half an inch.  
The final result, unstuffed (tap to expand the photo).  You can see that the bottom edge is tacked at each seam confluence using the tiny screws.
Final result with goodies inserted.  
I now have a stratified, organized cabinet whereas previously I had a heap of unsortable mess with all of this stuff mixed together at the bottom of the cabinet.
Summary graphic. 
I declare this project a success.  It only took a couple of hours to complete.  And for the twenty bucks I spent on the shoe organizer, I still have eighteen shoe pockets left to repurpose somewhere else.

No comments:

Post a Comment