Although clutter in your home may seem like an insignificant problem, it can actually have a negative impact on everything from your personal productivity to family relationships.

When dirty dishes pile up, clothes gather on the floor, and toys are scattered everywhere, it often creates a feeling of discouragement that can seep into every aspect of your life.

While most people view clutter as an annoyance or an eyesore, studies have shown that it can contribute to stress, feelings of guilt, and even depression. Books have been written on the topic and well-known websites have devoted countless pages to the connection between stress and clutter.

In addition to feeling embarrassed when guests drop over unexpectedly, household clutter makes it difficult to find important things, like car keys, homework assignments, or cell phones. A disorganized, messy home can also lead to bills being paid late, which can bring with it a whole separate set of problems, such as late payment fees, collection letters, and credit rating issues. For people planning on applying for a mortgage in the near future, a damaged credit score could adversely affect interest rates, loan terms, or even their chances of obtaining a mortgage.

Fortunately, there are ways to turn the tide on your battle with household clutter. The first step, of course, is to recognize that you have a problem. The second step is to begin writing a plan or set of goals for taking charge of the clutter. The third step is to begin taking action and to set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day for organizing your home and putting clutter in its place!

If you’re considering putting your home on the market in the near future, you may need to bump up that time allotment! Cluttered closets, storage areas, and countertops are sure to send the wrong message to prospective home buyers. Living areas that contain too much furniture, stacks of magazines, or piles of unsorted mail will convey an unwanted image of chaos, messiness, and disarray. Clutter can also have the effect of making rooms look smaller and less appealing.

In addition to establishing new and better habits for keeping your home organized and looking its best, it’s also important to enlist the cooperation of your family. When everyone does their part to keep your home looking presentable and well maintained, fewer things will get misplaced, moods will be lifted, and you’ll no longer feel embarrassed when company drops by!

The best time to begin attacking the problem is now. If the project seems overwhelming, the solution is to start small, but stick with it on a daily basis. As the famous quote says, “The race does not always go to the swift, but to those who keep on running.”

Photo by SuperJHS via Pixabay

In the modern home, nothing combines practicality and style like a cubby bookshelf. Children can keep books or toys organized. They set the perfect backdrop for a display of photos, figurines, delicate dishes or other collectibles.

And if you size them right, just add some baskets to turn some of your shelves into drawers. Here’s how to create a cubby bookshelf from scratch.

Plan your Shelves

There’s no reason to recreate the wheel. You can find precise diagrams online that help you understand what you’re going for. You can then adapt these plans to fit your space. 

For our guide, we’ll create nine same size cubes each one x one x one foot. But if your skill is more advanced, you might choose the alternate larger and smaller cubbies both to fit different types of items and because it adds visual appeal.

Gather Supplies

You’ll need:

  • A-1 red oak plywood (One 3/4" 4′ X 8′) – This product is more expensive. But it’s high-quality. It comes in many hardwood shades. You may need to go to a lumber yard to find A-1 red oak plywood, but it’s worth it. Alternatively, you can use 3/4 pine and treat it.
  • 1/4" plywood for the back
  • Banding veneers (around 25 ft) 
  • Clamps
  • Pocket hole screws
  • Wood plugs that match
  • Wood glue
  • Tung oil
  • Drill
  • Table saw – a manual saw could work. But you’ll need a lot of elbows grease to accomplish it. *Pro tip* Check around with friends to see if you can borrow before buying a table saw for this one project.
  • Eye/Ear protection when using power tools

Measure & Cut your A-1 Plywood 

Measure and mark lightly with a pencil. This mark is on the cut line, so it shouldn’t be seen on the finished product. You need:

  • A top 1’X3′
  • A bottom 1’X3′
  • Two sides 1’X 2’10.5"
  • Three shelves 1’X 2′ 10.5. Note that each shelf and the top need two dadoes (grooves) where you’ll slide in the dividers
  • Six dividers 1′ X varies. This depends on the depth of your grooves

Coat each piece with two to three coats of tung oil for extra luster. And let it dry completely, eight hours between coats.

Piece the Shelf Together

Take your time. Glue and clamp one side at a time minus the dividers. Get some help if needed. It can be tricky. Let the glue dry before drilling and inserting screws for more permanent stabilization.

Now the dividers should slide right in. Use wood plugs to cover up your hardware.

Add Finishing Touches

Attaching band veneers on cut edges gives the shelf a professional, finished look that many DIY projects lack. Generally, you’ll simply iron these on carefully. Add the back and secure your shelf to studs. Cubby bookshelves will look like a jungle gym to some children, so take this precaution if children ever visit.

And that’s how to create a cubby bookshelf. For more fun and DIY-friendly home projects, follow our blog.

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