Introduction: Trash to Your Treasures Piece

This shelf was a rotted mess when I picked it up out of a pile of discarded household stuff. It was, truthfully, buried under four feet of household items that had been dumped into a garage by, from the looks of the pile, a skip loader. Anyway, I dug down through the pile all while walking carefully on top of it and ducking my head so as not to hit the garage rafters, and found this piece that appeared to be made from old, unfinished barn wood. The shelf and one of the sides were rotted and molding, but the upper slats and other side were still sturdy.

After taking it home and hosing it down, I removed the rotted pieces and replaced them with new wood. Several other areas needed to be dug out and filled with wood putty as well, then the whole thing sanded down from its rough barn wood texture to a smooth surface.

Then I cut the center back slat to hold the battery-operated clock, and built and attached a small brace to ensure sufficient support for its slight weight.

Next, I slathered three coats of white glossy paint on every single surface, and fastened the clock in place. I also added two small hooks to the bottom cross brace for hanging things like car keys and a jacket -- anything someone might want to have close to the door for quick drop off when coming home or quick retrieval on the way out the door. The shelf itself can hold photos, a purse or wallet, lunch box, and many other things.

Two heavy hanging fasteners were added last to the backside to ensure level hanging on the wall. The hanging height is up to the owner, but it can be hung low on the wall for a child and moved up as the child grows, or at an appropriate height for an adult. It is designed to fit small spaces, so it can work wherever space is limited, even in a dorm room or child's bedroom, or by the backdoor for the individual who wants to be able to make a quick exit without having to first hunt down the car keys or other daily necessities.

Although I changed an existing piece from trash to treasure, you can make your own from scratch. For the three upper back pieces and the one lower back piece you can use 1 x 1 pine or other wood as long as it is not too soft. Then 2 x 8 pine works well for the shelf, and two 2 x 6 x 18 pieces of pine for the sides. Use glue and screws to assemble the whole thing, and find any battery-operated clock you like to mount. The hooks on this piece came from a well-known, often love-hated chain store that carries everything. The clock came from a thrift store (one of my favorite places to browse). If you have that artistic touch, you can even get creative and paint a mural across the piece. I may just update mine with one that I have in mind, but it also can be decorated for Christmas or other holidays; just hang some tinsel and a couple of ornaments from it and you have the perfect Christmas shelf.

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