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January 14th, 2012

Another Elfa Closet Done

WorkshopClosetElfaSetup500Wide.jpg

The rehab of our lower level continues apace. The tile guys finished up today, replacing the tile around the tub and some floor tile that was damaged by the mudjacking last month. The grout has to cure for another week and the toilet has to be re-set, but the tub no longer leaks. Shortly we will have a guest bathroom again.

The painters begin their work on Monday. We haven't ordered the new carpeting yet, so the carpeting won't be replaced for probably another three weeks. In the meantime, there are plenty of odd jobs to be done down there, and yesterday I dove in on one of them: my workshop closet. I've been planning an Elfa buildout in that closet for literally years, but it hadn't bubbled to the top of the stack until recently. To replace the crappy shelves I had in there with Elfa I first had to empty the closet completely, and there was nowhere to stack its contents until I was forced by the mudjacking to clear the eastern ten feet of my shop space. That in itself was an adventure in strength training; QST may be the only magazine in creation denser than National Geographic.

So last week I hauled hundreds of pounds of parts, tubes, sound boards, unfinished project lashups and much other junque out of the closet and stacked it in the newly empty space where those QSTs had been. And yesterday, level and cordless screwdriver in hand, I got the Elfa installed.

Elfa is a steel shelving system made in Sweden, built like a battleship and priced accordingly. As best I know it's an exclusive from The Container Store chain here in the US. It's based on a horizontal track mounted high (ideally in studs) from which vertical tracks are suspended. The vertical tracks are not fastened into the wall at all, so can slide side-to-side for fine adjustment. (Mine is biased four inches to the right.) There are several major styles (closet, kitchen, office, garage) and all kinds of interesting bits that click into the tracks. It's basically a Meccano set for shelving.

I've used it twice before, in our upstairs office closet, and across two thirds of the back wall of our garage. It takes a little practice to get good at it, but there's nothing especially subtle about the system. It was breathtaking to see just how much clutter we were able to scoop up off the garage floor and shovel onto the shelves.

Yesterday I filled an 88" wide closet with a six-foot shelf bank, leaving a little room on each side for specialty storage for things like brooms, vac wands, and mobile antennas, including a full set of Hustler RM-series loading elements. The Elfa system includes pull-out bins, one of which I bought to see how useful it might be. Having filled it with plastic scraps, I've decided that it's very useful, and on my next trip to Denver will get two more.

ElfaBin500Wide.jpg

I'm still switching shelves around and moving them up and down to get a sense for the spacing, and may put a couple more 2' shelves on the right side to make space for things more horizontal than vertical, like homebew lashups. That said, I've already re-shelved most of the stuff I'd pulled out of there last week, and still have almost twelve shelf-feet of completely empty space. As wins go, it was a biggie.

Highly recommended.

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