IKEA Expedit: Sneaking a Peek Inside

So many wonderful Before and Afters were shared for yesterday’s Met Monday!  I haven’t made my way through all of them yet, but I the ones I have visited were fabulous!

Yesterday I shared an update in the office…new buffalo check curtains.  Thanks so much for all your wonderful, much appreciated  comments on that post!  You made my day!

IKEA Expedit:

Today I thought I’d take you into the office closet and give you a peek into how I’m using the IKEA Expedit I WILLED into that closet a while back.  I say “willed” because I still can’t believe I actually got it in there!  I think Houdini would have been impressed.

You may remember the closet looked like this prior to its renovation.  Am I really showing you this picture???  Embarrassing!   Magazines and catalogs were on the floor along with, left over paint and painting equipment from when I painted the office.  Miscellaneous camera boxes, trash bags and printer paper were tossed onto the only shelf in this non-functioning, inefficient closet.  I so badly wanted to use an Expedit unit from IKEA in this space but the Expedit was pretty much the exact same size as the closet with only 3/4 of an inch to spare!

Organizing a Closet to Make For Better Storage


But I pulled a Samantha, wiggled my nose Bewitched style and made it work.

Ikea Expedit with Pjas Baskets In Closet


A few days later I drove back down to IKEA and purchased 4 more of the Pjas baskets.  I really liked how it looked with two rows of baskets.   The bottom shelf was reserved for holding all my past issues of Traditional Home Magazine.  I have them dating all the way back to 1992.  I love all those old issues and just can’t part with them.  Traditional Home and Colonial Homes are the two magazines I’ve kept the old issues from all these years.

Little story…many, many years ago I loaned a big stack (8-10) Traditional Home magazines to a friend who wanted to borrow them.  After about 4 or 5 months, I casually asked about them.  Showing zero regret, she told me her hubby had thrown them all out, thinking they were just a pile of old magazines.  I didn’t say anything and we remained friends.  It certainly wasn’t worth losing a friend over.  It took a while but I gradually replaced them as I found them on eBay.  Lesson learned…best not to loan out books or magazines you can’t easily replace if they become lost.  Or, get tossed out.

Pjas Baskets for Closet Ikea Expedit


Today, I thought I’d share how I’m using the Expedit.  It has already changed a bit just since I took these pics.  The top of the Expedit is low enough to make a convenient shelf for a shorty like me.  Residing on the top are the old office TV, a couple of camera bags, a globe from the days when the office was a kid’s room  and various other miscellaneous items.

IKEA Expedit: Great Storage Solution


The top row of cubbies holds magazines and catalogs waiting to be read, sorted and recycled.  The next cubbie often holds a camera lens I’ve recently used and haven’t yet put away.  Envelops were in the next cubbie when I took these pics…they are now in a basket below.  The last spot holds a leather portfolio I often take along to camera club or blogging meetings for note taking.  It’s leaning against a neat little greeting card storage box…more on that in a sec.

IKEA Expedit: Great Storage Solution


Have I mentioned how “fragrant” these Pjas baskets are?  Wooo, weee!  When the closet door is closed for a while and you open it, you definitely get a whiff of a super earthy, something-another smell.  It’s hard to describe.  Actually, the label that came on them said they are made from banana fibers.

I’ve been leaving the closet door open more and it’s much better now.  You probably wouldn’t notice it if the unit was in an open room, but cooped up in a small closet, banana fibers are strong!  lol  It’s not a bad smell, just different.  Fortunately, it’s getting better.

Okay, starting from the left side, the first basket just holds printer paper.  Looks like it’s time to buy more.  (The lens cap is there to give the camera something to focus on.  It was struggling with white paper.)

IKEA Expedit: Great Storage Solution


In the basket below the paper you’ll find supplies like trash bags, tissue, light bulbs, batteries and little chair feet pads.  This is exciting stuff now…are you dozing off?  Wake up! 😉

IKEA Expedit: Great Storage Solution


The next basket over on the top row holds all my camera lenses.  This has really worked out well because I can just grab the basket and carry it downstairs whenever I want to have all the lenses with me, wherever I happen to be working.

IKEA Expedit: Great Storage Solution


The basket below holds various camera/lens boxes.


Another basket contains a few crafting supplies.

IKEA Expedit: Great Storage Solution


One holds various left-over parts/instructions that came with the furniture and shelving here in the office and closet.  There’s some additional colored paper below it.

IKEA Expedit: Great Storage Solution


Another basket holds my old Olympus camera and other helpful “photography” related goodies.

IKEA Expedit: Great Storage Solution


And there’s an empty basket…just waiting for something. Actually, I put the large mailing envelopes that were previously in an open cubicle in here just a few days ago.

IKEA Expedit: Great Storage Solution


Remember the little greeting card holder we saw earlier on the top open cubby?

Greeting Card Storage


It’s by Hallmark and it’s a great way to store greeting cards you find/collect for family and friends.  Yep, snail mail…remember that?  Nothing can replace getting a card or letter in the mail. Email just doesn’t create the same excitement finding a pretty colored envelop inside your mailbox does.  I think I’ll send someone a card this week, just for fun.

Greeting Card Storage


So, that’s how I’m using the miracle Expedit.  Check out this post and you’ll know why I call it that!
IKEA Expedit Hack…Making It Work!

IKEA Expedit: Great Storage Solution


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  1. I have the 5 x 5 Expedit in my workspace and I love it. I have everything out on the shelves with just a few baskets. When we have a party I find people sitting in our spare room on the sofa looking at all the “stuff” on the shelves.

    I don’t know how you got it into a small space because it took 4 people to lift it after my husband put it together.

    Enjoy your organized space.

  2. Patrick and Iris says

    Totally love order…you may not know that when coming into my house but I always love when I get more containers or anything else that I can use to order and make things beautiful!

    Enjoying your blog!

  3. Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads says

    Your unit looks fabulous, Susan! Don’t you love it when you get all organized? I saw pics of you over at Rhoda’s house. Looks like y’all had a good time while you got the job done. I keep all of my Traditional Home magazines, too. Sadly, I got rid of the Colonial Homes due to a move.

  4. Hi Susan! I saw you were at Rhoda’s on Sat, helping to paint. I wanted to go too, but we had 30 people coming for a cookout that afternoon. Looks like everyone had a good time.

    I LOVE how you used that Expedit in the closet. Very organized.

    Are you interested in garage saling this spring?

  5. erin pickering says

    Wow – the closet looks fantastic! Love the unit and baskets in there. And the promise of all those magazines on the bottom row! woo wee – could sit for days browsing thru them!

  6. Hi Susan,
    Your storage closet looks fabulous!!!!!!!
    So tidy and pretty..love the baskets.
    Clever lady— fitting it all inHave a good week
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

  7. Kathy Olson says

    Hi! I really enjoy your blog and have been following for several months. I have a bunch of old Colonial Homes magazines also that I cannot part with. I wish they would start up that magazine again. Keep up the good work!

  8. Leighway says

    Excellent use of the space, Susan. One thing I learned from incessant organizing was to always leave one shelf or cubby empty. That way, there’s always a space to put something down or uncover things without spilling and causing a bigger mess….hmmmm… let me go into my sewing cabinet and make that shelf empty that I piled things on..have a great day.

  9. I’m so grateful to you for showing us this Ikea unit, Susan! Your closet looks beautiful. And it’s given me so many ideas as to how I might use one (and how some of my family members could use them). They are really so wonderful and would be particularly useful for a child’s room, I think, especially with those baskets. (Holding all those small toys and favorite playthings that end up all over the place!)

  10. Shirley@Hospitality Designs says

    Love everything Ikea…your closet came out gorgeous!!….beautifully done!

  11. Scribbler says

    I know what you mean about smelly new stuff!

    This closet is a marvel of organization — I am planning to get some of those units once I get my “situation” with buying a beach house figured out. I have many years of many magazines, including all the Colonial Homes and most of the TH. I think the cubicle idea is so genius for organizing them.

  12. Inspired Beauty says

    Thanks for reminding me that sometimes friendships are worth staying quiet for. So glad to read you replaced your magazines over time. Love your blog!

  13. Sewconsult says

    I don’t have the IKEA things, but I ordered a small rug from a company a few years ago. When it arrived, I could not even use it because of the horrible smell. I took it to the basement and there it stayed for a year before I deemed it okay to put into use. It know sits at my feet under my desk in my sewing room. Lately, I’ve noticed that it is smelling a bit like feet. Great! Guess it’s time to throw it out since it is not washable. Learned my lesson to buy a washable or cleanable rug.

  14. martinealison says

    Tout est rangé avec beaucoup de soin…
    Gros bisous

  15. And I was the doubting Thomas – thinking you’d never get that Expedit in there! I had to put one together too, years ago, and it was enough work doing it in a spacious area. However, I never got the baskets, and I am kicking myself now – they are great! Guess that means another road trip is in store – to Ikea. Thanks for sharing a project well done! So glad you are enjoying it!

  16. I just had to comment on the TH magazine story since the same thing happen to me. I was so upset and the Mister could not understand why! I told him to compare it to all his old issues of Bass Master – then he got it! I have never replaced them, but glad to know I am not along on savoring old issues.
    Your closet looks so great – very organized. Have a great evening.

  17. Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista says

    I have 6 expedits in varying sizes in my house, love them! The baskets do smell a bit, I find myself trying to fan the smell off:)


  18. Interior Design Snob says

    Ok,I have to have to get one now,

  19. I love my Expedit. It’s the most versatile piece ever.

  20. I love my Expedit. Seriously, the designers at Ikea are geniuses. I love how you shimmied and dremmeled your way into fitting it in there. Now it almost looks like a custom closet! Love it!

  21. We just bought 4 of the Pjas boxes and the odor is overwhelming (in our relatively open-air living room) – does the smell ever go away completely? I love how they look but the smell can be unbearable at times. (Your blog is the only place I found that mentioned the smell — I was beginning to think I was crazy for a while.)

    • You are not crazy! 🙂 It does goes away after a while. Since mine are in a closet, it took a while but I bet in a larger room it will happen more quickly. Mine don’t really smell at all now. I wonder if putting a box of the baking soda you buy to put in a refrigerator inside each basket would help to absorb the smell more quickly.

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