A Green Home: Use Empty Picture Frames for Organization

Reader Contribution by Jaci Kennison
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Jaclyn Kennison is a freelance writer living and playing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She owns and manages an art gallery and event venue between fits of shopping and redecorating.

I love to cook. I’m not particularly good at it, but I love the action. Nearly as much as I like the flying fingers over my keyboard, I love the chopping of the vegetables, the paring of the fruits and the smells that erupt from a boiling pot.

There is a price to pay for such loves though–kitchen clutter. Namely, utensils. I have spoons of varying sizes, spatulas (rubber and metal), a variety of pots and pans and more stashed around my kitchen for the times when I am afforded the luxury to indulge this delight. These accoutrements take up space all over my kitchen in drawers, cabinets and jars on counters.

As I sat one evening, helping my friends arranged their new home, we came across an empty picture frame and wondered aloud how to incorporate it into their décor. As the debate rambled on, it occurred to me to utilize such a well, pre-structured and interesting piece as a storage solution. In my own home, an old picture frame (which I have too many of to begin with) would come in very handy as a tool hanger. Small hooks turned into a sturdy picture frame free up additional counter and drawer space by creating a rack on which to hang serving utensils. When suspended from beneath a cupboard by all four corners, or even flat against a wall, the re-utilization of the piece can easily be useful, and attractive. Be sure, of course, that your frame is sturdy enough for the pieces you intend to hang on it.

Use empty picture frames for storage. Photo By tungphoto/Courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Adapting this idea for jewelry in a bathroom creates a lovely space to store easily-tangled necklaces and bracelets. Simply mount hooks to the frame and choose pieces of varying lengths to fill them. Or, consider using tacks or small dowels used to fill the indentions created by screws as hangers. Try placing longer jewelry items on the edges and bottom, shorter ones, as well as earrings, watches and bracelets in the middle.

To spice up your display, attach an attractive piece of fabric to the back of the frame before mounting it, creating a lovely backdrop for your jewelry. Wrapping the frame in twine will give you a sturdier base as well as offer a decorative feature. Fabric, too, can be used to make the piece one of art–and utility.

The key here is simply finding an appropriately sized frame with solid construction. Often older versions are more well built. If you happen upon one that you absolutely love, but that isn’t solid enough for this adaption, simply reinforce the corners with small cross braces on the back. Vertical supports could also be added, and in addition to providing increased support, they could also be fitted with hooks, creating more space for hanging utensils and small pieces of cookware.

This idea makes a great gift as well. For me, the magic of a small space is creating storage in artful and unique ways. Organization that is aesthetically pleasing helps me to love my small space, and keeps me from going crazy in my kitchen. 

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