01 April 2014

DIY Key Rack: How To Reduce Console Table Clutter

I've been wrestling with a basket full of keys at our front entryway for a while now and feeling really frustrated. When I was a single gal the front entryway table was serene and a way of welcoming people, giving them the first taste of my home.

There was always a lovely basket there, a pretty plant, maybe a small keepsake and in the basket would be my main set of keys, a spare car key and a set of keys for my bike (locks, bike rack, etc.). Now it looks like an overgrown garden that as been ignored for 50 years. It has become The Man's gathering spot for baseball hats, phone, phone case, sunglasses (mulitiple pairs), post-it notes, business cards, and lots and lots of key chains to every facet of our lives. The things we give up when we welcome other people into our lives. Haha.

So finding my keys has become an increasingly frustrating scenario, not to mention my plant, the beautiful tray at the bottom of the mess, etc. So I decided finally to make a key rack. It was a very simple and hopefully successful solution to our key overwhelmedness.

Here's the DIY quickie lowdown:

1) I used a piece of wood I already had on hand. It is  2 1/2 inches x 3/4 inch x 2 feet long. I sanded it down first then wiped it clean with a slightly damp cloth. I picked up five two-packs of white hooks at the hardware store last week. Each pack was about $1.20. One thing to double check is making sure that the screw end of your hooks is shorter than your board. When I got home I was a little worried about this, but the screws did not go through the back of my board so I got lucky on that.

2) Then I did my measurements. I decided I wanted nine hooks and so figured out how to center them on the board horizontally and vertically. They are about 2.5" apart, which seems to work well to be able to get a hand comfortably in and out to reach keys without getting scratched or the keys getting tangled together. You could use any size or shape of board. I think a square with hooks spaced 3x3 or more would be really cute.

3) After I marked with a pencil the spot where I wanted each hook to be placed, I used one of the hooks to make a small hole over the spot. This way when I stained I would not have visible pencil marks and it would make it really easy for me to find the spots I had marked instead of trying to find pencil marks I had made under the stain.

4) Then I erased all my pencil chicken scratches on the board. I had made a few trying to figure out my placement. Once I'd erased them, I lightly sanded the entire board again and wiped it clean.

5) I used "Weathered Wood" stain to quickly put one coat on the board. I only needed a small amount and then I really stroked it across the board many times to get as thin a coat as possible. I didn't leave it on too long, but wiped it off with a dry, clean rag within just a few minutes of staining it. This gave me the look I wanted where you could still see the grain and the wood had taken on a nice weathered patina.

6) I let the stain dry, which didn't take very long because it was such a light coat. I didn't put a protective spray on it because it's a pretty temporary project. As I'm typing this I am imagining eating my words and this becoming some sort of life-long treasure or generational family keepsake "made by your grandmother..." What a laugh that would be. But anyway, I am all for it getting more worn and old looking.

7) Once it was dry I screwed in all the hooks. It can be a little tricky to get all the hooks to align well going the same direction without over and under tightening them. When you find the right method, stick with it. On these I found that if I started the hook facing directly towards the bottom of the rack it would end up pretty close to straight facing up at the end with a little jiggering.

8) Then it was time to hang this baby up. I decided to just screw it into the wall, even though I was a little bummed that this meant making screw holes into my rack surface. Didn't want two big holes in it. But I couldn't think of a way that would give me the secure, tight fit I wanted to the wall, hold the weight of all those keys and not be sliding around if it got bumped.

One last note: Something you might want to consider with a project like this is home security. If keys to every facet of your life are easily accessible to a would-be intruder that could be a problem. This might be a good project to put somewhere not easily visible, maybe on the inside of a cupboard door or something. But most often, people already do keep their keys right by the door they most often go into, so it might not be that big of a deal to a lot of people.

I hoping this will help solve some of our foyer console table mess. I thought today I could even hang a couple of baseball hats on it to get those out of the way and an umbrella there wouldn't be a bad thing either. Three cheers for home organization. Sending you warmest wishes for a great day!

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