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I recently spied this shelving system on the UK online shop Baileys By Mail and was immediately smitten.

I'm always short on storage, especially for my ever-increasing collection of books, magazines, albums, stationery, and ephemera. I'm drawn to storage solutions that don't look so cookie-cutter. Sure, there's a bevy of perfectly fine organizers to be found at The Container Store, but a cubbie system like this one has a lovely vintage style -- and all you need is a set of inexpensive wooden apple crates to craft it!

You can score good deals on wooden apple crates at flea markets, antique shops, eBay, and some vintage sellers on Etsy.

We talked to HGTV's expert carpenter Carter Oosterhouse, host of Carter Can, to find out the best way to create a shelving system with vintage wood crates.

"The pro of this system is that it's vintage, and the con is that it's old," says Carter. What he means is that the vintage aspect of apple crates scores style points (and it's eco-friendly), but some vintage materials may not be strong and durable enough to support a heavy load.

You can test the strength of each crate by putting it on the floor, shaking it, and putting some of your weight on it to see how sturdy it feels. If a crate feels like it will buckle under the weight, chances are you shouldn't use it.

Once you have a set of sturdy crates, stack them like boxes on top of each other. To ensure the stability of a wall-mounted apple crate system, consider starting on the floor and building up so the entire system isn't suspended in the middle of the wall.

If you do decide to hang your cubbie system up high, you'll need to use L brackets under the bottom crates for support, notes Carter. You also need to secure the wood crates into the wall (so they don't pitch forward) by screwing into the wall from the inside of the crates. Find a stud in the wall to screw into or use a molly (wall anchor) to secure each crate into the wall. "Make sure you drill a pilot hole first," says Carter. "This will prevent the wood from splitting."

In general, keep in mind what you're repurposing as wall storage. These crates formerly held apples, so stuffing one with a huge stack of encyclopedias is not a good idea. This storage solution is an eye-catcher - keep it simple with loose groupings of books, mementos, and some favorite objects that you want to show off.

  • The Making of a Home Renovation Show

    Great idea!!
    -Brian Kelsey

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