My daughter and I have started the preliminary plans for our 2016 flower farm. We've purchased our seeds and began working out the details of another summer and what we want to change and improve. Very soon it will be time to work the soil and get our seeds planted.
In the mean time, there is something that really bothered me the last two summers. You remember that our bouquets are all arranged and sold in quart size Mason Jars? The hope is that our customers will return their jars when they come to pick up their next bouquets. And a lot of them do. So, it is a continual job to wash and store jars for each day. We are also purchasing jars and accepting donated jars. Can I just say that it amounts to a lot of jars?
They end up being stored in my stair closet in bins and boxes. I am stepping over them, around them, and on them all summer long. They must be stored inside to keep them clean and also we fill them with fresh, cold water each morning. So it would not work to store them anywhere but in one of our houses.
I started brainstorming ideas and looking at book shelves and other shelving systems that I could purchase but nothing was exactly what I wanted. I decided to draw up my own design and build a jar storage system myself.
It just so happened that my husband was out of town, so I was really excited to build something!
I found some plans online for a large storage system and I printed those up and made some modifications to fit what I had in mind.
I figured up my lumber and I purchased what I needed and got started.
I think building something is kind of like sewing... measure twice and cut once! (Or in my case, measure like 4 times!)
After helping Eldon build our house, I got quite a bit of experience using the saw and the hand tools. So I actually feel fairly comfortable with it. I cut all my wood pieces first.
Then I began the assembly. Because I'm not very good at countersinking my screws, I decided to pre-drill all my holes. It took longer, but in the long run it made it much easier.
I built the shelf ends first - they are sort of like ladders that the slats will attach to. I did not want my shelf to be deep, as I don't have a long of space in my stair closet, so I designed it to only hold 2 jars deep. I adjusted it until I got it exactly the measurement I wanted. Then I cut the 2x4's to be the exact measurement and attached them to the outer posts.
Then I attached all the 1x4 inch slats. The slats were all 64 inches long - exactly the length for each shelf to hold 36 jars.
After I completed this and set two jars on the shelf to check my depth measurement I realized that just a simple bump in the closet would cause the jars to fall off. So I made another modification and added a little "lip" to the front and back of each shelf with a 1x2 board. It worked perfect.
I painted the whole thing my very favorite Annie Sloan Emperors Silk Red and carted it into the house.
Then I put on a coat of dark wax to antique it a bit and put it in the stair closet. I used 2 inch screws and drilled them through the back of the shelf into the studs in the closet wall so that there is no chance of pulling the whole thing over! And then the fun of unloading 144 jars and filling it up!
You cannot imagine how happy I am with it. It fits snug against the closet wall and since it is only 9 inches deep, it hardly takes up any usable space.
And I love opening the closet door to all these beautiful Mason Jars!
You can see how the lip is just tall enough to hold them snug.
My plan for the top shelf is to use that for storing all of our other flower garden and bouquet supplies. I plan to print and punch out all of our craft labels that we use on the bouquets so that we don't have to do that at all this summer. We will also purchase the rolls of twine ahead of time. Those things will all be stored handily there. There is also room on the top shelf for any boxes of jars that we have to purchase.
No more stepping on and over jars that took up all the floor space in my closet and drove me crazy! I'm super happy with how my shelving system came out. And even though there are all kinds of imperfections... it is okay because I made it and I love it!
And did I mention it holds 144 jars?