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Toto, We’re Not In College Anymore

It’s official Toto, we’re not in college anymore.  I’m nearly 7 years out of college and I’m pretty sure Colby would divorce me even before we get hitched if I bring up how many years out of college he is, but yet we still have college-ie furniture in our home.  Like this CD shelf/tower thingy (to the right in the picture) that lives in our living room.

Since I’ve been on an absolute tear to get rid of anything and everything that screams “college”, the CD shelf had to go.  Simply had to go.

The one dilemma, those CDs and DVDs had to go somewhere.  The DVDs were easy.  Those ended up either in the media cabinet or in the baskets underneath the cabinet.  The CDs however, needed a home.  Inspired by rustic milk crates, I asked Colby to channel said crates and build me three rustic containers that we could store our massive CD collection in.  And before we get into the details, I know what you’re thinking.  In this digital age, why do you have so many CDs?!  Well, we’re CD people.  Probably more so me than Colby.  There’s just something more gratifying about bringing home a disc rather than downloading it off iTunes.  And I’m always rockin’ out to CDs in my car.  So Colby emerged from his basement workshop with these guys:

They were perfect.  I asked for rustic, super rustic, and I got rustic, super rustic.  He didn’t even sand them and left pen/pencil marks on them.  And so you can get a feel of how the CD crates work, here’s a “testing them out” shot:

So now that Colby built me some fabulous crates, it was time for the finishing portion of the program.  Since we’ve pretty much exhausted the walnut stain in every stained wood project that we’ve done in this house, it was time for a new stain shade.  We cruised the Lowes stain aisle and THE PERFECT stain just jumped right off the shelf and into our cart.  Minwax just launched a gray stain that was simply perfect!  I wanted a rustic, aged looking stain and this one was the perfect shade!

I started staining the crates using a five cent sponge from the craft store.  I love those sponges for staining projects.  The finish always seem to come out so perfect.  Although, the rough, rustic-ie finish to the crates did a number on the sponge.  It looked like the dog chewed it by the time I was done staining everything.

After just staining one of the crates, I knew that we had picked the right stain.  It was so perfect for our space!

After the stain dried, I layered on a coat of poly to seal up the wood, then began working on the handles.  I had my heart set on rope handles using some sisal rope that we also picked up at Lowes during our Sunday morning shopping excursion.  I needed to drill through the ends of the crates so I measured (all by myself), marked (all by myself), and drilled through the wood with Colby’s Milwaukee 18V drill/driver (all by myself).  Mom!  Are you so proud?!

I used a spade bit to drill a hole large enough to push the rope through.  At first, the hole wasn’t quite big enough.  But I quickly learned that with a spade bit, you can rotate the drill around to make the opening a bit bigger without damaging the surrounding wood or the finish.

Then I cut pieces of rope, pushed the ends through the holes, and tied simple knots inside the crate to secure the handles.

That left us with three, amazingly awesome, finished CD crates.  Rustic, customized crates I might add that were built with scrap wood!  Booyah!

Then came the long, tedious process of organizing all the CDs.

Of course they’re alphabetical and of course I’m going through our entire collection and making sure I’ve uploaded each CD to my computer.  It’s been a long process and I have to admit, I’m still working on it.  Le sigh!  But that didn’t stop me from moving in the CD crates and moving out the CD tower.

The crates give the room a much cleaner, less cluttered and chaotic vibe.  I love the crates already.  I’m not totally convinced that where they are now is going to be their permanent home but they’re all good for now.  As we begin to transform our living room, I’m sure they’ll move around.  Oh, and to cover up the top of the CDs for now (we may build a lid instead), the afghan that my mom made me back when I left for college is temporarily living on top of the crates.  That’s one college item that won’t be going anywhere!  It’s a keeper!  Even though Goose ate a chunk out of it…foolish Goose!

I love the new, cleaned up look that our living room is sporting these days.  But now there’s this huge void where the CD shelf used to be.  It’s just begging for some art.  Seriously.  I can hear it right now.  The wall is saying, “Angie, Angie, you HAVE to throw some art up on me!  I’m feeling a little exposed and naked!  Oh the nudity!  Clothe me Angie, Clothe me in art!  Or mirrors!”

But that’s another project for another day.  I think we should live with our updated space for a little while before making any new changes.  I need to scheme and cruise Pinterest before I jump the gun.

Pssst…Happy (almost) weekend everyone!  What’s everyone’s weekend plans?  Anyone else, like me, working on an art project?!  I’m working on setting up the gallery space in our parlor.  It should be fun.  Those walls have been talking to me too!


  1. I love the crates! Unfortunately for me, I’m married to a man who has used his skill saw once and it was to saw through one of the new sawhorses I got him. You’d LOVE the university “workspace” out here at ISU. There is an open art studio (fully stocked) that you pay $2 to use plus materials any time 2-10pm. Plus they have a ton of classes from sewing to ceramics to woodworking etc. As soon as my kids aren’t so young and needy I’m totally there. Love the gray stain btw.

    1. Oh my gosh…that “workspace” sounds awesome! Have you tried it out at all?! Just get a babysitter! Kids can wait…there’s crafts to be done! I kid, I kid! Thanks Kristin!

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Angie's Roost Campbell Family in front of home in 2021

Hi there! We're the Campbells. We traded in Maine city living for the country life in Vermont. You'll find us here fixing up a circa 1781 historic home, growing our own food, and filling this home with the memories and things that matter. Read more about us...

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