Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I recently found myself in need of a way to organize my ever-growing pile of file folders, so I headed down to my nearest The Container Store in the hopes that I'd find something cheap, usable, and not horribly ugly to put on my desk for however long "until I break and/or ruin it" happens to last. I'm pretty sure that my last trip to a The Container Store predated my coming to understand the concept of money, as I soon found myself completely blindsided by the fact that everything they sell in that place is a massive, shameless, unequivocal rip off. My sincerest apologies if you disagree with me on this point, but I just don't find a $22 cardboard box to be a particularly great bargain.

On my way back home I decided to swing by a local Goodwill store, as I figured there was an off chance that I'd find something usable that could save me from having to build my own file organizing box from scratch. Sure enough, a few minutes later I stumbled across this little beauty:


Its marvelously preserved original retail tag boasted that this so-called "desktop organizer" was made of "real wood", and that it originally cost "30 American dollars minus 1 American penny" at Target retailers nationwide (that last quote was paraphrased). Goodwill was asking $6 for this wondrous piece of real wood, which is usually well outside my price range for a thrift store (I'm pretty sure this single purchase doubles the amount of money I've ever spent on any one item at a secondhand retailer), but I was still quite shaken from my sticker shock experience at The Container Store, so I went ahead and bought it.

Unfortunately, when I got home I soon realized that this desktop organizer was apparently designed by someone whose desktop was not organized at all. In fact, it's safe to assume that their desk was little more than a large pile of collected literature from Jeff Foxworthy and Bill O'Reilly, because they were a complete and utter moron. Observe:

File Doesnt Fit

What you've just viewed is a normal sized file folder fighting valiantly, but ultimately failing, to fit itself inside an oppressive, woefully undersized desktop organizer. Ridiculous.

You would think that at some point during the design phase of this thing one of the workers would have said to his boss, "you know boss, if we extended the walls out a mere 1/4" or so this thing would be able to hold sheets of paper AND file folders, wouldn't that be keen?" But apparently none of the workers said that, or maybe they did and the boss replied "NO!!!! MY CONSUMERS WILL ONLY KEEP LOOSE LEAF SHEETS OF PAPER ON THEIR DESKS, NO FOLDERS OR LEGAL PADS ALLOWED!! GAAAAHHHHH!!!!!", after which point the boss beat the worker over the head with a rotary telephone. Or maybe that extra 1/4" of materials would have destroyed their profit margins (after all, this thing was made out of real wood... that stuff's not cheap). I suppose their methods or rationale for creating the product they did is of little consequence - all that matters is that Target did in fact make and sell a product that sucked massive balls, and I was unfortunate enough to purchase it second hand. Clearly, renovations were in order here.

The rest of the McHanslaw clan (who to the best of my knowledge rarely read this blog nowadays) were out of town at the time of this most vile of fiascos, so I was able to do the majority of the work on this little philly on my kitchen counter. A welcome change of pace from having to brave the elements outdoors in January, you can rest assured (though if I remember correctly temperatures around Denver got up into the 70's that weekend, so maybe I was just lazy. And by "maybe" I actually mean "stop judging me, asshole").

Side Cut Out

I started by taking a handsaw and cutting out the side walls of 2 of the rows of pockets (the middle divider thing just popped right out once those were removed). I decided to leave the front pocket intact both for the sake of structural stability and because, though 3 pockets for holding loose leaf paper is downright stupid, 1 pocket to hold printer paper is fairly useful.

The remaining walls were pretty roughed up from my occasionally erratic handsaw usage, so afterwards I had to sand down the inside and take my rotary tool to smooth down a few gnarled edges where I made my cuts. After that I used Gorilla Glue to put the middle divider shelf back in place.

Middle Shelf glued back in

At this point it was just a matter of putting on paint and polyurethane, then leaving it to dry in a secluded room for about a month until the aforementioned polyurethane stopped emitting noxious fumes. Fortunately, this waiting period gave me plenty of time to take all sorts of action shots of my new project, ultimately culminating in what I would have to believe is the single most exciting photograph of an inanimate object that man has ever taken:

Finished with Paint

Damn. That's good.

You may have noticed in the earlier shots that this formerly crappy/currently servicable desktop organizer has three little picture frame things on its front facade. I spent a lot of time debating over what I should put in there, but ultimately decided to turn it into a sort of clerical homage to Vincent Price. Why? Because Vincent Price is the fucking man, that's why.

Vincent Price

And now, without further adieu, let's drop that last action shot. Really tie the whole post together:

Final Shot

Mmm. Yeah, that's nice.

As you'll notice, it earnestly would not have taken more than an extra 1/4" of wood to make this thing a perfectly usable file holder, though I suppose if it hadn't been designed improperly I never would have gotten my hands on it in the first place, as the original owner probably wouldn't have gotten fed up with the borderline useless 3-tiered printer paper holder on his desk. Circle of life my friends, circle of life.

No comments: