UA-59651954-28 Crafty Allie: Creating a Sorting Station from an Old Shutter

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Creating a Sorting Station from an Old Shutter

Hello all, Happy Monday! 
How was your weekend?

Today, I have another wonderful guest blogger 
to give us a cool DIY project.

I am so honored to have 
Melissa Massello 

Take it away Melissa!

I love living in small spaces, but they can be incredibly challenging for even the most modern of minimalists. My husband and I learned this firsthand when we lived in a 485-square-foot urban apartment for five years, and even though we've moved on to slightly larger living arrangements, the lessons of designing every square foot to its maximum potential have stayed with us.

Small homes are really trendy right now, especially for their combined benefits of being both economical and environmentally friendly, and with the right storage solutions they can be downright drool-worthy. The key is to look at every nook and cranny as an opportunity to create things that are at once appealing, useful, and organized. Designing for everyday needs, like a place to work or "drop zones" for keeping the detritus of daily life from becoming clutter, is key.

For years, I've been in love with the idea of turning an old shutter into a sorting area for mail and magazines, but couldn't find a good tutorial for how to keep the mail and other papers from sliding through the shutter slats. Motivated by recently becoming a homeowner, I was determined to get ship-shape (can you say housewarming party?) and decided to tackle figuring out the design myself. It worked out beautifully, and (aside from the complicated paint design) was so easy!

You can absolutely use a single color of paint, but given our lack of wall space for art in the common areas of the house, I wanted to create something that was as eye-catching as it was endlessly useful. 

For step-by-step instructions for how I created a riff on a vintage Pendleton blanket ? inspired by the current "colorblock" trend in home d├ęcor — head over to

It's now something that we'll treasure for years to come, keeping important documents filed instead of piled... and from being unintentionally tossed! 
I may even add a small box and some hooks on the front to corral keys, headphones, and other pocket items that seem to end up everywhere. The best part is that you can customize it to what you need for your household, which is rule number 1 of small space living!


  • Window shutter or shuttered closet door, in good condition.
  • 5.2 mm 2 ft. x 4 ft. birch plywood, cut to size (Home Depot does this for free onsite)
  • ¾ in. wire brads (or finishing nails of similar size)
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint (BEHR Ultra samples are great)
  • Assorted small paint brushes, foam sponges & small paint rollers
  • Painter's tape (optional)
  • Wood putty (optional)
                        First: Prepare the wood
Get your shutter ready by making sure that it's scrubbed clean of any dust or dirt and dried completely. Make sure that any nicks are sanded and nail/screw holes are plugged with putty, if you like. This step is optional and purely for aesthetics—I liked the look of leaving it as-is, so everyone would know that it was re-purposed.

Once clean, measure your shutter door for the custom plywood backing. My shutter measured exactly 1 ft. wide and 79 in. high, so I had a 2 ft. x 4 ft. piece of plywood cut down 2 in. lengthwise (just to be sure it wouldn't show on the edges of the shutter, since the width was exact) and then had one of the lengths cut down to measure the exact height of the shutter, minus 1 in. So, in the end, the single sheet of plywood, originally 2 ft. wide x 4 ft. high, became two pieces: one measured 11 in. wide x 32 in. high, and the other measured 11 in. wide x 46 in. high. I lightly sanded the edges of the plywood, just to make sure there were no splinters.

Next: Prime and paint

Prime your shutter (I used an aerosol primer for even coverage of the shutter slats) and wait about an hour for it to dry. Then, paint your shutter, leaving an hour between coats, until you achieve your desired color coverage. If you're going to create a design, like the stripes on my door, use painter's tape or stencils to create straight, even lines. I found that a small angled shading brush worked best for painting the slats on the shutter door without frustration!

While your shutter is drying, preferably overnight, after your final coat, prime and paint your plywood backing on one side, if desired, using a small paint roller. When everything is coated with paint and completely dry, you're ready to assemble.

Last: Assembly
Turn your shutter over so that the painted side faces down. Place your plywood, also painted side facing down, and it line up evenly against the back of the shutter. There should be about a 1/2 in. to 1 in. allowance on all sides of the shutter. Starting with the corners, secure the plywood to the shutter with the ¾ in. wire brads or finishing nails. When all corners are secured, place a wire brad evenly between the two corners on the top, bottom, and sides. Repeat, spacing the wire brads evenly, until you have a nail about every 2 in. on all sides of the plywood backing to ensure a tight fit and that your mail won't slide through and get stuck between the pieces of wood, even if it warps slightly over time, as plywood is known to do with hot/cold or damp climates.

That's it! Your new mail sorter or "vertical drop zone" is now complete. You can either lean it up against a wall from the floor, or add a picture hanging kit (choose one appropriate for its weight with mail) to secure it to the wall.

Melissa Massello is a DIY'er who writes about her projects for 
The Home Depot. 
Melissa enjoys sharing her upcycling projects like her old-window-shutter-turned-organizer. 

Home Depot's selection of window treatments
including shutters, can be found online.

Thank you so much Melissa for your wonderful Shutter Sorter Project.

I will now be on the hunt, for some old shutters!

Thank you all so much for tuning in!
Until Next Time...


  1. This is such a great idea... I love to repurpose things and this is such a useful project too! ;-) Thank you for linking up to the Oh My Heartsie Girls Wordless Wednesday Linky Party!

    Wishing you a fabulous week!

    Much love,
    Lysa xx
    Welcome to My Circus
    Co-Host OMHGWW

  2. Love everything about the project of repurposing the shudder. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  3. Such a great idea and I love how it's painted! Thanks for sharing on Something To Talk About Link Party! Hope you'll link again next Monday!

  4. Thank you for contributing to Motivation Monday!

  5. This is such a brilliant idea! Thanks for linking up to Funtastic Friday. Hope to see you again this week.

  6. Nice articles always attract the viewers. And your article is very attractive and informative. Keep it up and do post regularly please
    Custom Shutters


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