1) piles of clothes on the top shelf of my closet
2) plastic storage bins.
What did I do? I set out to build a storage bench for my room. Now, I'll start off saying I did not and possibly could not have done this on my own. I called in reinforcements in the form of a friend and I recommend that you get help too, especially help that has some knowledge of building stuff.
He stepped in to help me design the bench, pick out supplies and taught me how to use a power saw. There was a lot of trial and error, mainly because I am not so good at cutting straight, but I ended up with something that I absolutely love.
Measure twice, cut once
Make sure you measure the space where you’d like to put your bench seat. Based on the area in my room where I was putting my bench, I needed eight 2x3s to build the frame. Using a power saw is invigorating and scary. Luckily, it didn't matter too much if the cuts were super straight, and the ones I messed up terribly my friend was able to fix. Once we put together the frame, I added a bottom and top made from medium-density fiberboard and voilà, I had a bench!
Pulling it all together
At this point, all I needed to do was add a cushion for the top, which was $2.50 from the thrift store, inexpensive fabric from Walmart and baskets from Target. I stapled the cushion to the the top of the bench and then covered it with fabric, but if you’re handy with a needle and thread, you could make a cover for the cushion that allows you to change it whenever the mood strikes. All in all, the wood, fabric, cushion and baskets cost about $75. I’m sure there were cheaper options. I thought about buying a thrifted trunk and just adding a seat, but I really wanted to learn to cut wood and assemble this from scratch. Plus, I wanted to make sure I had enough room to store the items I wanted. I’m pleased with how it turned out.