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You see it over and over in decorating videos. People will go into a remodeling project with more money than sense and end up with a disappointing result. Things look over-decorated, self-conscious, and too glitzy.

It can happen to anyone even people like us who know better.

We recently started a project in our own home that almost got WAY out of control.

We had a notion that we wanted to separate a sleeping space out of our basement with some built-in storage. Its usual occupant is an older man with bad knees who needs clothing storage and a place for a king sized bed that is accessible.

We THOUGHT it would be pretty simple…and not too expensive. We knew we wanted drawer storage along the bottom and space for hangers along the upper portion of a storage/divider wall. It was exactly 8 feet.

We looked online and got an estimate for between $4,000 and $5,000 dollars.

We got another estimate for about $3,000 from a local cabinet maker who could not start work on the project without 3/4’s of the money as a down payment, plus he had several projects ahead of ours. He thought he might get the job done within 6 months. Meanwhile he would be holding our money which looked pretty risky because he was over 65 and in ill health.

A closet company estimated $2,000 for five feet of storage, most of it open when we wanted closed to hide the mess.

The local DIY store never had people to help us even though we went to the store 5 times trying to buy something. Plus they were not cheap cabinets. They were expensive but not high quality.

I got incredibly frustrated.

I went looking for something else. I was FINALLY forced into creativity.

Here’s what we thought up out of desperation.

We had an old gentleman’s chest, also known as a “chest on chest”. Along with an old TV cabinet we also owned, the two pieces perfectly filled the 8 foot space we had targeted for the divider.

The chest of drawers worked for the sleeping alcove’s occupant. The entertainment center was the focal point for the sitting area on the other side.

Zero money spent so far.

We plan an additional cabinet that is really a pantry cabinet we can purchase new for about $300. It can have a rod for hangers and additional shelves above for folded items. Or we might luck into something old that will work for less money. We will fill in openings and spaces with other storage shelves.

Our total costs will be under $500 dollars, about 1 tenth of the original estimate. We also have 11 feet of storage instead of the original 8 feet we planned. If we move or want a change all we have to do is disassemble it.

Here’s a big old raspberry for all the unhelpful vendors.

While our initial impulse was to have a custom or semi-custom built-in we were saved from our foolishness by the unavailability of what we wanted and the unwillingness of vendors to help us get what we wanted.

Isn’t it shocking the lengths people will go to in order NOT to do business? We would have bought something if we had been able to find what we wanted for a reasonable price.

Creativity saved us a LOT of money…AGAIN!

Storage, especially flexible storage is one of the many unfilled needs that could make a good business opportunity for the right people. If you are looking for some type of business this could work for you. Everyone wants more storage and many vendors overcharge outrageously for it. These expenditures can significantly impact the profitability of a real estate investment, particularly when trying to flip a property and even more so when you have leveraged the transaction with a commercial bridge loan. That gap is an opportunity for a savvy business person.

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