Installing A Dual Flush Toilet Kit & Hiding Our Shredder

We made four little updates around here, so I thought I’d smash them all into a quick recap post for ya.

First, we have been meaning to convert our master bathroom toilet to a dual flush version for a while (we already did it to the one in the hallway and the one in our first house – seriously we LOVE this upgrade!). Sadly when we attempted to use this kit that we bought on Amazon (here’s the affiliate link for ya), it turns out that our new toilet isn’t compatible. Apparently the angle/shape of the bottom of the tank kept it from attaching correctly.

So we padded down the hall to the guest room and installed it there instead. Oddly enough, that tiny toilet that is most likely original to our 60’s house worked just fine with it.

Now at least we can save water when our guests come to stay (and a dual flush button helps that small outdated bathroom feel a smidge more modern – haha).

Another little easy upgrade that we did was that we finally (only 20 months after moving in, har-har) found a place for our shredder, which had been cluttering up our closet forever. The solution? Our built-in desk cabinets. Except we had to figure out how to make it fit in there (we really wanted to keep that storage drawer on the bottom).

So our first order of business was to remove the pull out shelf, which just came down to removing the tracks and the drawer itself with a screwdriver (they were held in with simple screws along the track).

Then we drilled a hole right into the back of the cabinet, so the cord for the shredder could be fed through the back of the cabinet without having to come out the side or the front or anything wonky.

Bada bing, bada plug.

Then we shoved her in there on her side.

Oh and at first we worried that it wouldn’t work well on it’s side, but before we went through all this drawer-removal and plug-drilling trouble, we laid it on it’s side and used it like that for about three weeks before committing to “building it in” to the desk that way, and it worked like a charm. One tip would be to empty it pretty frequently just so the shredded stuff doesn’t build up around the front since there’s not as much gravity to pull things down as there is when it’s standing up. But other than that it seems to work great so far. And the best part is that with the door closed it all looks nice and organized. Hooray for hidden contraptions and fewer messy-looking wires.

Another little update that we finally got around to was rehanging our kitchen mirror on two super strong hooks (they each have 100lb capabilities) since a few kind folks with professional framing backgrounds commented on this post about hanging it on a wire (they said that over time a wire – even a heavy duty one like we used – can slip or lose strength, so two hooks used individually with something strong (like a heavy duty screw & anchor ensemble) would be best. Pardon the weird duct tape (more on that here).

So we just added a heavy duty anchor system on each side of the wall to line up with the new hooks that we added to the back of the mirror…

… and hung things back up. Now it should be nice and strong for the long haul. Oh and you might notice that I got some bird friends from HomeGoods for the mantel. Yes, more animals. Our house is a veritable ark these days.

And our last little thing was that John brought home some pretty yellow tulips when he went grocery shopping. Isn’t he sweet?

I put them at the table in the living room since I see them every time I walk through that room (and also get to enjoy them whenever I’m sitting on the couch and Real Housewives of NY makes me roll my eyes, which is surprisingly often).

Close up. Bam.

There you have it. Four things. What little updates are you guys up to around the house? Any toilet-pimping, shredder-hiding, mirror-re-hanging, or flower-enjoying going on in your neck of the woods?

Psst- We’ve gotten a bunch of questions from people about how Clara’s liking preschool, so there’s a post over on Young House Life all about it – complete with the way we’ll be documenting her first day of school each year. Aw shucks, they grow up so fast.


  1. Missy G. says

    Thanks for sharing where you got those birds on the mantle. I’ve been meaning to ask since your house tour video. Too bad I don’t have a Homegoods near me. No Ikea, no Homegoods. Total bummer.

    • says

      Aw man, sometimes Marshall’s and TJ Maxx have the same things as HomeGoods (they’re all the same company) so if you have one of those nearby you might have a chance to grab them). Hope it helps!


  2. says

    Hmm… great idea with the shredder on its side! And, I need that dual flusher! Great for us folks who have a well.

    We are in the midst of about a million things, I feel like. A tiny update I just did was move my GIGANTIC nightstand into my closet as a dresser (because, yes, it’s THAT big)and am now using it for shoe/accessory storage. We made a trip to Ikea in Paramus just to buy these awesome clear organizers They are awesome. I also bought some blackout curtains for my bedroom. Very excited about those as well. Sometimes, it really is the little things that can make a big difference.

  3. says

    Sometimes it’s these little updates that make me feel more sane in the big scheme of things.

    By the way, we having building a big desk similar to yours on our to do list and I didn’t remember that the drawers slide! Now I’m even more excited because that means I have even more room for organizing our stuff!

  4. Peggy says

    Clever idea, putting the shredder on its side. It looks like you could put something under the top edge to let gravity help out just a little. Maybe you wouldn’t have to empty quite so often.

  5. Donna Jean says

    love the little updates, especially the tulips – so cheerful!

    hopefully this weekend my husband and father-in-law will be ripping out our hideous, dying (did i mention hideous?!) boxwoods from our front yard, trimming some trees and pulling out some tree-ish weeds from our backyard (and hauling it all away). i think they are even going to dig up a small tree-ish thing for our neighbor (mostly b/c the majority of the branches keep forcing their way through our fence!) i am very excited for these updates and for the prospect of rebuilding the flower beds along the front of our house and planting some much nicer looking things in there – i think i’ll have to revisit your post about fixing up your flower beds on either side of your front porch for some tips on what to plant.

    • says

      Ooh, that’s going to make such a difference! I love outside stuff like that since it’s such a big change right away. By the end of the day it’ll be such a new look!


  6. Bethany says

    Hey guys… a bit off topic, but seeing the yellow bath tile reminded me I had wanted to ask about any plans to update that bath? I have several beautiful-but-outdated baths, with lovely handlaid tile from the 1940’s. The quality and workmanship is top notch, but it really ties my hands in the decorating department. I have such mixed feelings about renovating it, and I wondered if you guys were going through the same torment? Thanks! Bethany

    • says

      We’re completely with you! Sometimes we want to keep it all original, and sometimes we want to just start fresh because it’s nothing we’d pick today, but usually we’re in the middle (wanting to keep some of it and remove some of it to change things like being able to have a glass shower door instead of a tiny cubby hole that feels like a coffin since it’s all tiled in). Will keep you posted for sure!


  7. says

    I didn’t know you could replace your flushers! I am super excited about that. In fact I may rush out to home depot right now to find one of those. Thanks!

    • says

      Oh yes, they’re usually $19 and you save more money than that in a year (we had one in our first house and saved a lot of money over the few years we had it in there!)


    • Jenny says

      One note on those flushers — the button style doesn’t work great for some kids!

      Sherry, has Clara mastered pushing them? I recently tried it in our hall bathroom, only to find that the 3-year-old couldn’t push the little buttons hard enough to make it flush — there’s quite a bit of resistance. Not exactly the goal of all that potty training work, so I had to take it out again.

      They also sell a lever one and that might be easier for little hands…but if that affects you and you decide to give it a shot, keep the box and receipt just in case!

      (And Sherry I really am curious…is Clara cool with them? She may have better fine-motor than our little guy…)

    • says

      Thanks for the tip! She can do the top one but the full flush needs help (although I’m in the room helping for full flush stuff so it’s ok for now, haha).


    • says

      No, it was that the inside parts wouldn’t sit flush on the inside base of the tank (most are flat down there at the bottom of the tank and ours had sort of a raised middle hump). I think if you buy it and it doesn’t work you can easily return it though (at least at Home Depot). Hope it helps!


  8. Megan says

    I love your yellow tulips! Those are my very favorite flowers.

    We’ve been trying to spruce up the outside before winter hits. In the past few weeks, we have powerwashed the house, repainted our porch posts and retaining wall white, reseeded the yard with nice pretty grass, and cleaned the gutters out.

    It’s the little things that make you feel like you are accomplishing something (meanwhile, inside, that second bathroom and soon-to-be nursery are crying for my attention!).

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