Cleaning, Organizing, & Eco
That’s me these days. At least I like to think it is. Checking off those tedious and lingering to-do list items that I’ve been meaning to do forever, and taking names. So how about a Friday smorgasbord post? The funny thing is that just a few days ago we got a comment that said “hey I miss your Dude Get On That Already updates – will those ever come back?” Do you guys remember those? Where I’d finally get around to tackling something that had been sitting around waiting to get done (usually just painting or hanging something) and I’d share a little update – like this wall plaque, this box, this coat hook, and this high chair? Well, the funny thing about that comment is that as I read it I was thinking… I have actually gotten on a few things. What has come over me? Is this nesting? Has my body been snatched? So here are those details…
#1: Ding dong, the dining room table is cleared. You might remember this recent house-tour video which revealed that our dining room and guest room were looking chaotic and cluttered (it’s pretty much a promise that when we work on one room, another room nearby pays the price). Here’s a still shot from that video to refresh your memory:
Well, I finally got my act together and found better spots for stuff. It really helped to get a bunch of the craft stuff that had collected there into my newly organized craft closet upstairs. And I tucked the decorative items into the two bottom cabinets in the living room where I store other vases and cloches and stuff like that. It’s nice to see the wood of the table again. (I won’t tell you how dusty it was before I wiped it down for this shot.)
A few folks asked if I thought I’d use this table as a workspace if it were clear since I admitted to using the kitchen table until we get the office whipped into two-people-can-work-there shape. But I’ve found that even with the dining table cleared off I still prefer the kitchen table. I think it’s because I can see Clara playing in the living room more easily from there (the dining room is a lot more isolated due to its layout). But it’s nice to know I can run in there if I want a little more solitude. And that we can actually host people for some fancier-than-the-kitchen-table dinner if we’d like to throw a Downton Abbey-ish ball sometime.
The bad news is that the kitchen counter still pretty much looks like this (minus the crockpot full o’ stew), thanks to our in-progress pantry re-org (everything’s painted, so we’re just waiting for it to dry so we can load in some nice new systems). Sigh. It’s a vicious cycle.
#2: I hemmed Clara’s comically long curtains. You can sort of see them in this picture below (I usually tried to just curl them under so it wasn’t as noticeable) – but they were about 6″ too long and although I liked the drapey affect, they were borderline sloppy with so much extra fabric going on at the end.
So last weekend while Clara played with her dollhouse in the middle of the room and we listened to some tunes, I got to work hemming them with some Heat N Bond hem tape. It probably took me about a half an hour to cut them all and then hem them (I still left them drapey, so they skim the floor a little for that casual vibe) and it feels so GOOD to have that done. Seriously, I’ve asked myself if there’s something wrong with me that hemmed curtains make me feel so accomplished – but I think it’s just one of those things that I thought a million times in the last eight months (“I should really hem those curtains” would pop into my head each week as I put away Clara’s laundry), so it feels great to finally check that box.
#3: The extra pieces of our sectional have been sent to greener pastures. Remember how our full Karlstad sectional didn’t fit in our cozier living room, so “honey, we shrunk the sofa“?
Well, the random extra pieces that we we haven’t been using (the corner piece and the loveseat-sized end) have just been sitting in our attic under a drop cloth for the last eight months. I even mentioned that we thought about craigslisting them, but “we just figured selling the corner and loveseat to a sofa that’s incomplete without another end piece that someone would have to purchase might fetch us $20 tops” so I said we’d rather hold onto them and see if we had a use for them in the future. It was a completely surprise when someone emailed us months later, and offered to buy them for $250! We hadn’t so much as looked at them at all in the past eight months, so… sold!
The funny thing is that it wasn’t a blog reader who wanted them. A woman was just googling around to locate these exact Karlstad pieces (they don’t sell them separately, so she thought she’d never find them) and came across our old post about storing those in the attic. She’s not from around here (lives in Florida, actually) but she had items in a storage unit in New Jersey that she was going to be driving down to Florida in her SUV, so on her way down she swung through Richmond and (miraculously) fit them all into the back. So now we’ve got an extra $250 in our pockets and Karl – er, well the unused portion of Karl – is living a sunnier life in St. Augustine!
#4: I donated/gave back/handed down/consigned a bunch of Clara’s old clothes. There were four large bins in this video that I explained were being sent in a bunch of directions (some items were being returned to sweet friends who loaned things to us, some were being donated, some were getting handed down to other prego friends and relatives, and I wanted to try consigning some things as well).
So after they sat there for months, I finally got around to donating and passing along everything I had set aside, and I trekked the leftovers to Once Upon A Child (a little secondhand baby store here in town) just to give it a try. Forty five minutes after dropping them off I returned to get a nice little check for $141!
There were a few things they didn’t end up taking, so I swung by another donation box on the way home with the extras, and finally that Corner O’ Bins in the living room is no more. The funny thing is that I dragged those downstairs from the storage room at around 18 weeks pregnant (in anticipation of finding out if this was another girl or a boy, so I could sort through everything). Which means they sat in that corner for over 10 weeks just waiting to be dealt with. Better late than never, right?
#5: Clara’s birdcages are no longer birdless. That’s right, I put a bird on it. Make that six. I noticed that West Elm was having a huge ornament sale about a month ago and they had these gorgeous little colorful birds on clearance.
So for $20 I got six of them, and when they arrived I
reenacted Snow White and put them all over my arms used their clips or their ornament loops to make them cozy in Clara’s birdcages. A few of you guys noticed them in this picture on Instagram/Facebook, and I promised an update, so there you go.
I even added a little wood dowel to the grey birdcage since it didn’t have one and I wanted to create a spot for one to perch and another one to hang. You can just barely make it out in this shot (the cut off bird on the right is sitting on it, and the flying bird under that one is hanging from it). That’s what I get for trying to be artsy with my photography.
Clara’s favorite is this one right here. She named him Prince Sam Bluebird, and we say goodnight to him every evening.
And in other update news, our new washer came bright and early on Saturday morning (some of you guys have been asking about it, which is beyond sweet) and it’s a HUGE relief that it’s finally here. I now sing and occasionally pirouette while doing laundry. I’m sure that won’t last for more than a week, but it truly is one of those “you don’t know how good you have it until an appliance conks out on you and you live without it for a while and then the new one comes and it’s broken so you have to wait another week and a half” things.
So those are a few of those “I actually got on them!” updates, along with a little Washer Status Report. I still have a bunch more should-have-done-that-yesterday things bouncing around in my brain, so maybe I should set a future check-in date with you guys to force myself to attend to them. Wanna get stuff done with me? And then we can all reconvene and attempt to hold ourselves accountable to the internet at large? What’s your “gotta get on that” list looking like these days?
As a little Friday bonus, here are four fun projects, chats, or questions going on over on the Forums. We also announced this week’s giveaway winner, so you can click here (and scroll down to the Rafflecopter box) to see if it’s you.
|by WifeInProgress||by rentalrevival
Thanks for all of your thoughts and suggestions on the beginnings of our pantry project on Tuesday. We’re kind of swimming in ideas for what to do, but for starters we knew we wanted to take everything out (even the door off its hinges) to begin the process of priming and painting.
And, thanks to the conversation between Sherry and I that Tuesday’s post sparked, one thing that won’t be going back into the pantry is our trash can. Instead, it’s gonna go into this cabinet right here. This the cabinet on the end of our peninsula, facing in towards the prep area (as opposed to the eating area). Just ignore all of the pantry cast-offs on the counter.
Although we didn’t have any odor issues with our trash can in the pantry after a month or so of use that way (we initially worried about that and mentioned it here), our decision to move the garbage out of the pantry was three-fold.
- We knew that bottom space could be more functional for storing stuff if so much of it weren’t taken up by the trash can (and trash can lid-clearance).
- When we really thought about it, having a kick-step trash can wasn’t nearly as hands-free now that we had to open the pantry door and then get our foot in there to open it – so one of those moves (either pulling something open with our hand, or stepping on the can when it’s out in the open) would be more efficient than both.
- This cabinet wasn’t doing a whole lot except for housing a few vases. Hello missed opportunity. Nice to meet you.
Rather than just jam a trash bin in there, we decided to purchase a product that many of you recommended in the comments on Tuesday – one of these Rev-A-Shelf’s pull-out containers (which ran us $35 at Lowe’s). They did sell a larger version with two cans, but we didn’t have a cabinet that would easily accommodate that configuration – and we figure one small can will encourage us to empty it more regularly (we have a plan for our recyclables too, but we still need to flesh that out).
The somewhat frustrating thing about this cabinet was that it wasn’t a natural fit for the system, thanks to this barely visible half-shelf (it’s in all of our lower cabinets, and it prevented the can from sitting all the way back). That shelf doesn’t just slide in and out – it’s nailed in on all sides so it’s permanently built-in, as opposed to being removable or adjustable. Urgh.
But that didn’t stop me. I knew I’d just have some wood cutting in my near future. So I followed the instructions, lined up the paper template in my shelf, drilled some pilot holes, and then screwed the two tracks into the floor of the cabinet.
Then I snapped the other pieces into place, which took very little time. The entire conversion would’ve taken no more than ten minutes if I didn’t have my little half-shelf issue to deal with. But at least having the track in place meant that I could mark the shelf with where I needed to cut (note the green tape).
I only need to notch out a 3″ deep by 8″ space for the can to slide into, so I broke out my Dremel Sawmax to do my dirty work because it’s fairly small and good at plunge cuts (i.e. I can plunge the blade into the wood at any point). It was a fast cut to make, but sure was messy. It spewed sawdust everywhere, as you can sorta tell from my awesome iPhone pic. You’ll have to forgive me. I was actively being sprayed with sawdust.
With everything cleaned up, the can slid back into place, and even the vases put back – I could’ve called this project done… but I wasn’t satisfied.
Next to the pull-out cabinet converter, I saw that Rev-A-Shelf also sold a Door Mounting Kit for $18, which intrigued me because it meant that I could further make our old cabinet function like a newer one.
The installation of this was less straightforward – partly because the instructions were a bit vague. But the gist was that you had to install these two bracket “fins” to the sliding portion of the trash can tray.
This was easier said than done considering the nuts and screws were tiny and hard to hold in place. Made me wish I had tiny Kristen Wiig hands.
Once those were attached, you bolted on some larger brackets – which is where you’d eventually attach the cabinet door.
When I put everything back in place (except for the cabinet door, which I had removed) I immediately realized I had a problem. Although I followed the instructions, they didn’t account for old doors like mine, which sit half-recessed into the cabinet frame (they literally are half-sunk, so there’s a lip that rests on the frame and an inset area that slides into the opening for a tight seal). You can see from the picture below how the brackets were overhanging our frame, meaning this cabinet door wouldn’t sit flush like the rest of them.
So I improvised. I took the brackets off and switched them around so that they faced inward instead of out. Problem solved. Oh, and here’s the genius part. This whole time I was worried about attaching the cabinet door back in the right place. How would I keep it straight and lined up with the other door? With the double-stick tape they included, that’s how.
The tape wasn’t a permanent solution, but it allows you to hold your door up, get it right where it looks good and then press it against the tape.
Then you can gently pull the whole thing out – door still stuck in place – and screw it together more permanently from the back (just be sure you’re only putting screws into the thick frame of the cabinet, otherwise you might see some poking out the other side).
With the cabinet door secured to the brackets, things went back into place once more (can you tell there was lots of putting together and taking apart in this process?). But the end result was not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
Although I’m a little sad to give up the size of our old garbage can, I’m really impressed with how easy it was to install this new system. And how in some weird way it makes these old cabinets of ours feel a little newer. The nice thing about this is that we can reuse the system in our new kitchen, or even keep it in place in these old cabinets when we reuse them in the garage to make a little workshop down the line (won’t I be the fanciest man in town with a pull-out garage trash can?).
The only thing left to do is touch-up the screw holes where the hinges used to go on the right side. Although I’m secretly dreaming about a way to reinstall them as sort of “dummy hinges” so that both doors look symmetrical. But that’s a project for another day…
We picked up some other baskets, bins, and pantry organization gizmos on the same trip that yielded this trash can contraption, so once all of our priming and painting is done we’re excited to get stuff back in the pantry – hopefully in a much more organized manner. And considering all the snow that we’re getting, I think we’ll have plenty of time to futz around in there over the next few days. Then the pantry party is officially on.