Cleaning, Organizing, & Eco

How To Clean, Gloss Up, And Seal Dull Old Hardwood Floors

Whoops, I almost forgot to tell you about how I scrubbed and re-sealed the existing hardwoods right before we moved in (literally, like 26 hours before we moved in). The new hardwoods upstairs were looking so flossy and glossy, I didn’t want the ones in the office, living room, and dining room to feel so 2000 and late. So I gave them some love. Wax on, wax off, baby.

First I swept up the random dust and old faux Christmas tree leaves and all the other stuff that was left behind.

Not a bad pile for an empty looking room, eh?

Then I bought this stuff at Home Depot because I had heard good things about it when it comes to cleaning and glossing up floors that are old/dulled/mildly scratched (you know, floors that don’t need a full re-finishing but could use some moisture/polish to fill in small scrapes and seal them again).

You know, little stuff like this.

After sweeping, the next step was to use their floor cleaning spray, by just working my way around the room spraying it on the floor and following that with the mop (with the cleaning pad on it). This made me mad sweaty, yo. So I give it a 7 on the exertion scale. You’re not just swabbing over the floors like you’re swiffering, you’re scrubbing the heck outta them to get them nice and clean.

Then came the actual sealing/polishing step. This was a lot less rigorous (so you ARE doing the swiffer motion here). The idea is just to gently spread out the liquid that you’re pouring out of the bottle as you work your way out of the room. Oh and for this step you have to use a polishing pad on the mop (it’s more like a lamb’s wool pad while the cleaning one is a bit more scrubbing-sponge-like). Note: see the green painters tape on my mop? That thing came out of the box all wonky and broken, so I had to MacGuyver it together.

In this picture you can see how the floor that I had done was all moisturized and shiny (top left of the pic below) while the floor behind the polish pad is kind of dull and dry.

Sadly, by the time I worked my way out of the room I was only mildly impressed. Parts of it had dried and looked just like they did before (dull, grayed, slightly scratched, etc) while other areas that were still wet looked awesome.

But once they dried… they were all chalky and dry again. I’m not sure if it was just something about our floors and the way they were refinished decades ago (some folks must love this stuff since we heard great things) but it wasn’t an awesome enough result for me to get going on the other two room’s floors. So it was back to Home Depot, where I bought another brand called Rejuvenate. It came in satin and high gloss but I chose high gloss since the floors upstairs are nice and shiny, which we like.

I still used the same Bona cleaning spray and the same Bona mop (with the cleaning head on it) since I already had those on hand and didn’t mind the job they did. It was just the Bona sealer that had left me high and dry (ok, just dry). So I switched ol’ wonky-mop’s head to the polishing one, but this time instead of using it to spread the Bona stuff, I worked my way out of the room with the Rejuvenate wood floor restorer. The room looked like this before:

And this after:

Granted it still had to dry a bit in that shot above, but the comparison between the Bona stuff and the Rejuvenate stuff definitely left us liking Rejuvenate a lot better. It went on more evenly and left everything rich and sealed looking – even well after it dried. Nothing looked chalky a few hours later, and I was able to apply two coats in each room (you could apply them a few hours apart instead of waiting 24 hours like the Bona stuff required) which was awesome. I even went back and did the office again with the Rejuvenate stuff instead of doing a second coat of Bona in there. And I was so much happier with it.

Here’s the dining room all dry. Flossy and glossy, eh? This is how the living room dried as well, and the office looks the same now that we went over it.

Have you used a floor cleaning and resealing system to bring life back to dull, mildly scratched, or chalky floors? Did you try Bona, Rejuvenate, or something else? Ever tried two different options for a smackdown to the death what’s-better comparison?



A Little Office Organization (& Sorting Books By Color)

Our office looked like this when we first laid eyes on the house.

Then it looked like this on moving day.

 And here’s what it looks like about a week and a half into living here.

On one hand, it doesn’t look THAT crazy. I mean there could be a llama standing in the middle of the rug eating popcorn. But on the other hand, this room has a LONG way to go before it’s functional for two working adults (yup, we currently only have one desk going on). And the whole all-furniture-against-the-wall-with-a-little-round-rug-in-the-middle thing is a little weird.

As for what we’re envisioning down the line, we’d love to have some sort of double desk action going on (probably floating or as a peninsula so it’s attached to one wall on the side) with lots of storage and some awesome organization stuff in play. So a few images that are currently inspiring us for this room are:

While we let things percolate and brainstorm what we really want to gain from the space, I like to gaze at the things that I like in the meantime. Like this corner. Clara reads/hangs out in the chair, and a big leafy green plant in a long low window = one of my favorite things.

Here’s the corner on the other side of the bay window. We leaned our big chalkboard there, and Clara has already been tagging it up, so we like the idea of having some zones for her along with eventually having two functional work areas for us.

It’s the lightest/brightest room in the whole house, which is just right for an office and a spot for Clara to come in and hang with us, so it’s nice that it worked out that way. This was originally a formal living room, but we don’t need a family room and a living room, and we love a cozy living/family room in the back of the house (where nobody can see our TV glowing from the street). And since that room in the back was also off of the kitchen and in close proximity to the deck along with having a fireplace, we thought the light and bright room that was somewhat closed off from other spaces was the best spot for an office.

Here’s the other side of the room, where the storage/function that we do have is currently residing. The Ikea bookcase on the right was in our sunroom, but that’s an awesome addition since we lost the built-in cabinetry from our previous office. The filing cabinet on the left was always in our office (it’s from Ikea with Hobby Lobby handles) so that’s where the printer hides along with a bunch of files on the bottom shelf.

And I can’t believe I’m a blogger who hasn’t put my books in color order yet. Hello? Have I been living under a rock? Turns out it’s fun and takes about ten minutes. I used to wonder “but is it harder to find books because they’re arranged by color instead of topic/author?” But let’s be real. I never arrange them by anything (not by topic, color, or even by size – I usually just randomly stack them everywhere. So it’s just as easy to find them as before, and maybe even faster if I remember one as having a certain colored cover (then I just have to look on that shelf and can ignore 80% of the other books on the bookcase).

Among the books are a few file boxes, some notebooks and post its, receipt storage, and little desktop things like our pig speaker dock, a bajillion pencils, and a tiered little white box from Target a few years back with three “inboxes” for storing things like tear sheets, printouts, and other worky stuff. And that’s my little cork board from my closet leaning up against the wall (thought that might be helpful for work stuff – maybe if we frame it out and properly hang it up?).

This shot is just funny to me because it demonstrates that no matter how much help a room might need, if you get close enough, you can usually find something sweet. Crop, crop, baby.

Although my favorite shot of the room so far is this one. Sure the lighting’s harsh and it’s a little crooked, but I walked by and saw Clara playing in that big bay window and it was perfect.

Just like that detail shot two pictures ago demonstrated that moving closer can strategically crop the weird stuff out, this picture is a funny reminder that moving further away can conversely reveal even more to be done. Like more blue trim to paint, more wallpaper to strip…

… and more old carpeting to send packing.

We’ll get there someday.

Psst- Last night we shared our favorite video of all time on Young House Life. Oh man, that kid.