Thursday, February 23, 2012

William Morris Thursday - the laundry room, part 1


One of the reasons I'm doing the William Morris project (along with everyone else who's linked up over at Jules' blog) is because I feel like I've been blessed with a great house with lots of storage and I want to be able to use my house for its intended purpose and not get slowed down by clutter and disorganization. Other people may have other reasons, that's mine.

When I first got married, we lived in a small rent house with not that much stuff and it was cluttered and disorganized. When we lived in a larger rent house, with more stuff, it was cluttered and disorganized. Now I have the house I've always dreamed about, that my husband and I had built exactly the way we wanted it and guess what? It's cluttered and disorganized. Anyone else see a pattern here. I now know that it doesn't matter the size of my house, if I don't learn to live with less and keep what I do have in some kind of order, I won't be able to control it and it will end up controlling me.

Okay, enough of that. This past week I focused on my laundry room. A laundry room that I designed to be beautiful and functional and make the chore of doing laundry enjoyable. Is that possible? It has tons of storage space and a whole wall of windows. And last week, before I started this project, it looked a little something like this.

I know. It's a little deplorable. When I took my friend, Brenda, in there to start work last Thursday, she said, "Oh, this isn't that bad at all!" I know she was referring to the amount of work we had ahead of us, but I've been rationalizing about this room for years with that statement. And the current question of beauty/usefulness is easily answered. It's not fulfilling it's intended purpose and it frustrates and slows me down.

The first thing Brenda and I did was answer some questions about the space. What do I want it to be used for? What do I want to store there? These weren't easy questions for me to answer because I don't think like that. I'm not an efficiency expert. I'm not even an efficiency novice. I have lots of storage, so I could easily just put things in spaces and be done with it, but I want to have a system. A system that makes sense. Not just to me. I'm tired of being the only one in the house who knows where things are. At one time, I was proud of the fact that if my husband needed something and he didn't have a clue where to find it, I could tell him exactly what drawer it was in and what he needed to move to get to it. Now, I'm responsible for 6 people's things and I'm 40 and my memory's not so good anymore and I'm not the only one putting things in random places and my system is no longer working. For anyone. 

In addition to laundry paraphernalia, this room is overrun with mementos and papers and a lot of non-categorizable stuff.

We started by deciding what the shelves above the washer and dryer would store. The first shelf will be for laundry stuff on the right. (It's not finished because I need some better containers.) The bottom two shelves on the left, are for current projects. The bottom shelf is for ongoing projects (my kids mementos that need to be put into scrap books) and the shelf above it is for current short term projects. Anything above that is not easy to access without a step ladder so it will be for things I don't use very often. I haven't decided what those things are yet.

This is a poorly thought out cabinet that's above the water heater cabinet. It's too big a space to be used efficiently. I'm looking for something to make it more useful and Brenda suggested I use the space to keep extra school supplies that I have a hard time keeping in stock because of my kids. I homeschool my three girls and anything that's left within their reach is used up or strewn about the house within a week. Like paper, pencils and art supplies.

This is the file cabinet that I plan on making pretty and actually using. For papers. The container sitting on top of it is where I put every paper I came across while cleaning out this room.

This is my sink area that hasn't seen the light of day for a long, long time. One of my kids said, "I didn't know you had a sink there. Cool!" You can't see it in the picture, but there is a rod above the area for hanging clothes. I might have a shelf installed above the rod, but then again, that would be more storage. We'll see.

I guess you could say that one half of the laundry room is cleaned out.

During this clean-out, we ran across a lot of papers and things that needed to be identified, categorized and put in a designated place. So, instead of moving on to the other half of the laundry room today, we're concentrating on paperwork and things of that nature.

This box was my assignment for the week and I didn't get to it. That's what we'll be doing today. Another reason for the push to organize the paper is tax time. The tax man has officially started to haunt me in my sleep. My husband is a self-employed commercial illustrator and a songwriter so tax time is always a nightmare for me. We have a miracle working CPA, but I am responsible for getting all the paperwork in order and crunching all the numbers before we take it to him.

Another thing I did since my last post was work on the crate/coffee table. 

We sanded and made sure there weren't any sharp nails or screws sticking out and we worked on the wheels.

wrong kind of attachments
I can't remember why these weren't right


not sturdy enough
too expensive

So this is what I ended up going with. I like that they are made of steel, but I don't like how new they look. 

A little dark stain and a spattering of brown spray paint (not pictured) was all it took to make them look old and worn like they had been there forever.

Now all that's left is to decide on a stain for the box itself, find hinges that will work and attach the wheels. This "weekend" project is turning into a month long one.

And that's what I've been up to this past week.

Linking up with Jules' William Morris project at Pancakes and French Fries.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Random Wednesday brain droppings

I've got some random brain dumping to do this morning. Feel free to stay and read it, if you want.

Get it here
I'm probably the only one who's noticed, but I haven't been reporting on my One Bite at a Time projects on Mondays. Probably because I haven't been keeping up with my One Bite at a Time projects. Instead, I've been doing William Morris Thursday and that is enough of a schedule for me. Sometimes, the projects coincide so I haven't totally dropped it.

That's my husband, in college. Foxy, right? He was a total babe! I, on the other hand, was a complete dork when he met me. And he married me anyway! I think I've gotten better over the years, though. So has he! In May, he'll be inducted into the sports hall of honor for his alma mater so we've been going through old pictures and newspaper articles. The kids are fascinated by this life their parents had before they existed. It's a funny thing to watch.

How 'bout these beautiful summer evenings we've been having? I love them. My kids go outside and I open the windows and can hear them laughing and playing while the evening sun streams in through the kitchen as I make supper. It's heaven. Well, I don't really want to be taking care of children and cooking supper in heaven, so that statement was a little dramatic. It's nice, for sure.

Speaking of my kids, my oldest daughter in particular, here's a birthday list that Anna gave me yesterday. She's very particular about what she wants this year. The one thing I'd like to point out is her last request. Ouch, that hurts. Upon further questioning, I found out that she doesn't mind being the recipient of a great Goodwill score, it's just that when it comes to her birthday she would rather get something 'new'! Fair enough.

Here's a bit of good news I got yesterday. Well, it's good news to me. And I'm kind of easily excited these days. These are the couches I bought off of Craig's List before Christmas. I'm planning on slipcovering both of them. I got rid of leather couches to make room for these plaid babies. I am really excited about this project. But, I still have a big, comfy chair that matches the leather couches (I used to own) that I haven't known what to do with.

It's kind of sentimental since my husband gave it to me for Valentine's Day several years back. The back cushion is really poofy and actually attached to the frame so I thought slipcovering it would be impossible. Then, I saw this blog post. It's by the same girl that wrote the e-book I bought on the subject, The Lazy Girl's Guide to Custom Slipcovers. She had me at 'lazy'. Now, I see that I might not have to part with my oh-so-comfy Valentine's chair, after all! I just need to do a little surgery and make her a new dress. Mr. Park isn't so sure about all of this unconventional altering of stuff. Either way, the room is coming together nicely, if only in my head. ;)

Tomorrow I'll be sharing the organizational progress in my house. We're on the laundry room, part 1. I've got a whole house to do so it seems like it's going slow, but I've also got all year to do it and I've got some pretty good momentum going so I'm hopeful. See ya tomorrow!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Overheard this morning

April: (singing) Bubblegum, bubblegum, in a machine

Autumn: April, it's not machine, it's dish.

April: Why would it be in a dish?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

William Morris Thursday - the laundry room closet

It's Thursday and that can only mean one thing around here - I've been busy! I've linked up with Jules again for her William Morris project and it's been so much fun! You should totally pick a project and join us!

Last Thursday, I told you that a friend of mine was coming to help me with whatever project I wanted to work on. I decided to start with my laundry room closet because the floor was covered with stuff and it was not even coming close to living up to its potential. And, when you have a house full of stuff you want to get rid of and your friend's coming to help you with it, you just pick something.

When we built this house almost 7 years ago, I wanted lots of storage. My mother-in-law instilled it in me. Build lots of closets and cabinets and drawers and you'll fill them all up and you won't regret it! Or something like that. She was right about the filling them up part. I've done that pretty well. Off of my kitchen, I have a large laundry room that I imagined the morning light pouring into as I cheerily folded towels and hung shirts. I'll talk about that reality another time.

In the laundry room, I have small closet with a large set of shelves to house things that I wanted to have access to, but wouldn't need very often. This laundry room closet began as a place to store leftover paint we used for our house and extra tiles and wood from our flooring. Then, we added things that we didn't want to lug out to our backyard storage building, and eventually, things that we just chunked in there like wrapping paper, fireworks and art supplies.

The bottom two shelves were filled with paint cans, some near full and some almost empty. Thankfully, our town has a recycling center where you can drop off old paint. If it's still good, someone will take it. If it's past its prime, it's disposed of properly. I think we loaded up about 10 cans.

There was no rhyme or reason to the stuff that ended up on these shelves. I remember being somewhat organized with it at some point in the past, but who knows what's happened since.

A whole lot of shoving and piling is what appears to have happened. Just look at that Jack-o-lantern laughing at my plight.

On Thursday, my friend came ready for work. We brewed a pot of coffee and got started. We pulled everything out and separated into giveaway, trash, my stuff and Mr. Park's stuff. Then we made a list of things that need to happen before next week. The purpose of the list was, of course, to keep me on task and help me think through some of the stuff I keep storing and moving, but not ever using.

My list:
  1. frame chicken print (For years I have intended to have it framed and put on the wall. And yet, it was at the bottom of the pile pictured above.)
  2. put bulletin boards in girl's room (Same thing. I wanted to fix them up cute and hang them in my girls' room. Bottom of pile.)
  3. get desk from Goodwill
  4. take yellow desk to mom's house (It's in my bedroom and I'm not working on my bedroom right now. Duh.)
  5. buy paint for laundry room closet (I have no idea what color I want that closet to be.)
  6. have a hole cut and install a spigot in big jar (see below)
Okay, so maybe the list thing didn't work out. I only crossed one thing off my list and the only reason I got that one done was because it involved Goodwill and buying something at Goodwill. But the purpose of the list was served even though I didn't accomplish all the items this past week. If I wanted to keep something, I had to have a plan for it. And that gives me something to work toward.

For example, this gigantic old jar. My friend Brenda, the one who so generously came to help me, gave me this jar after she did a major clean out in her house. I thought it would make the perfect sangria dispenser for summer get-togethers. If only I could get someone to drill a hole in the glass so I could attach a spigot. When we came across it in the closet, she asked me why it was in there. I told her that I wanted to have someone put a hole in it for a spigot but I was afraid it would break in the process so I never had it done. She kindly reminded me that I hadn't used it one time since she gave it to me so if it broke, I wouldn't have lost anything. Yeah, I know, she's a pretty good friend to have around.

This is the stuff I removed that belongs to Mr. Park. His assignment was to go through it, get rid of the stuff he doesn't want and organize the stuff he does. I'll take it from there. Here's another example of the wisdom of my friend Brenda. I asked her where in the heck I should put the broken ice maker from our fridge and she said to put it in Mr. Park's pile and let him deal with it. Again, brilliant!

This is the stuff that still needs to be taken out to the storage shed. (I'm sure the reason this task wasn't done has something to do with the storage shed needing to be cleaned out.) #dominoeffect

We hauled out two big bags of trash.

And filled Brenda's little Mini Cooper with recyclables and giveaway stuff.

Oh, yeah, here's how that closet looks now. Some of it stills looks the same, but everything was touched and it's usefulness considered. Not finished by any means, but ready for some organization and decoration. Did you notice you can see the floor now?!?

Mucho thanks to Brenda who'll be here in a few hours to help me take a bite out of this beautiful mess...

P.S. I'll blow that picture up when I have an 'after' picture to go next to it. ;)

What are you working on?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

William Morris Thursday - a little progress

Last week, I was decidedly absent from Jules' William Morris project. After all, who wants to read a post about everything I thought about doing? Every time I walked into a room, I was bombarded with thoughts of what I want to get rid of and what I want to keep. Then, because of (insert excuse here) I didn't actually do anything. This week I have a few piles to show for all of last week's thinking. It's not much to look at, but it's what I've got.

This is the back of my car. It's filled with Goodwill stuff, recyclables, plastic grocery bags and things that need to go to other people's houses. It's now empty! Next to that, on the ground, is a bag of things that didn't belong in the car and a bag of trash I collected from the inside. Most of it was what I like to call "van mix" from the floor boards. ((shudder)) The stuff that came in the house was a mixture of clothes, coats, dishes, mail, hair accessories and coloring stuff. It's all back where it belongs now. Ah, feels good, doesn't it?

This is my purse. It's a jungle in there. It's gotten so bad that I've stopped carrying into places because I've realized how useless it is.

It's like a big leather filing cabinet with some makeup and random toys and pens thrown in.

I dumped it out on the floor and as if it were some kind of bait, within minutes my oldest daughter showed up to go through it. And she's not even my organized one. (She just wanted to get out of doing her reading.) Regardless, my purse is much lighter today because of it. Thanks, Anna!

Today, a dear (x100) friend of mine is coming over to help me with whatever project I want to work on. She's kind of my mentor/other mother and she 'gets' where I'm going, what it will take to get there and what's standing in my way, so she's offered her services once every couple of weeks. Did I tell you how much I love her? When she called earlier this week, wanting to know if I had come up with a project, I was ready. I'll be spending a good part of today cleaning out the closet in my laundry room and getting rid of all those things that, if I were by myself, I would stare at for an ungodly amount of time and then set aside for later. Just in case. I can't wait to see what we get done. I'll share all the details next week.

Have you made any progress toward beauty or usefulness this week? Link up here and share!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Moves her momma didn't give her.

This is my baby. But "boss of the world" would be a better title. She's got confidence in amounts I can't even fathom. I told her I wanted her to do a dance for me and she didn't hesitate before whipping up this little number.

P.S. Sorry about the quality of the video. We're having issues with Youtube.