February 28, 2011

Update on 2011 Home Purge

I have been purging like it is my duty and full-time job! Oh, but does it ever feel good! The only downside of it is that, since regular garbage is only collected every other week, and we are limited to only a few bags each time, I'm not getting rid of the full garbage bags and purge items as quickly as I would like.

So far, I have donated 2 full bags of clothes and jackets, and thrown out 4 full garbage bags of junk! I know: RIDICULOUS right?

This weekend, I tackled the guest bedroom, which I thought I would not get to for a while... It started because I was looking for our wedding guestbook notes. {Side note: I did not want a traditional guestbook because I thought "When will I ever look at that?" so instead I left a basket and pre-cut square white papers for guests to sign and/or leave notes and anecdotes, with a DIY sign explaining the details. My intention was to make a craft or home decoration to display the notes.}

Nico was coloring dinosaurs so I thought I would craft right along with him. I had already purchased two rectangular canvases for this particular craft, as well as a black chandelier decal for the day when I would feel like tackling this project. I knew I had recently seen my wedding guestbook notes while purging another area of the house. The question now was: where did I put them? Since the guest bedroom has been our dumping ground {well, MY dumping ground according to Jon} for things that have no "home", I assumed that I had put them somewhere in that room. I started digging around, lifting things, shifting things, and could not find them {I did find something else that I had been looking for earlier in the week though}. So, I decided that there was no better time then 9:30 on a Saturday morning to start, or rather keep, purging away.

After an hour and a half, and help from my little monkey man, well, help... if you can call him jumping on the bed, and stepping on things when I told him not to, and playing with the elliptical trainer like if it was a horse, helping! Oh, and Jon helped for a whole, I don't know, 5 seconds, when I asked him "Do any of these jackets still fit you?" Anyhow, after an hour and a half, I had a bag full of jackets to donate, half a garbage bag full of well, garbage, and an organized shelving unit displaying my Decor Store {AKA, a place where any currently unused baskets, frames, candles, decorations, as well as items for yet-to-be-tackled crafts}). At least I thought that my Decor Store corner looked organized, Jon kind of said "Well, at least we only have that corner left to clean up". Our guest bedroom is now a functional room. Look for Before and After photos in a bit.

Oh, and I also tackled the linen closet while sitting on the floor in my living room. So look for photos of those Befores and Afters shortly.

So, where am I at with my 2011 Home Purge list? Here is an update:

2011 Home Purge

CLOTHES: All clothing (all seasons) using rule (if not worn within last year or last season
item was out: it goes!) GOAL: store all seasons of clothing in closet and in one dresser.

COATS/JACKETS: purge what is no longer useful or doesn’t fit.

KITCHEN PANTRY: organize by categories; purge older stuff; use existing
baskets/boxes to keep like things together; label shelves.

SPICES OVER STOVE: purge what’s old, use box for misc-sized containers.

JUNK DRESSER: should leave drawer for phone book, pens, cheque books, etc.; drawer
for table cloths and current catalogues; drawer for Nico's craft supplies; other drawer
could be all candles, frames, decor items, etc. (my “Decor Store”).

GUEST BEDROOM: make it a functional and pretty space.

GUEST ROOM CLOSET: strengthen clothes rod; purge and organize contents that will

CLOSET IN BASEMENT REC ROOM: keep bottom clear for bigger toys; organize the
rest of contents; strengthen shelves.
  Top shelf left: games
  Top shelf right: extra blankets
  Middle shelf left: filing, computer stuff
  Middle shelf right: wrapping center, sewing machine

UPSTAIRS WASHROOM: purge drawers and cabinets

LAUNDRY ROOM: purge storage shelves and re-organize

LINEN CLOSET: purge cosmetic products to reduce to one basket and only reserve one
shelf for those products; organize linens (store bed linens in appropriate room)

BASEMENT WASHROOM CABINET: store bulk supplies (paper towel, toilet paper,
facial tissue). Hang hooks behind door for guest towels.

NICO’S CLOSET: organize boxes of clothing, create storage for bigger toys.

Not bad, if I do say so myself. I consider 3/4s of the remaining areas some of the hardest, especially the laundry room. I have bought storage boxes at IKEA this weekend to encourage myself to tackle it. But it is a huge job and Jon will actually need to help me with that one. That and Nico's closet. It baffles me how much clothes a kid can go through in less than three years, and I have yet to figure out how to organize it properly. Sort of still waiting for a light-bulb moment for that area. Of course, I am keeping every single piece of clothing in case we have another boy. Plus, I took home three or four boxes of girl's clothes that my sister was getting rid of, you know, just in case we have a girl next time, which Jon was so annoyed about, his comment was "we don't have room for that" to which I responded "it's all stuff we won't have to spend money on". Yeah, I know how my man's brain works! Hi hi hi!

So, I'll keep you posted as my purging keeps going.

February 25, 2011

To distress or not to distress...

So, I am torn... A few weeks back, I found a second-hand large desk {via Craigslist} for my computer and crafting / wrapping / everything-station. It is solid wood, was honey in color, has two large drawers, and weighs about, oh, I dunno, 100 lbs! Seriously, Jon and I thought we were not going to make it when we were bringing it inside the house from the van {we had to borrow my sister's minivan to bring it home and it JUST fit!} It is almost 6' long and 3' deep! In fact, we put it down right inside the door on our main floor and I thought I was either going to faint or throw-up from the weight of it! Anyhow, enough drama! It stayed there until the next morning when my sweet brother came over {I did bribe him to come with the promise of a Sunday brunch} to help Jon bring it down stairs to its new {and apparently permanent, cause Jon said he's never moving it again!} home. Here it is:

My first step, after getting this ginormous-beast-of-a-desk into place, was to remove the existing hardware. It was not all that bad, but it lacked that glamorous touch. After removing them, I was left with two holes, which wasn't great because I had my eye on these beauties from Lee Valley Tools {in white}:
I know, they are like a gorgeous pair of earrings or a diamond ring! Honestly, I've been wanting to use these in a project for 10 years, ever since I first saw them used on a re-finished tray... Ahhhh... Dream come true }I know, I ain't hard to please!}.

I gave the desk and drawers a good sanding using a Mastercraft Random Orbit Sander/Polisher {borrowed from, again, my sweet brother}. I then gave it two coats of primer, followed by two coats of white, semi-gloss paint {Side note: I used a leftover semi-gloss paint meant for trim and molding that I had lying around, but it ended up being really nice to use because it goes on pink and dries a crisp white! Awesome when you are painting white over white several times!}

Since my new bling, I mean, my new knobs only required one hole, I had to fill or cover the two holes left by the original hardware. Instead of filling them in, I decided to include another feminine and personal touch by adding this wood decal of the holes. Simply enough, I affixed them with wood glue.

I then started rolling away. I purchased a small foam roller and paint tray as I wanted the smooth finish that it offers. To get the tighter corners and edges, I used a 2" foam brush.

Four coats and a few days later, it was ready for it's crowning jewels. I drilled straight through the wood decals and drawer fronts {which chipped the wood on the inside of each drawer, but not the end of the world} and added the desk's jewellery.

With knobs:

The results...

The Befores and Afters



Well, I wasn't in love with it as soon as it was done... or was I not in love with the whole area and the overall look? 

And now comes the reason for my post title... To distress or not to distress? You see, I feel that it {either the desk, or the area itself} lacks something, but I can't put my finger on it. I am torn between a) distressing it a bit for a shabby-chic look, b) painting it another color altogether {my original plan was to paint it grey} for a more "now" look {you know, grey is the new brown} or c) adding an extra-glossy clear coat for a super sleek, contemporary look. 

I am also thinking of several options or things to try before actually touching the desk itself:

-You see that picture gallery above it? Well, I have not inserted pictures in them yet {yup, I put them up with the fake pictures in them!}. Once OUR actual pictures are in them, all in black and white, I'm hoping the whole area will feel more personal.

-I just painted those block letters last weekend and put them up a few nights ago. Again, not crazy about them, but I think it's the black. With the white desk, I feel like they should be white. So, I may try that.

-I definitely need more lighting {this is in our basement family room, which has one teeny-tiny window}, so I am on the hunt for a desk lamp in a gorgeous bright color. I am also thinking of changing the actual ceiling fixture in the space to a gorgeous, large, red drum-shade with an open bottom to create more light.

-I plan on recovering the chair with a graphic pattern of red, white, black and/or grey, or any combination of these colors {that is my actual color scheme in the entire space}.

-De-clutter the area around it. Directly to the right of my desk, there is a large closet and then Nico's designated play area, which has 3/4 of his toys. I want to clear the floor space in that closet to store Nico's larger toys out of site, and to simply leave the toy chest with a few large floor pillows.

Other ideas that are in the back of my mind for my little station are:
-adding an area rug under the entire desk to define the space a little more {I'm envisioning bright red and shaggy}.
-building a long drawer to go where the keyboard tray originally was, to house my gift wrapping supplies.
-adding a large, white book shelf on the wall opposite the desk to add more storage and display area. This is the one I have my eye on from IKEA:
So, that is where I am at. On my immediate-to-do list is lining the drawers with a beautiful paper and organizing my beading supplies in one drawer, and my craft supplies in the other drawer, with the help of a trip to my favorite dollar store for some organizing supplies. I do plan to use the basket underneath to store my wrapping supplies in a decorative way until I add the drawer. It is a work in progress I guess, until I decide which idea to try next to make the space more complete. Stay tuned.

My post is linked to:

Beyond The Picket Fence 
Domestically Speaking
Show and Tell Green

Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden

February 21, 2011

Monday madness

Today was a holiday for Jon and I. That meant that we had an entire three-day weekend to do what we wanted with Nico, as we had NO plans. We spent some family time on Saturday, including visiting a reptile zoo in Ottawa. On Sunday, we chose to take it easy and relax with Nico. On Monday, we went through a clean-the-house frenzy! It was MADNESS! Jon and I have a system that works fairly well. It kind of started once we moved to this house, without us actually declaring it a system or a rule. Jon cleans the entire basement {meaning tidying up, scrubbing, vacuuming, mopping, etc.} whereas I am in charge of doing the same on the entire main floor. In this same manner, we each have to clean one bathroom {which is much better than me doing both!}.

So, while I was cleaning my "part" of the house, I started to feel the need to purge and reorganize certain areas that had really been nagging at me, these areas being 1) the top of our bedroom dressers, 2) the infamous "junk drawer" {I my case, this drawer had become an entire dresser!} that seems to reside in every household, 3) the telephone area in the kitchen, and finally, 4) the three drawers in the upstairs bathroom.

To start, the top of our bedroom dressers {keep in mind, it looked a bit worst as I actually started tidying then realised I'd better take a before picture!}:

The second area was the junk dresser:
{I know, the dresser is not much to look at, but it has sentimental value as it was my grand-parents' and I inherited it after my grand-mother passed away and my grand-father moved into a little apartment. I do have the intention of possibly re-vamping it. But for now, it suits me just fine!}


And more junk...
{I could not open the top drawer more than that! It was too full!}

The third area, and really the easiest of the day, was the telephone area on the kitchen counter, which was just getting out of control:

Finally, the three drawers in the upstairs washroom. One drawer had combined stuff for the whole family {forgot to take a pic of this one! Oops!}

The second was mine {yes, I am responsible for that overloaded mess of a drawer}:

And the bottom one was Jon's {not much in there, just not organized}:


My goal in the bedroom was to get rid of the three baskets, which at the beginning seemed like a good idea, but over time, they just became home to things that belonged elsewhere. So, it was easy enough. I emptied the baskets and put things in there appropriate place or in a laundry basket to redistribute around the house:



Next, the junk drawer... ummm... dresser {I blush in shame...}. This housed soooooooo much junk, it really lived up to its name! I had pre-determined that the drawers would house the following: one drawer for pens, cheque books, phone/camera chargers, stapler, scissors, and other often used supplies; another drawer for table cloths and current catalogues; another for Nico's craft supplies, neatly organized; and the bottom drawer to house any unused decorating supplies {like candles, frames, bowls, etc.} that I have throughout the house, kind of like my own little decorating store!

I pulled out each drawer, starting from the bottom, and started purging either by throwing away/recycling, giving things a new home, or placing items in my laundry basket to be redistributed around the house.










{Empty for now... it will soon be my little decorating store!}

This was the stuff I pulled out of the drawers and the bedroom to go elsewhere in the house {I know, look at those lovely baskets just waiting to be filled and to be given a new organizing task!}:

The easiest purge was the telephone area in the kitchen, since most things didn't belong there to begin with. So, that was easy enough.



Finally, the washroom drawers. This purge was more of a throw-out-what-is-no-longer-good and reorganize-the-rest kind of purge. Plus, I find once you've already purged a few areas, near the end, you are just chucking things out left and right! So, that went quickly enough.

AFTER {sorry about forgetting to take the before!}:





Few! It can be quite a lot of work, but it feels so good and cleansing! The sad part of it is that those were the easiest purge to-dos on my list {see this previous post!}. The hardest ones are still to come... but they will also be the most rewarding.

What I didn't share was that I have also been working on a re-vamping project this weekend. Look for my reveal later this week!

My post is linked to: