Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Besta Media Storage - Part II

Hello Friends,

Remember this?

I carved out some time and asked for help.  I get by with a little help from my the song goes.  No shame in admitting there are some things that are not in my wheelhouse and furniture construction is one of them...or so I believed. My friend, Suzette, to the rescue!

I made tea, she brought her cheaters and we got to work.

This  Besta media storage unit is from Ikea.  I knew it was perfect for this and future houses because there are so many different configurations that can be added on to it.  I liked how narrow and sleek it looked in the store and since there are up to 6 shelves, I was assured that there would be space for our old school 1992 Technics stereo and all of it's components.  I chose the 3 drawer model to hold all of the CDs, DVDs and various cords  to the TV as well.

The first step was to unpack all the boxes.  

We marveled at how amazingly organized the contents were.  Then to lay everything out.  There were a lot of instructions!  It was a little intimidating.

But then we got going and it was surprisingly easy!  It only took us an hour to build the frame!

It's important to spend time looking very carefully at each picture.  All the hints are there.  And it's a very good idea to separate out all the little screws, plates, etc. before starting - it's easy to lose these little things in the carpet.  We ended up using plastic containers to sort everything but didn't get a picture.

We moved the frame into position before adding the drawers and shelves.  

Building the drawers was easy.

I thought installing the sliding hardware for the drawers was going to be the most difficult, but as you can tell, it was a cinch!

Except when I installed the drawers into the frame, this happened.

The left drawer is 1 inch lower than the other 2 drawers!
We took a break for lunch (thanks to Dish n' Spoon Cafe for quick delivery!) and pondered what to do.  While we were thinking, I placed a vase of tulips on top.  Flowers just make things better.

Just at this moment, one of my engineering sons came in the door and suggested I swap out the left drawer with the center drawer.

Who knows why but EUREKA, it worked!  Maybe it was the tulips?

When installing the shelves, it was important to measure and place the components as I went along.  I had to keep adjusting the shelf brackets to get them all to fit correctly.  This took the most time.

Then it was time to install these totes into their respective drawers.  They fit perfectly!  



I'm not a fan of having a TV in the living room, but won't it look wonderful up on there?!

Truth be told, I have to purchase longer power and connection cords to hook up all the stereo components, but for now the radio works!  

I have to say, Ikea ROCKS!  I'm inspired to recommend their furniture to my clients and who knows? Maybe I'll even build it for them!

A big shout out to my intrepid friend, Suzette.  Thank you!

What's on your Ikea shopping list?

Have you ever put together a piece of furniture?  How did it go?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Basement Space Shuffle

Hello Friends,

It all started with this laundry basket at the foot of the stairs.  For years, we have been "making missing baskets" with balled up towels, cloth napkins, dish towels etc.  A resulting pile of laundry inevitably followed that one either picked up or walked on/over.  You can guess which.

There were other issues in this basement of ours.  Namely a weird floor plan and a lot of clutter.  Notice the internal vacuum hose hanging up?  The broom and mop are hidden just around that corner.  None of this cleaning equipment is easy to access.

This old kitchen cabinet is perfect for folding laundry and doing small projects, but the grey pegboard hanging above has been unusable space.

Add to this issue is the challenge of reaching the outlet for the internal vacuum!  You can guess how often I climbed on the cabinet to plug in the never.

This view from where the counter sits, shows a hanging coat rack.

Notice all the empty hangers?  I was able to fit ALL of my coats in my revamped walk-in closet in the bedroom!   I kept the ones that brought me JOY and donated the rest.  These left are my husband's and I can't recall the last time he wore a coat, so they went in a box to be sorted.

 And what is that lurking under the coats?

A lot of dusty old shoes that were also inaccessible.  Who knew we had so many old shoes?

I wanted to create more space in the basement as well as put all the cleaning supplies in one area utilizing the pegboard.  I also wanted to better use this cubby in the stairwell.

First I removed all those ugly plastic shoe racks and sorted out the shoes.  I tried this first, but the shoe cubby didn't quite fit in the space.

Looking around the basement some more, I located the original shelves and luckily the shelf brackets were still in place (13 years later).  Some would call this a miracle!   I was able to make a quick trip to the hardware store to get a small package of shelf holders and pegboard hooks and voila!

So much better.
Then I tackled moving the old kitchen cabinet to it's new location, underneath the coat rack bar.

The end of that cabinet needs some painting
The snowshoes could be hung a bit lower

These little details can make a big difference in the JOY factor. I'm looking forward to finishing up these small touches.

I did remove this equipment from another era.
Did we really have phones that hung on the wall?

Next up, tackling the pegboard wall.  First I removed this little white rack and donated it.  It came with the house and never worked very well.

 But evidently the last time I painted, I'd painted AROUND it...lazy, I guess?

Then it was trial and error until I found the right paint color.  Geez, you'd think I'd have my paint colors a little more organized!

3 times the charm!

It was so satisfying to hang up all the cleaning equipment on this pegboard!  I moved the bucket and wastebasket here too.  Now everything is handily in one place.

And now with the little help from a step ladder, I can now easily reach the vacuum attachment. Dustbunnies beware!

 The best part of this shuffle is that it only took a few hours, including the run to the hardware store and painting the pegboard error.

When the keeping and sorting is figured out first, the organization goes smoothly and the real fun begins.  Now to enjoy this new space.

Is there anything you'd love to change in your basement?

What's holding you back?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Personal Toolbox

Hello Friends,

What with all the spring cleaning going on, there are probably a few areas of your home that need fixing.  This is where a personal tool box can really come in handy.  

I labeled mine because when my boys were growing up they were likely to use and lose tools, so having my own toolbox saved my sanity.  There is nothing quite like the feeling of starting a project and having all the tools you need in one place.

For the box itself, there are many options.  I used a child size toolbox, leftover from when my boys were young.  I took out the removable tray as it took up a lot of room.  

One of my clients uses this tool bag.  It's like a big purse for tools!  Lots of pockets to organize small items too and in the largest pocket, you can fit an electric drill and charger too!

Some tools you might like to include in your toolbox are:

Level - comes in handy for hanging pictures
Pencils - for marking
Sharpie - for labeling
Finish hammer - perfect for pounding in a nail
Allen wrenches
Needlenose pliers
Small pliers
Assorted nails & screws of all sizes
Stud sensor 
Screwdriver - this one is on my wish list to replace the 7 that are pictured here
X-acto knife
Stick lubricant - gets all your sticky drawers to slide smoothly, among many other uses
*Goo Gone - removes stickers and other adhesives off in a jiffy
Tape measure

All these tools fit perfectly inside.

You'll want to keep your toolbox handy.  My sole purpose in creating a toolbox for myself was to avoid going into our garage.  My organizing jurisdiction stops with the house.  The garage is my husband's territory.  

YIKES!  Don't judge.

Keep your toolbox preferably somewhere on the main floor of your house.  My client with the nifty toolbox keeps it in the closet of her office.

 I keep mine in the basement, inside the drawer of old kitchen cabinets in my laundry room area.  Wherever you keep it, be sure it is easily accessed so you can grab and go!

If you have many in your household that like to borrow tools, you may want to hide it!

*If you want to make your own natural Goo Gone, you can!  
Mix equal parts baking soda and coconut oil. 
Make a paste.
Add 3 drops, more or less, of orange essential oil, if desired.
Thanks to my DIY friend, Brenda for sharing this recipe!

Where do you keep your toolbox?

What tools do you have that you couldn't live without?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Painting Makes All the Difference

Hello Friends,

During the "spruce" step when organizing a home, it often becomes glaringly apparent that not only do rooms need a thorough cleaning, but paint is badly needed.  This is a very important step and one that my clients are eager to complete. There is nothing quite like being in a freshly painted room, except maybe stepping into a brand new car!

This has been my "uniform" this past week as I was busy prepping my home for painting,  

I've seen clients do it themselves or ask willing family members to paint rooms for them but in my case, I hired it out, but did all the prep.  I tried to trade for organizing services, but my painter friend would have none of it.  In fact, he got a little nervous when I suggested it. Hmmmm...I wonder what his attic looks like?

If you're considering painting a space in your home, here are some tips.  

Take before pictures. Looking at them may help you decide what to move back in after your done.  Plus it's fun to show friends, family  and Facebook after painting is complete.

Hoping for a treat!

These cranberry walls are pretty, but dated.  There were gold brocade drapes too - yikes.  Time for a change!

This kitchen had yellowish walls that over time became more yellowish.

This side entry was dark and tunnel like, leading to a basement.  The wood on the walls was scarred and poorly patched in many places.

The office had very dirty walls and very large holes from a cable project gone awry.

There was so much clutter on the walls and many, many nail holes underneath it all, which is why it stayed up there.  I'd rather look at clutter than a lot of nail holes.  How about you?

Move everything out, including what's on the walls.   Luckily there was one room in the house that was recently painted, so everything went in there.  Using furniture moving pads will make it easy for one person and quick work with two.

Likely you'll find many treasures, like the knob to our air conditioning unit and a lot more cleaning.  I ended up calling carpet cleaners as there were many pet stains that were uncovered.  Gross.

Dust the walls, or in my case, wash scrub the walls.  Use a mild detergent and a large industrial sponge. 

I admit, I got a little misty when I washed this wall...but reminded myself I have a picture...and everything has an expiration date.

Our family growth chart
In the kitchen, a ladder came in handy to wash the wall at the tops of the cabinets and I discovered this!  YUCK.
Seriously friends, don't judge.  When's the last time you cleaned the top of your kitchen cabinets?
Spackling.  Buy a good quality spackling compound.  Vinyl spackle is nearly impossible to sand off once it dries.  Who knew?  The painter happily redid much of my hack job, he gets paid by the hour.

Don't use the paste kind, it balls up and flakes and is very messy.  Find the kind that is like ice-cream. It goes on easily, dries fast, and a light sanding will remove all but what's in the hole.  

Taping.  It's worth going to a paint store and buying the best quality masking tape you can afford.  I like the 1.5" size.  Then as you lay the tape on your moulding, use a small scraper and press the tape down on to the flat surface that the paint could spread to.  Paint likes to seep, and pressing the tape will eliminate all the little air pockets and make for a perfect seal.

Here's the finish!

BEFORES                                                                                                    AFTERS

The new paint color really makes the woodwork POP!

Those trash/recycling bins need to move.

That laundry basket needs a new home.

This side entry finish is my favorite.  It looks so much cleaner, brighter and more welcoming.  Just what I was aiming for.  My entire downstairs feels lighter and happier. JOY

Want to guess how long it took to move everything back?

If you could paint any room in your home, which would it be?