Sunday, May 25, 2014

YoCP: The Big Closet

It's May, and Jolie and the Dust Bunnies are on to purging winter clothes. My #YoCP May focus was on The Big Closet. See, we have this closet. It's big. Like, approximately 42 square feet. I don't mean to brag, but dang, it's a closet. And it has so much potential. But it had gotten a little bit out of control. There was too much being stored, and stored inefficiently, making it hard to find anything - including floorspace to walk on. But friends, oh friends. I have prevailed. I spent about 15 hours over the course of the weekend taking everything out and putting it all back in again. And getting rid of a giant black trash bag full of clothing and whatnot. And

I think we have a coat-hoarding problem.
And enough hats to outfit a baseball team.
And enough jerseys to run a hockey league.
There was a lot of stuff in that closet, man.
The hockey gear corner (before). Holy mess. 
The hockey gear corner (after). Neat & Tidy.
I'm particularly impressed with my hockey
stick holder - a repurposed toilet paper holder.
Better view of the hockey stick holder, plus
the ironing situation and giant post-it boards.
The other wall - organized sporting gear,
scarf holder, and clutches. Also contains
the "future gifts" box (and our ski gear
duffel sits on top of it, not pictured).
View of the wall behind the coat rack - we
have a lot of bags. They hang on the wall.
Camping gear and my childhood dollhouse
now fit snugly in the corner under the stairs.
The plastic cart on the left is hardware/tools
and the right is all hats. Yep. Hats.
The closest I could get to a shot of the whole
closet. Sleeping bags and hiking backpacks
hang from a hook on the left there.
Out of the shot on the left side is the stuff
pictured above (hockey, camping, etc).

So yeah. This was A Project. And it's pretty much done. Last step is the wrapping paper...but that'll get its own blog post because because. I'm impressed with myself, and I really enjoyed taking a whole weekend to tackle something in the house. I needed to fix the scarf holder (one of the Command hooks holding it up just plain fell off the wall -- the hook was strong enough but the years-old paint wasn't!) and what would have seemed like an insurmountable task was super speedy. Because the hammer and nails were so easy to get to, the repair only took about 2 minutes. 

You may my excitement over such little things (Will certainly does), but having things organized and easily accessible makes me feel good. It's more efficient, and it looks nicer too. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Have you tackled any home projects lately? Anything in your house that's just driving you nuts?

YoCP April: bathroom and BBQ

It's the end of May, so what better time to write my April #YoCP post? I don't have any photos, so this will be a quickie.

April was "bathroom and BBQ" month - technically, it was "Create Your Dream Bathroom" month, but I knew we'd have to get the BBQ ready for summer so I threw it in the mix as well. So what was on the agenda to create my dream bathroom?

  • fix loose tiles on the bathroom floor (a task I'd set out to do nearly two years ago)
  • clean/purge the linen closet (time for that annual "what's expired? how many of these towels do we really need?" cleaning and re-organizing)
I fixed those loose tiles - turns out it's way easy! All it took was a little 2-in-1 grout/adhesive, and about 48 hours (about 10 minutes of hands-on) and the loose tiles that have been bugging me for years were fixed. The color's a little off in that section of the floor, since it's brand new, but after just a few weeks it's dirtying up to match the rest of the floor nicely :)  And sure, I could scrub and bleach the rest of the floor, but honestly the tile in the bathroom is so old I don't think I would make a dent on the 50+ year old grout, and well, we don't own it. So. Eh.

I haven't done the linen closet yet, but my mom's coming to visit in a few weeks, and she was bummed to have missed the big closet (where do you think I get my organization obsession?) so we'll knock that one out when she's here. And now of course I've noticed that the grout in the shower could use a good scrubbing, so that's gotta get done too, despite not being on the original list (oh god, no! self-imposed restrictions!). My dream bathroom certainly doesn't come with moldy grout.

The BBQ ended up taking several hours to clean - the morning of my birthday, we opened it up for the first time since last summer, and it was...well...a bit moldy. We took the whole thing apart and washed all the pieces, which was a much more involved process than I'd anticipated. This year, I think we'll be better about cleaning as we go. Somehow, we damaged the ignition button (it still lights with a match), but we grilled up a storm for my birthday.

So. That was April. Onward to May! Ahem.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Housewife Weekend

If you've been following along, I'm participating in Jolie Kerr's Year of the Clean Person (more on that here). I've been keeping up with my projects, but lately, I've been so busy that I haven't had time (or more accurately, the desire) to sit down and blog about them. Or anything else for that matter.

But no matter.

I had set this past weekend aside for The Big Closet, a project I was really looking forward to accomplishing. We have this giant (no really, it's about 42 sq feet) closet that's mostly used for the storage of gear and winter coats. Over time, it becomes disorganized and cluttered, and as a coworker recently pointed out, "it has a lot of potential." While it has not yet reached its full potential, this weekend's work was a great start.I made room for no plans if they did not contribute to Mission: Big Closet, and it was honestly so lovely that I don't know why I don't do this more often. (oh right: because I am also a social person and desire the company of humans) I wondered what my life would be like if I didn't work; if my only job was to take care of our home and myself and my family.

Putting my feet up on a mid-closet break
I sometimes struggle to balance the desire to be a Strong Professional Woman with my love of homemaking...can I be both housewife and breadwinner (I mean, I wrote about this 5 years ago, so this is nothing new)? I don't know that it's possible within the laws of physics, but I certainly try. I want to stay home all day and keep house, bake bread, do laundry at my leisure. I want to take midday walks down to the butcher and read a good book in the sun. I want to take that 10am weekday "ABC: Abs, Back, Core" workout class. I want to drop my kids off at school and be home in the afternoons when they're done so I can take them to their various lessons or help them with their homework. But I also want to develop my career, have difficult and engaging conversations with other adults, and do my part to make my company and the industry a better place. I want my hypothetical kids to see that their mom is a strong, driven career woman and know that they can aspire to be anything. I want my world to be more than my home.

It's hard to do it all. And because most of the time, my balance skews in favor of work, sometimes it's nice to reject the laptop and focus on the nesting, however forced it may feel at first.

This weekend (in no particular order) I:
  • did three loads of laundry
  • repurposed miscellaneous leftovers into a whole new (delicious!) meal
  • made banana peanut butter chocolate chip "ice cream"
  • organized the camping gear
  • overhauled the hockey gear storage
  • found new storage for our outdoor toys (jai alai, frisbees, wiffle ball, etc)
  • moved the gift storage out of the bedroom (after several months)
  • collected a big black trash bag full of clothes to give away
  • watched Bye Bye Birdie and Gidget (I have a soft spot for adorable mid-century movies)
  • organized the hardware cabinet
  • reworked the sprinklers in the vegetable garden
  • moved my childhood dollhouse into the Big Closet (it's in a big box that had been moving around the house because of lack of room in the closet)
  • put away a bunch of dishes
  • prepped a pillow for testing (review coming soon on the blog)
  • took a trip to IKEA for supplies and ogling the IKEA things
And that doesn't even take into account the magazine-sorting, table-clearing, trash-taking-out, and dishwashing that Will contributed to the weekend. The house is looking so much better, and I'm feeling a greater peace of mind. I think I might just do it again this weekend.

Separate post on the YoCP stuff to come (because, hello, I owe y'all a post about April still and I took a LOT of pictures of the closet this weekend).