Furniture Fridays: The Thrill of the Hunt

Over Labor Day weekend we cleared out our storage unit and brought all the furniture back to our home. Some pieces found homes on the newly tiled areas of the house, while the majority of pieces were unceremoniously stuffed into our front bedroom, now jokingly referred to as the Room of Requirement. #harrypotterfans

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Eventually, once the rest of our floors are finished, we’ll move some pieces back into the rest of the house. Others we hope to re-home via Craigslist and our neighborhood’s fall yard sale, as we really have too much furniture for our small home.

Perhaps this is why Chris was rather surprised when I brought home a new piece of furniture Friday. Crazy? Maybe, maybe not.

After nine years of marriage, we have amassed a collection of furniture, small and large, more and less useful. Although pieces with a smaller footprint are ideally sized for our home, we also need furniture with enough room to hold our belongings. Pieces that don’t serve a particularly useful purpose must go, whereas pieces like our behemoth of a black bookcase surprisingly must stay. #bibliophiles

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For awhile now, I’ve been looking for just the right piece of furniture to provide storage for our home “administration station.”  I’ve tried to use our existing furniture (and various combinations thereof) for this purpose to no avail, as our mail and papers usually end up piled up on various surfaces around the house. We pay our bills on time but procrastinate when it comes to all other things paper-related.

I’ve come to the realization that we suffer from three paper-oriented problems:

  1. Our administrative things do not fit in one location, and having to transfer them from one place to another adds an extra step to an already seemingly insurmountable task.  This is akin to people dropping coats in the floor instead of opening a closet door to hang them up. Most professional organizers recommend providing coat hooks instead, as it eliminates one extra step needed for task completion. But we have another problem…
  2. The equivalent of coat hooks when it comes to paperwork is keeping papers out in the open, such as in file sorters, stackable trays, etc., but seeing papers stresses me out, paralyzing me further and ensuring the piles will keep growing. But…
  3. Keeping files obscured in file cabinets or other closed containers means out of sight, out of mind. If we can’t see the papers, we don’t do anything with them either.

On a side note, isn’t interesting that our lack of action (allowing papers to pile up instead of dealing with them straight away) enables inanimate objects (stacks of papers) that are otherwise unable to act independently to wield power over us? By not going on the offensive against paperwork (aka procrastinating), we must always be on the defensive, perpetually fleeing from or fighting an inanimate object!   

So what’s a family to do?

Given three challenges, I thought that perhaps a singular, small, yet storage-rich piece of furniture dedicated to containing the disaster all in one location might improve matters a wee bit.  While running errands on Wednesday, I popped into a local consignment store and happened upon this treasure:

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At 48″ in length, it is well suited to our small space, but its drawers are deep and wide, providing sufficient storage for all of our things. I talked the salesperson into reducing the price and making a slight repair before bringing it home with me Friday. Before buying, I inspected the workmanship and the original furniture marker, which turns out to be John Widdicomb of Grand Rapids. Based on the particular label, our piece is from the 1940s–not exactly an antique but definitely vintage. Sometimes the thrill of the find is equal to the thrill of the hunt!

In the next post, I’ll explain how I plan to utilize this piece to improve our paper problem. As for now, Hermes has claimed it as his own.

HermesCat

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Furniture Fridays: Back in Black!

We’re back in black, baby.  Or rather, the bookcase is.  About a month ago, we mentioned the idea of painting this antique bookcase with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, here:

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At the time, we had no idea whether or not the current  coat of black lacquer contained lead, which was problematic because it was chipping…and our cats like to scratch against it (and recline on the top, looking down on all of us lesser mortals with disdain, pity, or something).  Our plan was to check for lead, and if we had lead, proceed with abatement and painting ASAP since we will be moving the furniture for floor demo and installation anyway.

Recently, at Sherwin Williams’ 40% off sale in April, I picked up a lead paint test kit. After both of us returned from our various work-related travels that have consumed most of May, we tested our bookcase for lead.  With our kit, you were supposed to squeeze and crush a vial containing a reagent that when rubbed against the potentially lead containing surface for 30 seconds would turn pink/red for lead.  The kit also included a false negative test patch so that if you had a negative result you could double check that the vial was not faulty.  Of course, the test patch has to contain lead for the false negative test to be valid, so following all precautions was essential to minimize exposure to hazardous materials. Chris performed the test, while I hovered over him to make sure he did it correctly observed at a safe distance.

We are excited to report that we are lead-free, baby! Now we don’t have to worry about fur babies ingesting lead from the chipping paint and can take our time deciding what to do paint-wise. We also now have the possibility of being able to strip the bookcase down and restore it to its original beauty, which we are also considering.  Another decision delayed, at least for a little while.  Plus, we won’t have to start another DIY project while trying to fence, paint, and tear up floors. Whew! For now, our bookcase is going to stay black, and we’re okay with that.

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Happy Friday, folks!

Gray Skies Outside, Gray Walls Inside

Last weekend, outdoor progress was put on hold, thanks to the on/off rain on Saturday and being gone until late Sunday.  Dreary weather didn’t stop us from making tracks on some indoor projects, though!  #operationpaintbrush is back!

The last time you saw our living room, it looked meh:

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In January, we did a test paint of an accent wall in the living room.  We painted it Sherwin Williams Retreat and loved it…IMG_4579until we painted the accent wall in the kitchen/dining area Drizzle. We also played with swapping some furniture around in the living room, foyer, and master bedroom, resulting in the antique buffet landing here for awhile.  It looked great on this wall and especially nice with the Retreat color. Originally, the kitchen/dining accent wall was going to be a color from the same swatch as Retreat, Comfort Gray, and Sea Salt (all colors in the main living space) so that everything would coordinate nicely.  Except it didn’t.  Oyster Bay, the color that henceforth shall be The-Color-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, was a no go for us.  As we said here, we could see it being pretty in someone’s home–just not ours [It also clashed horribly with Retreat, in case you were wondering]. We loved both the Drizzle and Retreat walls, just not in the same visual area.

This led to the decision that the moody green-blueness of the Retreat was going to be a keeper in our house but not in the living room.  We ultimately decided to paint our master bedroom Retreat and move the buffet to the bedroom with it (haven’t painted the master yet, so we’ll see how this goes!) and to choose a different paint color for the living room.  We love gray and intended for the main living spaces of our home to be gray, but the pale blue-green grays we selected (Sea Salt and Comfort Gray) look like blue-green with a gray undertone, rather than gray with a blue-green undertone that you see elsewhere on the Interwebs.  We like it, but it definitely took our house in a decidedly more coastal direction, which we are trying not to overdo.

This time we decided to get as close to a true gray as we could.  Enter Attitude Gray. A dark, modern gray with undertones that are truly undertones.  In the day it looks like a green undertone, at night a blue undertone. Sherwin Williams recent had a 40% off sale, so we grabbed up one of those $ off paint coupons that comes in the Pottery Barn catalog and headed to the sale for more paint.  For most of our house, we have bought the Harmony line to help get rid of the funky smell we mentioned here, but this time we chose the Emerald line for the paint-and-primer combo that would hopefully cover the Retreat (a dark base) more readily than just another regular coat of paint.IMG_4587

When we started painting, we were a tad concerned about the coverage.  I was using the brush and Chris the roller, and both of us could see streaks where we were cutting in or blending roller passes and it was actually taking paint off where we had just put paint down.  Talk about frustration.  We did not have this issue with the Harmony line and have never had this issue with any Sherwin Williams product before.  It also went on very light green-looking, and the Retreat was showing through, making it look like a camouflage wall. Chris was quite dubious at this point, but we pressed forward.  I had painted my mom’s kitchen and den with the Emerald paint line (a different color, though) and although it looked like a very thin coat going on, the coverage was great, even with just a single coat…so I remained cautiously hopeful that the same phenomenon would magically happen for us.

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As it turned out, the Retreat wall only needed one coat, but the remaining walls that were sprayed renter-white at some point prior to our purchase of the ‘Zoo, needed a second coat.  We did a second coat on the Retreat wall just for good measure. Chris thinks that the quality of the Sherwin Williams paint on the Retreat wall made it easier to paint, compared to the cheapo stuff on the other walls from who knows where.IMG_4583

The Attitude Gray looks much better with the Drizzle wall–you can see a bit of the Drizzle in the background in the above picture.

We also did some furniture rearrangement, resulting in a new TV placement on an espresso stained media stand my parents gave us, flanked by the two legs of the Pottery Barn project desk that function like regular bookcases when not holding the removable desk top (currently stored under our master bed).  We’ve struggled to find space for this desk monster in this house that doesn’t break up sight lines/walkways and finally gave up hope (until we add square footage down the road). If you are doubting the smallness of our living room, it’s a 12′ x 14′ space with a fireplace on the angle that juts out into the room, making it more of a 10′ x 10′ space, which is quite small, compared to the living rooms of most 3 BR/2BA homes with only one main living space.IMG_4589

We are in the process of Craigslisting most, if not all, of the upholstered furniture in here, as we really need smaller pieces to fit the room, but right now, we have surprisingly plenty of seating yet room enough for Kinect gaming and workouts. Not bad. The ‘comfy chair’ on the smallest wall has already sold since I took this picture yesterday, and we have someone coming to see our sofa Saturday {fingers crossed}!

IMG_4592If you’ve seen some of our previous whole-house posts in the past, you may have noticed that our area rug has been taken up; it is headed to the master bedroom, as it barely fit this space anyway. Of course, now this means you can see the dingy carpet, but not for long!  Part of the rush to get the rest of the house painted is because we are going to be doing an entire-house flooring project in June that we talked about here.

Now, all that’s left to be painted is the guest hallway, the laundry room, and the master bedroom.  #operationpaintbrush soon to be complete!

Mista Lista: October KaZoo To Do

Mista Lista sat down with the KaZoo family this past weekend to do some planning and goal coordination of their next steps, now that most of the necessary, smaller, and easier tasks are out of the way.  Note: Painting the remaining rooms doesn’t even count as a smaller, easier task because the KaZoos will have to rent equipment to be able to reach their high ceilings and move their heavy furniture to do so.  Mista Lista does take pity on the KaZoos every once in awhile.  Mista Lista advised the KaZoos to tackle future to dos in a more time and cost-effective way than their frenzied spring/summer get-it-done-yesterday madness approach.  The new plan is to tackle one big project, one medium-sized project, and three smaller projects, plus conduct research and purchase materials necessary for forthcoming projects in November.  Here’s what Mista Lista helped the KaZoos plan for the month of October.

Projects on Deck:

The Escalade

Painting the living room, dining room, and the rest of the kitchen is the big project of the month.  If the size of these walls (over 13′ high, and running the width and length of the public spaces in the house) isn’t enough to earn the Escalade designation alone, having to rent equipment that costs money and requires logistical planning is also a big deal. Note the height of the ceiling over the height of the baby grand piano with its lid raised. Yes, that is an empty frame on the wall. It’s a placeholder.IMG_3221

The Camry

Coming in second place is putting the finishing touches on the yard, and by this we mean finish clearing the overgrown easement behind our house (note the ginormous, blooming wild shrub+ vine combo), replace broken sprinkler heads, finish edging/mulching the flower beds in the backyard, and transplanting crape myrtles to the backyard fence row for low maintenance privacy and shade.  Sounds like a pretty big job, right? It is.  This might be more like a BMW 7 series sedan instead of a Camry sized job, but all of these things can be accomplished in one long day’s work without needing extra equipment, hence the mid-size designation. You may be thinking, um, but wouldn’t a Bobcat rental help with clearing the easement? Yup, if only we could get one back there. 

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The Focus, the Fiat, and the Fit

Painting the house numbers, exterior light fixtures, and mailbox is one of our bite-sized projects for October. We plan to ORB the light fixtures, but the mailbox has to stay a standard black per HOA regulations.  We haven’t decided what color to paint the supremely faded house numbers yet (black like they were before [we think]? ORB’d to match the light fixtures?)…any preferences/suggestions? We’d really like to upgrade the numbers down the road to some of those awesome art deco-looking numbers.  All in good time, right?

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Fixing up the fireplace is also on the list.  We got a coupon in the mail for a chimney sweep, and we definitely need our fireplace inspected and cleaned.  It is supposed to be a gas fireplace, but there are no gas logs…and where they should be is a grate for actual wood.  The inside of the fireplace is all black as if the people who used to live here might have burned real wood in a fireplace not really equipped to handle it.  Although we don’t really need a fireplace down here, we would like it cleaned professionally. No time like the present, right?

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Sprucing up the front entry to the house for fall is also on the hit, er, Fit list.  Nothing says welcome like mossy bricks, a mud/dirt dauber nest, and a dirty front door, right? We know we are supposed to leave the nest because these insects rarely sting humans but do eat spiders (take them all!), but this nest looks like it has long since been abandoned.  We I  would like some fall flowers and a nice wreath for the front door, so this may involve breaking out my crafty skills.

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Right now, the pots/plants you see in the picture above no longer occupy this location, and the front looks like a barren wasteland of brick pavers and dirty concrete.  The small blue and green pots were temporary guests of the front porch while their kitchen home was filled with drywall dust, and the petunias that look so healthy were ravaged by mealybugs…along with a lot of other plants in my yard. Rage. I was able to launch a fairly effective counterattack on the mealybugs and only lost three plants, but the petunias were one of the three that didn’t make it.  The only thing I found to be effective against the mealybugs was spraying my plants with rubbing alcohol (that’s the professional recommendation–not just a stupid idea I had), and the three plants that didn’t make it were so damaged that the alcohol sent them over the edge. Mealybugs are the worst, people.  If you see little grayish-white bugs that look fuzzy on your plants, grab your rubbing alcohol, put it in a spray bottle, and spray like crazy (preferably not on a rainy day where its effect will be overly diluted and not in the sun where the effect of heat + alcohol will burn your plant up).  I thought I had eradicated them from our yard a month ago, but I recently had to launch another alcohol attack after finding them on some canna lilies that they had previously ignored.  So frustrating.  I’m now stocking up on rubbing alcohol and inspecting all my plants religiously.  Apparently they are supremely invasive, massively destructive, and highly resistant, so gardeners beware.

Other October Happenings:

Our neighborhood is also having a garage/yard sale in October, and we plan to participate.  We’ve got quite a few items to sell, and Craigslist hasn’t been our friend of late.  We’ve had several people call about pieces of furniture and set up a meet, only to not show up. Thanks for wasting our Saturday that could have been at the beach, people. You know who you are.  We’re having to post ‘serious inquiries only’ on all our listings, and even still….Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.  We’re not totally enamored with the idea of a garage sale, but if we can clear out some large clutter and make some money to go towards other purchases and projects, it might be worth it.

Project Research: Dining Area Furniture

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We would like to replace our dining table and chairs with a farmhouse table and some new chairs/benches/something.  Our current set is a hand-me-down from my parents and not really our style, even though the mahogany finish is nice.  More importantly, two of the six dining chairs are in need of a major re-upholstery job (two have sagging seats, several have batting coming out, and the fabric is stained, worn, and dated) that is beyond our skill set, and the table isn’t safe.  One of the legs snapped last year in the city (super scary!) and my dad helped repair it well enough for it to be safe for use until we could do better.  Unfortunately, two of the other legs are now cracked and threatening to do the same thing, so it’s only a matter of time before this table gives out for good.  We recently learned of a local furniture maker who does awesome solid wood, custom pieces, so we want to investigate this vs. making a table and benches ourselves using plans from Ana White.

And that’s our October.  What projects are you tackling this month?

Master Bath Updates

Mista Lista’s last post gave you a sneak peak of some painting happening around the ‘Zoo if you were looking closely.  Painting a whole house is s a slow process, especially when you are trying to work full time (Chris) and work part time/finish your dissertation (Amy).  Between the two of us, we’ve managed to paint five rooms (and one room twice–more on that in a future post) since the beginning of March.  Isn’t it amazing the difference that paint (and furniture and bedding) can make?

Before

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After

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Our master bathroom is feeling a lot better now that it has been painted in Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray and has a new toilet.  We’ve adjusted to the plastic seat, which is apparently a good thing since we can’t find a non-plastic Kohler seat that would fit with our toilet should we want to swap ours out at some point.  We love the chameleon nature of Comfort Gray: As the light changes in this room, it shifts from gray to green to blue.  In the shadowy water closet/shower area, it even looks like a marine blue.

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Oh, and did I mention we have a new shower curtain, too? I found this at Target last Friday for $19.99.  IMG_3097

I wasn’t supposed to be shopping for home things since we had to shell out big bucks for the roof this month, but my mom had a coupon for $15 off a home purchase of $75 that she wasn’t planning to use.  While I was at Target purchasing essentials like toothpaste, I took a tour of the home goods section and found this new quilt for the spare room bed. It coordinates nicely with some pillows I made last summer.  It will likely become the quilt for the guest room bed once this room becomes a nursery, but right now I’m happy that the fabric helps the random assortment of antique white, white, and black furniture and the Drizzle paint color (Sherwin Williams) come together in a more cohesive, intentional way.

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Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the quilt was $69.99, so I wouldn’t get to use the coupon if I didn’t add something else from the home section to my cart…and that’s when I heard this shower curtain calling my name.

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Even without the coupon, the $20 shower curtain is still a bargain compared to the $50 one we had considered buying from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Another change to the master bath involved the addition of some much needed storage in the form of a maple Cubeical that was previously snoozing in a closet waiting to be used somewhere.  IMG_3102

Even though our master bath has plenty of storage in theory, the deep wire rack shelves in the linen closet and the lack of counter and drawer space make storing small bath essentials difficult.  We barely have room for soap dispensers and toothbrushes on the countertop. Seriously, builder, what were you thinking?! Ever notice that builders frequently make choices that don’t consider how a space will actually be used, other than for basic verbs (eat, sit, sleep, pee)? ALL. THE. TIME.

Cubeicals are hardworking little things around the ‘Zoo, let me tell you, from books to crafts to bath storage.   This one tucks away nicely behind the door, so you wouldn’t know it was there if I hadn’t just told you.

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The open storage is much better for accessibility and makes the best use of the otherwise dead space on that long, empty wall. IMG_3104

I’ll continue to play with the arrangement of items stored here, but for now, it is helping make morning and evening routines faster.  Chris even commented on how he liked having everything stored in the Cubeical.  Yessir, we are making progress when the hubs actually likes and utilizes the organizational changes the wife makes.

Decision Diaries Meets Furniture Fridays: When to Call for Backup

To DIY or not to DIY, that is today’s question.  More specifically, when do we move things ourselves, and when do we call in the pros?  Chris is relatively strong for someone with a tall, slender build.  I’m surprisingly strong for my very small size, but we aren’t the most compatible movers with each other because of the difference in height, arm length, center of gravity, etc.  We can handle most of our furniture, but there are a few key pieces that require a call for backup.  Who you gonna call?  Ghostbusters!  My dad.

My family moved enough times in my childhood/adulthood that I learned to carry my share of the load, literally.  My mom had back problems, so typically my dad and I carried things while she held the door open and ran pet interference so that animals didn’t get trampled  underfoot in the way.  Good thing my dad is as strong as an ox.  Paul Bunyan’s ox, to be exact.   When he was young, a tractor ran over his chest and he survived with only a few cracked ribs. He was recruited for college weightlifting.  He singlehandedly lifted a 700 pound upright piano into a truck (he used both  hands, but you know what I mean).  My daddy’s a strong man, but there’s one item he said he would never move again (understandably) as he nears retirement age: my baby grand piano.

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Folks, if you have seriously heavy and/or priceless items like antiques, pianos, solid wood pieces, and appliances on upper floors with stair access only, weigh the costs of preventable medical bills versus hiring professional movers.  You can even hire movers just to pack, pack and load, load, haul stuff downstairs, unload, etc., even if you plan to rent a moving truck to drive yourself and your belongings cross-country.  Trust me, there are times when it pays to pay someone else to do your work for you, especially when those people do this for a living.  Chris, my dad, and I will be moving all of our furniture, with the exception of my piano, which I am glad to say has already safely arrived at the new house, thanks to the careful work of Modern Piano Moving.  We shelled out a little over a grand (pun intended) for the move, but we had factored this into our budget for moving expenses, knowing it would be well worth it.

http://www.modernpiano.com/

There are a few other heavy/awkward pieces of furniture for which we needed my dad’s help, primarily because these are items that needed to go down a steep, narrow flight of stairs with a 90 degree turn, a low ceiling, two awkward railings, and an inconveniently placed newel post.    Even though I will miss decorating stairs with festive garland and lights for Christmas, we are so glad to not have stairs in our new house for a number of other reasons (self-moving being one of those!).  First in the lineup is our solid mahogany bedroom furniture.   Then there’s the elliptical, which gives me quivers just thinking about the time I tried to move it by myself and it landed upside down (cue imaginary gif of bad seesaw experience with lightweight me flying up on one end and it, with its heavy flywheel, banging down on the other).  We don’t recommend moving furniture alone.

Last but not certainly not least, there’s the evil twins: the washing machine and dryer.  You should have seen us get those things up the stairs in our townhome originally.  We literally rolled them end-over-end because there was no other way to get them up the stairs, and I’m still amazed that we succeeded. (We don’t recommend this method AT ALL.)  As we prepped to move them back downstairs, Chris and I had visions nightmares of these things picking up momentum and slamming clean through the drywall on the landing where the turn has to be made, hence why we called for backup.

Good news: We were able to move everything safely downstairs without damaging the furniture, the walls, or ourselves.  Now our furniture is all emptied and downstairs, ready for loading, which will happen in a couple of weeks.   We are all getting older, though, so time will tell whether or not we have to start calling in the real pros at some point.  Hopefully we won’t be moving again any time soon, though. *Fingers crossed*

Furniture Fridays: Caster(ed), the Friendly Furniture

Confession: I love furniture with casters.  In fact, sometimes I wonder why all furniture doesn’t come with casters.  So for the first Furniture Friday post, let’s talk casters and why they make furniture friendly!

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Top Ten Reasons All Furniture Should Be on Casters:

  1. Cleaning: I may not be Susie Q. Homemaker, but I am rather OCD, especially when it comes to a clean home.  It is my sworn mission to launch frequent cleaning assaults on dust mites lurking in the carpets and upholstery in particular.  Unfortunately, instead of mass-cleaning in one fell swoop, I find myself turning the vacuum cleaner on and off constantly while I move furniture around to make sure all areas of the carpet and rugs get vacuumed properly. Trust me: There is simple satisfaction in being able to relocate furniture with a nudge while continuing to vacuum, instead of waiting for your spouse to help you move the 92″ sofa where the dust mites are marshaling their troops (or wrenching your back trying to strong-arm it one-handed yourself: See #4). Oh sure, I may not move the furniture every time I clean, but I’d really like to avoid the nightmares about dust bunniculas that haunt me when I don’t move the furniture.
  2. Clutter Magnets (also known as Kids): We don’t have kids yet, but I know a lot of blogger buddies and friends who do.  From what I can tell, the average child leaves a room looking like an F5 tornado swept through recently.   In the FEMA-worthy clean-up that follows, some toys are never found in the wreckage: Presumably they took shelter under a sturdy piece of furniture and are still in the back corner, cowering in fear of being sucked into the tornado by giant, grabbing hands covered in marker and saliva (and who knows what else).  Of course, this leads to the inevitable meltdown when your kids set out to build the perfect Lego masterpiece, only to discover that a few essential pieces are missing.  Utter frustration.  Flash forward a few years when you move into a larger home to accommodate your growing family and discover those missing pieces under the bedroom dresser.  Someone in the family shouts, “My Legoooooooooos!” and then, because the Legos have already been packed, those stray pieces get thrown in a random box, never to be seen again…at least until the next move when you are empty nesters downsizing and your children are “too old” to play with Legos because they are now (gasp) adults.  Then, because you are a sentimental parent (or maybe you are the adult children who secretly still love your Legos and want to save every piece of your childhood), you end up with a Ziploc bag of random toy parts in a drawer in the guest room and Hogwarts in a box under your bed, waiting for (grand)children (someday).  Okay, fine.  I bought the Harry Potter Legos when I was in college.  But still.  #NeverTooOldForLegos
  3. Companions (i.e., your other children): We do have animal companions in the form of two spoiled cats.  They have toys, too. Lots of small toys that squeak, shake, jingle, or roll, typically under things out of reach (Note: This picture clearly shows a ball within human reach, but you get the idea).  IMG_2332How many of you have a pet that pouts when his/her favorite toy is under something and he/she can’t reach it?  My cat just falls asleep where his toy is lost, but he’s not exactly an active breed.  My husband’s cat, however, is a different story entirely.  She will whine and fidget in front of a piece of furniture until someone rescues her toy from underneath it, which is usually rather quickly because a Siamesesque shriek is hard to ignore (Siamesesque because she is a rescue cat that has seal-point Siamese markings, but we think she isn’t a purebred).  Usually this rescue mission involves a contortionist act with a Swiffer duster and shoulder dislocation, which brings us to #4.
  4. Critical Injuries: How many people land themselves a visit to the chiropractor trying to unearth toys for sobbing children and whining pets?  If you are a DIYer, go ahead and triple that number.  DIYers probably experience an above average number of accidents (and ER trips) resulting from assuming they have super-human powers (but come on, everyone’s favorite superheroes have a weakness here or there, so aren’t DIYers allowed a few tragic flaws, too?).  A trip to the ER is fairly expensive these days, so if you are a DIYer with pets and children, stock up on Aleve. You’ll need it unless you have mobile furniture that reduces the frequency of opportunities for neck strain and shoulder separation.
  5. Company: As an only child, my childhood involved having lots of people over to my house for pool parties and sleepovers.  Wouldn’t games of Twister have been much easier if the furniture easily rolled back?  Nowadays, when we get together with my husband’s family, the inevitable Xbox 360 dance marathons or Wii Sports games involve lots of action and the need for lots of space.  Furniture relocation for game nights is a cinch if everything rolls in/out.  
     Roll it out for dance sessions and roll it back in place for boardgames. Because who wants to injure their backs before the dance marathon happens? Not this kid, especially since Kinect dance-offs are the only thing I usually win when playing games with my husband’s extremely competitive family.  My family is only competitive when it comes to SEC football, but piling a bunch of people into a room to yell at the TV watch football comfortably would be helped by rolling furniture, too!
  6. Christmas/Holidays: Company frequently coincides with the holidays, no matter what holiday you might be celebrating.  More people = more furniture and less room for it.  If you celebrate Christmas like we do, there may also be the addition of a tree or two (or several).   Trees need space, which involves moving even more furniture. Casters make Christmas (and Christmas decorating) a happier time.  And who doesn’t want to have a happy holiday?
  7. Creative Whims: Decorating for Christmas certainly necessitates furniture finagling to fit everything and everyone in the room together cozily yet happily.  However, if you are like me, a creative whim to change decor and rearrange furniture can strike at any moment–not just the holidays.   Casters make it possible to cater to your creative whims, especially if creative inspiration usually strikes you when you’re home alone but don’t want to wait to try out your new idea until reinforcements arrive.
  8. Cross-country Moving: Whether moving cross-country or cross-city, you may not always have the financial resources to hire a professional moving company or be fortunate enough to have your company pay for movers if relocating to a new job/job site.  I have lived in 5 states and have moved 14 times in 29 years.  Only twice did those moves involve professional movers.  Moving furniture would be much simpler if everything rolled so that you could save your strength for lifting across thresholds and up ridiculously narrow ramps and staircases.  Plus, you wouldn’t have to use those small, rolling dollies that seem prone to wiggle out from under furniture at the worst possible times and are best suited for pet skateboards (or beds, in this case, thanks to the soft towel laid on top to protect the sofa in transit to make it more comfortable).  IMG_2331
  9. Critters: The Great Mouse Roach Hunt: This section is not for the faint of heart.  We currently live in a townhouse with neighbors on both sides.  We have perfectly wonderful neighbors on one side, and interesting neighbors on the other (interesting: a Southern female euphemism for less than savory).  These interesting neighbors have habits that seem to invite critters of the six- and eight-legged variety.  I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say that the combination of a mild winter and dry summer plus those neighbors has led to critters finding their way to our home, too.  We have regular pest control services (and our service provider is absolutely fantastic!), but last weekend we saw a ginormous roach emerge from the floorboard along the wall we share with those neighbors.  Neither of us had seen a roach that big since dorm days.  It zoomed under furniture, up walls, and even attempted to fly-hop across the kitchen before we trapped it. I completely lost my head and stood on our new storage ottoman from Target (with casters, of course) while my brave husband went after it.  I am normally only that creeped out by spiders, centipedes, and snakes, but this thing was as freaked out as we were, which made it that much worse.  If all the furniture had been on casters, we would have been able to end The Great Roach Hunt more quickly. Blech.  At least it wasn’t one of those infamous German cockroaches. Exponential blech.IMG_2282
  10. Couching: This last one may be a new one for some of you.  If you grew up as a suburbanite, perhaps you may or may not have participated in (or been the recipient of) a toilet-papering/rolling/TPing of someone’s house.  What you may not have done is “couch” someone’s house.  This involves the traditional toilet paper, accompanied by various and sundry other random things deposited in the victim’s yard, including: traffic cones, street signs, toilets, and couches.  (All of these things found their way into my yard at some point during my high school years.  You know who you are). 😉  Things like toilets and couches were allegedly scrounged from people’s yards who had set them out to be hauled away to the dump (translate: NASTY condition).  Things like traffic cones and street signs, well, you can figure those out.  Not legal, folks.  Don’t do it.  Now,  I would imagine that sneaking a couch into someone’s yard would be made much easier if you could simply roll a couch down someone’s driveway and run/drive off, rather than carefully placing it on the front porch.  Of course, maybe that would be taking some of the fun out of it, if, in fact, couching is a fun activity.  My dad played a good joke on the people who “couched” our yard one chilly night in late October that involved a toilet and a gigantic pumpkin, and let’s just say, there were no more couches or toilets in our yard for a long time afterwards.  Maybe this is why I love pumpkins so much.  At any rate, I’m not endorsing couching, but as an OCD person, I wanted a list of 10 reasons, and this came to mind as something humorous/bizarre/unique to add to the list when I was thinking about why you would want casters for moving furniture more quickly and easily.

Can you think of any more reasons why casters would simplify/improve your home/work/life (preferably a better reason than #10)?  Please share!

The Curse of the Many-Legged Giants

Chris and I are currently losing a battle with many-legged giants in our house.  No, I don’t mean mutant wolf spiders or centipedes.  We’re talking furniture, folks.  I am constantly frustrated by the lack of flexibility we have with our furniture arrangement in our current living situation (rental condo), and we are both dreading the forthcoming day when we become a two-person moving crew and have to haul all of our giant pieces of furniture down narrow halls and stairs, around insanely tight corners with low overheads, and into a moving truck.  But wait, how did the giants get here in the first place?

A long time ago, back when we were engaged, Chris and I selected this bed to be our future bed:   PB farmhouse

Picture courtesy of Pottery Barn:

http://www.potterybarn.com/products/farmhouse-bed/?pkey=cfarmhouse-bedroom-collection&

Two and a half years after we were married (and extremely tired of using my old twin beds pushed together and covered with a king-sized foam mattress thing), we finally bit the bullet and bought the king-size version on sale.  Enter Giant #1.  Our bed is a gentle giant, though.  We absolutely love our bed and wouldn’t trade, sell, or give it away to anyone EVER.  Of course, our love affair is made more complete by the mattress set we bought for it.  Seriously, every time we lie down it is like going to a luxury spa retreat.  It is, by far, the best investment we have made furniture-wise, so we are perfectly content with our gentle giant.

Not so with the large (pun intended) majority of the rest of our furniture, which includes the following:

Gifts/Freebies from Amy’s parents:

  • 5′ baby grand piano
  • chair-and-a-half known as “the comfy chair”
  • oversized loveseat
  • dining table with two leaves
  • china cabinet
  • antique buffet
  • chest of drawers
  • two nightstands
  • double bed with full sized dresser, mirror, chest, and nightstand
  • computer desk
  • glass table
  • microwave cart
  • (2) different cube bookshelves (2 x 4)
  • 3-panel room divider
  • cat condo

Purchases:

  • Kenmore Washer and Dryer (on sale from Sears)
  • TV stand from Bombay (on clearance)
  • Extra long Pottery Barn Seabury suede sofa (floor sample purchased for 70% off)
  • Pottery Barn project table (on sale)
  • Pottery Barn Farmhouse Tallboy dresser (on sale)
  • elliptical workout machine (on sale)
  • Pottery Barn teen media stand (on sale)
  • Pier 1 wicker chaise (on sale)
  • (2) Pier 1 bar stools (on sale)
  • (3) Pier 1 counter stools (Craigslist)
  • Pier 1 mail center (on sale)
  • (2) different cube bookshelves (1 x 3; 3 x 3) (Target or Linens ‘N’ Things)
  • 2 bookshelves (Target on sale)
  • 1 media armoire (Target on sale)
  • 2 side tables (Target on clearance)
  • metal pantry storage rack (don’t remember, but it was cheap)
  • 4 Gorilla racks for garage (Sam’s Club)
  • storage bench (Target on sale)
  • craft storage organizer (craft store on sale)
  • cat condo (Pet Smart on sale)
  • grill (Wal-Mart on sale)
  • bistro sized patio set (Target on sale)

Notice some trends?  We do.

Trend #1: Our home = Goodwill Donation Center.

I’m an only child, so when my parents downsized after I flew the coop, they gave us a lot of their (bigger) furniture.  This list doesn’t even include the Pier 1 wicker loveseat and chair and a jungle green leather sofa they gave us that we’ve already passed to others!  Chris and I love a clean, spacious home, but our sentimental hearts beat wildly at times, resulting in conversations like the following:

Mom: I’m giving the comfy chair away to Goodwill.

Me: What?!

Mom: It just doesn’t go with my new style, and I don’t really have room for it anyway.

Me: But it is such a great chair with so many memories!

Mom: I know, but I’m giving it away unless you want it.

(Chris in the background): Tell her we’ll take it.

Me: We’ll take it.

This is also how we amass random home decor from Chris’s grandmother and my parents.  In fact, every time we visit Chris’s grandmother, we bring home a carload full, and I frequently receive boxes of my mom’s old teaching stuff, family photos, home decorating accessories, knickknacks, linens, etc. that I tend to sort through before sending to Goodwill or selling.  I also inherited 14 place settings of china from a relative, in addition to 2 we received as a gift from Chris’s grandmother and the 10 we received as part of our wedding registry.  I’m the only child of a mother whose only sibling has already passed, so I will also inherit her china…and her mother’s china…(you can see where this is going, can’t you?).  With that much china, I should be able to open a restaurant soon, which is good since I’ll need the restaurant space to store it all!

Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet (check it out here: http://www.clutterdiet.com/) recommends stopping clutter before it enters your home.  Great advice!  When you are trying to be frugal and not spend money on things, though, it is hard to pass on “perfectly good” items, especially items you don’t have as a young-ish couple..and if some of these items tend to be made better than they are now.  For example, we have gone through two butter dishes since being married 7 years ago, including a Le Creuset one!  Our Corningware dishes have hairline fissures…not so with my grandmother and mother’s dishes (the ones with the blue emblem on them) that will probably outlast us all.  Maybe they will make cool homes for the cockroaches at the end of the world.

Trend #2: Modern farmhouse style = no room in the inn, or at least, in the condo.

Chris and I have very eclectic taste but trend towards a cross between European farmhouse and mid-century modern.  When we were homeowners, this was not a problem.  Our first home had a spacious, open concept that was perfect for our tendency to prefer big furniture designed for large spaces.  Unfortunately, I decided to go back to school in an urban area where housing is $$$.  In fact, our city is one of the few places where the housing market has continued to swell despite the general economic/housing market situation.  Our rent even went up this year (le sigh).   Suffice it to say, we live in a “spacious” 3 BR/2BA condo that feels like the size of a mouse hole with our furniture in it.  We even had to buy in the “suburbs” and spend more on our rent than our original home mortgage to have room enough for all our stuff.  Problem? Definitely.  But what could we have parted with?

Trend #3: Furniture sales = furniture clutter.

After making some disappointing investments in some cheaper engineered wood products, we decided to go solid wood with the rest of our purchases in hopes of lasting quality.  In trying to buy quality for lower prices, we tend to shop sales.  The only problem here is that shopping leads to purchases, which leads to space problems…which leads to the need to reclaim some of it by parting with some pieces (and probably replacing some with smaller pieces, eventually).  The creeping giant of Guilt seems pleased to hang out in our space…guilt over things purchased that are functioning yet take up too much space…guilt over things purchased that were not good investments (all in the name of saving money)…guilt over giving away free, “perfectly good” furniture  and having to replace these items with smaller ones (read: purchase things to replace free things).  The handmadehome has a great article on guilt, by the way.  It’s an older blog post, but copy/paste the link and it should work: http://www.thehandmadehome.net/2013/01/lazy-gals-survival-guide-guilt-vs-conviction/

Trend #4: Parting is such sweet sorrow.

We have been clearing out clutter for about a year and a half, and we have done some serious purging…of everything except the furniture.  My clothes used to take up two closets, a dresser, and a chest (that’s what happens when you don’t grow and can still wear your clothes from high school).  Now I use a chest and share the master closet with my husband.  Craft supplies have been used or donated to teachers.  I’ve even parted with some books, which is incredibly difficult since I’m a bibliophile.  The final frontier is the furniture, but the giants have to go.  Trouble is, we are struggling with what to give away, sell, and repurpose, especially since almost all of these pieces see frequent use or will, once we have kids and need additional bedroom furniture, seating, and such (read: near future).

Anyone else have some giants that need to find a new cave home?  Any ideas on how to conquer our giants?