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A tisket, a tasket, two laundry baskets

2013 December 12
by Katie

Laundry is seriously the bane of my existence.  I have tried everything.  It’s everywhere.  Dirty boy underwear is coming out of my ears.  You can quote me on that.

At first, I thought that the solution would be laundry baskets in every room and a ‘folding station’ upstairs.  I figured that would help me get the clothing off the floor and into a designated place.  I swore up and down, left and right that it would add organization to my life.  The problem was that when every basket reached half full, I would collected them all and it accumulated into what was eight loads.  So that led me to collecting the baskets almost all the time…and seriously…who has time for that?!  And my folding station?  aka a table in the hall right outside our master bedroom?  Not really anything more than a dumping ground.

There was tools, magazines, cleaning products, random accessories all on my little table.  And honestly, the thing was…even when I piled everything up to clear a small spot, I rarely would choose this space to fold clothing because I couldn’t watch the boys here.  So it was like horizontal running…pretty anti-productive.

Finally I told Jeremy that we needed to nix the ‘baskets in every room’ idea and just put two big baskets in a central spot.  This was that spot.  I also decided to pick up a cubby piece at Ikea that was in the clearance section for this same area.  I picked two really nice laundry hampers with lids from Target.  I figured that if they were really pretty then I would be inclined to empty them between all my stroking and adoring.

The cubby thing is similar to the Expedit but a different name (I don’t recall it but I’m sure it’s not phonetic anyway).

After a quick assembly while Jer was wrestling the boys, I threw all the random magazine stacks (don’t judge me – I’m a magazine hoarder), some random black and white frames on the walls, and random accessories in the open shelves.  On the bottom six cubby spots, I really want more storage for random stuff…but finding the right size and style boxes has proven to be more difficult than I anticipated.  That’s why right now there are three ‘place holder’ boxes.

The top of the cubby is a great spot for my random black & white frames.  I love finally being able to hide the thermostat too behind some leaning frames.  It’s the little things that bring a smile to my face….leaning frames….celebrity mug shots….standing cat or chicken trick videos.

It’s a nice change because honestly, I’d much rather look at this when I am laying in bed than a table whose sole purpose is to remind me that there are seven thousand towels and onesies to be folded and put away.

Sorry about the cruddy iphone pictures…I’m sure it’ll bother you all day :)

All in all, the system is working out better than I expected.  I have Will 62% trained to pick up his dirty clothing and walk them out to the hall hampers.  Weston is holding strong at 0%.  And I am probably somewhere in the middle.

When both hampers get full, it’s about three to four loads…usually just enough clothing or towels that I can complete full loads (I’m incredibly picky about separating clothing into the right cycle…so the fact that there are two hampers instead of just one actually helps provide more items so that the loads aren’t too small).

What’s the laundry situation at your house?  Anyone figure out how to train an almost-four-year-old to sort, pretreat and wash correctly?  Because dude…share the wealth :)

The Metro Bathroom

2013 December 10
by Katie

Our journey with our first floor bathroom is far from over.  I feel like this leg is a good one.  One where we got to a nice, comfortable point of feeling like it’s heading in the right direction even if it’s not completed.  And that feeling is sometimes all I hope for when it comes to our home.  My standards are lower now.  No need for perfection or completed projects…

It’s like Finding Nemo….just keep swimming….just keep swimming.  It’s my house mantra.  If I can just keep moving forward, that’s good enough for me.

I definitely felt in the past few months that we were literally swimming backward with this bathroom and our many other plumbing trials.  I’ve complained about it before but I’ll recap for those of you who are miserably suffering through your own pipe problems….misery loves company, right?!

  • First this bathroom suffered a tragic loss when Will flushed a toilet cleaner with a plastic hanging piece.  It flooded (eww) and we didn’t have the time to address the real problem so we asked all our guests to use our office bathroom for several months if the ‘need’ existed.
  • Then the kitchen sink decided to stop working properly.  As in…it didn’t drain.  More on that soon.
  • After that, the office bathroom decided to spring a leak…thankfully it was an easy fix (we tightened some of the plumbing connections) but we are giving that bathroom the side-eye because we aren’t 100% convinced that drama is done.
  • And finally the bathroom in the basement threw out an “I QUIT!” and “I SPIT IN YOUR FACE” due to a clog in the main drain.  You can read about that fiasco here.

The good news is…we tackled all four problem areas and right now things are looking dry.  In terms of the first floor bathroom, we sortof had a DIY snowball effect happen when it came to fixing it.  After removing the toilet, we decided to replace it, paint the trim and ceiling and then I tackled the walls.  Here is where we left off….

The trim was nice, clean, bright and white…just like I dream the rest of the trim in the house to be one day. (hopefully?)

And I started the paint job in the same color as the kitchen - Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan.

The toilet we had bought was beautiful and hit our must-have list….

So then it came down to painting the weird little nook that the vanity sat in.  Eventually I would love to wallpaper or stencil behind the vanity…but since I already had my paint brush out, I decided that for now, I would just do something fun to add some interest back there.

I tested quite a few different treatments – washing with a brush, drybrushing, wet then wiping, dabbing…

And in the end, I picked the simplest and fastest method to add a little pattern to the back of the nook…

Basically it’s just using the texture of the brush to make little lines of squares….it’s far from perfect but I like that it’s more interesting than just a plain painted wall and it gives me an idea of what I really would like scale-wise when it comes to wallpaper or stencil.

Here’s how I did it.  The back of the nook got a coat of eggshell in brilliant white and then after it dried, I mixed up my gray paint for the texture part.  It was 3 parts water to 1 part paint….which makes it SUPER thin.  I used a 2 inch brush that was not angled (it looks angled in the photo below but trust me…it was not).

I would dip the end of the brush in the paint mixture and then press out any excess.  I pressed the brush on the side of my container probably four or five time flipping it over because I wanted to get as much excess paint out as possible.

Then I would gently press the brush bristles on the wall while holding the brush as parallel to the wall as possible.  It helps to have a paper towel ready for any big drips…but try to dab and not press too hard or wipe.

Repeat, repeat, repeat about a million times.  Sing your mantra as you go :)

In the end, it looks really much more interesting…even if it isn’t the final FINAL…it’s much more texture and in my book, that’s a good thing.

I also decided to switch out some of the wall hangings for a cleaner, more contemporary look.  I love giant mats in frames.  I always will.  These frames were really cheap – under $5 on clearance at Target.  As you can see, I still need to add my own black & white photos….I considered for two seconds whether I should leave the other photos just to see who notices…

And now for the dramatic before and after….


And in the toilet area…


I am building shelves today for over the potty.  It’s the perfect spot for big chunky dark wood shelves and you’ll have to wish me luck because I am doing this mostly solo.  eek!  math!!!