Wednesday, February 26, 2014

bathroom update

The bathroom is on the list for a renovation, but not until maybe next summer. We have a few other projects up our sleeves to get on before it is this room's turn.

We may or may not have started with something that looked like this:

Actually this photo is after some clean-up. 

Then we took it to this point:

Which was much more live-able. But we still had a long way to go.

I'm sure you have seen these 1950's bathrooms before - There are a lot of them still around. They are built like tanks and usually all one color. We certainly cannot fault the quality of the materials used, just the overabundant use of blue.

So while we are dreaming of the day when we can really start a complete bathroom overhaul (Besides all the blue, we are starting to see a few problems that are not going to go away on their own), we have to be patient.

So hard.

Hero and I came up with a few things that we could do in the meantime that we could do to get rid of a few things that make us crazy make our bathroom work a little better for us.

(And the reason we started thinking about these few updates is that we bought new, desperately needed towels. It is very strange how projects get started around here.)

1 - Get rid of the useless towel bar. We actually used to have a row of six hooks right under the window (See the leftover holes?) But when there were towels hanging there, it was a little tricky to find the toilet paper. We ditched the hooks (moved those to Colin and Liam's room for them to hang their towels on. They always took their towels in their rooms anyway. Now they can hang it up instead of leaving it somewhere else in there room.)

2 - Lose the extended counter top. It is such a funky set-up! It has a cut out over the toilet to access the tank, which is better than not having the access, but so weird. 

Anyway, we don't like it.

3 - Ditch the soap dish.

4 - And it's evil twin, the toothbrush holder that would not fit any toothbrush made today.

5 - And while we are at it, that back splash is getting the heave-ho as well. I just don't understand how a four inch strip is supposed to protect anything. And that would be one less blue thing.

Hero started with the towel bar. Gentle, gentle....


Oooh. Not so good. But really, at this point, we would rather have a hole in the wall that that towel bar.

But I know Hero has a plan for this.

Next up - The soap dish.

I think Hero really likes demolition.

That turned out great!

See that little "m" on the back? Another original "Murphy" product!

And the toothbrush holder vacancy.

Good place for these.

Hero loves this awesome reciprocating saw. Any chance he gets to give it some action, he takes it.

He just cut that strange jutting-out piece of counter right off.

And pry off the back splash.

Doesn't it look better already?

Maybe not quite done yet.

Great thing about these industrial strength tiles is that they can handle some tough scraping.

This is one of those super-duty scrapers we got for taking care of our stairs. They make the job so much easier! I cleaned all the industrial strength glue and caulk off while Hero harvested a few blue tiles from underneath the sink. That guy is a genius.

Cleaning out the industrial strength glue and grout to prep for the transformation.

Harvesting industrial wall tile stuck on the wall for the last 56 years with industrial strength glue and grout does not always result in a perfectly intact tile. Rats. But so.much.better than a useless toothbrush holder.

Hero just filled in the gaps with caulk and it blends in pretty good. 

Um, and after it is cleaned up a little bit, it will be even better.

Sealing that pesky edge between counter and wall should do the trick in keeping things sealed up. And it makes it look a ton better.

See? You can hardly tell where the new harvested industrial tile is. It just blends right in.

Nothing hanging uselessly off the wall, getting in the way, gathering dust.

And here is where we ended up. 

Hero filled the little holes leftover from the towel bar with pieces of harvested tile. Smart!

From this:

To this:

Not completely revamped. Not radically different. But enough revamped and different that it feels sooooo much better.

Still just as blue though.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

another organizing post

Happy February!

One of the ways to get through one of the coldest and snowiest Janurarys EVER is to not leave your house.

That gives you plenty of time to snuggle under mounds of blankets.

But something like this might meet you when you go to get every blanket in your house - A linen closet that has been calling to you. It may need a little (or a lot) shaping up!

I try to go through this thing every year, so it could be much worse, I know. But no matter how out of control a space - in this case the linen closet - gets, there is a pretty simple solution to getting things back where you want them.

To show you what I am working with: leaning tower of sheets, odds and ends that do not seem to have a home, brand new wash cloths (fat lot of good those will do when we need them, right?) and pillows stuffed in all over the place.


This doesn't look so bad, but it really is starting to fall apart from the last pass through here. That happens! 

Let's start at the top.

Here is the breakdown -

Take everything out. Really.

But not really everything all at once. In a closet, I like to work one shelf at a time, unless I am going to shift stuff around to different shelves. One shelf at a time makes the whole task a little easier to tackle and it give you a natural stopping point if you need to take a break. Think of the chaos if you dumped out the whole thing and then the baby wakes up or some other interruption keeps you from getting back to it right away. Not good.

Once the shelf is empty, give it a good wipe down - Might as well while you are there.

When deciding what to put back in, think about how you use the stuff. I kept the blankets and pillows up on top because I rarely get them out. (I did neaten them up though.) I would not want to put the ibuprofen up there - we use it too often. That would be inconvenient. Once or twice a year to pull a chair over for the blankets and pillows is okay by me.

The next shelf down got a little editing and a little shuffle - meaning I took out the stuff we don't use or want and put the things we use more often in the front - easier to get to, of course.

And after. Does it look much different?

Not terribly, but I know it is. 

That empty space is for a few things we use all the time and were in the wash at the moment.

Moving on to the next set of shelves:

Wash cloths and towels piled up nicely and stuff sorted neatly in boxes.

Or not.

The thing is, we use this stuff a lot. And about a year ago, this space was in perfect order. But we have lots of people using this stuff and it is a little unreasonable to expect that it will stay perfect forever. So cut yourself some slack if you are thinking you just cannot stay organized! 

Piles of wash cloths and dish cloths and towels and cleaning cloths. And even rags. Pulling everything out gives me an opportunity to toss the extra raggy ones that we will never ever use and the ones that are not absorbent and the ones that I have too many of. I don't need to keep all of them right here handy - Extras can go down stairs.

Much better.

These bins are great for corralling small, like items. But again, after a while, they get a little tiny bit crazy.

Start by taking everything out. Again, I can see what we are not using (usually struggling for the light of day on the bottom with a long past due expiration date) and what is leaking (because I took everything out, I could see and smell the evidence of refreshing citrus body scrub in the bottom of the bin) and what I need to stock up on.

Exp Oct 12. Yep, time to go.

We get lots of samples from the dentist, the occasional hotel and from the hospital. And these are good things to hang onto. But we really do not need 49 2 oz tubes of tooth paste. And half of them are expired. Too bad. 

Hero brings home little supplies that are destined for the trash at the hospital. They might be part of a kit that once opened must be destroyed, even if you don't use it all. Mostly he brings home tiny samples of Bacitracin and individual use alcohol wipes. They are super handy for having around (and first aid kits!) but they were swimming around in the bin willy nilly. I found a little mismatched ramekin I inherited from my mom to stuff them all in. 

Did you notice that? I used an item from the kitchen that is used for making yummy little treats in my linen closet. Thinking outside the box can bring some great results. (Plus one more odd thing out of my kitchen cupboard. Score.)

Much better. 

This is the other bin on that same shelf. It got the same treatment.

And back on the shelf.

Again, it does not look hugely different, but knowing everything is clean and I know what we have in there, is so great. I feel in control of our stuff, not our stuff getting out of control and making me crazy.

The floor.

On the right are two boxes of first aid supplies. Yes, two.

When you have a bunch of kiddos and a husband that works in an emergency room, you tend to accumulate all kinds of medical type stuff. But even this stuff is divided up into "stuff we might never use, but boy, would it be handy to have" (bottom box) and "stuff we might use, and boy, it will be handy knowing it's right there on our closet floor" (top box).

For the record, I did not even touch these boxes today, except to move them to dust behind them. I've tried to go through them, but I end up being frustrated. This is really Hero's domain.

The last bin to clean out - Yay!

After pulling everything out you can see how gross they get. Oh yuck.

Most of it goes back in neatly, organized by like items (the deodorant I like together and the one I hate gone), and larger stuff in the back so we can see it all. There are gaps to allow more stocking up.

So nice and clean again.

Have you organized anything lately? Do you need to?

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