The Freedom of Purging

14 Nov Side one of basement: office, laundry, storage.

Clutter begets clutter. That truth couldn’t be more evident than in my basement right now. I’ve worked hard in the past to keep the clutter contained- in storage containers and doing the occasional sorting and donating. But alas, my system has broken down. Now bins are too full to add things to, shelves are bulging and disorganized and new things that need to be stored, are convalescing in piles on the once clear floor space, awaiting a permanent home. In short, my basement is currently a disaster.

As we have been working on re-purposing the office upstairs into our bedroom, more and more homeless items are brought downstairs, with no designated destination. Our basement has plenty of room to accommodate all of our stuff, it just needs a major re-org and a good purge. I’ve been know to utter the words “We could get rid of 60% of our stuff and not even miss it.”

The time has come at last to make good on that notion. With the holidays fast approaching and a baby on the way, we are only going to be amassing more possessions. I’m so ready to clear the decks and say good bye to the things we rarely use, and simply make room. It would be amazing to see an empty bin or a clear spot on a shelf somewhere down there.

The basement serves many purposes other than storage for us. The one “finished” room is my husband’s office and our guest quarters, our laundry is down there, and I use the garage portion as my studio/ workshop and a place for Thomas to do messy art projects. This space is also where we store our lawn mower and yard tools.

It’s already pretty much divided into zones, but I find that sketching out a floor plan, then assessing and attacking things by their zone is the easiest way to get the job done. We’ll be tackling this monumental project over the next couple of weekends. As embarrassing as it is to share these photos, here is a taste of the “before” in my basement. Sad face.

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So, now you can imagine, that even a person who regards herself as organized has organization issues! I can’t even tell you how much I am looking forward to a tidy “after” situation in my basement. A good purge of belongings always feels good. Progress report to come!

Nursery Floor Plan

15 Oct

This small room has its big challenges. It measures about 10ft x 11ft , and each of its four walls is interrupted with a window, a door (sometimes two), or a closet. We somehow made it fit a queen bed and dresser, while it’s been our room, but the good feng shui factor was missing. I think I can achieve better flow with the smaller pieces required for the baby. Here are photos as the room is now, with our stuff, and a floor plan for the nursery.







The easiest way to make this awkward room work is to keep the door to the Jack and Jill bath closed. It’s not ideal, but the chair and ottoman I have for the nursery will sit in front of that door. The crib is a “mini-crib”, so it’s not as large as a full size crib. The dresser I am working on redesigning is long and lean in profile, so it’s perfect for the wall with the two doors.

Well, that’s the “before”,and although I’m anxious for the “after”, it’s going to be a while before I’m there. In the meantime, I’ll post about the continual progress and DIY projects along the way.

Nursery Inspiration

13 Oct

With a baby girl on the way, I’ve been madly pinning cute nurseries, color schemes and decor ideas on Pinterest. Lots of room rearranging and clever space planning needs to happen before I can just start decorating the nursery, but I think I have finally honed in on the look and mood I want to create. She is due in February, so I have some time, but as with other aspects of this pregnancy, I have noticed my nesting urge kicking in pretty early this time around.  Here are a few photos of looks that I have consistently come back to:

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All of these photos and more are on my Pinterest board, Baby Girl Nursery.

With a color scheme of pale aqua blue and various shades of coral and peach, I want the nursery to be vibrant, but relaxed, and girly, but not too precious. I’ve actually already got most of the key pieces I need, waiting in the basement-  a combination of furniture and decor cast offs from the house and some pieces that I intended to sell at flea markets. As always, I am on a serious budget, so lots of homemade and vintage love is going into this space.

First, we have to move our bed out of its current room and into what was formerly our office. Then, I can really get crafty. Little Thomas, almost four now, has already been quite the helper, from painting to adding ideas of his own. I can’t wait to share the transformation of our cozy home, as we make room for this little bundle!

Pellet Stove Face Lift

12 Aug

When we bought this house eight years ago, I cringed at the unslightliness of the black and white pellet stove, dominating a corner in the living room. In my mind I thought, “We’ll tear that thing out and get a retro wood stove or a sleek gas fireplace”.  There were lots of projects I was foolish enough to think we could accomplish as new homeowners. Plus, until I experienced the soul warming heat that my pellet stove put out in the winter, I had no clue what a gem we had in it, unsightly or not.

Earlier this past spring I got to thinking about how I could give it a fresh look, without building some sort of surround. I settled on changing what bothered me most about it- the white laminate base that it was sitting on. It was scratched up, and always got soot on it when cleaning out the stove, plus it looked cheap. Covering it with chalkboard paint was a quick change and immediately helped the stove recede into the wall a bit. Plus, I like the idea that I can get a bit creative and sketch out some seasonal illustrations.

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Bainbridge Rotary Sale

24 Jun

The time has come people… this Saturday the 28th is the amazing Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale.  This event offers more used goods, all in one place, than any other event in Kitsap County. The BI Rotarians take over Woodward Middle School and set up “departments” for items of all kinds.  The sale runs from 8am-2pm.  Of course, I focus my purchasing on furniture, lamps, accessories and art work, but a person can find just about anything they want at this sale.  After attending the auction for the last six years, I’ve learned a few things:

1. Do NOT attend the preview on the Friday night before the sale. The reason I don’t go, is so that I suffer disappointment when someone else buys that oh so perfect leather chair that I spotted the night before. Some like to check out the preview, so they can gauge whether or not braving the masses of deal-hungry people on Saturday will be actually worth it.  In my experience, it as always been worth the trip.

2. Swing in around 10am, rather than getting there before the gates open at 8am.  Entering with that mad rush of bargain-crazed shoppers at the start of the sale, is just not worth it to me.  Sure, I probably miss out on some great stuff, but, like I said, I have always walked away with amazing deals.

3. Stay until AT LEAST NOON.  Seriously, at noon, the deals really ramp up.  All pieces have prices already, but, at this point the volunteers just want to see the stuff gone by 2pm. Just make an offer, and see what they say.  The best deal, hands down, was the wooden, wheeled office chair my husband now uses. We paid $1.

4. Unless you wind up buying something gigantic, like a boat or a treadmill or an enormous dining hutch, do not wait to use the pick up line to load your car.  Do your best to ferry your purchases back to your car, as you buy them. Even if your car is parked really far away, which it most likely will be. Our first year at the sale, we bought a salvaged white Carrera marble countertop (for $20), so we had to get in that god-awful, insanely long pick up line. This will save you at least an hour of unproductive time, stuck in the car and not shopping for deals.

5.Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.  That is a no brainer.

6. Bring a tape measure and measurements of rooms that you are searching for pieces for.

That is about it! See you this Saturday! Oh, and don’t forget to bring cash- they take cards too, but cash is so much easier!!!!


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