Wednesday, February 23, 2011

utility room overhaul: organize! organize! organize!

We took on the (daunting) task of organizing the utility room!!

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of my utility room before we went all medieval on it's tuckus.  You see, the utility room was always the part of my house I was most ashamed of.  That's probably not true... there are, and have been, many embarrassing parts of this house... but this is one of the tops!

What I DO have, are pictures of the room from move-in day, way back in 2009!  

The dryer wouldn't stay closed- it was taped shut.

Dingy, to say the least.

And then there was this pleasant surprise- the drain was hooked up to... nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Imagine my shock when I first used the utility sink.

Game Plan: 
Step 1) Take out EVERYTHING in the room, organize/take stock and toss the trash:

FYI- that is a bag of hay.  Do you keep hay in your utility room??

Where paint and wood go to die.

This is what the room looked like without everything in it:

As you can see, it is less of a storage room and more of a storage hallway.  How convenient.  The cabinet against the back wall is from the kitchen (removed when I relocated the fridge.)  I was using it as a makeshift tool bench; it failed splendidly at this task.  You see, the back corner of the room is kinda dark and you have to weave around all the other items to get back there.   I realized this was a stupid layout, as tools are the number one item I go into the utility room for, so why in the world would they be located the furthest away?!  And why would I make it so difficult to see what I am reaching for??  Yeah, pure genius this was.  

I hated that room, back then, sooooooooo much.  So, so much.  Dark, cramped, hard to get around in, and nothing in its own place.

I also want to demonstrate for whining purposes how the washer and dryer doors bang into the studs, and therefore do not open completely, let alone have room for me to stand in front of!  I tell ya, my kingdom for a real laundry room.  Ok ok, enough ranting and back to the actual project...

Step 2) Pegboard for tools:

This undertaking was also a perfect excuse for us to break in our new toys!  For Christmas, we were lucky enough to get a Jawhorse, which we used to clamp onto anything and everything, as seen above.  For those interested, it works as advertised- that wood is going NOWHERES!

We also got a kick-a$$ miter table saw, which we used to make perfect 45 degree angles, even though no one will see it!

Quick tutorial: using 1x2s, we made a basic frame to the desired specifications.  We put a middle bar/ brace that lined up with the wall stud for added support.  This frame (which, for the record, you dont have to make 45 degree cuts,) was screwed into the wall with wood screws: 3 inchers for the stud and 2 inchers when just into the drywall.  Everything got a healthy squiggle (technical term) of Gorilla glue before mounting, as well.  Next, the pegboard is glued & screwed* to the frame in the same fashion.


Note: NO organizing should be undertaken without jazz hands and wine.

Step 3) New storage bins.

 We got these puppies from Amazon- they come in four different sizes (and many colors!)  There are also dividers to separate each bin further and they are stackable!  Perfect.  After laying out all our stuff, we calculated how many bins we would need, that way ensuring we weren't left with a bunch of extras.

Final Results:

The corner between the shelving units makes the perfect place to store extra lumber!

 Before, we had all the extra lumber, drywall, and insulation* stacked against the right-side wall... needless to say this is a HUGE improvement!!


And before you say anything, no- we aren't going to outline the shapes of the tools to designate their places.  That's just too much commitment, which wouldn't allow for organizational change-ups!** 

 That's right, AND we got a small-drawer unit for all our fasteners.  We're gangster like that.

Little background on that table you see- IT ISN'T ONE!  WA-BAM!!!  Didn't see that one coming, did you?  Well, the beau happened to have a Lack floating shelf from Ikea that was narrow enough to fit our needs (we didn't want a table that was too deep and would intrude into the already narrow walkway,) but big enough to hold the fasteners container and some miscellaneous items.  So, we installed the shelf and secured an extra 2x4 to the corner for added support and to complete the table look. 

We've put any duplicate items and tools too small to hang on the board in the tool boxes, as well as extra pegboard hangers.  All other bulky tools, like the palm sander, are kept on the shelf above the smaller board by the door.

So, yay?  I SWEAR this would be incredibly impressive if you saw pictures of how it looked before.  So, let's just pretend you saw the non-existent pictures and you are currently sitting there with your socks knocked off.

*We stored the insulation in the attic after cleaning it out.
**change-ups, a necessity!

Friday, February 4, 2011

attic clean-out: crap left from prior owners


So, for those of you who don't know, this house is the house that keeps on giving.  You may think to yourself, "Self, you know what I need?  A bike mount for my car!" and my house will give it to you!  For free!  All you have to do is dig it out form under 4 years worth of leaves!  Or, if biking isn't your thing, you may say "Gee willikers, I could really use a broken gas grill," you'd have it!  But, if what you really covet most of all are bags upon bags upon BAGS of clothes, purses, miscellaneous papers, and pictures from strangers, well... look no further:


So, the beau went up into the attic and dropped all the bags, with gusto and glee, onto my poor unsuspecting head.  Don't believe me?  PHOTO EVIDENCE:

I think it was around now that I started freaking out and feeling like I should go on the show Hoarders.*  Couldn't get this stuff out of the house fast enough!!!

You can't tell me this wouldn't push you towards insanity

There was a solid 20+ bags left behind by previous residents in the attic.  The idea of throwing out good clothing when people need it pained me.  Couple that with an intense curiosity as to what was in all these bags, and the beau and I soon found ourselves opening every single one and riffling through!

We threw away most of the clothes because they were stained, had holes, or were too old (gotta love when the elastic waist band tears at the slightest pull!)  But, on the positive side, two 55gallon bags made their way to Goodwill!

We also found tons of pictures, mainly from concerts (weird), in the bags, but a few photos were taken in the house!  I was excited for these, as I wanted to see how the house was with all the crazy colors (seen here) but in the pics all the walls were white!  What gives?  Did they decide to just go NUTS right before leaving for my benefit?!?!?

Other fun things?  This shell box:

So pretty.  I think I should have gifted this to someone...

How 'bout some fashionable Betty Boop shoes:

Ooh la la!

There was a bunch of traditional clothing:
Kinda cool!

There were a few purses and shoes thrown in, and some great (read: ugly & falling apart, see above) Christmas decorations.  But the most random items?  Two $100 bills... from Korea and Brazil; an MS-DOS manual (the beau got a kick out of that,) some paperwork regarding immigration of a family member, and THIS:

A retainer with fake teeth?!?!?!
Well, if you're gonna loose teeth, at least it's the front ones.

The Aftermath:

These suckers were HEAVY!

We also found that our attic had not one, not two... but FOUR open holes in its side!!!  No wonder we had a little squirrel making himself at home right above our bed (most annoying & scratchy squatter ever!)  Soon after getting all these bags cleared out, we patched the holes from the inside.  When it gets warmer, we will properly seal up all holes from the outside of the house and replace any shingles.  I'm beside myself with excitement for this thrilling task.  Sarcasm.

Holes.  Lovely.**  

This is a mound of insulation.  This is also the freakin' PENTHOUSE of a nest that blasted squirrel made!  

After all this was done, it was TO THE SHOWER!  Nothing like being covered in attic insulation and up to your elbows in other people's clothing to make you crave clean.

Yup!  That was our New Year's Eve fun (that I teased you with here.)  The rest of the holiday was much better: celebrated our anniversary!!!  Ahhhh, amour.

*I love/hate watching that show.  It's fascinating, but after every episode you want to throw at least 16 items out from your house!  I fear ever watching a marathon of that show would make me neurotic...
**Oh yeah, the beau?  Was seriously unexcited (some may say "dreading,") at the idea of laying down & inching into that corner to access that far hole.  I don't blame him!