Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May Goals: Anti-Procrastination Project Month

The goal: It is June 1st and I am a master of my To Do list, I am calm and content and ready to look forward to the summer with a clean slate.

Several things came together.

Firstly, I found a list of projects I put together in September of 2012. Although decluttering the basement meant I was able to put a check mark beside several of them, many, many more remain.

Secondly, as the Fundamentals class draws to a close, I've been discussing how to capture my on-going projects (make a list) and then how to remember to do them (review that list). I can make lists 'til the cows come home: where the system fails is in my review of the things which need doing. Quite simply, I don't. So, I hauled them all out to see what was what.

I thought I might focus on four projects this month--one a week. Then, I realised that would not be enough. I really need to get out from under all these nagging to-dos.

Thirdly, Tsh of Simple Mom devoted the entire month of April to various projects. Unfortunately, I only found out about it last week or I would have participated more fully.

The last project for the month, is, as she put it, that put-off project. You know, the one you are always putting off. I started looking around for such projects--and I did not have to look far.

My dining room table is sporting at least three projects all by itself.

The dresser in the back hallway? Well, that's the contents of the top drawer all over it. (There's more on the kitchen table.)

I came up with 35 projects that I have been procrastinating--some for a few days, some a few years. One is major (paint the backyard fence) but more than 13 of them can be done in 1/2 hour or less.

Of course, you realise that all of this is in addition to building and insulating a wall in the basement with my husband this week and painting all the shelves.


is now this:
sometimes I think it's a miracle this house is still standing

As well, there are other garden related tasks which must be done this month too, if we're to take full advantage of our short growing season.

Oh, and I am already behind in my Clean and Simple Class at Big Picture. I need to catch up and stay caught up with that, too.

So, my plan is to blog every day in May about at least one project done.

Done! Crossed off. Check marked. Completed.

I have forty to choose from. Let's see if I can do it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

New Hallway Shelf

I did this project in a funk.

It started out well. I had decided during the Simplify 101 workshop Organizing Fundamentals that I needed to have my hallway cabinet back. But I didn't want to move in the old cabinet.

Picture from the Spring Cure, 2011
Moving it out gained a lot of space in my hallway, but I also lost a place
  • to decorate for the season
  • to put library books we've finished and dvds to return
  • for market bags
  • to store our recharging station
The market bags could be stored in the closet (as they are not all that attractive, even in a basket) and the recharging station has been relocated to a shelf in the living room.
I figured a shelf with a basket underneath for the library books would work.
I couldn't find a basket that had the right dimensions--but I did find a tub at Micheal's. I loved how the silver would coordinate with the mirror.

I put it in the hallway to get people used to the idea. (It is currently holding needlepoint pictures to go to my Mom.)

I went rooting around in my husband's newly organized workshop and found an 8" shelf and brackets that would do.
I was feeling pretty good about it. I started painting them yellow --the old cabinet had been yellow--and I want to include yellow in every room in my house. But, I feared they would look just too "country." So, I started perusing my pinterest boards.
I love entry way tables and vignettes. I really do. When done well, they seem like the perfect marriage of function and style. I have an entire pinterest board devoted to them.
Somehow, this picture became my inspiration:

I loved the blue and green! I thought the table top was navy. I realise now it is most likely black. But no matter. I had navy spray paint on hand. I sprayed the shelf and the brackets last week. I thought I would duplicate the edging --only in silver-- on the edges of my brackets.
My husband and I installed the shelf this weekend. (I started it and ran into trouble--he fixed it for me!)

Please excuse that hole in the wall. It used to be an outlet for a central vacuum that was removed before my husband bought the house. We haven't found a cover that will fit for it yet. Yes, I know I've been here 16 years. These things take time, apparently.
I toured the web this weekend and I realised that the "in" thing is navy and brass. (see inspiration pic, above, too.)

This, from Jenny at LGN, makes me wonder if I should have kept the boards I painted in their original orangy pine, but spray painted the mirror brass instead. Of course, I'd have to paint the hall this darker edgy grey, but I have been dying to paint that hallway a different colour for months, now.
Navy and silver is old, fusty, out of date. And it got me down.
I know that it shouldn't have. I know that comparing myself to others just leads to discontent and depression. I also saw a fabulous house tour this weekend. The house is tasteful, up to date (without being up to the minute) and there is a cohesive colour scheme and feel to all of the spaces throughout.
It was gorgeous, beautifully articulated vision of what "home" meant to this person.
And I sighed and wished I had the same.
So, I put up a shelf in my hallway.

I do like it, though.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Pile in the Hall

When I cleaned my son's room last weekend, I very carefully did not show you the pile I'd made.

Right here, right outside his doorway.

It sat there Monday.

It sat there Tuesday.

It sat there Wednesday.

Finally, on Thursday, (yesterday) I got tired of walking around it. I wanted to close the closet door, too.

That's me standing in the doorway to the bathroom. Hi!

So, I got rid of it.

The disgustingly dusty Lincoln Logs with soldiers in the dustpan got upended into the kitchen sink and everything was washed. There's no "before." It was that bad.

After playing with them for a few minutes after school, my daughter helped me bag them up for donation.

I had to wait until my son got home for permission to put things like the boxes his Bionicles came in into the garbage and the recycling bag. He was OK with it. After that, I made short work of what was left: the volcano was dusted, wrapped and placed in the games room, the clothing was put into the laundry hamper, and the storage container repurposed.

Ta Da!

Sorry. Not exactly stellar photos. Hard to do in the evening.

Much better.

my poor floors!

This was hard for me. I'm not sure what's going on in my head, either.

It doesn't sound reasonable once I say it out loud, but all day I was in that anxious state I get when I think "I got nothing done, today."

I'm supposed to be working in the basement, on the shelves. That's the focus. And while I did work there and do a few things, all day long I really felt like I got nothing done. This project wasn't on a to do list. It wasn't an anticipated part of the project "cleaning my son's room." It wasn't a decluttering project, or an organizing project. It was just stuff in the hallway. It was just left overs. And because of that, I resist doing these sorts of things. (There's a similiar situation currently in my dining room.)

That's why I took pictures and wrote this blog post--so I have proof I really did do something today and it counts.

(There's a reason the word "therapy" is a part of my blog's name!)

Anyway, it was a pile--and I cleared it. That qualifies me for a link up to Project Simplify. Yay!

Project Simplify on Simple Mom

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Picture Frames

I am in the last week for sorting through the stuff in the basement before we tear down the wall o' shelves to install insulation and beadboard behind them.

This is how the wall looked when I began the basement project in early March.

And that means I can't put off sorting through the picture frames any longer.

I counted what was here when I started. I had thirty.

It took me all day.

Fall Out:

Number of frames to repair: 2

Number of frames painted: 2,  possibly 2 more.

I have a little painting station set up in the launry room right now. It was a joy to just step over and use it. Yes, joy.

Number of prints reframed or fixed: 3

1) 1 set of 3 pictures. Hung in the downstairs bath.

2) A piece of artwork my daughter did. (The artwork is falling off the backing)

3) The upstairs bathroom artwork

In March of 2011, when I first posted pictures of this bathroom makeover, someone suggested I reframe the artwork I had hanging there to create a bigger mat for it. I bought the frame shortly after: but the whitewashing of the frame and transferring the artwork didn't happen until now, two years later.

Number of pieces of art framed: 3

1) a watercolour

The frame, matts and the art piece itself all came from different sources, and I had all of it on hand.

2) A photo of light on the water from the setting sun which I took when I lived near water.

3) A print of a place I used to live in Ontario which I found in a Value Village, here!

That church was at the end of the street I lived on. That building to the right was, ahem, my local watering hole.

Number of photos stuck to glass which need to be unstuck: 2

Apparently, I need to soak them in a tub of water with something called photoflo. (It's a mild chemical used in the last step of developing photos. I have to track some down.)

Number of pieces of artwrok I am passing on to my Mom: 2

These are needlepoint, stitched by my Mother's sister. When she's finished with them, I'll take them back. They are just so, just so, red.

Number of walls of art to be created: 2

Number of walls of artwork I can create right now (as soon as I get the command hooks): 1

Number of frames to donate: 10!

Thanks for checking in! Linking to Jules and the William Morris Project at Pancakes and French Fries.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring Cleaning: The Boy's Room

My son went away to camp this weekend. He left Friday after school and got home Sunday after supper.

Friday, I decided I would clean his room. It hadn't had a proper clean in a long time. Probably years.

My son's room is on the main floor. I saw this everyday.

One of the reasons for that is that he has too much stuff crammed into the room. Like his mother, he is very good at making every inch of space count. It is difficult to make his bed because it is against the wall and hemmed in by a table and a filing cabinet. It is hard to clean his window because the bed is in front of it. It is impossible to clean the floor because his furniture lines the walls.

The door is to the right, above. We're moving round the room from right to left, opposite the way I cleaned it.

It is also visually overwhelming to me. He doesn't like the look of "bare" walls, so he's taped up his artwork, posters, and schoolwork. Anything he considered important, he just taped to the wall.

About a year ago, I pinned this photo. 

source: Oh-Dee-Doh. (Now: Apartment Therapy/Family)

I may have shown it to my son. I think I did--and I think he signed off on it. I bought the dignitet wire from IKEA to put it in his room.

But nothing happened--except more things got taped to his walls.

This table is his "movie studio" for the stop action films he makes with his bionicles.
 The Bionicle Tower.

Until Friday night that is, when, after seeing my son off to his survival camp, my husband and I made a quick run to IKEA to pick up the corner pieces so I could run the wire along three walls of his room. As well, I needed a break. I had been working in his room for several hours at that point, quite glad I had started too. Especially when I ran into dust and dirt like this:

and this.

That's from under the bed. And that's an under the bed box. Horrid things. Avoid them if you can.

Because his room was so full and because I was working by myself (my husband works Saturdays) and because there was no place to put all of his furniture were I to try to move it, my approach was time consuming and not recommended.

Before I started, I stripped his bed and took down the curtains. I loaded the washing machine.

I began with vacuuming the carpet. Then, I started on his door. I took everything off both sides and then I scrubbed it. I moved behind the door. I took everything off the walls and I scrubbed it. Then, I vacuumed his floor in front of the newly washed walls. Then, I scrubbed the floor.

When it came time to do the bionicle tower, I moved everything off the desk into a laundry basket which I put on his bed. Then, I put the red bins on the desk.

I vacuumed the bottom of the unit. I took everything off the unit. (Actually, all he had was a print out of the periodic table taped to its side.) I washed it. Then I moved it. I vacuumed the floor--I could not stand in the dust. Then, I took everything off the walls above it. (A target from range practice). Washed the walls. Washed the floor.

Move furniture. Vacuum the floor. Remove items from the wall, wash wall, remove tape, wipe down the wall again, wash floor.

Lather, rinse, repeat. I took frequent, but short breaks.

It took all day Saturday to deal with the walls behind and beside his bed.

I used goo gone, spray cleaner, a scraper, many cloths, and a lot of elbow grease to get his walls clean. Paint comes off more easily than tape residue! I learned why I had never been allowed to put anything up on my walls.  And now, neither is he.

On Sunday, I was able to clean the desk, dresser, and table. I vacuumed his mattress and remade his bed--but not without another quick trip to IKEA to get more clips for his wire, and a red sheet to act as a "dust cover" for his box spring. I learned why box springs have dust covers. And now, so does his.

I wasn't home when he arrived, but according to his Dad, when he saw the wire with his artwork, he pronounced it "Cool."

This is now the view from the hallway. Much better, even though there's fresh laundry on that table.

There were times this weekend when I actually questioned my fitness as a parent to have let things get so bad in his room. The lines between his space and my house and whether he should clean it or I should, and how far I can push a fifteen year old, and when do I need to let it go and when do I need to insist are very blurry. You could even say, they're very dusty. (Boo, hiss.)

But, I am so glad I did this.

Let's take another turn around the room, shall we?

I didn't touch a thing on the bulletin board or the shelves.

But I did get the filing cabinet out of there!


And that was my weekend. This Saturday? I am going to insist he dust and vacuum. No time on the X-Box until it's done. Wish me luck.
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