Tuesday, November 19, 2013

15 days to a simpler home - 1 year update {part 2}

Did you see my first update post from last week? I covered the cleaning checklist, mudroom/drop-zone, kitchen, living room and guest bathrooms.  Today I'm continuing these updates from the series I did last year: 15 Days to a Simpler Home.
Day 6 - Office Space Organization
As far as organization in this space, I got rid of a traditional file box, made most of my bills e-statement only, and then moved everything else over to a 3-ring binder.  I keep everything from current bills/statements and important receipts to our birth certificates, passports and other important info.
Day 7 - Linen Closet
This space hasn't changed much, but I did add the baskets that I mentioned in this post so I have some washcloths/hand towels as well as pillow cases in those.
Plus, even though everyone tells me I'm crazy, we still have just two towels that Matthew and I use on a regular basis.  We wash them once a week, and two years later they are still fantastic!
Day 8 - The Guest Room
We got this chair for just $19 at Home Depot, a few months ago, so we also added this to the room to give a place for someone to sit down that isn't the bed.
Day 9 -  The Laundry Room
This is one of my favorite rooms in the house.  We still love the hanging bar, but have a few new updates.  Under the sink is where the trash can now lives, because we got this dog food container to keep the big bags fresh for as long as possible.
Possibly the best part of this room are the hanging laundry baskets that I just added above the fully installed/plumbed utility sink!  It was such a simple update, but has had a huge impact on the space and how we use it!
Plus, the mini-mudroom/drop-zone in here is priceless.
Day 10 - Your Master Bedroom Oasis
Organization in our bedroom has not changed one bit; it just works.
I'll be back next week to update you on the remaining five spaces: Bedroom Closets, Bathrooms, Basement, Garage and my Craft/Gift Wrap storage.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

master bath makeover - new floors and paint

Get ready....this is going to be a long one...
Almost two years ago, we bought our house and liked the master bathroom right away. It was big enough, but not too big, and we knew that with some cosmetic changes it could be really beautiful.
One of the very first things I did in this house was paint this room.  I picked up a gallon of Oops paint in a blue/green color that I loved and painted the walls that night.
 Ugh...what was I thinking?!?! 
For those of you whose first thought was "why would she choose that color, that makes her tile look gross-orange" you were right! I realized this color was not great about a year ago and spent a long time trying to figure out what to do in here to bring my tile back to beige, and not orange.

I knew that I also needed to update the floor and vanity first, and that may change the direction I went with paint.  So I got the vanity updated by gel staining just like I did to the powder room vanity and to the kitchen cabinets, and tackled the lovely, urine-colored linoleum floor next.
We chose vinyl flooring from Lowe's that looks like wood for this room, and it was about 99 cents/square foot, so we did the whole floor in this room for less than $45! Here are some pictures from that process...peel and stick is pretty simple, so I'll save you from the step-by-step directions.
At this point, the room was looking so so much better and I finally decided that darkish grey would be a great color in this room to calm it down, and tie in well with the "wood" floor, dark vanity and beige tile. Enter Behr's Elephant Skin
This color is Uh-mazing and I can't believe the impact it has in the space.  After we got the walls painted, I touched up a bunch of the caulking, added the baseboards back in, got those caulked and called this step done.
Here's where we are at currently in this space...we have two framed mirrors on the counter that we plan to hang permanently in place of the large builder-grade mirror behind it. 

However, I must admit...they have been sitting on the counter, in their cardboard since January. #fail
We left this wall unpainted, because we have a special surprise project in store...stay tuned to see our updates.
Such a better view from our bedroom now!
Check out this little before and after:
We have plans to do the following in the space:
Secret surprise to wall behind toilet
Remove builder-grade mirror and hang new mirrors
Add Window Treatment
Switch out toilet seat for one that is actually white, and will match the toilet
Add Art/Accessories
Switch out light fixture(s)?
Add Rugs
Add organization/storage feature inside vanity

Monday, November 11, 2013

15 days to a simpler home - 1 year update {part 1}

Last November I did a series called "15 days to a simpler home."  It was a really great opportunity for me to go through basically my entire house and get it organized and purge the things we didn't need.  And by doing so, I was able to turn around and share all the tips and tricks I use with all my wonderful readers...aka YOU!
Well, it's been a year, and I thought I would go through the series myself again to make sure our house is still in check.  Doing so made me realize that this would be a great opportunity to share with you some of the new things I've incorporated, as well as the things that didn't stick around the past year. So here goes...it's about to get real...

Day 1 - Cleaning Checklist and Planner
I kept up with this for about 6 months and totally fell off the bandwagon.  Now I typically clean the whole house on Fridays and I can get it all done in about 1.5-2 hours.  I still do all the week's laundry on Friday's, but I most definitely don't clean the shower with my scrub brush every other day anymore.  I still think this system is awesome and I will probably implement this again when we get busier (ie. have kids), but for now I'm planner-free.

Day 2 - Create a Mudroom or Dropzone
Hands down, this is the best thing I have ever done in our house. It always gets utilized and the hubby even remembers to always "drop" his stuff here.  I did upgrade to a $10 hook board from Ikea, and don't have the little basket on the wall anymore, but the sunglasses holder is always full of our shades.  The front closet is still clutter-free, and I actually moved the vacuum elsewhere - more on that in a later update...
Day 3 - Simplicity in the Kitchen
Since last November, we still have many fewer kitchen items than most other people.  If it can be mixed with  a fork or spoon, I use that.  I don't have fancy gadgets that all do the same job, but slightly different.  A few changes in the kitchen include the addition of the floating shelves (which I LOVE!).
I also just got brand new, amazing pots and pans.  We had been using a cheap cheap $20 set from Walmart for over 5 years, so we just upgraded to a Calphalon set.  It felt like such a big purchase, but I am so happy with how they cook! Because of that, we've moved a few things around because they recommend that you don't stack these within each other.  I still have plans to do something else with these, perhaps hang them, but haven't gotten quite there yet.
Also, I still only have the one set of tupperware, and that's all I have needed! No crazy, overflowing tupperware cabinet for me!
Day 4 - Your Living Room
When it comes to organization, the living room has had some small, but very impactful changes in the last year.  First up is our blanket basket. This large basket from Target (which is one of my favorite things in the house, btw) is the perfect place to just throw our blankets and throws when we are straightening up. Folding blankets is annoying to me, and this doesn't look messy at all.
We added this small basket on the coffee table shelf for the remotes.  Having them corralled there makes dusting the table easier and eliminates a bit of visual clutter.
We also got rid of the old entertainment center and now use an Ikea Expedit in this room.  We currently have two baskets on the bottom, but plan to have all 4 on the bottom in the future.  This will be great for baby/kid items in the future as well (PS. Totally not preggo here, just forward thinking!).
We upgraded to a larger case for our DVDs and are so happy with this setup.  I worried that I would miss having the cases, but not once have I missed all that mess! PS if you didn't notice, I like Friends...
Day 5 - Bathrooms for your Guests
Our bathroom organization has pretty much stayed the same as well.  When we gave the powder room a makeover, I added a basket with the tissues and a roll of toilet paper, so it is more accessible for guests.
Stayed tuned in the next week or so for part 2, so you can see how things have changed for us in the office, linen closet, guest room, laundry room, and our master bedroom.
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