Monthly Archives: August 2015

Sorting & Organizing Ideas

145

Salvation Army donations

As I’ve been unpacking and sorting boxes, I have come to realize that I hold onto things far beyond their usefulness.  My mother grew up in the years following the Great Depression and was certainly trained to reuse things and not to waste anything.  This translated in saving YEARS worth of magazines that ‘One Day’ she would reread.  That day never came.  And now, I wonder if I don’t have some of the same ‘Great Depression’ tendencies, on a much smaller scale albeit.  So, I question the usefulness of each item as I unpack and try to find new homes for things as we settle into our new house.  I, too, detest wasting anything that still has life remaining.  We are consistent contributors to Salvation Army and Goodwill, for sure.  I always have a current box of donation items waiting in the wings until it is full enough to drop off.

These are the questions I must continually ask myself –

“Is this currently serving a purpose in my home?”

“Will I likely use it in the next year?”

“Could someone else use this more often than I do?”

“Would I miss it if it were gone?”

Last December we moved 1,000 miles so I am very familiar with having to make these tough choices.  And sometimes they are difficult because we cling to our possessions so tightly, it seems.  I’ve grilled myself as to why this is lately and have only come up with the notion that I love deeply, but perhaps that love and affection is often misplaced on things or memories.

Take, for instance, a recent sorting of cards, letters and kids’ artwork … Some of the cards and letters are so special to me, especially since some of the senders have passed on.  Those will be placed in the scrapbook, however, some of the senders I had to pause even to recall WHO they were!  But, I saved every card from select years apparently.  Fortunately, most I tossed.

I have a solution to coral all these fond memories.  I am making a scrapbook for each child that will contain all of their precious artwork.  This way, we can look back on their treasures easily, instead of them getting buried in an old file, where no one will see them.  (Eventually, these albums will be theirs to keep.)

I’m making scrapbooks for old letters and cards as well.  For years I have struggled with what to do with these sentimental artifacts, so I am very excited about getting these organized in a format we all can enjoy!  As I sat on the floor rereading old letters I sent to my husband over a decade ago, I realized what treasures these will be to look back on.  They were personal, of course, but yield a glimpse of the stage our relationship was in at the time and document our deep and enduring love for one another.  Those are the treasures to keep!  I think our children will even enjoy reading them after we’re gone.

Some decisions as we sift and sort are easy ones to make!  (such as the iridescent marbles I saved in a gallon size ziploc!)  That’s an easy one!  I don’t need them.  In fact, those may be the very marbles I am losing on a daily basis!  Maybe it’s time to donate those to charity!  Haha!  As much as we have parted with over the last year in preparation for our move and then facing the harsh reality that not nearly everything we thought would fit in our 26 foot Uhaul with a trailer attached!  We left a lot behind with our neighbor!  (Bow Flex, antique table, and the list is nearly endless)  In the end, there is not a single item that I can say we miss!  As painful as the process of organizing may be, the end result will be far more rewarding!

The above picture is not even all of what we’ve donated post-move!  I counted 25 boxes for the first home pick up and this was the second pick up, which also included an artificial tree and two toy Christmas trains.  (My younger two are 16 and 17.)  The Salvation Army worker asked if the trains were operational.  To which I acknowledged they were.  He smiled and said, “Oh, wow, these are going to make some children very happy!”  🙂  The satisfaction in knowing that something that would have been collecting dust in our storage room would provide enjoyment to others is very rewarding.

I can think more clearly without clutter.  As a full time homemaker, fewer items in our house means less work for me to keep up with those things!  Please do not think we are minimalists because we are far from that.  My ‘Girl Scout mentality’ (Be prepared!) does not allow for sparse living.  However, I am quick to toss items in the donation box if I have no use for them.

The flip side to organizing is being extremely selective about what we bring into our home!  I have been asking myself ‘Do I really need this?  Where will I use it?’ more and more.  And then most times I find myself placing it back on the store shelf.  Just because it’s cute or may be useful does not mean it needs to come home with you.  That is a lesson for us all.  Americans are great consumers, but maybe we should consume a little less.

For some reason, my husband and son love bringing home fliers, business cards, little newspapers.  This is needless clutter!  Unless you’re actually going to use this information, don’t let it stay.  And certainly, don’t allow it to accumulate in piles around the house.  This is why I open the mail over top of the trash can.  I toss or shred it and only keep what I must.  Paper clutter multiplies while we’re sleeping.  We must be watchful and vigilant!  🙂

Happy Organizing and may your home be a place of rest and peace always!

~Amber

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Organizing

Before & After ~ House Transformation

Isn’t it amazing what a little (or a lot) of paint will do?  We purchased this house in April and have been doing major renovations ever since.  The painters just finished with the exterior last week and we absolutely love the transformation!!  The color before was a very tired and dull blue/gray, which we think did the house a disservice.  We chose: Behr Palomino Tan as the body color, Safari Brown as the accent color, Classic Taupe for window trim, Espresso for front steps and Allure (dark red) for front door.  The painters color matched our sample selections with Sherwin Williams’ “Resilience” paint.

The color palette we chose resembles some we saw in a Ralph Lauren paint brochure.  We think it suits the house well and was a much needed face lift.

We also had the painters spray fifty corbels in Espresso and my husband will install them under the soffits in sets of two several feet apart.  I’ll have to take a picture of them now that they’ve been painted.  They look so good!  They’re a neat architectural accent and will add a lot of interest to the front of the house.  (By the way, if you’re ever interested in any type of architectural trim/molding/accents, Architecturaldepot.com is worth checking out.  They were just under $9 each whereas Home Depot sells them for $25 each!  Huge savings!

189

Our house is definitely not your typical Florida style home, but that’s what makes it so refreshingly unique.  In subsequent posts, I will share some of the distinct features of our house and other renovations we’ve done. You’ll be able to see just how very “one of a kind” it is.

What normally would have taken the painters one week to finish, wound up taking a month just about to complete due to the unusual rain pattern we’ve had!  June 1st through November 30 is Florida’s typical hurricane season with daily rains around 4p.m.  However, the pattern we’ve been experiencing has been intermittent torrential downpours throughout the day that seem to come out of no where!  Very unpredictable.  We are thrilled at the job they did and especially the transformation of our formerly pink steps!  Yes, you read that right.  They were 80’s pink tile and a poor welcome to visitors in 2015.  So, we are very pleased with the Espresso facelift.  It just adds such a rich and welcoming tone.  And, to think, painting the front steps were kind of an afterthought.  It was worth every dime.  🙂  They were an afterthought because initially we planned to replace them (eventually at least).  But, the more we considered our options, we arrived at the brilliant (if we do say so ourselves! Haha!) decision of painting them!

385

They also painted our pool deck and back patio, which really refreshed the back of the house!  (Sorry I don’t have a better shot, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.  Haha)

446

Stay tuned for more “before and after” renovation pictures!

We are so grateful to God for blessing us with this house and plan to enjoy it for many years.  We lived in Florida before for nearly eleven years, moved back up north for five years and now, are back home!  We’re ecstatic to live close to our grown son once again.  We just celebrated his birthday for the first time in person in five years!  It was extra special, needless to say!  Things are nice, but they’re just “things”.  There is no price tag on family relationships and the friendships God blesses us with!

I hope you enjoy seeing our renovation pictures and coming along for the ride during our house transformation!  We did most of the demolition work ourselves to save some money but hired contractors to do the majority of the renovations.  The kids and I painted the entire interior (3,400 square feet) prior to moving in!  And most of it was done in 90+ degree weather with no A/C.  (One of our A/C units decided to give up the ghost shortly after we closed on the house.)  Somehow, we managed.  We replaced that unit right before we moved in, which was an expense we did not anticipate right away.  We had to wait until some of the work (like sanding textured ceilings and spraying texture on the walls) was completed before we could replace it.  We’ve worked really hard and are slowly, but surely making it our own.

Let me know what you think.  🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Renovations

Renovations Continue

117

We purchased a home in mid April knowing we’d have to invest blood, sweat and tears … and lots of dough.  However, it is so true about renovations taking longer than anticipated and costing more than imagined!  We keep telling ourselves that we are in the home stretch, meanwhile someone keeps moving home base!  😉

Our house was built in 1988 and was in desperate need of updating and replacing most major systems.  The house has two A/C units and one crashed a couple months ago.  That was Expense #1 that was unanticipated so early on.  Then the well equipment was in dire need of replacing, so we did that.

We’ve completely gutted three bathrooms and the kitchen, as well as tiled the entire lower level of the house, kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms.  We did the majority of the demolition work ourselves, however hired a contractor to do the rest.  So far, the master and powder baths are nearly completed.  Soon the contractor will return to finish the downstairs bathroom, which will be for the kids.  As it stands now, we share the master bath.  *Sigh*  I will be posting before and after pictures in subsequent blogs so you can see the complete transformations.  I’ll detail all the work we’ve done as well.

We painted the entire 3,400 square feet of interior space ourselves, most of it done prior to moving in, which was a blessing!  We painted most of the interior antique white, however, my sewing/craft room and my husband’s office are both painted in sage green, which is such a peaceful color!  We hired professional painters to transform the exterior, which was a very tired gray blue color.  What a transformation it is too!  The body is called palomino tan with dark red front doors.  It turned out even better than anticipated!  Praise the Lord!!  What we thought would be a week long painting process has turned into Week 4 now due to all the rain we’ve gotten!  The painters were frustrated and so were we that it dragged on so long, but only God controls the weather.  So, we just roll with it.  🙂  (pardon the pun)  haha  We actually seriously considered painting the exterior ourselves initially, however the high pitch of the A frame roof was just too great!  You’ll see what I mean in future pictures.  🙂

A number of our electrical outlets were non-functioning so we hired an electrician to swap out all of the outlets and switchplates in the house to modern outlets, rockers and slide dimmer switches (versus the old round knobs).  I’ll post pictures of some of those soon too.  That has been a huge undertaking!  It sounds like such a small thing but we have more switches than you can imagine and many or, should I say most, are 3-way switches (which are expensive!).  It is a small detail to swap these out but it really does make a huge overall impact.  We’re so glad we decided to do that.

This really is a nice house.  It just needed a lot of attention.  My husband and son plan on installing wood flooring throughout the first level with the exception of the marble tile entry way and the porcelain tile in the kitchen and laundry room.  We live in Florida and there aren’t technically basements in our great state, however our house is built on a hill, so that’s why I refer to the lower level as downstairs and sometimes I even call it the basement.  (although that’s not entirely accurate)  I’m from the north, what do you expect?  haha

I’m pretty sure we will have home improvement projects lined up for the next couple years.  We give ourselves lots of “pep talks” regularly, though.  We’re going to get through this, we say.  We look at each other and remind ourselves that once these tasks are completed, they won’t need to be repeated.  Oh, we try to look at the bright side … and we really are so very blessed!  But, sometimes, like when the water supply won’t flow into the house  AGAIN … well, it’s times like those that beg the question, “Did we make the wrong choice?”  😉  In the end, I don’t think we did.  Although, I’m pretty sure we had no idea how grueling this process would become and how long it would drag on.

Literally, we have met problems/challenges/opportunities for personal growth at every turn!  Take for instance, our double wall oven situation.  The company just swapped out the old double wall oven because it arrived badly dented and brought us a new set.  We thought, “Oh good!  At least this chapter will be closed.”  No such luck.  They delivered the wrong set on Monday, which promptly heated up the newly installed set of cabinetry drawers directly below the oven.  It’s things like this that keep us on our knees and clinging to the promise that God will help us in time of need.  🙂  If you’re wondering where things stand with the oven situation, a new set will be delivered in two weeks.  We will definitely inspect the oven insulation before installation!

And the pool … well, that is another subject for another day!

Stay tuned for more renovation news and progress reports!  Oh, and pictures too!

Blessings!

P.S.  Anyone else out there doing renovations?  Tell me, there’s a rainbow at the end please!

Leave a comment

Filed under Home Improvements, Renovations