ASCP Old White
House for sale, kitchens, Moving, Painting

I love how Chalk Paint transformed my kitchen!

Been a bit busy for the past few months. We have been wanting to sell our home and move west of the Mississippi for quite a number of years. FINALLY everything seemed to be coming together to allow us to take the leap and make the change.

But first, I had to sell my townhouse. Whoa. When you’ve owned a home for more than a dozen years, and that includes some years with renters living in it, sometimes you just accept things as they are. Until you put on the eyes of a new buyer. Get out the wallet! Money is going to disappear faster than you will believe.

We were fortunate to have gotten a tax refund and that was my budget. I didn’t want us to spend any additional money on sprucing things up…not only am I the Fix It Diva, I am the Frugal Diva as well. Our kitchen cabinets were the biggest concern: 1984 builder grade cabinets…blech…with the same year laminate countertops that were “supposed” to look like butcher block. Oh my!

I had a few contractors come in and not one of them gave me a quote for under $20,000…cough, choke, gag…are you kidding me? I had already upgraded my appliances to stainless steel – what in the WORLD would cost that much? Most of that cost was labor…and cost for upgrades needed to electrical panel. You see, in good ole Virginia, if a contractor touches your kitchen, then the electrical has to be upgraded…automatically. And that meant more breakers needed than what was in my panel already…and that meant heavy up and a subpanel box created. The electrical work alone was going to be $5,000.

Ok, so what if I do the work myself? I did lots of research and found some great cabinets at a great price. Check! Then I priced out countertops and new flooring (the floors were atrocious…so ugly it was sinful to look at them). Even with doing the work myself, it was way over my budget.

Grrrr. So instead of replacing the cabinets, I decided to paint them. Now let me state that I do NOT like painted cabinets. They are uber shiny and look so “fake”. Usually folks paint them white (I don’t like white cabinets – feel like I’m in a hospital). I did some pinterest searching and kept seeing people with pictures of their painted cabinets. Didn’t like most of what I found until I stumbled upon Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The pictures of the cabinets (and other objects) painted with ASCP were amazing. Ok. This might work.

Next I went to good ole YouTube. Man I love technology. I watched dozens of videos of people painting their own items with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Could it really be that easy? I took the plunge…no not on my cabinets but on a salvaged nighstand my sister and I picked up at a local thrift store. I was able to buy locally some paint (Duck Egg blue) and within a few hours, this HIDEOUS nightstand transformed into an adorable nightstand! We picked out some white knobs and some red/white drawer liner paper (my sister has such good taste :). POP!! Wow!

I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to get started on the cabinets!

Because our kitchen was in use during the process (breakfast in the mornings and dinner in the evenings), it took me longer than expected – almost 4 weeks – to paint 22 doors and 16 cabinets. What a difference the paint made! The laminate countertop actually looked perfect for the cabinet color (Old White – which really isn’t white but more of a creamy pale manila folder color). We invested money in a new floor, new hardware, new faucet, new light fixture and our kitchen turned out adorable!

I wanted to paint more pieces of furniture but we had to pack and move quickly – our house sold within 48 hours of being on the market. I will begin painting again once we have fully settled into our new apartment…no piece of furniture is safe 🙂

If you are considering painting furniture or kitchen cabinets, please don’t hesitate to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. There’s a Facebook group you can join where folks, like me, post their work and ask questions. It’s a great worldwide community.

Happy painting!

Standard
kitchens, Organizing

Creating a Functional Kitchen

As we head from Spring into Summer, now is a great time to do some reorganizing (or organizing for the first time) of our kitchens. I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time in my kitchen all year long. Here are some tips to help you assess and organize the central part of any home.

STEP 1: ANALYSIS

As you ponder where to place your kitchen things, begin by analyzing your old storage systems. Were some things working well? If so, don’t change them! If you love storing your mugs by the coffee maker, stick with it. If it’s convenient to have your recipe books on the countertop, keep it up.

Now ponder anything inconvenient. How could you make those things work a little better? For example, if you hate having piles of cans and bottles littering your countertop as they await a trip outside for recycling, then make a new plan. Clear space under the sink to install a pull-out trash can to capture those recyclables immediately after use. If you hate reaching to the top shelf to get your favorite, frequently-used mixing bowls, make a plan to house them in a more convenient location like an eye-level shelf. Where you put your stuff is as important as what you own. If you can’t find it when you need it, or it’s inconvenient to reach, you’ll likely not use it!  (Here’s a tip from my kitchen: my trashcans sit out in the open in the kitchen since we do not have cabinet space for them. I purchased two slim trashcans – one black and one white – and sat them side by side. The black trash can is for trash; the white trashcan is for recycling. You can choose any two colors that would work for your kitchen but this is a great way to have a sleek look while gathering recycling. We use paper grocery store bags in the recycling can and when it is full, we lift it out and put the bag in the larger, trash company provided recycling bin.)

STEP 2: PLACEMENT

As you look over your groupings of kitchen items, start pulling aside the things you use most often. Then store them where you use them. For example, your everyday dishes might work great directly above your dishwasher or close to the table. Perhaps your pots and pans and cookie sheets could go near the stove.

Keeping similar things together will help you navigate your kitchen more easily. For example, store everything related to cooking in one area. You might group your pots and pans, bakeware, hot mitts, and cooking utensils in one area. Create a food preparation area by grouping cutting boards, knives, and mixing bowls. If you love to bake, consolidate cookie cutters, mixers, measuring cups and spoons in one area.

There are many helpful organizing products available to keep your kitchen orderly. Baskets and bins come in a variety of sizes and hold foods, like onions and potatoes, as well as cleaning supplies. A wall-mounted spice rack saves cupboard space. Inside cupboards, double-decker wire shelf stackers double storage space. Wooden cookware racks keep pot lids tidy. An attractive vase or crock near your stove top corrals utensils. (Here’s a tip from my kitchen: I have stainless steel appliances and bought a stainless steel ice bucket and use it to hold the stove top utensils on the counter next to the stove – it is easy to wipe clean and keeps the stainless steel look flowing.)

If you use something frequently, keep it close and convenient. Put infrequently used items way up high, down low, or in the back. Place anything you use daily (such as everyday dishes) at eye level, so you’re not stooping down or reaching on tip-toe. Keep heavy things down low and lighter things up high. For example, if you use your turkey platter or punch bowl only once or twice a year, place them on a bottom shelf.

STEP 3: MAINTENANCE

Once your kitchen is organized, pat yourself on the back. Job well done! But you’re not quite finished… Establish an “in/out” system where some purging takes place before you purchase a new item. If you buy a new set of plastic storage containers, toss out an equal amount of your old storage containers. If you come home with a new mug, an old one must go! It may be helpful to stash a donation box somewhere nearby as an easy reminder of this rule. Also, take time once each year to review your kitchen and all its accouterments. Discard anything broken, donate  anything unused in the past 12 months, and make sure the storage systems still make sense for you and your housemates. Consider your kitchen a work in progress, and like fine wine it will only get better with time.

Standard
organized mail
Decluttering, Organizing

Spring is Here!!! Quick Tips to Start the Organizing Process

Spring is Here! These tips will help you stop procrastinating and get organized today! Inspire and motivate yourself with the “Quick Start” projects. Each of these should take no longer than 30 minutes. Next, try the “Keep Going” tips to really put clutter and chaos in its place!

Kitchen

Quick Start: Take everything out of the refrigerator. Toss anything expired or mysteriously fuzzy. Clean the shelves. Then replace food items, grouping similar things together.

Keep Going: Tackle each kitchen cupboard and drawer the same way. Remove everything, clean, and toss anything not fresh or useful. Give most-used items your prime, easiest-to-reach space. Put infrequently used items up high or way in the back.

Clutter

Quick Start: Set a timer for 15 minutes. Grab a garbage bag, walk through your home, and quickly remove ten things you no longer use or love. Also, recycle newspapers older than one week and magazines older than 12 months, plus expired coupons and junk mail. Dispose of the bags immediately.

Keep Going: From here on out, put things in their proper places right away. Before buying something new, ask yourself if you really need it. If you decide to purchase, get rid of two similar items to make room.

Paperwork

Quick Start: With the exception of bills to be paid and truly important documents, grab all the paperwork you can find into one big pile. Plop it in a big box, seal it, and write today’s date on it. If you haven’t missed any of it two months from now, recycle the entire box without opening it.

Keep Going: Set up a new, easy filing system starting with paperwork you receive from today forward. Think of broad categories of papers you receive on a frequent basis: bills to pay, people to call, medical, school, etc. Get a desktop filing box, keep it in the kitchen, and file only what you’ll truly need to reference later. Be ruthless in your paper disposal. (Shred sensitive documents.) Review file contents weekly.

Touch paperwork only once: Open mail, and immediately act on it and recycle the paper, or file it in the appropriate spot.

Kids’ Stuff

Quick Start: Every evening, set a timer and have the family do the “Ten Minute Tidy-Up.” Holding an empty laundry basket, each person grabs anything out of place, and returns it to its correct home.

Keep Going: Limit clutter with the “new item in, old item out” rule. If you buy a new toy or clothing, get rid of at least one old one. Limit school art and paperwork. Save only the best, and keep them in an under bed storage box or portfolio.

Time Management

Quick Start: Set your watch ten minutes ahead. You’ll have a built-in buffer for running late.

Keep Going: Any task that can be completed in five minutes or less should be completed right away. Schedule a chunk of time each day to handle paperwork. Don’t schedule appointments too close together.

Email

Quick Start: Move everything more than two weeks old from your email inbox to a file marked “Holding.” Keep it for two months. Then, delete everything you haven’t needed in that time.

Keep Going: Treat your inbox like a real mail box. You’d never leave old mail sitting in there! Take the time to set up files where you can immediately move new emails. As emails arrive, either read and delete, file appropriately, or put in a “to do this week” file.

Garage/Attic/Basement

Quick Start: Set a timer for 30 minutes and toss/recycle dried out paint and chemicals, and anything broken, musty, or moldy.

Keep Going: Sort the space into zones. For example, a garage might have areas for sports, tools, gardening, and recycling/garbage. Group like items in those zones. Use appropriate storage containers and label clearly.

(courtesy © 2013 Articles on Demand™)

Standard