Home Improvement Part 7

Home Improvements, Part 7

This is part 7 in a sequence. If you want to begin at the beginning, you can go to Part 1. The following shows the contents for this and adjacent parts.

Part 6 (separate page)
  • New Driveway
  • Misc.
Part 7 (this page)

(initial section posted 2/22/17)

Wallpaper Removal - Family Area

A while back, you may recall, I had done wallpaper removal for the front section, and decided that, although there was still more to do in the family and living areas, I wasn't going to do it by myself again. Finally, early 2017, I was able to get around to that item on my great To-Do list.

I'd actually done some research for a painter some months before based on recommendations in a Facebook group, and picked a likely candidate out, but that person seemed to have moved on to other things, so I had to re-do my research. I picked a couple of likely candidates, sent out some inquiries, and selected Chaz Home Painting. After I picked a color ("Navaho White" which was very close to the original wall color, maybe even the same color but I don't recall), he was able to start within a few days:

Prep: I needed to empty shelves, etc. of lots of books, knicknacks, videos, etc., so the furniture could be moved out of the way as needed. After 30 years in the house, there's a lot of stuff. This pic is when I'm most of the way done, and shows the old wallpaper.
Day 1: The first day was devoted to removing the wallpaper, which covered 2 large walls in the family area. It was textured wallpaper, so came off in 2 layers. This pic was partway thru the day, with one wall close to being cleaned off.
End of day 1: Wallpaper is off the walls.
Mimi enjoyed sleeping in the tarps the painter put down. He called her his "little supervisor."
Day 3: The job is mostly finished... After day 2 which was mainly prep of the walls that had the wallpaper removed (sanding, washing, etc.), the actual painting went pretty quickly. This day was actually only about 1/2 day of work, since the painter guy had to go out of town for the weekend. This pic shows the 2 freshly painted walls that previously had the wallpaper. There was still 1 other large wall and a few small walls that needed painting as well, and the furniture needs to be shuffled around a bit for that.
Day 4: Another 1/2 day to complete the job. Yes, this pic shows basically the same section as before. The wall unit and speakers are in their proper place now, but this doesn't show where the painting work happened this day. (That wouldn't show too much anyway, since the new paint is almost the same as the old paint.) What I wanted to show here is the curtain on a tension rod in the window. I am planning to replace the vertical blinds that were on the windows and sliding glass doors... actually, throughout the house. But these windows needed some covering in the meanwhile for privacy as well as to filter out some of the intense sunshine we have on that side of the house.

So, I was really pleased with the result. I did have some concerns, because the last time we hired painters, they did a pretty mediocre job and I had to go back and touch up a lot of what they did. This time I did feel a compulsion to go and clean stuff like areas under the furniture that had been moved, and shelves that had been emptied, but that had nothing to do with the quality of the painter's work. (In fact, I'm still in the process of doing that cleanup and putting stuff back as I write this.)

(section posted 3/6/18)

Minimization Challenge

It was around Thanksgiving 2017 when my closet exploded. It wasn't a literal explosion, of course--that's just what I call it now. But it was my walk-in closet, which has those white wire shelf-plus-rod combination shelves. And one of the shelves just decided to fall out of the wall one day... no warning or anything. I could only infer it was "too much weight," as they said in that Brisco County Jr. episode. There had been about 5 feet or so of tightly-packed dresses and other clothing hanging on the rod, and 3 large stacks of T-shirts and some other things on the shelf, and now they were all in a messy pile on the floor.

So, the first order of business was to get all that stuff moved somewhere else so I could effect repairs. The stuff that had been stacked on the shelf was easy enough; I could stack it elsewhere around the bedroom. The hanging stuff, however, was a bit more difficult, because it all really needed to hung up again, which meant I needed to find 6 feet or so of closet rod space somewhere else in the house. I decided the closet in the guest room would work best for that; there was basically nothing hanging there... There was some stuff on the floor, like vacuum cleaners, that just needed to be removed to make room for the hanging clothes. But there was a LOT of stuff on the shelf, much of it heavy stuff, like boxes of slides. I didn't want to create another "too much weight" issue, so I had to take all that out and stack it on the floor.

So, I'd made a bunch of new messes that would have to be dealt with, but at least I had a place to hang the clothes. So I was able to fix the shelf (made sure the supports got anchored to the studs this time so it wouldn't fall out again) and repair the holes in the wall. Then, because I'd already cleared the space out, I figured I ought to do clean the shelves and floors while I had the chance. And put in some new shelf liners too.

I know I've mentioned previously that I've been in this house over 30 years and have accumulated a lot of stuff in that time. And I've realized at this point that, as much as I still like the house, it's way more house than I want to continue to deal with, so I'm working on downsizing. So the closet explosion was actually going to be a good opportunity to go thru and edit a bunch of my clothes.

Coincidentally, before I'd gotten very far with the closet restoration, a friend on Facebook posted a thing about a "Minimization Challenge." The challenge is that, every day for a month, you get rid of some of your "stuff". On day 1, you get rid of 1 thing; on day 2, 2 things; on day 3, 3 things; etc. At first I thought this might be interesting to try, but then I got to thinking that this could be very hard, especially toward the end of the month. I mean, you end up getting rid of almost 500 things in total, and over 100 in the last 4 days alone. But then I thought more about it, and figured I didn't have to be anal about the rules... I could do different amounts on different days, maybe take more than a month, etc. Since I was already forced to do some of this by the closet explosion anyway, perhaps I should challenge myself to do a bit more...

And so I did... It's been very interesting. Part of it is that you have to make up your own rules about what counts as getting rid of something. For example, it doesn't make sense to count everything you normally put into the garbage or recycle bin; the goal is to get rid of stuff that you have problems getting rid of otherwise. So, for an example for me, I have problems getting rid of the paper tubes when I change the toilet paper in one of my bathrooms, because there's no good place to put the empty tube to be sure I remember to take it to recycling when I leave the room. So they tend to stack up until I have 6 or 8 of them, when the pile gets big enough to become annoying. So I decided that I would count it as 1 item when I moved the pile to recycling (whereas tubes from the other bathrooms don't count at all because I have no issue with them).

Another example of a rule I had to make was when to count clothing that got donated to Goodwill (or other charity). Do I count it when I stick it in a bag destined for Goodwill, or do I count it when I actually deliver said bag to Goodwill? When I started the challenge, I actually had a bag and a half of clothing destined for Goodwill that had been sitting in my closet for I-don't-know how long, but several months at least. So I decided I should only count those items when I delivered them, because that's where I had a problem.

So, I started the Challenge a few days into last December, which meant I got a bit more of a challenge because it was a 31 day month. At the instant I am writing this, it is Feb 28 (3 months later), and I am just 18 items short of the full amount, which I think is pretty darn good, especially considering I have more than that number of items that are "in process," in the sense that I do have a plan to get rid of them, but I haven't actually completed said plan, so I don't allow myself to count them yet. (It would be easier if I just threw everything away, but I'm fairly anal about trying reuse and recycle options before I just discard something.)

So, it worked! Not only did I get rid of a lot of stuff. but even better is that I've developed a mindset for minimizing... almost every day has me thinking about what I could get rid of that day.


To be continued....


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