Friday, July 28, 2017

Running out of space, but on a tight budget

My 1 1/2 story two masters (2 bed 2 1/2 bath) home with open concept ... was IDEAL for two - my son and myself. I have a first floor master bedroom and laundry. My son has his own room, nice big closet, his own bathroom and a small space at the top of the stairs for videos/video games/etc.

It was awesome.

Seriously, look at all this space (this from the empty showing):

 




Then I met my new husband. Eventually he moved in with me because my house at 1500 sq ft, while not large, is still bigger than his 936 sq ft house. AND his adult son is living there, which a 3 bed, 1 bath house doesn't work as well with 4 people as it did with the 2 that were living there before.

But, at the time we were discussing our home situation, I was worried. He doesn't have any 'him' space... and we were going to be on top of each other.

He's moved in, it's been about 9-10 months... and we are on top of each other. And the whole house feels cluttered with too much furniture, too much stuff and just no space. My husband thinks my concern is with him. It isn't just him. It's all of us and just 'too much stuff' in too little space.

One option we discussed was finishing the unfinished basement at my current house. There's plumbing for a bathroom (though it looks like it needs to still be dug out) and an egress window which means we could make this a 3 bed, 3 1/2 bath home... That would increase my home's value by around $15-20k. And it would probably cost close to $40k. 👎

We discussed it, and if we had our option for an ideal home: keep a first floor master, must have tub in master suite (am NOT sharing a tub with a 14 yr old boy), a minimum of 1800 sq ft finished, but 2000 would be better... a 3 car garage, no white cabinets in the kitchen (seriously, who wants to wipe them down daily???), first floor laundry, attached garage, pantry. So, I went online. I searched zillow.com for sold by owner, and realtor.com for sold through an agent. I could find homes that were in our price range, but they didn't meet our requirements. I could find homes that met our requirements (including some with lake views and creeks or green space in the back yards)... but they were all about $50k to $100k over our current home value. 👎

So, I'm scheming and I think I have a plan. I haven't sold DH on it, but, a plan, nonetheless. This is NO SMALL LIST. It could take me years to get through this.

1. Declutter, declutter, declutter

2. Come up with better organization - areas to improve... (and ideas behind them)

     a. Entry way - What's there needs to leave or move... 

Bench for putting on/taking off shoes - not used for that, currently has nothing in the cubbies except empty baskets. Currently has two nerf guns on top with baskets for nerf bullets; I want to set up something - probably in the basement/if we could trust him, Alex's closet/ for an 'arsenol', 

Storage for knitting - drawer holding bags and cubbies holding yarn and bags and stuff - all needs to go to the basement.

Entry closet has 3 coats hanging in it (it's 4 ft wide), and then has a ton of gift wrapping stuff in it. Mostly because I didn't have a spot for it, and it was an empty closet before my husband moved in. All the wrapping stuff needs to go to the basement. All of it.

I want to use the closet for out of seasons clothing and (hopefully) a lateral filing cabinet (because I can't find any pretty ones) for important papers (which are currently in a filing box in the middle of my dining area floor - since we took the over-sized cabinet out of the living room). There are also some keepsakes for my sons that I want to keep for them, when they decide they want them. Into the closet they go instead of in various hidey-holes. 

I want to measure out some other furniture that could maybe go into the entry way. Would love to move the cabinet from the bedroom that houses extra 'things' and blankets -- but it's probably too big. I've got the dresser I am trying to sell - also think it's not the right space/place for it (hence why I think I want to sell it). I've got a vanity with a large mirror that's from the 1940's that I'm cleaning up/fixing up, it's lovely, probably won't fit either. Would love to find a distinctive piece of furniture that's not too wide, not too tall, but interesting - and use it instead as a nice for odds and ends storage/as well as a nice looking entry way.

I'd love to have something like this (sold previously on eBay):


But it doesn't need to be an antique - just something with fairly clean lines, a bit of width, a bit of storage, and 'pretty' which isn't what any of my furniture in that area meets.

     b. living room

Convince hubby to replace loveseat with pull out bed with a book shelf to hold his movies. They are all over the place on top of cabinets, and really? He still hasn't brought over another 1000 or so movies that he's left at Nate's house. While book shelves aren't the final solution, they will HELP with feeling like things are where they belong. That frees up more space behind doors for video games. We can also put on top of the book cases different collections things or other decor items that right now are overwhelming other places. (and if it becomes overwhelming, it'll get moved to the basement as well).

Coffee table - this is my mess, but if I can clear it up better... and get my file box emptied, I can use the file box to organize some of the HOA stuff. 

Built in next to the fireplace. Filled with candle overflow (declutter), keepsakes for my sons (move to closet), stuff for wedding/graduation keepsake that needs work (basement), and re-organize it so it's a compliment instead of disaster zone (declutter/organize).

     c. Dining room

File box OUT of there, what's in it needs to go into the filing cabinet we need to buy; replaced with HOA stuff and stuck in the entry way closet.

3 boxes of DH's papers sorted into file/recycle/shred and out of there.

That leaves the cat tree (ok, sigh), my work desk (double sigh), the table and chairs and the hutch. Declutter and/or move excess 'stuff' that we only use once a year or less... like cupcake and cake holders, like my grandmother's silver set, etc. Declutter, declutter, declutter; some will go to the consignment shop, some will go to the basement where the current out of season clothes are. Debating about the Christmas dishes getting relocated as well with the Holiday decorations.

     d. Kitchen

There's storage in the oversized island that needs decluttered/sorted/re-assigned.

No idea what is in the cabinet over the refrigerator, my bet is, it doesn't need to leave there.

There are three crockpots, a roaster oven, a stand mixer, a pizza oven and an indoor grill on top of the cabinets in the kitchen. Consign the ones we don't need nor use, and the rest either goes to the garage or the laundry room.

Snacks... no idea how to handle that clutter. I love DH, and I know he needs plenty of fuel for his energy sucking job, but it doesn't fit in the pantry and I don't love it all over the counter top either.

Medicine - Alex & I need a new place for our pill bottles and vitamin and supplements. I'm thinking we need storage in the half bath and that would be a good place to keep this stuff.

   e. Garage entry

sigh... this one will be tough, but we can get there. Starting with the litter box. All litter boxes need to get relocated to the BASEMENT. All of them. We're not there yet, but most of this work is going to take me months anyway. New solution needed for collecting can recylcing and other recycling (right now, we've got a small end table with two bins - one for each of those things and a paper bag to hold paper recycling. This needs cleaned up, moved, something.

Maybe something like this (original source lost, this is from pinterest):



Cloth bin - It's filled with a's school stuff from 7th grade. Need to sort out what to keep, toss what we don't need. Find out if anything else managed to land in this little bin and then find a new home/use for it.

Bench with cubbies, hooks with cubbies, and cubbies bookshelf ... this has become a 'it doesn't fit anywhere else' stick it here zone. It was kind of intended partially for that. But, it's gotten really bad lately. Figure out what needs to leave the house and if it's leaving the house, can it go to the garage... if it's 'don't know where else to put it' - figure out categories. I want more shelving in the garage anyway... like an overflow for a pantry... the new item I want to put in the entry way for grandkids things, sunscreen, party paper supplies, etc. Winter hats/gloves/etc - into the closet.

I'd LOVE to get at least half of the shelves emptied so that we feel like we have 'space' there for the things that should be there... (like shoes, etc) and the bench to stop being a shelf for more storage and actually usable as a bench for putting on/taking off shoes.

   f. Laundry room

Right now I have a couple of shelves that I had installed like shoe shelves... but up higher, to hold baskets for sorting laundry. This worked great for 2 people. Does not work for 3. I have one shelf over the washer & dryer holding all laundry supplies which looks really ugly and another small shelf with a hanging bar, some hooks on the back of the door, plus the cat & dog food & water.  None of which is working well right now.   Once litter boxes are moved, move cat & dog food & water to the half bath and basement. Take down all existing shelves and pick out some kitchen upper cabinets or buy new - and install them with a matching shelf underneath - keep out only the frequently used supplies on the shelf, with all the rarely used items (plus things from the kitchen) hidden behind doors. Add a wood clothing rod for hanging clothes. and setting up a 'basket' rack different kind of system that can manage the 31 extra tall bins (which is where our laundry gets sorted now).

  g. Garage

Filled with furniture (which needs to go to Alex's room/basement).

Filled with can recycling - which needs to go to the recycling center (it's close, but uck).

Also includes over-sized entertainment center (to be chopped up and left at the curb for pick up). A couple of old bookshelves (sell or leave for pick up)... and set up a proper garage storage system. I'm thinking tall metal shelves lining one side of the garage, adding a second 10' long wire shelf above the current ones at the back of the garage (at 6' now, so maybe at the 8' or 10' level ... that wall is like 14' high, so use that height). Figure out an overflow pantry cabinet(s) to put on the other side of the back of the garage.

    h. Master bedroom.

With four dressers, we have got to cut back... so the one that stores blankets either moves to the entry way (if it fits) or basement. It's too 'much' furniture in too small a space.

Declutter - every surface is covered with 'stuff' too much stuff. DH has a box of stuff for me to sort through. I've got two jewelry boxes set out when I wear something in them about once a year if that. Some of the keepsakes can get relocated to the living room for 'display'.

    i. Master bedroom bathroom

I've got two cabinets to hang on the walls, that are sitting on other cabinets or on the floor - get them hung and get them sorted out.

Buy an over-the tank organizer & a medicine cabinet.

    j. Half bath

Replace mirror with a medicine cabinet for the stuff we keep in the kitchen now.

     k. The basement? Well, that's a whole second post worth of updates.

Just by looking at the organization/furniture needed for the first floor - I think I can do it for under $1500.

- Filing cabinet
- entry way piece
- recycling sorter in the garage entry
- garage shelving
- garage 'pantry' storage

Now, that's not exactly cheap. But it's cheaper than buying a house for $100k more than I'd like to pay for a home.

Of course, this is also an enormous list of 'to dos' when my current list of to do items has been left unfinished for quite a while. But, if I can tackle a tiny piece a week, I think I can at least feel less like I'm in too small a place. 


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