18 August 2014

Mum DIY and More Decluttering

I'm the one who usually does the painting around these parts. In my mind there's no reason to wait around for my hubby to do the DIY when I'm rather impatient and a bit of a dab hand with a paintbrush.
After all, I redecorated the kitchen-dining all by myself - and the paint is still sticking to the cupboards.

I got all inspired to do some more DIY and decluttering after I put together my latest articles for Parenting magazine (spring issue, out soon). One is a feature about my kitchen makeover; the other is some decluttering tips from the lovely Natalie, the professional organiser who helped me gain control over my pantry and other disaster areas.

One of Natalie's tips was "contain things" and along with my favourite "A place for everything and everything in its place" I felt compelled to take my decluttering to the next level, in honour of spring, which will hopefully make itself felt anyday now.

First up, I took Natalie's  "contain things" motto and set to rights the linen cupboard, which had fallen back into chaos.

(Here's the link to the Original before and after; my containment measures were insufficient).
And now... more containers. Plus LABELS. No excuses.

The labels are a little bit of genius:

  • Take a piece of plain old black paper, and cut to size with scissors (cut the corners fancy if you want)
  • Write the title on with white chalk (use a small sharpish piece for readability)
  • SPRAY your label with hairspray to "fix" the chalk and stop it from smudging. 
  • Use a glue stick to stick your label onto your container  
  • and VOILA! a chalkboard label for zip.

But you wanted to see paint being splashed around, yes?
Well, after I made the linen cupboard usable once again, I turned my attention to the Laundry. It was still functioning pretty well, but suddenly I realised I had a whole lot of paint left over from painting my kitchen, and one VERY UGLY laundry cupboard. Something should be done about that.

Here's Natalie with my original decluttering efforts. Note the ugly stained and ripped wallpaper, the dark wooden shelf, the raw plasterboard end-walls. It doesn't exactly inspire you to keep on top of your laundry mountain.

Ahhhh, that's better. Fresh and clean, walls painted softest green, shelf painted lovely cream. And what's that we see? A plastic bag holder properly attached to the wall? Hooks for the dustpan and brush?
What is the world coming to???!

It doesn't stop there.
Lets add some more of those quick-n-easy chalkboard labels so people can find what they're looking for easily. How about a pretty drawstring bag for the odd-sock collection, with it's own special hook to hang it on. An inspiring tin picture to keep us motivated while we work would be nice, too.

What a difference a lick of paint makes to a dark and dingy cupboard. While I was at it I did a bit more decluttering, making extra space by relegating tools to the unused cupboard under the tub, while still keeping them handy.


So much better. It's almost enough to inspire you to do the washing.

One problem I kept having was that items from the (mountainous) washing pile would fall down the back of the dryer. The main problem was having a family's worth of towels mixed in with all the dirty clothes. Sometimes important items like school/sports uniforms would get buried under all those towels, and I'd find myself doing mad-panic laundry loads late at night in time for the Big Game. Or school.

After a bit more decluttering I freed up a basket which used to live filled with junk in our bedroom. This now lives in a corner of the bathroom and a chalkboard sign leaves no-one in any doubt about what goes in there...

Since this basket has been operating for the last two weeks, I've actually kept on top of the washing - and not one item has fallen down the back of the dryer. It is some kind of miracle.
I've been getting organised!

In the last week or two I have also given the two big kids' bedrooms a mini makeover - painting ugly battle-scarred walls, decluttering and freshening everything up.

Dash had been complaining about his pastel yellow-green walls for yonks. This kid lives in a room which is only slightly bigger than his bed; a few years ago I painted one wall with a giant blackboard and the words: "No Fear". But still those walls bothered him, so last Monday I raced home from work and went to work slapping leftover pale grey paint around, covering the offending baby-green (from the days when the room was Scrag's nursery).

I intended to paint the chest of drawers while I was at it, but when I started to sand it, I kind of liked the rustic effect... so I left it as it was and saved myself a job. The boy was pleased, anyway.

I turned my attention to Miss Fab's room, which had been given a complete makeover when she was six, but was looking worse for wear four years on.

Some plaster to fill in the holes and dings in the walls, a bit of decluttering and a lick of touch up paint left her room all fresh and ready for spring. Especially after we strung up Deb's vintage sheet bunting. (Goldie decal from Pop Factory; vintage Disney calendar from Typo).

Which brings me to the last bit of paint magic... my humble wooden chest.

Once a vision in orange pine, I painted it white a couple of years back, which improved it greatly. But it was looking a little tired, needed a freshen up and a new role as a coffee table after we moved some things around. Out came the sandpaper, and off came the painted edges.
In half an hour my battered white chest looked  nautical-crisp.
I love the way the sandpaper has highlighted the tongue-and-groove.

And the way it looks so fresh-but-rustic in my blue lounge...

(While I was at it I switched over the cubby bookshelves; they were blond wood but the white ones from my sunroom look so much better).

I appear to have caught the DIY bug.
On my list of possible projects is painting the yellow sunroom white (to go better with the blond wood than it's current butter yellow) and painting the wooden tongue and groove in the bathroom.

But I might just start with the loo, where the walls are in really bad nick.
I'd love to use a canny trick I saw on The Renovation Game where they wallpapered a room with newspaper. I reckon could look really great, if you used vintage newspaper or magazines, and would make for interesting reading while you're in the Little Girls' Room.

Whaddya reckon? Think hubby will go for it?

What DIY/Decluttering Projects do you itch to get started on?

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