Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Organizing My Kitchen For Cheap

Last week I decided to empty every cabinet and pantry shelf. I was regretting that until about 2 o'clock in the afternoon when things finally started looking {a little} better. The cabinets here are gross. No other way to put it. They actually make me cringe. For real. So I tried to make things better using what we already have...I did buy some Command hooks, and they were worth it!

This transformation took me the whole day, but I think it's at least a slight improvement.

I even made an adorable collage to commemorate the occasion. See?

Ooh, pitter patter! Seeing the pretty yellow on the undersides helps, too. A lot.

Okay people, do not let this happen to your shelves. Please and thank you.
Major ick! 
The one above shows the grime, but the other problem is the breakdown of the laminate "layer," thus creating a breakdown of the particle board inside. That leaves you with an uneven and bumpy, discolored surface. It's not awesome.
But THIS is awesome!
Isn't she just the happiest, prettiest little cabinet Ever now?!?
I was totally inspired by Jen over at IHeart Organizing when she decorated cereal boxes for her drawers, so I began thinking of the many containers we had, literally sitting out in the recycle bins. Did I mention that it never got above four degrees outside today? I fished through those bins awful fast!
I bet you can see them if you glance at the picture again. Super easy and fast to do! I may have patted myself on the back once or twice. Or squealed a little. But whatev.

 Two Command strips later, and voila! 

 Prettified International Coffee container

 Ah yes, the mess that was my entire kitchen All.Day.Long!

See those little hooks inside the cabinet doors on the left? Go get some! They can do this...

The metal hooks adjust so they can hold almost anything! Love them! Love getting random stuff off shelves and out of drawers! Our dust pan, square fry pan and some other things are now vertical, and that has really given me lots more cabinet/drawer space.

Don't look closely at that, mini dishwashers must be slacking off, ha!
I love little storage containers too. I think these plastic ones were 3/$1 a few years ago.

Metal baskets work well in smallish drawers too...

And wire lifty-up shelf-things...

Some baskets to house like items that would otherwise wreak havoc in my tidy space...

I'll share just this one picture of the pantry. Again, this was a zero-dollar improvement, and it's still isn't very pretty to look at, but I'm super thankful to have one.

We don't have a mudroom or large entry way for coats and winter gear, so I tried to get a little creative with that too- it works! (And it only has to be here throughout the winter months!)

Now I'm off to do a little sewing for my cutie pie, and maybe {finally} get dressed.  =)

Have a super day!

I wrote a post about updating our tired kitchen on a budget in this post if you'd like to read it.
Click HERE for another kitchen update.

Sharing with:
Emily A. Clark

Friday, January 25, 2013

Updating A Tired Kitchen On A Tight Budget

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! You can read about why my husband and I traded in our beautiful, new-construct home of ten years for this semi-neglected 90's one in THIS POST.

When we were searching for houses back in the summer and fall, we knew we were looking for something that we could improve upon with a little elbow grease and some paint, something that wouldn't require structural changes. When we found The One, we were happy we were just dealing with some cosmetic upgrades.
Funny how quickly those smiles faded once the work actually began.

Here is what our kitchen started out as...

Definitely not the worst kitchen in the world, but not really our style. It was actually quite homey and appropriate for the sweet couple who built this house and lived in it for the past 20 years- there was an unmistakable good feeling in this house.

That may have been slightly misleading as to the amount of work we'd really be getting ourselves into! There were many late afternoons and evenings spent here amid utter chaos when it felt like we had made a mistake, and sometimes I just cried and cried, wishing we could go back in time and go back home.

But things weren't perfect there, either, of course. And since this new space was just that- new to us- it took some time to get acquainted, especially when things didn't look very pretty. I was completely unprepared for that part of moving to an older, more in-need kind of home, and it was hard!


We have truly pushed ourselves beyond our comfort zones and tried to make the most of our strengths and talents by breathing some new life into this older house. All the while leaving as much of our adoption funds in tact as possible. That's hard too, because sometimes I'm just plain selfish and I want what I want. We pray a lot about this.

We aren't completely done with the kitchen yet...there's still the question of what to do with the lighting over the sink (with a very NON-centered hook-up), finishing up the island, fixing the issue of the disintegrating particle board kick plates under the cabinets, and the possibility of adding butcher block counters. Oh, and the nightmare that is my kitchen floor- badly laid and cracked tile, and chipped, disgustingly dirty grout. It has been no match for even my trusty Magic Eraser, sigh.
But other than that, it's totally great!  =)

Below is an earlier in-process photo...getting all decked out for our first Christmas here!
**that light above the sink sadly didn't end up staying with us- it didn't look quite right**

New shelves!
It took forever to find just the right light above the island. No, really, for-ev-er! I snagged this light at Lowe's on clearance for about $30, had Bill clip almost the entire chain off it, and it just works there. We tried so many, and most lights were just too bulky, which made the space feel really cramped and overloaded. So once again, less is more.
In my heart of hearts I had wanted to place a large hutch against that far wall, or build a large scale pantry cabinet, maybe even have a coffee station with extra storage, can do, thanks to this little gem!
{update on this wall HERE}
I'm going to add something below the shelves on the far wall, but I'm not sure what yet. Also, the shelves had to be placed higher than I wanted because we walk through there a lot and I could just hear the crashes waiting to happen. So far, no shattering casualties.  =)

 Buh-bye blue trim!
The homeowners had purchased these great appliances just last year, but we soon realized that the ultra cool French Drawer Refrigerator was going to have to go...I'm tall, and I do not enjoy bending over to rummage through the contents of my freezer. Plus, the island is so close it literally smacked you in the rear. No thanks. We got cash for it (Craig's List) and used that to purchase a new side by side. We lucked out because there was a great sale on the counter depth one, and it makes SUCH a difference!

The biggest surprise was discovering that the oak cabinets aren't really oak. As in wood.
They're laminate in all its laminate-y glory.
Another fun surprise?
Gigantic hole hiding under the gigantic original light fixture.
All in all, painting cabinets was much less gratifying than I would have thought. It was hard work! I didn't cheap out with products either, and the paint has already chipped and doesn't seem very stain resistant.
That said, it's still waaaaaay better than it was.
And waaaaaaaay cheaper than replacing all the cabinets.
We also saved moolah by reusing and spray painting all the hinges. Easy peasy!
Even children can do it.
Well, not the spray painting part.  =)
The hinges were incredibly grimy and slimy.
Time will tell how well they hold up...but for now I'm happy with them. 

So really all we've done is splash a little paint on the walls and cabinets, add some new hardware and light fixtures, and boy what a difference it makes!
We still need to finish up the few things I mentioned above, but I'll let the photos do the talking now.
Okay, onto the pretty stuff...

Sometimes you just have to learn to live with stuff... It's all okay.  =)

In the spirit of working with what was already here, that little gem of a heater is a wonderful spot to dry our boots and things, and the bench is a toasty warm place to sit and put on your already-warm gear!

 That's the end of our kitchen tour for now! Thanks for taking a look! Hope you're having a wonderful week!

You can read about some organizing tips HERE.

Sharing with:
Emily A. Clark

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wanna See the...

... Revamped Kitchen!

Hello! We've worked really hard in this new-to-us house and love the changes so far - hop on over to my new blog and take a look if you'd like!  =)

On a side note, it is fuh-reeeeeeezing out there!
Time for hot cocoa, a quilt, and a good book! What's the weather like where you are today?

Have a great day & stay is the link!  

Here are a couple photos for ya!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Beautiful Snowy Morning in New England

Our latest victim of headache and chills is sitting beside me right now with her usual array of babies and accessories spread out over a picnic blanket, assessing each one's wardrobe, letting me know who is missing such and such, and that I need to get straight to work.  ;)

Oh, and we've got our Disney princess playlist humming along. Can't forget that detail. Giselle is crooning the Happy Working Song {from Enchanted, one of my favorites!}, so my little princess just might get her stash has been calling my name lately anyway.

Then again, since the sickie was just asked to stop tearing through the house for the third time, I'm beginning to wonder if someone just wanted a little extra attention like her big brothers have had.

Anyhoo, everything looks so beautiful after snowing all day yesterday, so we had to take some pictures of our new neighborhood. The first photo is what I see through the kitchen windows as I wash dishes. Isn't it lovely?!?

This guy adores the snow! So much so that he's been sneaking outside every time someone opens the door, naughty boy. Good thing he's so cute.

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