Sunday, April 21, 2013

Clean Sweep

I woke up on Saturday morning with a stomach that seemed stable (or stable for a first trimester pregnant person) and a mind FILLED with plans for reorganizing everything in my house. After spending 2.5 days on the couch watching HGTV and far too much free time to contemplate my closet situation, I decided I would redo everything the moment I could remain standing for more than a few minutes without getting dizzy and/or wanting to throw up.

Saturday was that day.

By 8 a.m. I had removed everything from the guest room (soon to be baby's room), entry way, kitchen, kids', and family room closets and spread the contents all over the various floors and hallways in the house. I planned to do it all in a more ordered fashion, but one thing lead to another and when JP walked in the door after his morning swim practice you actually couldn't open the side door without hitting a bunch of the stuff that used to be on our pantry shelves. The kids were playing in the now empty closets and I was still trying to find my other box of maternity clothes (we may have given away all our baby gear, but I'm not giving those maternity clothes away until it is medically impossible for us to have children, they are way too expensive and un-fun to buy). I finally located the third bin of clothing- the one with all my favorite items- in the back corner of the garage, erroneously placed under a box confusingly labeled "Outside/Misc/Clothes." It was JP's job to unpack the garage, which is why it is the only room in our house that still has boxes in it. Luckily, it's a detached garage, so knowing there are unpacked boxes in there doesn't keep me up at night with my need for All The Things To Be Put Away.

The finding of the maternity clothes necessitated a complete re-do of our master closet, which required a re-work of the wet-bar-turned-closet in the family room because it's the only other closet with a clothes bar across the top and a lack of lower shelves and thus the only place for my non-maternity, already not-fitting clothes to be relocated to. The dusty wrinkled maternity clothes had to be washed and steam dried and then I ran out of hangers and basically, when I ran out of the house at 1:00 to attend a friend's baby shower in Dallas my house was in complete disarray.

Luckily there was a lot of traffic on the heinous drive between Fort Worth and Dallas so I had a lot of time to consider my closet strategy before getting home at 5:00. And by 10:00, they were done. They were done and they are GLORIOUS. Lots of stuff to Goodwill, lots of stuff to the trash and recycle bins, All The Things in plastic bins of some sort. I fell asleep with a smile and woke up with an urge to re-open all the doors just for the thrill of happiness of seeing the insides. So I did, and then I got my tea and my laptop and got to work with the planning of our new play room, the next step in my new/old house project.

Currently, our play room is where the dining room should be. Our sun room, which should be the play room, houses JP's giant desk and our little 4-person square table. This means we have a beautiful view of the backyard and pool while we eat, but we have to walk as far as possible to and from the kitchen. My hope is that by next year, when JP's swim school has taken over the world, we will be able to buy a dining table set for the dining room that will enable us to feed guests (as well as our own family of five) at a table without resorting to eating in shifts. Step 1 of this process is to move the play room into the sun room, move the desk over to where the table is now on the other side of the sun room, and move the tiny table to the place where the big table will one day reside.

(the sun room, with a surprise Clairebear)

And so, the play room internet window shopping commences.

First up, this 8x10 room-defining rug. I fell in love with it a year ago- the colors are perfect to combine our bright green sun room walls and blue living room walls and it's playful but not cartoonish and I won't mind being able to see it from other vantage points throughout the more grown-up rooms of the house, and after spending a year looking for basically the same rug at every bargain place I can think of, I've given up and simply plan to order this one at the end of the summer. It's thick (I want the kids to be able to sit and play on the floor and that tile- like all tile- is really hard) and it's wool so it should hold up well in a busy area. JP will have completed 3 more sessions of the swim school by then and I will have single-parented for 3 months while pregnant in 100 degree weather. I will get my rug.


For toy storage I've settled on the trofast systems from Ikea (after a brief flirt with 5x5 cube expedit, but I'm tired of bins that aren't big enough to hold everything and the problem of filling tiny shelf spaces to look pretty from the outside, plus the kids wouldn't be able to reach any of the cubes at the top). The storage will go along the solid green wall in the back of the sun room and I want them to hold ALL the toys. No more random stuff on the floor- it goes in a bin. I want the light wood with solid white bins and we'll make fun labels for whatever is inside. My big dilemma now centers around (1) when can I get JP to drive to freaking Plano to visit the dreaded Ikea, and (2) do I want a double pyramid set-up or a wall of same-height bins? We already own one of each (they served as both kids' nursery furniture for years!), so I need to pick one shape to duplicate. Thoughts?

stair steps

or a wall of five or so columns?

On the wish list, but less likely to be purchased, are a few of these big floor bins to throw whatever doesn't fit in the bins in, and this awesome library style book cart.



It is more likely that I will just reuse one of the bookcases we already have (purchased from Target 5 years ago and too shallow and short to work well with children's books and toys, but I have a hard time not staying invested in things), but either way, I'll have a reading nook along the exposed white brick wall that separates the living room and sun room. I'm putting the kids big PBK chairs there with a little table and the bookcase behind them.

(current furniture/set up)

The old re-purpuposed coffee table will go in the middle of the rug. The play kitchen will go in front of the windows. I think it will be good. It is the only option to allow for a dining room that will seat more than 4 people, though the dining room will likely lag behind the play room in completion by 6-12 (to 18) months. I do have that nursery to create out of the guest room (while leaving the guest room in place) and it has a pretty firm a deadline!


  1. Cute rug. Your organizing skills are amazing!

  2. Something to look into, I heard a rumor that Ikea is going to stop selling those shelves in wood. Friends said they got the last stairstep one at the Seattle store. We've got them in white and they are fine but if you specifically are eyeing the wood ones I'd look into it sooner rather than later.
    I like ours because the bins are very sturdy and there are the different size options (oh and I feel like you couldn't get every color in every size so check into that if you're after certain colors).

  3. I love those shelves. I think stepped looks much nicer, but then you have more storage with the higher ones. I think stepped at either end with a triple in the middle would be nice, and interesting to look at.

    1. That would be my first choice too, except the tall shelves have the bins facing out on their long side (so the unit is longer/shallower) and the pyramids have the bins facing out on their short side (so the unit is deeper). They are the same height, but with the different depths I don't think I can line them up that way. Clearly a design flaw because that would have been such a great option!

  4. That really is a beautiful rug too - hand hooked! I think sometimes it's worth spending your money where your values are, and paying extra for the craftmanship.

  5. CP is right -- you are an organizing NINJA.

    I would love to hear details about how you're going to turn your guest room into a nursery AND keep it a guest room. Whenever we have #2, we're going to have to do the same thing, and I am having trouble envisioning it.

    1. I already have the floor plan sketched out! All I need now is a crib, a long low dresser with a changer top, a rug, some bedding, and possibly new curtains... thank goodness I have 6.5 more months. In the meantime, I'll be sure to write about it soon!

  6. Will the stair-step invite unwanted climbing?

  7. You may end up with a climber one of these times :) I did! The stair steps are my fave, but my 17 mo old has been climbing since she was 10 months old (walking at 8.5 mo old). To her, those are a open-ended invitation to climb!!! Plus, I notice that those bottom bins seem very deep and I wonder if the kids will ever play with the toys that land at the bottom and become covered up?

    I'm am constantly re-organizing too. I think that's just naturally never ending when you are a growing family no matter what size house you live in!

    Teresa - IL

  8. OH, I love that clean closet feeling! Taking a big load to Goodwill is like therapy. We are in desperate need of a playroom overhaul as the big kids get bigger!

  9. I just read this right before coming to your post! It's for a NYC apartment, and requires furniture you probably don't want to buy, but it could at least provide you with some ideas! It makes me really want to get a murphy bed...

    Good luck, I've been following along even if I haven't been in touch, and I'm very excited to hear about your #3!

    Judith (mom to the one with the sleeping issue, who is sleeping fantastically now - thanks!)

  10. We have the Ikea Trofast, a wall of 4 columns. We recently added more storage, this time using Cubeicals (12 cube organizer used horizontally so as not to block a window). We've found the Cubeicals to be much more useful/efficient - and also the Cubeicals come in way more colors for coordinating! The really deep Trofast buckets tend to become repositories of stuff that doesn't get played with so often (buried in there) and the shallow Trofast buckets are too shallow to hold much.

    BTW, why do you say that you will have single-parented for 3 months by August?!!

    1. Thank you for the input!

      As for the summer, I was exaggerating slightly, but JP will be pool director of a local pool (in order to use it for his swim school lessons) and head coach of another pool's summer league. So he'll be at one pool from 7:30-10 a.m. and another pool from 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Tuesday - Sunday every single week! I see some long, hot, pregnant weekends in my future, but hopefully he'll be able to grow the business a lot and hire a manager to do much the deck time by next summer!

    2. A ha! That does sound like a long, hot pregnant summer. You will definitely deserve that rug (and more).

      One dining table idea - at least in this area (DC metro) you can find the most amazing tables on Craigslist for cheap. We were looking for a large round table (square dining room) and prices for new tables were insane. We ended up finding a 100-yr-old solid oak round table (with 4 leaves - it can seat up to 12!) for $300 on Craigslist. The seller told us it came from his great-grandparents' farm in Missouri and the whole family had eaten there for decades. It did require some sweat equity (we did not refinish, just cleaned and oiled). We bought new chairs (good condition in a style you like seemed much harder to find on Craigslist).

  11. Great decorating plan! We have a very similar rug (called cats paw) in our play room and I LOVE it. I'm with you it is playful but not kiddie. We have the same IKEA storage and did (3) of all the same height arranged two back to back and then the third one at the end. This allowed us to get a piece of cheap wood for the top and then turn the whole thing into a train/play/art table. IKEA has some great rugs that are the exact dimensions of the set up.

    Dining room -- I was in the exact situation a couple of weeks ago. We had been looking at dining room tables for ever and all were going to end up being $3000+ by the time we got the table and chairs for 8-10. We took a trip to IKEA and I honestly found my (right now) dream table. It's the BJURSTA ($249 and seats up to 12). We got it in the light birch and then got (6) of the TOBIAS chairs. It turned out amazing and is absolutely with a 2 year old. The clear chairs are so comfy, clean easy, hold spilled liquid very well, and since they are clear take up no visual space. My hubby doesn't always trust the durability of some IKEA items and even he is uber-pleased with our selection. Just giving you an idea of a possibility when you make the dreaded IKEA trip. (We actually used their delivery service for the first time and it was amazing. Flat fee of $139 for whatever we could get on their truck and we lived in the farthest delivery area)

    Sorry this comment is getting out of control but you are definitely a kindred spirit in the organizing, planning, and thoughtfully decorating realm with me.

    So excited to see how it ends up!