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Cleaning Room Redos

Rust Spots and How to Remove Them

October 15, 2015

Well, hello!

Sorry to have missed Tuesday’s post, but I spent all of Monday in bed, sick to my stomach with a migraine and neck ache. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling 100% on Tuesday, but woke up feeling fine on Wednesday. But enough about all of that! The real news is that we have a working pedestal sink in our downstairs bathroom! No, sorry. I’m not going to show you any pictures — not just yet. But I did want to share a tip with you that is some what sink related.

It has to do with these guys, the shutoff valves :

how to make old valves look brand new |

Not very pretty to look at, am I right? If we were just putting another vanity in here, it really wouldn’t matter, because no one would ever see them. However, with a pedestal sink, and the values near eye level when in… er… sitting position, it matters! I was all set to replace them. I even bought new ones. But we haven’t been able to shut the water off completely, despite turning off the main and opening all the faucets (upstairs and down). There is still a slow, steady stream coming from the cold water valve, in this downstairs bathroom. And that, my friends, is not what you want when you need to take plumbing apart.

While procrastinating on Pinterest, I found this post on removing rust stains from chrome. If you’ve been reading for any amount of time, you know I love a good cleaning experiment, and since I had the supplies on hand (an old rag and Bar Keeper’s Friend), I decided to give it a try.

It works! It really works!

how to make old valves look brand new |

(Sorry for the difference in lighting. We’ve been working into the night on this bathroom. Are we done yet?)

Perhaps, I’m a little too excited about this, but when I showed it to Michael, he thought I had actually replaced the valves! So, it’s kinda a big deal.

Assuming you have your own rusty mess to deal with, here’s the how-to:

  • Damp rag
  • Sprinkle Bar Keeper’s Friend (BKF) on damp rag
  • Smush BKF in rag (so it doesn’t all fall on the floor when you start wiping)
  • Wipe rust away

Yep. That’s it. Seriously, this rust was on there for only God knows how long, but I didn’t even have to scrub it! It just wiped away! I did have to make a few passes, but nothing that would constituted “scrubbing” by any means.

Now, I’m wondering what else I use it on. When I was pulling the link for this post I saw a pin about using it on pans. That may be my next experiment. Anyone else use BKF to remove rust? Or do you have some other great use for it? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know!

Psst! Missed a post about our bathroom renovation? Catch up here: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Cleaning Home Maintenance Organizing

Garage Clean Out

August 18, 2015

A while back we posted how we planned to save about $100 a month on our mortgage. In short, we’re going to have our house reappraised to see if we can drop our private mortgage insurance, but before we can do that we have a few maintenance things that need to be taken care of. Here’s our current list of to-dos:

  • Fix wood rot on exterior + repaint those areas
  • Change garage door
  • Fix the leaning fence (partially done)
  • Finish landscaping outside
  • Power wash bricks
  • Repaint front door and threshold
  • Finish painting interior doors + trim and finish changing all the knobs / hinges
  • Install a fan in the sunroom
  • Fix holes in bedroom wall (post coming soon!)
  • Fixed cracked tile / grout in master bathroom
  • Refinish / replace tub in hall bathroom
  • Paint girls’ rooms + get window dressings
  • Replace closet doors in Eleanor’s room
  • Organize kitchen desk
  • Update downstairs bathroom (We’ve started this! Check out Instagram for photo)

And something we forgot to add to our original list: clean and organize the garage!

There was stuff all over the place! We couldn’t even fit our 1 car anywhere in the 2 car space. Well, this past weekend that all changed. We had kind of let things fall where they may, because we knew we couldn’t do anything until we got rid of the granite counter tops; leftover after remodeling our kitchen. You can kind of see the largest piece, complete with old sink, behind the ladder in this photo:

ladder as shelf drying station

(It may not look like much, but that one piece was over 6 feet!)

We listed the pieces on Craig’s List, and someone bought them. Don’t know what someone would do with old granite counter tops, don’t care. I’m just happy they’re gone.

Since there was finally space to move things around we took the old kitchen cabinets (also left after the remodel) and moved them over to the side of the garage where the granite used to be. We saved one piece of granite to use on top of the old cabinets to make a really awesome work table. We probably have the finest work bench in the state of Texas.

organizing a garage out-of-control via

We also unscrewed the pegboards (came with the house) from the wall so we could re-arrange it them a way that would maximize the vertical space above the new work table. I noticed when we were removing the pegboards, whoever installed it had not left the proper space between the boards and the wall.  To our dismay, the wall was full of holes (caused by the pegs being forced into it)! So here is a tip to any who want to put pegboard on their walls: make sure you put a frame behind the pegboard to give it some space so your wall doesn’t look like someone really didn’t know where to hang their picture.

We used some extra 1x2s that we had on hand to build our frame for the pegboard. It was a little longer than the pegboards, but I’m okay with that. The edges of the pegboard are screwed into the frame (which was secured to the wall) and the middle has the gap needed to accommodate the pegs. You can see some of the frame sticking out here:

Once we got that up, it really laid the ground work to start putting things away and organizing. We hung up the nail guns and really anything we could find that would make sense.

organizing a garage out-of-control via

We also loaded the cabinets with all of our extra paints (a ridiculous amount!) and various other tools.

organizing a garage out-of-control via


We also loaded the cabinets with all of our extra paints and various other tools.

We went through the extra wood and grouped like pieces. Anything that wasn’t worth salvaging we threw out. We then moved our future projects into the empty space in front of the wood. We placed the kids’ bikes and toys in this area as well. We still have a few things that we need to sell / donate, so once that’s done I’m hoping we’ll have a better solution for the bikes / toys.

Even with the few things that we still need to get rid of, we finally had an entire side cleared, and we were able to park our SUV in the garage! Smiles all around.

After spending 6 hours of our Saturday working on the garage, I wish I could say we were completely done. But there are still things left to be do. We need to fix some of the drywall tape, the mutilated wall, and get the left door replaced (we replaced the right one after it broke 3 years ago) before appraisal, but we’d eventually like to add smarter storage and a nice coat of not-white paint to the walls and the old kitchen cabinets.