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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.

Home Maintenance

The List

July 1, 2015

Not too long ago, Michael shared how we plan to save money on our mortgage. We plan to have an appraisal done so that we can drop our PMI, but before we can do that, we have a few things we need to take care of maintenance-wise.

Here’s the list we came up with of things that need to be done pre-appraisal, including updates on what we’ve actually accomplished thus far:

– Fix wood rot + repaint those areas: This one is going to be difficult, because we don’t know the paint color of our house. And even if we did, I’d still want to paint it another color, but I have no idea what color as of now. I need to get on Photoshop and play around a bit.
– Change the garage door
– Fix the fence: This one is only partially checked off the list. We fixed the majority of the fence, but we still have that last post that we will need to dig up and replace.

how to fix a leaning fence |

– Repaint the front door/threshold: I’m just waiting for it to stop raining or being so humid, so I can at least spray paint the threshold. I’m considering a different color for the door, or at least a darker version of the one we have now.
– Finish landscaping outside: So far we did some planting in the backyard and updated the front yard with mulch and more edging. We still need to remove the grass from a few areas to make beds, get window boxes for the second story windows on the front of the house, get a few year-round-interesting plants for the front yard, and plant our blue fescue edging (which is currently growing in an egg carton on our window sill).
– Power wash the bricks

– Finish painting door and trim + finish changing all the door knobs/hinges: Generally avoiding this like the plague. Painting trim is the last thing I want to do — especially trim that is surrounded by carpet. This is made worse by the fact that we really want to replace our trim, but don’t really have the money to do that right now. So, do I spend hours on end painting trim that we will replace in the near future, or do we slowly replace it one room at a time? If we did start replacing it, it might delay when we could get the appraisal done.
– Get a fan for the sitting area in the kitchen: Even though I despise it, I’m considering taking the one out of Akira’s room and putting it in the sunroom. I’d like to get a table fan for her room and put an actual pendant light in her ceiling.
– Fix holes in bedroom wall: When we had an electrician add an outlet to our closet turned library, we were left with this:

We need to patch those holes. It shouldn’t take too long and we have most of the supplies (minus drywall), so this may be the next thing we tackle.
– Fix cracked tile/grout in master bath
– Refinish/replace hall bathroom tub
– Paint girls’ room + get window dressings
– Replace closet doors in Eleanor’s room: CHECK! It’s the little victories, friends.
– Organize kitchen desk: For everything I remove from this desk, 3 other things find their way their. Sigh.
– Update the downstairs bathroom: Last weekend we did a little multitasking and took a family day trip to San Antonio to pick up a pedestal sink for this bathroom.

Typically, we would never drive that far to purchase an item from Craigslist, but it was just that good. A brand new pedestal sink for $45! Craigslist pulled one of those “more results in other areas”, and I didn’t even realize it until after I contacted the owner. Michael and I talked about it and decided to just make a day of it. We had lunch, got the sink, and hung out with friends who moved to San Antonio a while back. It was fun times. I’m not sure when we’ll get around to updating the bathroom, so the sink it currently in the garage. It’s definitely something that we want to tackle soon, but it will also require us saving up some money first.

That’s where we are on the list so far. I need to post this list somewhere physically in the house so that it will motivate us to get things checked off. What about you guys? Done any home improvement road trips? Any big 4th of July plan for those of you in the states?