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Part 12 of the Dumpster Diaries: NO MAJOR CLOSET RENOVATION HAPPENING- but We Got the Ghetto Walk In Closet Installed!

11880343_10153244967374024_8626816994711455902_n 11233773_10153244967354024_7552789740213235370_nI have to say: I am getting burnt out.

This has been the theme song for the kitchen to closet renovation:

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He had a hard time with the gas line- it was so old that the valve took a lot of work to shut off

We decided NOT to do a full redo on the closet… for a couple of reasons:

1. We’re freaking TIRED of living like this
2. We have no place to put our clothes
3. We discovered that our kitchen sink lines are SO OLD upstairs that there’s no turn off valve for the water!!!  The main also is difficult to turn off and we don’t need the additional cost right now of a plumber.
4. We are going to do a REAL redo of the upstairs bathroom and this old kitchen NEXT YEAR and gut the entire thing- enlarging the existing bath and redesigning the walk in closet.

Anyway, so ghetto closet renovation is what we ended up with!

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My friends graciously came and removed the appliances, plus an old airconditioner and toaster oven- which was a great relief! I dusted, vacuumed, and scrubbed the disgusting walls and floor… then we put down a large, almost new area rug that the neighbors didn’t want.

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here is the BEFORE- just to remind everyone

Of course, while putting up the closet system, ANOTHER thing went wrong when we discovered (or remembered) that the house’s chimney runs along the corner where the closet was going up. Luckily, he worked that out.

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A closet full of vintage fiesta ware in my pantry- yeah, my closet has a closet

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how disgusting is this? What it looked like after appliances left

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after washing walls and floors, he unrolls rug to cover the ancient linoleum

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Maisie in beast mode!

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helping Daddy install closet system

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Maisie checking out the new room

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the install

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the corner is where the house’s chimney is- and where we momentarily ran into trouble

AFTER!!

AFTER!!

Tomorrow I have to hang clothes, do laundry, put away stuff, bring makeup up, etc. R is back at work til Wednesday, so the big stuff will have to wait til then.


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Part 8 of the Dumpster Diaries: THE BACK ROOM IS *FINALLY* EMPTY!!!!!!!!!!! Drywall starts TOMORROW!

getting MUCH more filled now

getting MUCH more filled now

After being pretty half-assed about the project this week, the males dove back in with less-than-gusto (but more than the usual half-assery).

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Hoping we get this project done and this dumpster full

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I threw away a perfectly good stainless trash can if anyone wants it

I had a ladies’ ‘mom night’ on my porch last night with my cousin, her friend, and bottles of vino- which I sorely needed! I probably could have done without the hangover the next morning, though. I don’t drink much and am a horrible lightweight.

My cousin and Miss Maisie

My cousin and Miss Maisie

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my little urchin in her fave place- the front porch

We lost my youngest son to a weekend away at his friend’s, which leaves just the remaining 2 (and me- kinda-since my back is on the fritz again). I am not going to lie, I’ve had to resort to screaming at this point to get anything done around here… I hate that. When I simply asked for others to help, they all ‘had things to do’.

 walls ready for drywall over the plaster- the former door once lead to the downstairs bathroom


walls ready for drywall over the plaster- the former door once lead to the downstairs bathroom

No. FUCKING. Way.

walled off the doorway to the downstairs bathroom about a dozen years ago and we're finally going to cover it with drywall

walled off the doorway to the downstairs bathroom about a dozen years ago and we’re finally going to cover it with drywall

In the end, it’s finally coming together. Thank goodness. The carpet in the back room is even clean enough now (for the moment) that Maisie could crawl around tonight and play while we discussed the future decor.

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a little bit of playtime with Daddy

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yay!

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the ceiling also needs drywall- a flood from the upstairs bathroom previously ruined the plaster

Tomorrow we go to Lowe’s and buy the thinnest drywall to cover the ceiling and back wall- and new lighting, new electrical boxes, mud, paint, primer- you name it.

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Dumpster Diaries: Turning the upstairs kitchen into a closet room/sewing room

My house is 103 years old. Originally, it was built by a German wagon maker as a single family dwelling. In 1929, with the Great Depression looming, the owners turned it into 2 flats. It spent almost 80 years as apartments.

Instead of having a closet off the master bedroom upstairs, I have an extra kitchen that I don’t need.

My oldest son, S, asked if he could move back home a couple of weeks ago. He’d been living in Chicago for many years (he left home 6 years ago). I was suddenly faced with the dilemma of having a boomerang child who needed his own private space (he works from home) IMMEDIATELY. My red room/office is filling in for his work area now, but that isn’t private enough for his needs.

Luckily, the house has 7 bedrooms (actual and potential). I was planning to use the former servant’s room off the kitchen for a guest room/play room for Maisie, but it would better suit S right now. I’d been using that back room as a hoarder’s paradise clothing room for us.

The back room has it’s pros and cons. It features a built in cedar closet with loads of storage and drawer space, probably circa 1930s-40s. However, the back wall and ceiling have suffered water damage from a previous flood in the upstairs kitchen/bathroom. We will need to drywall over the damaged plaster with thin sheetrock and paint the entire thing. I did the same thing in Maisie’s room upstairs and it turned out great.

In order to turn the small upstairs kitchen QUICKLY into a walk-in closet, I will need to remove all the furniture that’s being stored in there currently AND get rid of the stove/fridge. I don’t plan on any major painting of this room, just clothing storage. After it’s emptied and cleaned, I will be purchasing Rubbermaid Configurations Closet systems in Titanium. Amazon is having a GREAT sale on them right now.

Offhand, I'd say I need at least 2 of these

Offhand, I’d say I need at least 2 of these

We will probably also buy one of these 10 tier shoe organizers.

I am hoping I can pare down to under 50 pairs of shoes. I haven't had less than a 100 pairs of shoes in decades. Wish me luck.

I am hoping I can pare down to under 50 pairs of shoes. I haven’t had less than a 100 pairs of shoes in decades. Wish me luck.

I will add a large metal desk ‘island’ in the middle- if it fits- for my sewing machine(s) and sewing notions. R’s parents are giving him the desk and it’s the right size to store my machines and things underneath. This island thing also takes a page from my aunt, who has a fancy island in her clothing room. She uses it for folding, etc (her washer and dryer are also in her room… I want to do this eventually, too).

I don’t plan on PRETTY for that giant glorified closet, just organized and serviceable- we still have that back room downstairs to redo. Besides, not many people will actually need to go into that closet once my clothes are in there. Eventually, when we have the time and funds, we’ll do something fancier… until then, I just want to get this done.

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Part 6 of the Dumpster Diaries: I am convinced we will NEVER be done with this!

this is the perfect description of my life right now

this is the perfect description of my life right now- and looks like my kitchen.

Ok, on ‘paper’ it looks/sounds like we’ve done a ton of things. In reality, as I wade through laundry on my kitchen floor and boxes everywhere else, it doesn’t seem that way.

laundry FAIL. Piles in the kitchen, with one of my Newfoundland dogs comfortably sleeping on them.

laundry #FAIL.
Piles in the kitchen, with one of my Newfoundland dogs comfortably sleeping on them.

What we’ve done thus far:

1. Put a large antique cabinet and a few Fiesta Ware vases from the upstairs kitchen in my parents’ antique store.

my dad said I priced this too low.

my dad said I priced this too low.

looks better at the store than in my house

looks better at the store than in my house

2. Moved 2 bookshelves from the back room to the basement (I think they’ve been moved to the basement, that is).

believe it or not, this is progress

believe it or not, this is progress

I have no idea where that crucifix was from

I have no idea where that crucifix was from

3. I threw away another 5 bags of clothes from the back room. I have one built in drawer emptied.

Most of these bags contain clothing

Most of these bags contain clothing


4. Thew the old leather chair away and some other stuff.

bye bye thingamajig and leather chair

bye bye thingamajig and leather chair


5. I BELIEVE some laundry was done- but I can’t be sure.

6. Finally went grocery shopping with an EXTREMELY UNHAPPY TODDLER-$400 bucks worth of groceries bought and were somehow put away.

Grumpy toddler wants to go bye bye NOW

Grumpy toddler wants to go bye bye NOW

Grumpy toddler is extremely unhappy with me

Grumpy toddler is extremely unhappy with me

a shopping cart only slightly improves her mood

a shopping cart only slightly improves her mood

if you look, you will see a squalling baby in her car seat behind the groceries

if you look, you will see a squalling baby in her car seat behind the groceries

7. Got the dumpster rental extended for 20 more days

we extended the dumpster rental 20 more days- I don't think it will take 20 days to fill this completely

we extended the dumpster rental 20 more days- I don’t think it will take 20 days to fill this completely

8. Weeded some of my garden and watered plants. Harvested 4 radishes. Should have taken photos, but I didn’t. Plus I did this all with the BABY ATTACHED TO MY BACK in a Korean baby carrier. I would have gotten more done (this was my break time/relaxing time), but she and I were overheating.


R goes back to work tomorrow and I am convinced I will never finish this. I am going to focus solely on laundry tomorrow. The other 2 males in the house will have to assist me, too. I HATE folding laundry. I LOATHE it. I will also work on tossing more clothes out of that back room.

It’s really difficult doing this with the baby. She is very ‘into’ everything right now. We really SHOULD have done this during the 6 months the manny was here.

Hindsight is 20/20…

I am hoping that the boys and I can empty the back room before R’s day off next Wednesday.

In the meantime, I also have to:

1. look for modular closet gadgetry/systems

2. get paint samples for the back room walls

3. empty the upstairs kitchen

I am sure I am forgetting something, but at this point I no longer give a f*ck.

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Ok, Part 5 of the Dumpster Diaries: One step forward, two steps back… the back room AND upstairs kitchen today

I am just going to call this ‘part 5’, no point in getting OCD about it at this point…

As we were cleaning/tossing out/removing things from the back room, we realized that we had no place to put the clothes and dressers unless we cleaned out the upstairs kitchen… so he went upstairs and removed some of the bigger pieces of furniture. It’s still not empty upstairs, but it’s much better. We have a friend coming to haul the appliances away tomorrow (hopefully).

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yeah, it’s looking trashed again… but it’s actually more organized than before

I know we’re making progress, but I cannot help but feel like we’re taking 2 steps back for every step forward.

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Me: “Why haven’t you thrown away that old leather chair?!” R: “I didn’t know you wanted to throw it away” Yeaah- it’s ALL GOTTA GO!!

The back room is back to being a jumbled mess again. We emptied boxes, threw away at least 10 garbage bags worth of clothing from that room. I still have MORE CLOTHES to go through, believe it or not.

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oh… THAT’S where this pair of Louboutins went… *sighs*

it's incredible what one can find in here

it’s incredible what one can find in here

The upstairs kitchen lost antique Hoosier cabinet things, plus a round oak table, and some vintage enameled kitchen tables. At some point R put some plastic shelves up. He is now thinking about buying one of those modular wire closet systems from Lowes, but I think it’s too early for that yet. I need to figure out what to do with all of my Fiesta ware (most of it vintage) and the rest of the actual kitchen stuff that I no longer use. At one time we used both kitchens- don’t ask me why.

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the plastic shelf is new most of this crap needs to GO

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SPILLING into my bedroom now, yikes.

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view from my bed- the closet room transformation will take longer- but we need to focus on just getting a place to PUT our clothes so that we can renovate the back room

The most important part at this point is TO FILL THAT DUMPSTER UP. We need to throw away as much as we can-

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going to have someone haul away the appliances

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oh hey- Trixie, my dress dummy, and my vintage linens. On the floor is my old sewing machine. I have a new one still in the box somewhere.

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part of my (mostly) vintage fiesta collection. I need to do something about this

We’ve decided to keep the dumpster for a few days longer, at least, to ensure everything gets tossed that needs to.

Laundry was started and I need to fold things, but am too tired to go down the flights of stairs to the basement to retrieve the clean things tonight. I am doing huge loads of whites and I probably should go to the store to find blue-ing (it makes yellowed linens a sparkling white), because I ran out.

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Dumpster Diaries: More back room madness- and psychological self-realizations about my hoarding problem

I took a nap at 7:30 pm with baby. We woke at 10 and I decided to sneak a few more bags into the dumpster.

my nap partner

Filled an ENTIRE GARBAGE BAG with just BRAS-

How the HELL did I accumulate that many brassieres?!

I didn’t throw away this strange one I bought in Amsterdam over a decade ago. There used to be a little handmade exotic undies shop in the same building as my apartment. It no longer fits me, but it’s a souvenir- of what, I don’t know.

Another bag was filled with flip flops and shoes from at least a decade ago… I still have tens of dozens of more pairs of shoes to weed through. Imelda Marcos doesn’t have anything on me- except that she was more organized and had HELP.

The third bag was just old blue jean mini skirts, probably circa 2008-2009. Some were so short I have no idea how I sat down without my bits and pieces poking out. NEVER wearing that again- some looked brand new- OUT they went.

I found silk duvets and beautiful cotton linens and duvet covers- that had been folded and put into boxes AND SHOVED INTO A CORNER in that back room sooo long ago that I’d forgotten I owned them.

I found over the knee boots, from France, Italy, Spain, Brazil- most of them leather, all of them designer. Circa 2007-2009.

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horrible fashion choices in Oslo, Norway 2003

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Oslo, Norway hotel room- notice my mess already accumulating on desk

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I’m not naturally tidy

I noticed that my expensive clothing collection stops around the same time that I acquired R. I guess having a boy toy vs having nice things isn’t mutually exclusive. After 2010, I started my “Earth Mama” phase. I wore less makeup, became more nature girl.

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Garden and greenhouse 2013

He built all the raised veggie boxes in the yard and installed a small greenhouse for me. We acquired more dogs and I had a baby. I quit going out when I met him and my drinking (which wasn’t a lot before- I am not a big drinker) dwindled to nearly nothing. My house started to get renovated in earnest (he’s big about doing ‘projects’ with me).

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my preferred footwear went from Gucci and Louboutin to grubby macintosh boots

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garden glamma 2013

I remember one year, early in our relationship, when I took him to NYC to meet my ‘famous’ friends. He was not impressed. In fact, he was kind of like the little kid from the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. He found them shallow and strange and unreal- totally turned him off. They, on the other hand, LOVED him because he was so ‘strong and silent’- which meant, he didn’t fall for their bullshit.

That opened my eyes, too… in a very good way. I am glad I am throwing most of my past away. There are plenty of good memories, but a lot of them are also painful ones. There’s something really awful about living a life/working in the public eye and around people who only value a person for their body of work and/or BODY/FACE/BEAUTY. It’s an empty existence- like chasing a ghost. It’s only fun until the next party, next show, next role, next next next…

See this book? I'm one of the contributors and have a whole page dedicated to me lol

See this book? I’m one of the contributors and have a whole page dedicated to me lol

Someone wrote to me and wanted to help me eBay my stuff- Nope, no, noooo. If I need, I will do it myself. (I actually was one of the first ambassadors for eBay, many years ago when it first began. I helped write the first how-to use eBay book).

People can dumpster dive my dumpster if they want. They can pick my trash. I’m focused on THROWING THINGS AWAY… nothing else. Holding ONTO stuff, with the intention of selling it later, is one of the reasons why I am IN the situation that I am in now.

Time to feng shui my life. NOW.

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Part 4 of the Dumpster Diaries: In the back room, where all my embarrassing hoarding issues are exposed to the light of day

About 4 days left- and I've only completed 1/3 of my projects!!!

About 4 days left- and I’ve only completed 1/3 of my projects!!!

I have less than 4 days left of dumpster rental and this endeavor is going at a much slower pace than I anticipated. I am SO frustrated.

Between my health issues (bad back, etc) and my clingy baby and having R away at work til Wednesday, this feels like I am trying to dig out of an avalanche with a teaspoon.

Add to that 2 days worth of personality clashes in my house while we re-adjust to my oldest living back home for the first time in 6 yrs- and a baby who is NOT used to a disrupted schedule and/or people yelling and arguing- and a teenaged boy who’s used to being the ‘oldest’ now and was suddenly catapulted a step down in seniority this week– AND a mother (me) who is on the first day of her menses… well, let’s just say I lost my shit this morning.

Our workloads from having another male in the house have been really tiresome. Getting these men to help out is driving me mad. I feel like I’ve spent 5x the normal amount of time this week washing more dishes or cooking. Something’s got to give.

I won’t go into other details, but let’s just say that disputes and arguments are a huge time waster. Stress begets more stress and it is EXHAUSTING. Thank goodness (knock wood) that’s over with… at least it BETTER be.

Maisie has also been a handful. We need at least one person watching her, while 2 people (minimum) work on whatever section of the house we’re working on.

made 2 loaves of regular zucchini bread

made 2 loaves of regular zucchini bread

My parents dropped off zucchini from my aunt’s garden, so I made 2 loaves of regular zucchini bread and 2 loaves of chocolate pecan zucchini bread.

chocolate pecan zucchini bread

chocolate pecan zucchini bread

Now for my personal shame.

I don’t want to post this, but out of straight up total disclosure before/after-ness, I will.

Most of this can be thrown away and will be

Most of this can be thrown away and will be

My back room is a MESS. Not only does it house old clothes I never wear and cannot fit into, it has my regular wardrobe and whatever catch-all that won’t fit anywhere else- and it’s a hoarder style freaking DISGUSTING JUMBLE.

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horrific

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yeah, that’s a real louis vuitton purse

UPDATE:

Now on DAY 2 of cleaning this back room. We have carted out about 20 garbage bags of stuff and it still has not made a DENT in the pile of shit I need to remove. Morale is at an all-time low. I’m losing my patience and just want to burn the entire thing.

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the tops of these shelves were PILED with boxes of UNNEEDED TRASH- gone now (mostly)

I’ve found tons of (real) designer purses, Christian Louboutin shoes still in their boxes and barely worn, belts and things I haven’t seen in years, you name it. Sewing and sewing machine items just shoved and overturned in the mess. I am going to throw away, wash, give away most everything in that room… mostly, I will toss them. I will start all over again, if need be. I don’t want this happening ever again. I’m done with this kind of crap.

… and I am hoping by publishing these pics, I will always be reminded of this.

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Time Life Books from the 1960s and 70s- GONE

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I can see floor

Without R here to go through HIS things, work is slow going. My back hurts- the baby requires attention and cannot be in this room with me while I go through things. The boys are unable to go through any of this (they can just cart things away to dumpster) because they have no idea what I need to be tossed or kept.

Maisie dancing with her oldest brother- she’s a dancing fool

Tomorrow is R’s day off and I hope we can actually get most of this done. We still have to do the upstairs kitchen, too.