Rolling Right Along: Our New Rolling Pantry

Our kitchen has the problem that I hear SO many other people have as well: not enough storage. We have two-ish walls of cabinets/appliances. Literally. Fridge, skinny cabinet, stove, corner cabinet, sink, dishwasher, end skinny cabinet. A 3rd wall is our laundry closet and the 4th is a window nook and some floating shelves we’ve added with an antique cabinet (hallelujah, more storage) on that wall that we added in spring of 2013.

AGES ago, I was reading IHeartOrganizing and found a Reader Space by Classy Clutter. And by ages ago, I mean, at the end  of 2012. Truly. We bought these supplies on Super Bowl Sunday (like, February 2013) and finished it like, January 5, 2014. Punctual is NOT my middle name.

This is the plan, by Mallory of Classy Clutter. Her plans are very detailed eloquent and, in fact, this “blueprint”, as she calls it, is what had me at, “Hello.” I mean, it’s SO DETAILED, right?!

Can Organizer PLANvia

I’m going to start this off by saying that we altered the plans. No, that wasn’t on purpose. Yes, I’m severely type-A when it comes to a plan, but my sweet husband got tired of all of the supplies sitting in the floor and went about it in such a way to make it the “most stable” (without realizing I had pinned the plans on pinterest). **Most stable is NOT a reflection on Mallory’s original plan, but more Chris’ opinion when he didn’t realize there was a legit plan from which to work.**

Our two middle shelves are spaced further apart, a.k.a taller, than the others. That is because the middle board braces the whole thing. Spacing the shelves out equidistantly would’ve kept there from being a middle brace in the “ladder” structure of the rolling pantry. I just figured he was finishing a project I begged him to start and then dropped…so, I can’t complain. This is the best picture I have to show you that. I truly thought we took photos of this as we went along, but it’s been almost 12 months so, no surprise, I can’t find them. This picture is well past most of the first steps of her plan, but I wanted you to see what I meant about shelf spacing.

rolling pantry frame

We also built the frame and then put the beadboard on the back…then inserted shelves. This was for a few reasons. #1- We jacked it up the first time and the wood sat outside for so long (note: do projects WHEN YOU BUY THE SUPPLIES) that the wood warped and we had to buy new shelves. #2- We decided to put the shelves in using our Kreg Jig instead of screwing them in from the outside, like the plans instructed. (Dear Kreg Jig, We love you. Love, GG&G) The 4 outside boards were still attached with screws coming from the outside of the structure since we had done them first. In fact, when we started building this, we may not have even figured out the Kreg Jig. This is what happens when you complete projects ELEVEN MONTHS after you start them!

So, basically, we built the whole thing once, took all of the shelves out, built it all again (with the Kreg Jig) and THEN filled, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, drilled for dowels, painted dowels, added wheels, and added a handle! Seriously, read Mallory’s blog for better plans. I couldn’t even pretend like I was as well thought-out as she. I was just really psyched to clean out a cabinet and dump it all in to this guy!

I do have to brag on my sweet husband. He found a box from…something(?) that had one of those unnecessary cardboard flaps on the top. You know, the ones where you open the top and then you have a flap that opens to the left, one that opens to the right, and THEN you get to see the product? Well, this one had holes in it and we may NEVER RECYCLE IT. It is perfect for drying painted dowels!

drying dowels

True life: All I did was inspect, take photos, and add the handle. I was darn proud of that handle, by the way. It was my first time using my birthday present (our new Ryobi one+ drill) and it is THE BEST, let me just say. Here he is, all decked out with his spices and bottles!


Did you SEE that handle?! That is some quality craftsmanship! 🙂

We currently have him to the right of the refrigerator, but are in serious talks to move him to the left…we just have to move the fridge. As of right now, here’s how he looks when pulled all the way out from the cabinets. It fits SO well between our fridge and cabinets. Yeah, it leans a little, but we can usually line it up pretty nicely and Chris can reach a lot of things (spices and olive oil) that he needs while he’s cooking. We even have room to grow into it AND we have cabinets to rearrange! I know that the little guy isn’t built perfectly and we didn’t fill every nook and cranny with wood filler, but for this house at this time, he’s perfect. Hopefully we’ll have a kitchen with amazing storage or at least a more customizable layout. Also, maybe one day I’ll clean up the splashes of spaghetti sauce before I take photos. Nah, probably not. And that spaghetti was DELICIOUS. 🙂


Aaaaaand, here it is pushed in by the refrigerator. If you’re thinking, “OH MY GOSH HER FRIDGE IS SO CLUTTERED?!?!!?!??!!” You would be right. That’s the next order of business once I snapped these photos. Well, that and painting over the yellow, cleaning and repainting the cabinets, and tiling a backsplash. So, not really “next”, per se.


In summary, I love the Kreg Jig. I love the Ryobi one+ drill. Follow Mallory’s plans at Classy Clutter for legit directions and to see her SUPER cute chevron background. We didn’t paint a pattern/design on ours because we’re re-doing the kitchen decor/scheme/painting this year (eeeeek!!!!!) and I wasn’t sure what would go with it. I may punish myself and go back and do a stencil or something later. I’ll keep you posted.

Is this adulthood?! Being excited about moving fridges, tiling a backsplash, rearranging cabinets, and clearing off counters?! Ugh, I’m lame.

What have YOU done for secret storage? Please share tips because our kitchen is still teeny-tiny and we need all the help we can get! 🙂

P. S. Mallory from Classy Clutter? You’re my hero. Thanks for giving me so much inspiration! 🙂


2013: Upstairs Closets

Last year, we made (and I never blogged about) a cloffice (closet office). It’s one of my favorite things in our house. One day I will explain the creation/inspiration for said cloffice, but today…I am writing about closets, in general. Toni, from A Bowl Full of Lemons set an organization challenge this week of closets, so I’m here blogging about our three very different closets: our cloffice, our master closet, and our linen closet. Would I say that any of these three are *completely* finished? No. Are they all FAR more functional and actually pretty enjoyable? Yes. 

#1- The Cloffice

It’s pretty simple in that…I love it. There are a few wire shelves to the left (that came with the closet) as this room is relatively small. This is also a terribly bright picture, but the wall is super navy and I super love it. I super hate the chair. We’re saving up for a nicer one…maybe acrylic? I want it to stop stealing the show from my navy wall. This stores all of my gift wrap, old magazines, tissue paper, random small crafty things, and, obviously, our files. I also copied Toni’s original filing system[I couldn’t find the link but it’s all over pinterest] and it made my heart so happy over spring break (last year) that I probably could’ve cried. That’s serious. 

I should write more on how amazing this is, but for now, the pictures are on my hard drive and it’s not hooked up…so I’m moving on to…

#2- The Master Closet

Truthfully, our “master” isn’t billed as the master. The boxier room downstairs has an attached bath. It also has a smaller closet…with the water heater in it. This one has a double closet and it has been my room since my mom purchased our house when I was a sophomore in college. It has been different colors (on its way to a new one) and had many different sets of furniture and arrangements, but I love this room best. We redid our closet system in April 2011…after my husband’s side fell. down. It has worked pretty well. It’s still not huge, but that’s the nature of the beast. Our upstairs bedroom closets like this one and the cloffice have slanted ceilings because they begin the transition under the eaves of our house. It’s kinda weird to explain…maybe one day it will make sense and I’ll have a picture of our oddly-shaped home. 🙂

Basically, this closet kinda stopped functioning so our room looked INSANE. Seriously.
Exhibit A:

 This was the point where I took everything on the floor (ie: should go in the closet) and threw it all on the bed. That has ALWAYS been how I clean my room. I make it so that the room “looks” clean-ish and then I go through the stuff on the bed. Typically, it works (as I’d like to get in bed at night). However, in college I slept on a pile of laundry for a few days because I just didn’t. feel. like. folding. 

This is what the bed looked like from the other side. WHY DO I HAVE SO MUCH CRAP?!?!?!?!?! Seriously, almost none of this is my husband’s. In fact, none of it is his. 

 This beautiful clear space on my side of the bed was my motivation. It still looks this way days later, thankyouverymuch.

 True confession? This part still looks slightly similar. The stuff closest to me & the camera needs to be donated/consigned and I just haven’t been home during daylight hours to go through it the rest of the way. #comeonsnowdays2013!

See? I told ya we’d sleep here that night. How we sleep without moving the frames/canvas to adjust to center (to align with our mirror), I will never know.

This is the bag of donations. You’ll notice they’re mostly my husband’s. Someone keeps losing weight. The only weight I’m losing is the half-ounce of nail polish that has clearly disappeared from my toes.

Then, I look into this beautiful closet and I don’t care that my toes are chipped or that I won’t be able to work out until April (#lifeofanOdysseyoftheMindcoach) because my closet is SO PRETTY. Things are organized my sleeve-length, and then rainbow order. I do keep all jackets to the right and dresses to the left. Also, in the right side there are probably…7-10″ of space. I hung some 3M hooks with my 4 big purses, which house all of the little ones. It’s splendid.

 Please don’t judge the crazy curtain situation. I hung one of two panels on his side of the closet to see if I liked the no-door, curtained look. I do. I just haven’t gotten around to hemming all 4 or hanging the other 3 panels. Soon. And very soon (that’s an inside joke for you, Mom…and anyone else super familiar with the Baptist hymnal).

This is my husband’s side. See all of those empty hangers? They were full FIVE MONTHS AGO. I tell ya, Insanity works. My man is looking mighty fine and diminishing by the day. He’s so healthy I can’t stand it. If he has to give away any more shirts he’s going to be so naked nobody else can stand it.


And on to my newest addition to the 2013 Cleaner Closet Campaign, the Linen Closet! Hooray!

So, I went to Target at 10:20 p.m. on a Monday. I just…I had to have some baskets. I got the lovely y-weave and (apparently) I got the fall/winter ones that they are phasing out because 5 of them were on clearance- SCORE! I bought 5 of their large size and 2 of their mediums in white. Sidenote: The spring ones are also teal, but they were slightly lighter by comparison in person. Also, we used red ones for our laundry room and the ones now are a tad more…fluorescent? It’s hard to describe, but noticeable since I already owned some. 

I also bought one of the little tiny Sterilite drawer sets for things I wanted to corral. I hit up the dollar bins because WHY NOT and found one other little box I didn’t even know I’d use. 

This closet performs many duties: sheets, towels, medicine cabinet, paint supplies, extra throw pillows, beach bag [not pictured=not organized- sorry, beach bag]. I just needed to corral items in a way that would make sense. Here’s where we started:

There are few more bed pillows that get stacked on top, but they were used this past weekend by some guests, so I haven’t gotten them put away yet. Otherwise, this is pretty much what it looked like. OH, it did have a basket with ALL of the “medicine cabinet” related items. They were all thrown in with extra soaps, travel stuff, random lotions (kids give the best and worst teacher gifts), aloe-type stuff, back scratchers, etc. That was in my living room floor but came from the shelf that has the…smoke detector on it. You’ll see the basket filled with trash later.

Yes, the lighting is terrible. No, it really is that ugly. Brassy knob. Builder white? beige? paint. I have not painted, but now that it’s organized, it will be much easier to get everything out of here and paint it up one weekend. 

 You can see that I tried REALLY hard to utilize baskets, but I had random ones and some didn’t really fit or you had to pull them both out to get to one…
now I have THIS:

Top Shelf: 
-still pillows (and the zip-up picnic blanket/pillow thingy)
Second Shelf: 
-basket on left: hand towels/wash cloths
-drawers: medical tape, ointments/creams, floss/oral ointments, bandaids, Breathe Right strips, sinus/allergy meds, thermometer
-divided organizer on top of drawers: small hair rubberbands (the plastic-y ones I use for special teacher-spirited hairdos), extra contact cases
-basket on right: “medicine cabinet”, travel-sized stuff, extra glasses/cases, a few bars of soap & body butter, a box of unopened Prilosec, gauze/Ace bandages, handheld back massager, and that little thing from Avon that gets the pills off sweaters- what’s that called? Sweater shaver?

You can probably guess that the third shelf is towels. We have 2 that go on the left (in the wash) and guest towels are in that basket in the middle.
Below that, the left basket is extra sheets. When we travel and bring sheets we have a set for a double bed and a set for a king. We use them more than I would’ve anticipated. The set in the middle has never been opened, but one of our current sets is wearing thin. The basket on the right has our current sheets that are in rotation.
Bottom shelf left basket has cleaning supplies for the upstairs, a make-up bag I can use for bottles & things during travel, and the right basket is where we keep random electrical things (extra smoke detector, pop-up lights & bulbs, my husband’s knee brace, heating pads).

One last look! Top!

 …and bottom!

 The beach bag will fit perfectly in the middle of the floor between those paint cans! Booyah!

The basket below WAS my “medicine cabinet” basket. That is now trash/recycling, minus the peroxide which is going downstairs to make laundry (armpit) pre-treater.

This make-up bag is a little less effective for me, but I’m going to see if I can’t change my travel habits with packing that kind of stuff and keep it in my closet with the matching garment bag. I hate splitting up a set but I do know some really good consignment places.

And this will ALLLL be going to Freecycle. Freecyclers love beauty products because they’re often expensive. If someone has extras of something you use, might as well get it for free!

I’m feeling MUCH better about my life in our closets. It took less than a day to construct our cloffice and less than 2 hours to organize the other two. Definitely a do-able night or weekend thing! I think our life will run MUCH more smoothly with our closet stuff organized…and I can’t wait to get some bookplates/labels for those linen closet baskets! 

Our space-filling project for under our shelves is coming later this week! 🙂
A Bowl Full of Lemons

Brace Your Shelves!

Sorry. That is an inside joke. I’m not sure why. My husband and I said it once? to our roommate? maybe? We’re losers. Sorry.


Another warning, this post has a bajillion photos. Apparently, that’s what happens when you buy a new camera, supplies for a project, and have months of time on your hands. (I take too long to complete projects.)


Alright, on with the show! This all started in October when my wonderfulfabulousamazingsplendidromantic husband bought me a buffet for my birthday. Now, this isn’t truly a “buffet”, but it is two pieces: one old TV cabinet and one serving piece/sideboard. However, when we saw them in the consignment shop, they were side-by-side like one cabinet and I fell. in. looooooooove. For real, I did. This was the week before our anniversary and, when we got anniversary cards with cash, I begged him to come back to Newport News (we were visiting family) and go find the cabinet again. And it was gone. I almost wept. I’m not typically *super* emotional, but I LOVED this piece and I was devastated. Nothing seemed right. 


Fast forward 2 or 3 weeks and I started craigslisting. I REALLY wanted to find a cool vintage buffet. I finally found one and the sellers were AMAZING. I’m talking, drive-an-hour-for-you-just-to-look-at-it, amazing. Well, hubby got all squirrelly and started fussing at me.  See, he had also asked about celebrating my birthday (THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR- only 309 days, by the way) and I said…”ummm…is yesterday too early?” He was not amused, said we should just go get my gift now, I said “no” because he gave my anniv. gift early and kicked himself. It was weird. If you knew him, you would know he is the most even-tempered person EVER. Our roommate actually said, “I didn’t know he could get frustrated until I moved in and saw you frustrate him.” Our roommate has known him for over 10 years. I bring out the best in people. That being said, the next day he got REALLY weird and said, “We have to go to my parents’ house.” I said, “Does this have to do with my birthday?” (12 days early). He was not amused. So…we went in to his parents’ home and he asked me to help with something upstairs. What did I find?! MY BUFFET!!!!! (I, truly, have the craftiest, trickiest, most thoughtful, worst secret-keeping and worst-at-lying husband in the whole world- love you, babe.)

Here she is in her trial-run, partially-set up state. I love her. She’s slightly less orangey than this picture shows, but no less beautiful. 
 This got me thinking…my husband hates it when I do that. I reaaaaaaaaaaaalllyyyyy needed something in ALL of the space above the buffet. 

SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSO MUCH SPACE! Seriously, I could not handle it. 
(an aside: nothing about this looks remotely similar today…except the standing globe to the right)
I got on ye ol’ Pinterest and looked at some old DIY pins I had pinned. I found a tutorial from younghouselove (not surprising) and Ana White on building floating shelves*…I started brainstorming. Then, I looked at the things that did not fit into the new buffet from the old china hutch (to the left two photos above…from Ikea…Bjursta collection?). The #1 misplaced item was…wine glasses. We have 14. They had nowhere to live. So, I did what any normal pinterest-er would do…I looked for a tutorial for building wine racks! I remembered that Katie Bower had retrofitted some Pottery Barn shelves with wine racks, so I googled those. No dice. Then, I bit the bullet and found a tutorial for building your own wine rack. 
Disclaimer: Nothing about these shelves is perfect. These wine racks? Not perfect. But, they were a labor of love so, I love them like I love my 2nd graders with their weird grown-up front teeth and tiny baby teeth. Awkward, quirky, loveable. 
Onward: Let’s buy supplies! Truthfully, I didn’t keep receipts, but this ended up being WAY more expensive than the tutorial. I do NOT think this is the fault of either tutorial. We had fewer supplies on hand, so costs rose more than we anticipated. Here is our pile of supplies on our dirty (now gone) carpet, next to the old trunk of books (that were all free) that I still haven’t gone through. Open & honest here. 
Basically, we followed the tutorial and then…sat the braces and the shelf sleeves in the corner while we worked on our floors. For. Ever. (real time: less than 2 months) Finally, floors were done! Hooray! [The joy cannot be contained by this post and will be posted at a later date when I’m done with the grieving process and can release my bitterness and hatred at a “3 week turned 6 month” project.]

That darling husband of mine leveled the first brace (I held on, he screwed in- oh. man. so. funny. sorry.) and we had a brace! Hooray! We screwed into as many studs as we could [still inappropriately funny], but some of them were in strange places behind our little 11.5″ cross bars. That made it complicated, but we worked it out. Fortunately, after the first one or two screws, we were able to leave it hanging with the level and he could finish drilling while I took pictures. [Nothing about this makes me stop saying “That’s what she said.” Nothing.]
We decided to put the lowest shelf 24″ above the buffet…and then I realized that 9″ tall wine glasses would be hanging from it. So, we went 33″ to compensate. Does it look too high? Definitely now. Will it look better? I think so. Ideas are on the way.




Keeping it level because I’m neurotic. 


Then, it got dark, but we kept on going. Warning: the pictures will look horrendous from here on out. Our lamps are THE. WORST. EVER. I also don’t really understand 90% of my camera, so, bear with me. I’m working on it. 🙂 We had to make some adjustments from our original brace #2, but we were able to fix it so that it would hang correctly with a new 1″x 2″. 
Then, we prepared for the moment of truth: sleeve-fitting. 




IT WORKED! IT WORKED! IT WORKED!!!!!!!!! Yes, I was jumping up and down. Yes, my husband was sweating bullets. No, I did not cry. 
Meanwhile, back (in Gotham City?) in the floor, I was wood-puttying some stray holes in the second shelf-sleeve, re-sanding, gluing on wine-glass brackets, and any testing out the wine-glass-holding capabilities.
We let it dry overnight (while I was painting my mirror– woop!) and then it was ready to hang!!!!!!! We did consider putting some additional screws in the wine glass holders, but we kept testing them (and testing and re-testing) and decided that they’re very secure. God forbid anything happen, we’ll put out a plea to donate to the Keep-Jessica-from-drinking-Moscato-from-plastic-cups campaign.


We put the bottom sleeve on and…ALKJDFLKSJDLFKJLKJ!!!!!LKSJDFKJ!!!!!!!!!!!
IT WORKED! Seriously, at this point I considered weeping. Also, check out those sweet branches that are in a floor vase to the left…thanks for your end-of-year sale, Target!



Yup, my husband works best in a tie. I am too anxious to finish projects when he comes home to let him change clothes. 
Now, I’m with $herdog on this, styling is THE BEST part. I wanted to keep things *somewhat* wintry with blues and silvers since I hate taking down Christmas stuff and wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my mercury glass owls. 


With buffet: Try #1
With buffet: Try #2 (and mostly how it is still). Please, feel free to hate on the glass head. EVERYONE hates on the glass head. It remains one of my favorite things ever purchased in the whole world.
I instagrammed a photo of this and someone said, “Your shelves look like something off pinterest.” I seriously have never heard a bigger compliment. 
Let’s address the height issue of the lowest shelf. I don’t LOVE how much higher it is. Those globes look way small here, but they’re regular size and have looked too big on every other piece of furniture. However, I think about hosting Thanksgiving last year and how we had tall beverage dispensers that wouldn’t fit with the lower wine glasses. I also think of the possibility of sideboard lamps. SO, I think we have something here to help shortly. 🙂
All of this being said, it just encouraged me to try more projects…so, this week I came home to this guy (I hope he’ll help with the empty wall space under the shelf!)…I can’t wait to get him finished and show him to you! 🙂
Anybody else in blogland creating something for the first time and in love with it?! Tell me all about it in your comments! Thanks for reading! 🙂

*The only design difference between ours and Ana’s, besides that she is an incredible carpenter and we are not, is that our shelves come in at a total of 66″ instead of 72″. The buffet was not that long, so we tried to center it and have the shelves be a smidge smaller. Some quick math solved our dilemma. We like that they’re space-filling without being super overwhelming with the buffet.

This project is linked up at A Bowl Full of Lemons: One Project at a Time!

who’s on first?

Rather, who’s IN first? 

Today I’m writing about priorities. I am a notoriously awful priority-setter. I get easily distracted and, especially when cleaning, jump from one task to another. Yes, eventually everything gets done. Yes, I typically find money or memorabilia. No, it is not efficient. 

Day 5 of the 31 Days to Clean program was setting priorities. The first line that Sarah Mae writes for today is, “If you’re anything like me, you have good intentions, but you fall short.” Zing! Score one for Sarah Mae. This is like…the story of my life. I have THE BEST intentions. Trust me, I really do. Do any of you ever see that? Highly unlikely. You see, I really am a champion at getting distracted. I’m also abysmal at follow-through. No, I don’t know why. No, I can’t keep a coherent calendar so that I can stick to the things I want to do. Yes, I do say “Yes” to just about everything. No, I don’t know how to stop. 

So, Day 5’s “Mary Challenge” was particularly difficult for me. For one thing, I was challenged to come up with a priority list. Wait, isn’t this the easy part? Of course. If I’m being fake with myself and setting a list of priorities (with explanations) that I’m sure you all want to see or that I’m supposed to write, then yes, this is simple. I really expect better of myself. I don’t want to be fake. I don’t want to lie about my priorities. So, the issue is two-fold. Do I write a list of priorities for where I want them to be/know they should be? Or, am I brutally honest about what I’m actually prioritizing/idolizing (hello, The Biggest Loser, Gossip Girl, and Grey’s Anatomy) and then reflect on where to go from here? 

Well, I tried to blend them. For the sake of accountability, I’m posting my new priority list here. I’m going to try to give a little background on each one, too, because I know some of you will be thinking, “haha- she never does that.” It’s true. I know I fall short on most all of these things right now. However, in the spirit of change, I’m going to try to start focusing on these things in my life. I’m hoping to become a bit more consistent, if not master one or two.

For reference, Sarah Mae’s priorities were: 
1) God
2) Husband
3) Children
4) Home 
5) Gifts 
6) Personal

Many of these were the same, but if you want to know Sarah’s reasons, you’ll have to get the book. 🙂 

1. God- exploring, figuring “it” out (whatever “it” is…I don’t mean “it” to be God…just what I’m supposed to be doing), understanding what/where I am in my relationship/role/circumstances. I realize that as the wife of a youth minister, this should “come easy” to me, but it doesn’t. It never really has. There’s a saying that I found on Pinterest (which is apparently a quote from Will&Grace that says, “She’s crazy. And just when you think you’ve reached the bottom of her craziness, there’s a crazy underground garage.” I feel this way, oohhhhh, 90% of the time. I don’t know why. As a result, I have weirdo trust issues and things I can’t comprehend and…I’m a control freak. Thus, sometimes Jesus & I have issues. Don’t get me wrong, I never doubt that He is who He says He is, I just don’t always have the easiest time figuring out how that affects me. My husband is a very good, good man. 

2. Husband. 🙂 This is my favorite priority right now. I feel like I’m pretty good with this priority…and even when I’m bad, he knows I’m trying to be better. My hope in this whole 31 day situation is that it will help me to be his best friend, best support, encourager, and (with the cleaning shtick in mind), his home maker. That’s a huge part of my priority here. Sarah Mae also includes some super pertinent Scripture in this portion of her priority list. It’s really awesome.

3. Our Family(ies)- I want to figure some things out and know where we are in regards to starting our own family, welcoming our current families into “our” new nuclear family, spending time with our families, and mostly, getting my home in order so that I can spend guilt-/stress-free time with them. I really want to get my house straight so that I can go home & spend a weekend with my mom and grandparents without feeling like I’m getting more behind by not being at my house. 

4. My Job- I want to be investing in my students and using my time wisely at school and at home, so that I can work on projects in both places. Staying on top of housework=More time with/for my school work. 

5. Me: I took Sarah Mae’s advice and put me last. Yes, it was difficult. No, I’m not sure it’s completely honest. But, I know this is where I need to be right now. I know that by focusing on these other areas/people in my life, I’ll be more of the person that I truly want to be. That being said, I do want to work on working out (P90X, take 2?), resting/relaxing more, and spending/prioritizing time with my friends to restore/recharge in ways that only girl friends can. 

I wrote this all down in a notebook and started out on Day 6 by working on the six list. It’s an awesome little tool for keeping myself organized that I’m sure I’ll talk about when I post pictures of the last few days of adventures. I should’ve taken before/afters of the massive pile of laundry I put away the other night. Literally, over an hour of my life. Ridiculous. 

Thanks for reading this (if you stuck it out- don’t blame you if you didn’t). Honestly, it’s a bit harder to have it all down here than I thought it would be. I’m going to leave you with the little photo of the mission statement that sits on my dresser. Hopefully having all of this motivation in one place will keep me going. Even when I feel like nobody is reading this, I feel guilty if I don’t stick to my plan. But, thanks for reading it anyway. My priorities probably don’t matter to anyone but me, but I appreciate it all the same. 🙂 

Click here to visit Sarah Mae.

Day 4

This day is a tad late. Day 4 was Thursday. Thursday was exhausting. I got home at…8:30 and was asleep before 9:30. No, this was not on purpose. It was really quite pathetic. I didn’t even make it halfway through Grey’s Anatomy.
The 31 Days task for Day 4 is to clean your oven and microwave. It’s also to invite a friend over without worrying how your house looks…just to make your house a more inviting space. I did, in fact, invite someone over, but she was more exhausted than I was, so a TV date was not in order. I realized that the Day 5 task was to clean out my cabinets which we did this summer and I decided to combine these things for today (Saturday). Well, the oven cleaning took FOREVER. I’m going to eventually show you some before/after photos, but for now, let me just say, disgusting. I decided to go green with this whole oven cleaning catastrophe. I’m pleased with my results, though some kind of chemical, eye-burning, birth-defect inducing cleaner could’ve been faster and/or easier.
First, I put baking soda everywhere. I made it into a paste with some water and started a-scrubbin’. It worked well enough. Then, I realized we should take the door off…this is where the ridiculous starts. Now there’s a door laying in the kitchen floor. OK. Easy enough to fix later. Then, I realize that it would be easier to clean the top of the oven without the heating elements. We take out the heating elements. Keep in mind, I started this project after 4 p.m. I had a meeting from 8:30-3:30 today. So, we’re taking out heating elements and I’m scrubbing away. Hot water, baking soda, scrub, wipe, repeat. There are still some troubling spots. Baking soda is liberally thrown in there, vinegar is sprayed on…volcanic action ensues. At some point, we break for dinner. During this time, I decided to watch the 31 Day Videos. Seriously, she makes it look so easy. Apparently, normal people clean stoves/ovens more often than we do. Chris pulled out the range for me. It was awesome. Almost. You should see what was under/behind it. First, they didn’t move it when they laid down our bubbling up floating laminate floor. Second, ew. I mean, this was foul (you’ll see later). So, I wiped down the sides of my oven, cleaned the sides of the counters where they ran into the oven, wiped the top of the wall, and Chris vacuumed the floor and used a wet Swiffer cloth on it. Fabulous. While he was gone to dinner, I took the knobs off the stove top (didn’t know you could do that until he showed me) and also soaked them in a bowl of baking soda & vinegar. That worked like a charm. **The power was off for all of these adventures.**
Since I don’t want to bore you and I have lots of disgusting photos, let me just say that our stove top was foul. I mean, it was really disgusting. Something was in there and I honestly couldn’t tell you what it is/was/ever-had-potential-to-be. Gross.
36 rounds of baking soda + vinegar + hot, hot water + Green Works All-Purpose + wiping + drying= fabulous looking range.
My sweet husband reaching vinegar for me after pulling out the range, taking off the door, and smelling the disgusting scent of baking soda paste for hours. He’s a champ.
Yup. That’s in my front burner. What. the. what.
This is the side of my cabinet. I had no idea. So gross.
Before: Left side. Seriously. Disgusting. Yes. That purple was the color of my paint cabinets before this summer. This is why I wish things were a little more flush and/or sealed in my kitchen. So gross.
After: Left side!
Before: Right side: Holy gross.
After: Right side! SO beautiful! So much water on the floor!
Before: Yes. That’s a papery thing from in between dishes, a piece of trim that wasn’t appropriately applied, dirt, hair bands, a metal beer bottle cap, a leaf, and a soda can tab. Wait, what’s that? THE FLOORING ISN”T COMPLETE?! Yes. Correct. It’s not complete. I don’t know why. It’s ridiculous. I can’t even talk about it.
After! I’m still mad about the lack of complete flooring. Can’t. even. go. there.
I realize that it sitll looks yucky…and doesn’t have a broiler element. Yes, it broke. Yes, I’m frustrated. Yes, I got Panera for dinner. Trust me, this is way cleaner. Why they make ovens that look (and feel) rough & dirty, even when clean, is beyond me.
Gorgeous! Hooray! Beautiful Martha Stewart from my wonderful brother-in-law, too!
All done! The pots/pans drawer really is white, it just looks almond. That doesn’t make it much more attractive, but it helps. Also, yes, those are pans in the floor in the reflection.


These are hanging out with some baking soda paste on them. They will be put back tomorrow.
The aftermath. Please don’t stop being my friends/followers/guests for dinner now that you’ve seen this. I promise it’s a million times better AND won’t get THIS awful ever. again. On to the next day!

Click here to visit Sarah Mae.

Days 2 & 3.

I have officially stuck with something for two days. I know this doesn’t sound very impressive, but trust me, it is. 

On Monday, I talked about my new manual of life: 31 Days to Clean and I am proud to say that I have done the first three challenges. The first Mary challenge was to come up with my mission statement (check) and the Martha challenge was to assess what cleaning supplies I would need with all of the upcoming tasks. Tada! I had everything. If I didn’t have something bought at the store, I decided I’d look it up in my Green Clean book or It’s Easy Being Green. Most of the supplies there are in the pantry already (score!). That part was easy. 

Yesterday stunk. I mean, not literally, but it was a close call. I was to clean out our refrigerator and freezer. For one, I’m paranoid that things are going spoil in the 30 minutes they may be out of the fridge/freezer. Like, paranoid. I freak out the entire time so I scrub vigorously. 

The freezer ended up being easy. The fridge? Not so much. You see, my husband does the grocery shopping (he protects me from the grocery store, which I hate) and so I don’t really pay attention to the fridge. Dumb. Dumb, Jessica, dumb. I found some sticky salmonella-looking stuff in the back on one shelf…only…it was the lower shelf, so it runs under the drawers as well. Gross. I took out drawers, found something that once was lettuce (yes, he had to tell me what it had been), and cleaned out a drawer with something vinegar-based in it. How do I know it was vinegar-based? I was cleaning with baking soda and water. Yes, it started bubbling. Ew. 

On to Day 3…ugh. 

Today’s Mary challenge was to talk to my family (husband) about how he feels the most loved in our home, domestically speaking. He said he likes it when I decorate because I take the time to make things look nice (score- my favorite) and when I do the laundry. Good. I’m anal retentive and need to be in control of it. Trust issues. I need professional help. That part was awesome. Two strengths! 

Martha challenge? Well, it lived up to its name in terms of the word “challenge”. I was to wipe down the tops of all shelves, cabinets, refrigerator, and shine up the outside. I thought I was being SUPER industrious because I realized my relatively newly-painted cabinets didn’t really need shining. Score. Then I wiped around all of the door/drawer knobs because of dirty hands. Obviously, the cabinets around the stove/sink were gross, so they needed to be wiped off. I got SO ahead of myself, I even cleaned off the oven door (a.k.a. new cat mirror). Go, me! Not. I was still rolling along when it came to our four relatively-new open shelves. These are clearly all things I never wrote about…maybe one day. I rinsed all of the things sitting out, laid them out to dry, cleaned off shelves, and tomorrow I’ll set the stuff up. Easy peasy. 

On to the refrigerator top! 

WHAT. THE. WHAT. This was literally the worst ever. The top, in places, was brown. This causes stress and frustrating in my world (not to mention the giant vase of flowers that fell on the floor- in a plastic vase- with water going EVERYWHERE while I was up on a stool). It took me AT LEAST the same amount of time to wipe down the top of the fridge as it did to do the rest of the kitchen. Our kitchen, mind you, is tiny in terms of cabinet space. Our fridge top is PACKED with stuff. This would’ve been a great place for a before/after because it was brown/gray in areas. Now it’s sparkly & white! Hooray! 

I honestly would’ve rather drilled holes through my eyeballs than do this stuff, but it’s worth it. I figure if I’m 3 days in to a 31 day plan (and day 31 is to Rest!), then I’m 10% of the way there! Hooray! Hopefully, tomorrow won’t make me want to burn my house down instead of cleaning it. Day 4! Woop woop!

Click here to visit Sarah Mae.


31 days.

Anyone who is my friend on ye ol’ Facebook knows that a little while ago I purchased a book called 31 Days to Clean- Having a Martha House the Mary Way. I was so excited to get this book. Seriously.
I’ve talked about my issues with cleaning before and I never seem to make any headway. We bought this book (it’s an e-book) and I started reading through the first few days. Apparently, the lovely author, Sarah Mae, doesn’t consider herself a born cleaner. This made me feel better. Also, I love to clean. That sounds stupid after all the complaining I’ve done. You see…growing up, my mom was a perfectionist. I mean, that woman can clean ANYTHING. Very well. As a result, I was cleaning almost every single part of the house once a week. I did laundry, I cleaned the kitchen, I dusted and vacuumed. Eventually, my room was the dumping ground of everything. Whatever. I was a teenager (someone remind me of this when I have kids). Anyhow, the cleaning stopped. The only issue was that Mom taught me REALLY thorough ways to clean things. Now? I’m a perfectionist. No, really. You cannot help me clean. I have to clean everything in the *exact* way that it “should” be cleaned, or it’s not good enough. One problem. I get SO overwhelmed when things pile up and then think about HOW LONG it’s going to take until it’s done my way right, that it takes me forever to get started.
A few weeks ago, I had a potentially genius/potentially awful idea. We have an empty guest room (sigh…we miss our roommate), so we took everything that was around the house and NOT in its “proper” place and shoved it in the guest room in zones…basically telling me where it’s supposed to go. I have some school stuff that needs to be taken to work/made/assembled/etc. I have some house stuff. I have somethings to hang…it’s like the Decor Store over on YoungHouseLove. (They make me feel better by currently using their playroom for this purpose). So onto the point…
I bought the book. I even made my mission statement (Day 1’s Mary Challenge), which is to remind myself of WHY I want this clean house so badly. Here it is…
September 4, 2011 (yes, I originally bought this Labor Day weekend & am just now starting)I want a CLEAN home because I…
-want to entertain
-want to Relax
-want to maintain, not restart
-want to feel less guilt when we do what we want
-want less to dos!
-want to be a good, clean Mommy someday

Here’s why this matters TODAY (and for the next 31 days). Last night, I printed out the book & the calendars, etc. I wanted to really get a plan for what I was doing. Guess what?! If yesterday (Monday, October 17, 2011) is Day One, I will be finished on November 15th.

Anyone who’s anyone knows what that day is?! Anyone?…Anyone? Bueller? *cue crickets chirping*

That’s my birthday! What better gift could I possibly give myself than having my crap figured out in time for my birthday. Giving myself (and my sweet, patient husband) the gift of a presentable home in time for my birthday, thus having less “to-dos” and getting to do what we want guilt-free sounds like the most amazing birthday gift ever…besides Mylo Xyloto. Don’t get any gift-less ideas, honey. 🙂

Is anyone else motivated to do better, one small step at a time? Sarah Mae’s before-and-after photos on the site really helped me to see that chipping away at her little Martha Challenge could encourage me to get so swept away with cleaning that I get even more done and go above and beyond. Swept away, hah.

Is anyone else just excited that my birthday is in 30 days? Yup, today’s Day 2! Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with a sweet update! 🙂

Off to clean the refrigerator & freezer!