Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Recycled Organization: Envelopes

Meet my envelope collection.

I have no idea what kinds of envelopes I have on hand! Do you have this problem as well? I decided to whip this shelf in to organized shape using these supplies that I had at home:

- a box (I used a 12 x 7 inch shoebox)
- file folders
- pencil
- ruler
- scissors

First I lined the shoebox up with the file folder. I wanted the tab part to stick up above the top of the box. Then I marked where the bottom of the box met the file folder.

I used a ruler to connect the marks, and cut along the line I had just made. I used the first file folder as a template for the other folders.

I wrote all the categories I wanted on the file folder tabs - pre-stamped, plain, adhesive, security, and miscellaneous.

And finally, I put the envelopes and dividers in the box! They fit perfectly!

So simple, yet so needed! I like this better than the boxes the envelopes came in because now I can see if I am running low on a certain type. It looks like I may need some plain envelopes in the near future.

Project Cost: $0!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Office: Bill Organization

We recently shifted the bill paying responsibility from my husband to me, so I wanted to create a place in our office where I could keep all bill paying related items together - stamps, checkbook, return address labels, etc.

I didn't really want it to be on the desk top, but I needed it to be in plain sight as I reminder if there is a bill to pay. I have a bulletin board hanging above my desk and decided that would be the perfect spot. I took a metal mesh letter holder that I already had on hand and stuck push pins through the holes to attach it to the bulletin board. I used three to give it enough support.
The stamps fit perfectly in the little front compartment. Behind those is our checkbook. Next up is reserved for unpaid bills. And finally, we have our return address labels. I love having everything I need to pay bills in one place!

I don't remember where I bought this letter holder from. I found a black one online at Staples for $9.99. I also found a similar one at Target for $4.43, but it doesn't have the little front compartment. 

Project Cost: $0

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Master Suite: Final Reveal!

We have finally declared our master suite remodel completed!

Here's how we went from this:                  to this:                     
First, we closed the wall between our bedroom and bathroom.

Then we had a new shower installed by a contractor.

I made old towel rods and light fixtures new with some spray paint.

 My husband tiled a floor for the first time.

We moved a door.

And installed new shelving.

We created an open linen closet.

And my husband did some electrical work.

We are so pleased with how everything turned out. Everything that we DIY'ed (that is, everything except the new shower) totaled just under $2,000. Here are some other pics from the space. Next step is decorating!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Master Suite: Switching Electrical

When we decided to move our closet door, there were two electrical issues we needed to tend to. First was that the light switch would not be easily accessible from the new door, so it needed to be moved. Second, there was an outlet where the new door would be installed, so it needed to be moved over.

Neither my husband or I have any experience with electrical work, and we figured this would not be a good project to do on our own, so we called up my father, a retired electrical engineer, for assistance. He and my husband bought a huge spade drill bit, electrical boxes, electrical box covers, and some wire. After they turned off the power (very important step!), they tackled the outlet. (I wasn't there, so this is my best interpretation of what my husband says they did). They took it off of the stud it was connected to, added some wire because it was going a further distance, installed a junction box, and attached it to another stud along the wall. Next up, they drilled a series of holes in different studs to create a path for the wire to the new light switch. They created a very sophisticated tool using a wire hanger and some string to weave the wire from the original location to the new location. The thing about electrical is that you never really know if all your work was correct until you turn the power back on. This project was a success!

Project Cost: $25.16

On a related and unrelated note, I know I have mentioned before how some of the things in this house make me laugh. Add the electrical outlets to that list. Most of the outlets and switches in our house are white with white plates. However, the master bedroom had a mixture of ivory and this:

Lovely, isn't it? There were some that had white plates and white switches, and there were some ivory plates with ivory switches. Basically it was a mixture of everything. I thought it looked terrible, and I wanted it to match the rest of the house (white on white).

First, I had to count how many white outlets, switches, and plates that we had, and how many we needed. Since my husband dabbled with electrical with my father, he was nominated to be the one to switch all of the outlets. It didn't take him much time at all. Basically, you look at the old outlet and match up the wires to the same places on the new outlet.

We did run in to a few snags. First, the outlet that was connected to a light switch was working, but not in connection with the light switch. We called up my dad and he said to check the little tab on the side of the outlet. On the old one, it had been taken off, and we needed to do the same to the new one. I guess it had something to do with the connection. Second, two of the outlets in the bathroom that he replaced were not working. One was one of those heavy duty ones that have a reset button. My husband took them back out and wiggled some wires around and got them all working. He is proud of himself to figuring all of the electrical out and I am happy to have matching outlets and plates!

Project Cost $66.79

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Master Suite: DIY Linen Closet

One thing our new house was lacking was a linen closet. There is a small closet in the other upstairs  bathroom, but I wanted one by our master bathroom. When we remodeled the shower space in our master bathroom, we had to decide what to do with the empty space left behind were the old shower stall was.
Old Shower Stall
We decided it would be a good idea to put a linen closet with open shelving in that space. We knew it would be one of the last projects we tackled on the bathroom, so we had the contractors put up the drywall, but said we would do the rest.

Then I painted the walls with Olympic Paint's Sterling Silver and Blue Fjord in a semi-gloss. I also painted the ceiling with some white ceiling paint.

Then my hubby installed 3 shelves. We spaced them 18 inches from the top of the space. We really wanted to maximize the depth the space offered, so we bought 1 x 2 x 4 ft melamine shelves and cut them down to fit. I used an iron-on white melamine edge on the part of the shelves that would be facing out. It was really easy to put on. Next up, my husband installed brackets using drywall anchors and screws and made sure they were level all the way across. Finally, he put the shelves in and screwed them in to the brackets. These shelves are very sturdy! I plan to get some baskets for storage and eventually, my husband wants to build a laundry basket cabinet that slides under the bottom shelf. We love the storage space this has added to our bathroom!

Project Cost: $72.03