Stick a fork in my remodel - it is done!
Last night I had my "please buy all the stuff that no longer fits in my room" sale, which was extremely fun. I offloaded about 400 individual items to happy crafters and socialized with a bunch of awesome artists & neighbors.
I did sales and studio tours as a bookend to this project. My first sale was on November 1st - and they toured my studio then too. One of them even bought my desk, which really kicked the project into high gear. Then it was time to do demolition.
Demolition was brutal, I'm not going to lie. Taking apart the giant built in desk in there came close to killing us twice, and created huge messes during, which you'll see in the intro to the video.
Emptying the room was overwhelming. Sorting through it was overwhelming.
But I learned so many things I have to share with you.
- For 12 years I existed in a totally dysfunctional space that just got more and more crowded. I grew to hate it, honestly. For about 8 of those years I whined about needing more space. Then one day last fall I woke up and said to myself "Self - you don't need more space - you need less STUFF." It truly was like a light switch, and then it began.
- You MUST empty the room. If I had not emptied the room I would have worked AROUND things I didn't feel like sorting. Because believe me, there were many days I didn't feel like sorting. This is non-negotiable.
- On the emptying, I did "loose" sorting. I carried things out to our breakfast area and GENERALLY put similar things together. But as I got deeper into the recesses of my closet that became more difficult because I hadn't had things organized at all in there. Once it was all in a big mountain in the breakfast area - my hand to God - I put tablecloths on it, put a star on top and that was our Christmas tree. The holidays were the best time for me to start this project, and so it just was what it was.
- I lived in the room for about a month with just a temporary table. I put masking tape on the floor marking out furniture I knew was coming back in the room, and then started investigating what I could and couldn't do in that space. This was VITAL. Had I not done this I would have bought furniture based on aesthetics alone, not on how functionally they fit into the space I was designing. As you will see in the video - I completely maximized the space. I shopped online for items that were precisely the size I needed (Ikea shows you dimensions on hover over, which I love). On my desktop we cut it down to go exactly from the wall to the dresser, as you will see. I'm not one for "perfect" rooms, so I happily collected a series of colorful, fun, functional pieces that came together beautifully. Picking my anchor pieces (the card catalog and the dresser) and then using ONLY size as a criteria for the two work surfaces was perfection.
- After the furniture was in, it was time for STRICT sorting. This is also non-negotiable. I got many, many boxes and I took everything from the "Christmas Tree" and sorted everything into boxes, throwing away a TON as I did. There was a lot of junk, including an AOL CD, if you can believe that. Our trashcan was full for three months. Nothing was allowed to cross-contaminate a pile - if it wasn't an object that matched other things in a box, it either started a new box or got tossed. This really helped me decide what to put in the dresser and what to put in the card catalog, based on the shape and the quantity of the items. The things in the card catalog tend to be longer, skinnier things: white gel pens, aquapainters, rulers, etc. The things in the dresser are bigger - things like post it notes, stamp cleaners etc.
- I sold as I went. I started selling small things that were too good to throw away on our neighborhood FB page. If I could sell a storage item for $2 to someone, that was better than tossing it. I sold many things each day as I went through strict sorting. If you have a neighborhood garage sale group on Facebook, I highly recommend joining and participating.
- After strict sorting I decided what boxes contained things I actually wanted. Many didn't make the cut and were sold or donated. Then I was ready to move in.
- Through the move-in process I realized that many small drawers are INFINITELY better for craft storage than fewer, larger drawers. This is because when you have a large drawer you feel the need to fill it, which means you stop adhering to strict sorting. You think - well I know this is my hammer drawer, but I am going to put the masking tape in here because there's room. Well what happens is you can't remember that because it doesn't make sense to have the masking tape with the hammers, and that, my friends, is how you end up with 57 rolls of masking tape in 57 locations around the house. Stray from strict sorting even once and that's where you'll end up.
- I also realized that my floor was the LEAST valuable real estate I had. What possessed me to use the "shove everything against the wall" layout before is beyond me. It's not like I was twirling around like a ballerina in there every day. So after seeing my friend Chriss' studio with a desk in the middle, I moved my desk to the middle. This did several things: It gave me much more storage space in the form of that dresser. It stopped me from facing a wall with my back to the door. I hadn't realized how much I'd hated that and never even consciously knew it until I changed it. I also realized this is the classic corporate America furniture design. And it needs to go away - it's dehumanizing. It allowed me to make good use of my storage bench, both for a cat lounging station and a human lounging station - I was delighted when someone sat down on it last night. - before, my room didn't allow for comfortable seating for a guest. Having my back to my computer while I'm arting is greatly increasing my focus. Similarly, having my back to my art while I'm working does the same. Small change - big difference.
- It was not easy. It was four months of really hard work - refinishing furniture, carrying heavy stuff, sorting, painting, sanding, tossing. It's not for the faint of heart. There were times - even a month ago - when I didn't think I'd ever get down to that last box - but I did. And it's amazing. If you're going to do it - do it all the way. I'm so glad I did. I'd say I wish I'd done it earlier, but I don't. I think things come to you when you're ready to do them and I was ready. And I was SO grateful for my Facebook friends, who watched the process, photo by photo, from the very start, and cheered me on the whole way. Thanks for lightening that burden, you silly friends.
So take a look and let me know what you think. If you can't see the video player below, click here. Below the video is a link to where I got all the things in the room.
What do you think? :)
Here's a list of the major things you'll see in the video, and where possible, links where you can read more or purchase them.
- Card Catalog - purchased from Remember When Estate Sales
- CeCe Caldwell Santa Fe Turquoise Paint
- CeCe Caldwell Endurance Wax Finish
- Dresser - purchased from Tommy's Furniture, Rockdale, TX.
- Desk - Micke White Modern
- Desk accessories - Poppin Orange trays and pen holder
- Refrigerator Cart - Elfa
- File Cabinets - Bisley Orange
- Art table tabletop - Ikea VikaFuruskog (no longer available), cut to size and refinished with Vermont Naturals Polywhey - natural, no odor polyurethane
- Tiny multi-drawer aqua cabinet purchased from Uncommon Objects.
- Label Maker
- Black labels with white print for card catalog
- Offi Punch Shelves (these appear to be discontinued)
- Oven liners used as craft mat
- Baby Wipe dispenser and homemade stamp wipes
- Combo ink/refill/marker holders
- Wallmounted ink/refill holders
- Embossing powder containers
- Embossing powder spoons and clips for spoons.
- Paper storage towers
- Refrigerator cart
TripodUpdate - I now use the Arkon Stand - use code UNDERSTANDBLUE for 20% off.
- Iphone mount for tripod
- Art desk anti-fatigue stool
- Computer desk anti-fatigue stool
- Japanese circle stickers
- Card sending journal
- Card display rack from Displays2Go
- Lights and light fixtures for filming videos
So there you have it.
Worth every second. If you're ready - what are you waiting for?