Tuesday, March 01, 2016

How To DIY Home Renovations with Kids Underfoot

A few weeks (maybe it's been months? I lose track. Do you know I used to blog DAILY for a while? All the lolz.) ago I posted a renovation reveal and a reader asked me...somewhere, I can't find her comment, mea culpa, to talk about doing home projects with little kids underfoot.  Until today, the aforementioned kids have been preventing me from answering that question, which segues nicely into the main theme of this post which is : you are going to have to go really, really, really slowly. 

I'm naturally a results oriented person, which is really helpful during labor, btw, but not so nice during normal life when you are a mother and your kids probably fare better eating actual meals rather than scavenging for generic graham cracker crumbs from the bottom of the half empty pantry.
  "But I'm PAINTING.  Don't you care at all that I am paaaaaaaaaaaaainting???"


They don't. Weird, I know.  How can you not care about home improvements complete with before and after pics?  I mean how is that even a thing? It's okay.  It turns out it's normal for them not to care. 

So here's the deal.  You will not get all the normal things done on days when you allocate some of your time to a house project.  It's not like there is some magical window of extra time that you get when you commit to scraping the orange paint off the baseboards of the guest bedroom.  So your laundry won't get washed that day or you won't go to the grocery store or someone will have to bring pizza home for dinner.  Maybe all three of those things, to be honest.  And you just have to own that.  Which is hard!  I know it's hard!  "Why am I fixing up a house that looks like a pig sty?  Isn't the cleaning more important than the fancying?"

Well, yes, I guess.  But also no.  Because I find that once a room no longer depresses me with its very nature, I am more eager and able to keep it tidy and inviting.  When there are water stains on the ceiling and maybe missing vinyl tiles on the floor and perhaps a hole in the drywall where a doorknob was just a leeeeeeetle bit too enthusiastic, it's hard to bother to keep it nice in there because no matter what you do it just never actually looks nice.  That can be so discouraging.  So in my experience, it is worth it to have a day or seven (not in a row.  Never in a row.) where other things slip so you can attack those bigger problems.  The good news is that those fixes LAST a whole lot longer than sweeping and dusting, so that is some true winning right there.

UM HOW IS THIS POST SO LONG ALREADY OMG.

Tips.  Get to the tips.

1) Expect it take a long, long time (like I already said)

2) Try to do as much while another adult-type person (husband?  mother?   teenager willing to run interference?) is around as possible.

3) Use my handy dandy paint tray and roller preservation reusing trick, which is as follows:
    
a) when your alloted hour (or two if you're lucky) of painting is over, pour your excess paint back into the can. Roll your roller into whatever paint is still in your tray.  Lay your brush right down there so they can be snuggly little friends.


b) slide the whole kit and caboodle into a plastic grocery (or hardware store, as it were) bag and sort of smooth the plastic against all the things you want to remain wet and not dry out.

c) wrap it all up in a neat little package using your drop cloth as a the wrapping paper.

Ta da!  When you unwrap it again in two or three days (I stow my "package" in a storage closet in the upstairs hallway), the roller and brush will be fresh and ready to go.  Just dump some more paint in your tray and proceed with your seemingly never-ending project.

Now that I've written all this, I'm seeing that it's probably not as helpful as the original commenter hoped, but I've already tappy tapped it out, so I'm just going to trust that there is someone out there itching to hear something I've said in the last twelve zillion paragraphs and hit publish anyway. 

Happy beautifying, friends!



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33 comments :

  1. Ooh! What color is that paint in your tray???

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    1. Glad you like it, Meg! It's a Dutch boy color called Grayed Aqua. If you don't have Dutch Boy near you or can't get a color match, I can give you the colorant amounts from the lid.

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  2. We stick our brush in the fridge in a plastic Baggie and they stay wet!

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  3. Oh man, this post is actually GENIUS. I am painting my kitchen right now, with the preggo countdown clock ticking, and MAN. By the end of the day I'm too tired to get to it most days, and even if I do get a little bit painted, I then have to spend 20 minutes at the sink washing the roller and brush. SO I AM SOOOO GOING TO TRY YOUR NO-WASHING TIP. Thank you!! As for it taking a long time...yep. Thank goodness for tiny kitchens.

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    1. Save all the minutes!!!! It totally works :)

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  4. This is all nice and good but where are the baby updates, lol!!!!

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  5. You've spoken truth. I had someone ask me one time how I manage to get projects done and have a traveling husband and and and and.... Well, I just didn't have the heart to tell them that "um, I let things go" but that's what I should have said. It means that on the days that I'm not hustling to do projects, I have to really catch up on laundry or make sure the kids get read to nearly all day. Super project frenzy days might mean fast food or boxed pizza for dinner. But normally we eat mostly healthy and mostly whole foods. If I were to get really, really real, people probably wouldn't like what they see when I'm in "project mode" because I just drop ...a lot.... and go full blast for it, and the house can look accordingly terrifying for all that madness. The more you know. ;)

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  6. Oh my gosh...are you reading my mind??!!

    Love,
    a fellow results-oriented person

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  7. Menards bags are the best. Seriously. Thick enough, but not too huge... I love those things.

    And that's also why I don't complain so much about spending 6 hours there a week with my husband. Because I get extra bags. Makes up for it.

    Another tip for ya? Have your mother-in-law come and do all the painting because she just LOOOOVES it. That's what I did! ;)

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  8. We're coming to the end (Please Lord soon) of a kitchen 1/2 bath most of the downstairs remodel. We're having it done by others but it's still crazy. As in I have to keep the darlings entertained upstairs while hammers and air compressors and all sorts of banging goes on and when we venture down to eat or go to the Y to try to get some schoolwork done in quiet there are all sorts of tools and other hazards out for my 4 yr old to grab. And I've moved stuff from room to room so much. Last week and this week it's baseboards and quarter round trim so I had to move all our bookcases away from the wall. Well at least it's clean back there now. We've done just some painting and I did it while my husband was home on weekends. The original plan had been to do this stuff in the summer so outside time was possible but of course it didn't start until November. The results downstairs are amazing of course but there is a nasty drywall hole upstairs just like you described that is getting ignored right now along with anything else on our home to do list.

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  9. We had this awful room with only half a floor and yeah, I never swept it. Never in 1.5 years. Half of it was dirt already, what do i care?? It's been finished with pretty flooring and paint for two weeks and I've already mopped it twice. You're so right.

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  10. I'm happy you hit publish. I live in a smaller house desperately in need of fixing up, with four kids under six. I feel like I'm crazy, or less holy-ish when the ugly beat up walls and trim depress me!

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    Replies
    1. I'm a firm believer that God appreciates when we create order out of chaos, just the way He did. Not that we should become anxious or lose sight of our priorities, but noticing and improving is a good thing. I'm sure of it!

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  11. Yay! So excited about this post! I may have been the original commenter who (in a moment of serious mental desperation) published a comment that may have sounded completely loony. I was 2days into project paint all the kitchen cupboards, which still isn't completed, with cupboard contents over every usable surface... I always feel super guilty about letting things go and then regret the mess left by the kids (+general neglect) but you have given some very good advice and I'm going to make project days count, no guilt, no regret. I might actually get the kitchen cupboards done this week �� Thank you again. Your thoughts and optimism is always so inspiring. Sending lots of love and light from across the seas

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    1. I totally understand. For me if I don't consciously make the decision to tackle certain things and put off certain other things, I feel like a mess and that I can't "manage" it all. But if I plan it in advance, I feel like I did a great job, even if the results are exactly the same!

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. But it is super helpful to me, as I have ruined quite a few trays from laziness and the paint getting to hard before I could get back to this and somehow I never thought of this!!!

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    1. Whew! It really is a HUGE time saver, and that's really the thing we need more of.

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  14. Does this mean there are after pics coming? (I'm results-oriented too!)

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    1. I have the room but not the pics! Dang ol' boys keep messing it up before I can get unrealistically clean photos ;).

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  15. its an awesome trick!!! Thanks for the tip

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  16. started to use your suggestion for keeping paint brushes. had been wrapping them in plastic wrap-which also worked, but having the roller in the tray is quicker. i'm into day 3 of painting a simple bedroom and i see this project lasting well into next week as i snuggle on the couch with my 2 year old. gotta work when you can.

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad it's working for you! It really can take many many many days to paint a simple bedroom when you're trying to be mindful of the little ones at the same time.

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  17. So I've never ever heard of saving it that way! So very cool! I've wrapped the roller (sponge and all) in a large ziplock bag and stuck it in the fridge, but I like your idea so much better. Good to know!

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  18. I usually wrap my brush in plastic wrap and you can roll your roller over a big rectangle of plastic wrap too but I never thought of putting the whole tray in a plastic bag. Genius!

    The last project I did was a tiny bathroom. I used one of the small 4" rollers and dipped it straight into the can of paint only using the tray to even out the paint before slapping it on the wall. I just takes 1 minute to rinse the tray when the baby wakes up and there is no paint to pour in or out of the tray. The little 4" trays fit in the sink easily too. I wouldn't use it for a larger job but for small stuff or touch ups, it works great!

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