As you may recall, we’re in the middle of trying to frugally upgrade our house’s decor. This has involved a lot of Craigslist — both scouring for deals on the things we need and selling as much unused stuff as we can. It’s been a relative success thus far.
So far we’ve sold a barely used bike* ($20), two water coolers ($30 and $20), six water jugs ($12), a roll of surplus vinyl from the guest house’s new flooring ($40), a gaming chair ($5), weed whacker ($5) and, of course, the heart-wrenching baby stuff ($55).
I just posted a vacuum for $15 and a revolving shoe tree for $5. If we can sell those, we’ll be up to $207, though it’s important to never count your secondhand market eggs before they’re… Sold. Or something. You get the point.
Come to mama (affordably)
Half the challenge of this exercise is to pay for the updates out of day-to-day funds.
So out of the normal weekly funds we’ve managed to pay for three stools (one at a thrift store sale for $2.40 — yes, really — and two on Craigslist for $15), a mirror ($12) and four folding chairs ($20). It’s also how we’ve covered the spray paint, sand paper, brushes and other supplies needed for various projects.
In fact we’ve only had to dip into the sales money once. That was for a $35 display case, which was a bit too big an expense in a week where we also had multiple doctor copays.
Unfortunately, it looks like that case will be the only one we buy used. Turns out the glass cabinets don’t fit into the Civic. We were lucky in that this seller lived literally two miles from us and thus was willing to deliver.
I don’t think that kind of luck will hit again, so I think we’re stuck paying retail for the other two. Poo.
Putting the money to good use
In all, we have about $235 left from sold items and all that change. The Ikea display cases will be $128 after tax, leaving $107.
The TV stand is $300 (including assembly), but I currently have $235 in Amazon gift cards thanks to recently renewed efforts on Swagbucks (and a couple of gifts from Mom). I’m going to hold off on purchasing the stand in the hopes of getting $10 to $20 more in GCs.
Still, worst case scenario we’ll pay $65 for the TV stand and have $42 leftover. More if I can sell the vacuum and/or shoe rack. Also, we may be getting rid of a dresser, which should easily fetch $20 on Craigslist.
I certainly hope we can sell some of this stuff because I’m not completely sure we can afford to take $28ish for a gallon of paint out of the weekly allotment. And even if we can, the ridiculously expensive shower curtain that I’m now in love with — I blame the peeling paint — is $65 plus shipping.
Other efforts: the mirror
I needed to get the mirror off in order to paint — and I’ve wanted to replace the damn thing for years anyway.
The removal took about an hour thanks to approximately a zillion tiny screws, a third of which were half-hidden in the slider cabinet. But the sucker is finally off!
Here’s are before, mid-progress and after pictures so you can see a) just how involved the process was and b) the gawdawful peach-pink-but-looks-orangey-brown the previous owners had for reasons beyond my ken.
I decided to try to save the cabinet. It’s kind of funky, retro — the only part of the mirror that I ever remotely liked. Also because I never realized how much stuff we were keeping in/on top of the damn thing. It’s taking up a lot of counter space.
Unfortunately, as you can see, the cabinet is attached to the frame that was holding the mirror in. I was about to give up but decided to dig through our tools just in case we had tin snips. Luckily, we do.
I then spent a good 20 minutes wrestling with the shallow folds to get it all cut. The material wasn’t hard, but snips are more for flat surfaces. So I had to slice the front, slice the back, then peel each side back to try to get at the middle. All while kneeling over the tub. I figured that if I got it out and braced it with my legs I’d find a way to cut myself somehow.**
Anyway, I was (eventually) successful. I’ll still need to take pliers and bend down the cut edges, since they’re a wee bit sharp. But otherwise the cabinet is ready to be painted and put back up.
Still more efforts: prepping the bathroom
I’m trying to take things in small, bite-sized pieces.
Last night I fixed the scratches and gouges in the bathroom doors and trim. The hardest part was to get the wood filler to stick to the trim rather than my fingers. (The spots were too shallow for a putty knife to do any good.) Once the filler dried, I sanded it down. Then wiped down the trim and doors with some vinegar.
Later today I’ll go get the white paint and tape some plastic sheeting (leftover from when someone threw a rock through our window a few years ago) to protect the floor.
I’ll paint the trim on Friday. Once that’s dry I’ll wipe down the walls. Saturday I’ll buy the paint, mask everything, and (toward the end of the night) take off the light fixture and toilet tank. Sunday I’ll do the actual painting.
During the week, Tim and I will work on the counter, and I’ll paint the cabinet to see if my vision for it will work. Plus I’ll order a remarkably affordable Etsy painting ($7 or $13, depending which size I choose) that goes with the theme. Which I know I’m being opaque about. I think it’ll look better than it sounds and I also just want a cool reveal. So cool your jets, please.
Then it’s just a matter of deciding the shower curtain issue. Specifically, whether we keep saving for the shower curtain that’s overpriced but looks super high quality or buy a $12.50 stopgap. The latter looks pretty good, but it also has zero reviews. So the quality could be terrible, in which case we’ve wasted about 1/6 the cost of the curtain we want. Or we could be really happy with the cheap one and smug about how much money we saved.
But that’s a worry for next week. Today, I’ll worry about white paint and plastic sheeting.
Are you guys working on any decorating or other updates? How’s it going — in general and/or spending-wise?
* Best of intentions, worst of physical limitations
** If you think that’s paranoid, yesterday I was working on a project in the garage, went to kneel and came right down on the top of a nozzle of an empty spray paint can. I hit it so hard that it actually scraped my knee. What can I say? I’m talented.