It’s wonderful not to be overwhelmed by day-to-day life. Unfortunately, I’ve switched from depression to obsession.
No longer exhausted by every little thing, I’m hyperaware of every little thing in our house that needs an upgrade. Things I’d like to get done include (in no particular order):
- Replace both bathrooms’ ugly sinks/counters
- Replace both bathrooms’ not-so-great fixtures
- Get the house repainted
- Screen in the patio
- Organize Tim’s collectibles with display cases/bookcases
- Get more seating
- Paint the main bathroom
- Paint the master bathroom
- Paint the hallway
- Replace the TV stand
- Replace the baseboards and (pie in the sky) get crown moulding
Naturally, a lot of these projects are things that bug me on a quasi-daily basis. But it’s about more than that. I want to feel more comfortable having people over, and that won’t happen until at least some things are fixed.
The stuff that must get done before people come over:
- More seating
- Organize Tim’s collectibles
- Paint the bathroom
- Fix a small spot in the hallway (which may make us have to paint anyway)
- Replace TV stand
Here’s how we’re tackling those.
MeetUp events generally consist of 10 to 12 people. We have a loveseat, two recliners and a glider chair out back.We have three folding chairs and my office chair to pull out, but that’s still not enough.
Granted, some people will be fine standing around off and on, but it’d still behoove us to have more seats — especially if we want people to play games.
Given the limits of space around the card table, we’ll want two tables: one inside and one on the patio. That way everyone can be playing a game if (s)he so chooses. That means that we need seating for at least 10 people. (And the loveseat won’t count because we can’t set the card table up that close to the door.)
I’ve mainly been on the hunt for bar stools, since they’re easy to drag around outside if need be. It’ll also allow a couple ofpeople to sit and chat by the food/drink area if they so choose.
Thus the hunt for bar stools began.
It wouldn’t be so tough if Tim didn’t insist on backless/very-low-back stools and if I didn’t have to rule out anything under 24″ and over 28″ in height and if Craigslist people weren’t insane about the monetary value of their furniture.
But he does, I do, and they are.
Target has a perfectly okay black stool for $9.99 and the store frequently has 10% to 15% off sales. But I was hoping for something a little nicer. Or at least that looked reassuringly sturdy.
And I’m glad I didn’t settle. On Sunday I found a thrift store having a 70% off sale, so I walked away with a $2.40 wood stool. In a different store, I found an almost identical stool for $9.99, but I’m not quite willing to pay that. So I’m going back next Saturday, when there’s a 50% off sale, to see if it’s still there.
I’m also going to keep my eyes out for some folding chairs. If we can’t find any at the thrift stores, they’re actually — shock of shocks — reasonably priced on Craigslist.
The main bathroom needs painting. It’s not just that the white looks drab, though it does.
The actual problem is that the new (smaller) toilet we got a few years ago caused some of the original peach-ish color to peek out around the toilet tank edges. Similarly, I replaced the old, ugly light in there, so there is some peach showing around the edges of the new fixture.
I tried to go the cheap routes first. Unfortunately, our color pickiness has made that well nigh impossible. We like rich color. Just about every can from ReStores, Craigslist and orphan paint bins is a neutrals..
I found one — one — non-neutral color at each of the ReStores I visited. The first was a light blue (not deep enough in color) and the other was a lovely blue-green (but Tim admitted to not liking those).
In fact, after I finally got him talking about what he wanted (rather than a shrug and “Do what you’re gonna do.”) Tim narrowed down the possibilities further. Which creates a problem.
I ruled out blue or green because those are for other, nearby rooms. Tim doesn’t like blue-greens or purples. Neither of us wants yellow, orange or brown.
So basically we’re down to red. Specifically, a red that isn’t too orange-y or purple-y. Which is a narrow band of the spectrum indeed and pretty much nixes any chance that we’ll stumble onto a discounted gallon of the right hue.
However, a gallon of Olympic primer plus paint is $17.98, which I think we can squeeze into the budget. We can buy a quart of the contrasting white the week after.
s mentWe’re also looking at Olympic’s blue colors in case we find ourselves able/needing to paint that before having a party. If we don’t find something that’s quite right, I’m sure Lowe’s can try to color match whatever we settle on.
The TV stand
This is the biggie — and the most expensive.
I’ve never loved our TV stand. It’s squat and has an ugly wood grain pattern. But it was free — which makes everything prettier — and sturdy, so I made do.
Around five years ago, however, we mounted the TV on our wall. Ever since, there has been a 22″ gap between the top of the TV stand and the bottom of the TV. It looks bad, made a teensy bit worse by the fact that the stand has a swivel top.
In short, this has been bothering me even longer than the end table. And before we have people over, I will have a media stand that looks nice — and comes close to the actual TV!
Unfortunately, our lack of a truck means Craigslist and thrift store options are out. (Though I’m not sure those listings would’ve worked for us anyway, since most TV stands are much shorter than we want.) I’ve also ruled out a lot of the cheaper options due to height and/or the fact that I’m not willing to pay much for MDF items.
After much searching, I found a nice piece on Amazon that’s (mostly) real pine and is well-reviewed on Amazon. To make things worse, I’ve decided to add the assembly service for another $63.
I’m usually fine with assembling things, but I’ve been known to mess up or scratch stuff from time to time. I can’t handle that worry for a $200+ item. Not to mention that it tok most reviewers three to six hours to put together — and some still ended up with a small gap between the doors.Nope, I need a professional
Point being there’s no way I can pretend this is a frugal item. All I can do is attack the cost frugally.
I already had a $75 Amazon balance thanks to Swagbucks. (Both mine and Mom’s, since she gives us a $25 GC every other month.) Tim’s account was close to a $25 cash-out level, so a little extra effort got him up to the necessary 2,200 SB. And when I went to retrieve the code, I noticed that there were $15 in Amazon GCs that were just sitting in his account. (D’oh! But also yay!)
I had enough for $35 in Amazon GCs at MyPoints, so I cashed those in. And then I doubled down on my own Swagbucks work enough to cash out quickly for a $25 GC. It — and the one Mom is redeeming to help (for that his her mom-do, her mother way) — should arrive in the next couple of days.
At that point, we’ll have $200.
I also emptied our change jars and found more than $69.50. It took over two years, but still not bad since we rarely use cash. I also sold a few things — simultaneously making $67 and clearing out some space. Win-win!
So as of this week we’ll have enough for the stand,with an extra $37. Which will go to…
Organizing Tim’s collectibles
When we first moved into the house I picked up an Ikea display case from Craigslist for $25. It was a great way to display some figurines he had. A couple of years later, we found a deal on two short bookcases at a liquidation store. They’re nice-looking and were only $25 each. That let us display all of his graphic novel and a couple of other collectibles.
Unfortunately, his collection grew shortly thereafter, and we never got more cases to fix the situation. And right the mess of Loot Crate and graphic novel paraphenalia is stressful and disappointing for both of us.
So how to fix it?
By my calculations, two more of the Ikea display cases should do it — but used ones, once so ubiquitous, are now nowhere to be found.
This means we may have to actually shop at Ikea itself. While the cases aren’t crazy high they’re still $59.99 (plus tax) each. So even with the leftover $37, we’re about $96 shy.
Coupon Cabin has been intermittently offering $50 cash back on $50+ orders at Amazon. Only about 15 people can claim the offer, but if I keep up on it, maybe I can be one of them.(This, of course, is assuming that I’d get the $50 if I use gift cards.) If all of the stars align and I do get the bonus, the $50 will go to a “Fine let’s go to Ikea I guess, but let me just look at Craigslist real quick. Damn!” fund.
Beyond that, I guess I’ll have to hope to sell more items from the garage. And refocus my efforts on Swagbucks, cashing out for PayPal payments.
Other than that
If we can scrounge up another $200ish (or less, if I can figure out how to get screen doors home from the ReStore with just a Honda Civic), we can do the back patio ourselves. Apparently, it’s not that difficult to add screening.
Also, I’ll keep checking Craigslist and thrift stores to see if I can find nicer bathroom towel bars that don’t cost a ridiculous amount.
Finally, I’ll also be searching Craigslist each day on the off-chance of finding a new countertop for the master bathroom. It looks like that’s a project I can do myself. The challenging part will mainly be finding the right size replacement.
Unfortunately, that’d be the extent of what we can do right now. Replacing the main bathroom sink — a horribly pitted eyesore — is, for various reasons, going to require replacing the entire cabinet. And we can’t afford that at the moment.
I can’t imagine getting a 1,500 square foot house (plus guest house) painted for under $1,000. I’m not comfortable spending that much until we have closer to $5,000 in savings.
So we’ll just have to o what we can in the next three months, hope for the best and remind ourselves that people aren’t half as judgmental as we assume they are.
What parts of your home scream for updates/repairs?