The cost per square foot of an ugly laundry room


So, projects take a long time to marinate around here. For example, I tore apart the basement bathroom 2 years ago, and only this spring did we admit we couldn’t put it back together again and hire a contractor.
Our laundry room has been terrible since we moved in- the previous owners put in drywall, and great cabinets, but then they just stopped- no tape, no mud, no paint. They had a solar water heater system, which I assume worked for them, but I don’t think the renters who lived here before us used it, and we haven’t hooked it up again. The panels are slowly decomposing on the roof, and the water tank has been taking up about 4 square feet of floor space in the laundry room, and even bumps out into the stairs. There is also another dead hot water heater that has been taking up space as well.
That is where the title of the post comes from. One of my colleagues this spring was house hunting in Fort Collins, and she was quoting home prices in terms of square feet, “Houses in old town are going for 300 per square foot, for an 800 square foot place. With a detached garage, can you believe it?” Well, no, I can’t believe it, because you made me do math first. Just tell me how much they want for the house! I can’t even remember the rest of the conversation, because I was still trying to carry the 1.
But it made me think- we have some stupid stuff laying around the house, old paint cans in the basement, two water heaters, a pink toilet (non-operational) in the garage. Two stereo speakers (probably also non operational) up in the loft over the work bench in the garage. How much is that space worth?

According to Zillow, our house is worth about $101 per square foot.

Those water heaters are taking up more than 400 dollars of space in my house.

I want them gone.
I was doing some reading recently on the concept of Wabi Sabi- which is kind of like shabby chic, except Japanese, so it is much cooler. The idea is that the things you surround yourself with should be imperfect and worn, and furthermore, don’t surround yourself with too many things- they could be curated, not cluttered.
As always, as a white girl interpreting a Japanese concept, I am sure there is a lot more to it than that, but one of the things that stuck out is the lack of clutter.  A house should have 10% of its space as storage. You should be able to put things away.
So, even though I spent maybe 5 minutes a day in the laundry room, I am making it nicer, getting rid of crap, adding shelving so that it can store more of the things I need and want.

I taped and mudded the joints on the drywall, then painted with some leftover paint. I knew the unprimed drywall would soak up a lot, so it would need multiple coats.  I was able to kill two birds with one stone, for the first coat I got rid of some “indian white” paint that has been taking up space in the laundry room for at least 12 years, and I was able to brighten up the room considerably.  Now a corner niche is pale green, and two walls are “aegean mist” left over from Kate’s room. It has made me so happy.

After the first coat of paint, but before the removal of the water tank.

After the first coat of paint, but before the removal of the water tank.

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Closet Flipping


New Year's Rockin' Eve, for the work wardrobe...

New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, for the work wardrobe…

A year or so ago, I saw a recommendation somewhere on the interwebs for flipping your closet- it was on Pinterest, and I tracked down the picture, but my virus protection said not to go there… so no link.

But, here’s what to do-on New Years Eve, take everything out of your closet and turn it around backwards, so the hangers hang opposite of the way they usually do. (This is probably like hanging toilet paper, everyone thinks the way they do it is the right way. Whatever.) When you put stuff back in your closet after wearing, put it in the right way. Then, on June 30, you will see what you have worn based on what direction it is hanging. Flip it again, and see what you wear from the end of June through the end of the year.
Think hard about what you haven’t worn, and why.
For example, this fall I haven’t worn any shirts that need to be ironed.
I hate ironing.
I also hate shirts that have to be buttoned and are gappy. I’m not even particularly well-endowed, but button-up shirts gap and I hate them. I don’t hate them enough not to buy them, apparently, but I hate them enough not to wear them.
I got these thinking they would be good for hot weather when school started, and I would want short sleeves, but something a little more structured than a tee shirt. Didn’t wear them.
This flipping trick is great for seeing patterns, and really knowing what gets worn and doesn’t.
Another example is this flowerdy dress.

What do you mean, flowerdy isn't a word?

What do you mean, flowerdy isn’t a word?

I bought it as a back-up dress for a wedding, in case I didn’t have the guts to wear the little black dress that I did wind up wearing. I have worn it once since I bought it, although not this year. With most “clean your closet” plans, not wearing something in a year means getting rid of it, but this is a great dress- it is a nice fit, and great for a wedding. I am keeping it.
I’m getting rid of the sleeveless button-front shirts, though.

The Big Yellow Monster


I have been a member of the National Geographic Society for many years. The primary benefit of the membership in this prestigious society is the receipt of a magazine every month. Depending on the amount of spare time, and the topics, we either devour the magazines, or they pile up on the end table. The recent issue with the story about how dogs were domesticated, fascinating, and hit all the right notes on the Boy’s interest in dogs and evolution and selective breeding.

The thing is, I can’t get rid of these magazines- we hold on to them as reference material, in case we want to look back at the maps, re-read the articles. Cutting them up for collages? Never! People do, I know, but not us.
The reality is, though, we don’t look back at old issues, or at least we haven’t, so far. So we hold on to them. I have a vivid memory of going out to the icy cold garage one February, to find an issue with Olmecs in it, to do a school report when I was in Junior High.

Why the garage? I don’t know the origin of the decision, but there were so many issues of the magazine, and so little storage space inside, that somehow it seemed logical to keep them in the garage.
Get rid of them? Never!
Ours, almost 20 years worth, have been fitting well in a lovely built-in shelf in our entrance way. That is, they were fitting in well, when they were only occupying the bottom shelf, then they encroached on the second from the bottom, displacing my cookbooks, and craft books. The front hall is terrribly lighted as well, so even when you want to look for a map, or a story on the Mongols, it is hard to do.
Long story short…I’m not getting rid of them. Never! But I am moving them to the basement, where with some clever re-arrangement, they can have their own bookshelf, with a lamp nearby.
Philosophically, what is this hold that National Geographics have on me? I can recycle or give away other magazines and books, but not these. What do you have that you can’t get rid of?