• Neat & Tidy

    Numbered Wooden Crates

    Do you ever have a storage situation that involves just shoving things behind a closed door and calling it day? No? Me either.


    Just kidding! This post is technically re-post. I had actually shared it last year, but the content was lost during the Great Blog Deletion of 2013. Oops! It was one of my favorite organizational updates we did in our last home, so I figured it was a good one to share again.

    Previously, our “storage solution” for shoes had been an old laundry basket and a broken down woven basket well beyond their years in use. It always looked like a disheveled mess and obviously needed some help. (The whole closet needed help, but that is another post.)

    Closet Makeover Part 1 - 1

    I found these great wooden crates at Michael’s and ended up paying less than $8 per crate thanks to some lovely 50% off coupons. Yay for good deals!

    Closet Makeover Part 1 - 2

    We used Minwax Polyshades (in Antique Walnut I think) to stain each of the crates. My hubby was recruited to do the dirty work, while I took a photo.

    Closet Makeover Part 1 - 3

    Once everything was dry, I printed out the number 1 through 4 onto cardstock, cut them out, and traced each one onto the front of the crates. Using a small paint brush, I filled in each number with chalk paint.

    Closet Makeover Part 1 - 4

    Then came the fun part of sorting and purging our shoes. You can see I had a little helper.

    Closet Makeover Part 1 - 6

    That is Maverick, one of our two golden retrievers that we lost to cancer this past year. I never realized how hard it would be once they were both gone. So many times, I still catch myself watching how I stand up from the couch, because they always loved to lay next to our feet. Or calling them to go up to bed every evening. It’s something I still do or think about most nights. Crazy how these furry guys and girls have such an impact on our lives, even with the simple everyday things.

    Ok, back to the project. After I had everyone’s shoes sorted, we put them back into the closet arranged on a custom made shelf for the space.

    Closet Makeover Part 1 - 7

    It is amazing how much easier it find your own shoes when you don’t have to sort through 3 other people’s loafers.

    Closet Makeover Part 1 - 5

    So, that’s our shoe storage story. We can’t be the only ones who crave a little organization in the shoe department. How do you store your kicks? Boxes, baskets, bins or something else?


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  • Neat & Tidy

    Fighting Oil With Oil

    We’ve recently been working hard to transform our dated 1980’s kitchen into something from this century. A major part of this transformation has involved primer/paint and few lessons learned.

    Remove Oil Based Primer 1

    We have been using oil based primer on our cabinets and it is the first time we’ve really had any experience with it. We’ve learned that the stuff sticks to everything (yay!) and that this stuff literally sticks to everything (boo.) Like the time my husband, Chris, got it all over his hands and tried to wash it off with soap and water. Not good. It just made it even messier and smeared it around more because, obviously, oil and water do not mix. So while he stood in the bathroom covered in stickiness, I did what any good wife would do and went to bed headed to the computer to search for ways to remove the primer.

    We found that a mixture of olive oil and salt worked great to get the primer off and also gave his hands a good exfoliation in the process. (Who doesn’t want a man with soft hands?) So, when we dropped a paint brush filled with primer on the floor a few days later, I decided to try the olive oil technique on that as well.

    Remove Oil Based Primer 2

    That is after we found that a dry paper towel just smeared that primer around on the floor.

    Remove Oil Based Primer 3

    To remove the smear, I initially tried a mixture of olive oil and salt, but found that on our floor we only needed to use the olive oil. You can see how easily it removes all of the primer in this handy dandy video. Enjoy!

    A few more details to take into consideration:

    – Our flooring is vinyl stick tiles. I’m not sure if or how this technique would work on other types of flooring, i.e. wood, ceramic tile, laminate.

    – This technique works on fresh spills and dried primer too, provided you add a little more elbow grease.

    – Use olive oil to remove oil based primer and paint from brushes too!

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  • Home Decor,  Neat & Tidy

    The Key To Painting Laminate Furniture

    One of my very first DIY furniture projects was when I was 18. I helped my best friend paint a set of identical laminate bookcases with latex paint. She needed them to display her My Little Pony collection. (She’s a little crazy, but I still love her.) We slapped a coat of white paint on the entire set and within a few minutes the paint bubbled up and peeled right off. Clearly this was not the way to paint laminate furniture. So, what is the right way?

    Through this experience and many others of painting laminate furniture, I can now present you with the abundance of knowledge I have accumulated on this topic. Is it the right way? I don’t know about that, but it is what works for me.

    Tips for Painting Laminate Furniture 5

    The particular piece I worked on for this post, is an IKEA Expedite Shelf like this one…


    1. Light Sanding
    This step is optional, but recommended. Laminate is smooth and glossy. Lightly sanding it dulls the surface enough to assist the primer and paint to affix for a long lasting look.

    Tips for Painting Laminate Furniture 1

    2. Primer
    Primer is awesome, and the key to the success of this entire project. It sticks to the laminate and creates the perfect surface for your paint to adhere to. It will help prevent the paint from peeling or being scratched. Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer is generally my pick, but Kilz works well too. I usually let it dry overnight, but some primers can ready in just an hour. Be sure to check the label for accurate timing.

    Tips for Painting Laminate Furniture 2

    3. Curing Time
    This is also a very important step. Because latex paint can be a little tacky and sticky for a while even after it’s dry to touch, it is important to let the furniture sit without being used for at least one to three weeks after being painted. I know this sounds like a crazy amount of time, but it really pays off in the end. You know when you touch two items recently painted, the paint from one will peel off on the other. This curing time will allow the paint to harden and you will avoid this little problem.

    Tips for Painting Laminate Furniture 3

    Have you ever attempted painting laminate furniture? If so, was it a success or a fail? Tell us all about your experience in the comments! We would love to hear from you!


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  • Family, Kids, Pets,  Home Decor,  Neat & Tidy

    Dining Chairs Update

    When you have chairs that look like this…

    Dining Chair Makeover 1

    You know they are in desperate need of a make over. I was so embarrassed to even have anyone at my house. I was tempted a of couple times to move these chairs out of my kitchen and bring in others while entertaining, but thought my friends have kids too, so they would understand. Right?

    Recovering the seats was my initial plan, but I thought painting them may be a better solution to my messy kid problem. (Sure, I blame it on the kids, but I have been known to spill a drink or two myself.) This way I could just wipe them down when dribbles happen. Here’s the process I went though to make this change.

    First, I removed the seats, cushions, and covers from each chair.

    Dining Chair Makeover 6

    Next, I applied primer and a couple coats of white semi gloss paint, and waited for all of that to dry. For this process, I just used a good ol’ brush. No fancy spray paint here.

    Dining Chair Makeover 2

    Dining Chair Makeover 3

    Finally, I reassembled the chairs. They may not be quite as comfy as before, but they will look prettier longer.

    Dining Chair Makeover 4

    What do you think? This was just a quick and easy update to my disgusting seat cushion problem. I am really excited about this new change.

    Dining Chair Makeover 5

    Do you have messy kid problems too? If so, how do you solve them?

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