Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quick Fix: Cleaning Out the Closet

If you happened to read yesterday's post about our little yard sale, you'd probably assume that this post would be all about our process of cleaning out our guest bedroom closet. And you know what? You're assumption would be wrong. This post is actually about cleaning out our master bathroom linen closet.

Let me take a moment and reintroduce you to our master bathroom. The first time we showed you the master bathroom was shortly after our move

And then we took down the door to our bathroom to make more room when we were getting ready. 

And then we updated our master bedroom bedding when we got our new mattress, which then required us to take down the old green/brown shower curtain and replace it with something that matched our new color scheme a little better.

So, now that you've been reintroduced, let's continue on with what this post is really about. Since we first moved here, our linen closet has gotten more and more cluttered. I was starting to get annoyed with how it looked. Because we didn't have a lot of under the counter storage or a medicine cabinet, all of our meds, lotions, sprays, etc. was sitting in our linen closet. Are you ready for some photo evidence?

We've been talking about trying to reorganize the stuff that was in the closet since we first moved in. But when talks of taking in a roommate started, we knew that we would need to make more room in the guest bathroom linen closet. So, all of our linens that weren't towels would need to move into our bathroom. And can I just say that comforters & sheets take up a ton of room! So, whenever we went shopping we would keep our eyes peeled for some sort of organizational unit that would fit in the little nook below our vanity.

See, it's the perfect place to store all of our stuff! We must have looked everywhere and to no avail. Randomly I was surfing around on the clearance page on Target's website, and came across this little guy.

The hubby wasn't home at the time, so I called him up and told him he needed to get online right away and check it out. Did I mention that I made that phone call at 11 at night while he was trying to go to sleep? Have I ever said how much I love my husband for putting up with my craziness? When he saw it and saw the price - only $10! - he agreed, and it was ordered. (update: we went to Target lately and it looks like the $10 is an online-only special. It was still $20 in stores.)

Once we got it home it was really easy to assemble. Maybe took 10 minutes? And all that was needed was a screwdriver. Super simple.

Once it was put together I immediately wanted to put it in its little nook. But, there was one more thing I needed to do first...

 Do you see it? Right there above the baseboard? Yeah... that's liter. This little nook use to be the home of our cat's liter box. But the hubby and I got tired of the cats kicking out all the liter and us having to walk on it. So it moved to the other bathroom that's never really used. And that little nook needed to get a once over with the vacuum before we could put the lovely black shelf in its new little home.

Even though I had pre-measured before we ordered it, I was so happy that it fit. Once we determined that we wanted it to face outward - rather than resting against the angled wall - I started filling it up with all of our stuff from the linen closet that didn't qualify as line.

Side note: please ignore the liter still resting on the baseboard. I took this picture before vacuuming. I was too anxious to make sure it fit and was so excited that it did that I took this picture immediately. Then took the shelf was taken out so that I could sweep up the little mess we had forgotten about.

And now for the big reveal!

Isn't it amazing?! I cannot say enough how excited I am. You might be thinking that I'm crazy - it just makes the bathroom look even more cluttered. Before that shelf, we could have just shut the door to the linen closet and the mess would disappear. But, I have a plan! I want to find a little tension rod and some fabric and make a little curtain to hide the mess. I'm thinking in navy? Maybe grey... But probably navy.

But the best after shot? The linen closet itself. There is so much room now! We haven't moved anything over from the guest bathroom to ours yet, but its nice knowing that we've made a little more room.

And... I managed to throw out a ton of stuff that we weren't using or no longer wanted to keep. The bags are empty for those who are curious.

Anyone else out there have the organizing bug? It seems like all of the blogs I'm reading are doing some sort of organizing challenge for the new year. Though I admire them, I know that I have to do these sorts of things in my own time. But, oh it feels so good! And looks so good too!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Getting Rid of Junk

Since the hubby and I agreed to the possibility of taking in a friend of ours as a temporary roommate, we've been doing our best to weed through some of our crap stuff and get rid of things that we don't really need or haven't used in a while. 

So, this past weekend while the hubby's parents were out of town, we hijacked their house & driveway and had a little yard sale. Technically the hubby had been staying at his parent's house all week to take care of their 5 cats, so I guess we really didn't hijack anything. But, considering we live in an apartment complex, a driveway was necessary to put our plan in action of getting rid of junk and making a little extra cash.

After the wedding we had been slowly working our way through the boxes in our guest bedroom closet to see what we could get rid of and what could be paired down into smaller/less boxes. If you remember from when we first moved in, the closet was looking a little something like this:

Just imagine that there are two doors leaning against that back wall, and you've pretty much got a before picture of that closet. Sorry, but I don't have an after to show at this point. So, once we had things set aside for the yard sale, we started transporting it to Orlando one car load at a time. Since the hubby is still working in Orlando until he starts his new job, it wasn't that far out of the way for him to swing by and drop off a couple of boxes. And one weekend my mom came and picked me up, so we loaded her car up with some boxes as well. It maybe took 3 trips in total to get everything down there?

When we got it all to his parents house, we stored it all in the hubby's old bedroom.

Then we headed over to Wally World to pick up some supplies for making signs. We picked up a 5-pack of fluorescent poster boards, 4 wooden stakes (which had a self-adhesive sticky side that made things so much easier!), and a 2-pack of Sharpie markers.

I used the front packaging of the posters to practice the sizing & spacing of the signs. As you can see, I messed up the first time around. I also laid some newspaper underneath the poster boards to make sure there wasn't any bleeding through onto the table cloth.

We ended up putting all 5 signs out (4 on the streets & 1 inside the neighbor to direct). Initially I thought it was a good idea to write the address of my in-laws home on the signs. But I came to regret that later. Maybe I'm a little paranoid, but when it was time to go to sleep, I was afraid that people would try to break into the house to get the stuff/money from the yard sale. Don't ask why. It's not like people make a ton of money on these things, and its not like they are selling top-dollar items, but it still creeped me out. Plus, we had posted the address on Craigslist to advertise the yard sale. When we have another yard sale, I think we'll just put the name of the street and leave off the house number. (And yes, we took down the Craigslist ad as soon as the yard sale was over.)

Our setup was simple - create aisles that people would walk up & down and try to group things into 'like' categories. As much as I hate when people put things on the ground on random blankets, we ran out of tables and had to resort to the same tactic.

 The first day we made about $50 and my mom made about $15 (she brought over some of her stuff to sell as well). It was nonstop traffic, which was nice.  Sunday on the other hand was really ssslllllooooowww. We maybe had 7 people come on Sunday. Needless to say, the second day wasn't a big money maker. But, we did manage to get rid of a lot of junk. And what didn't sell got loaded into my mom's car and was taken to a local thrift store donation bin. It was nice to come home to a little less clutter.

All in all, we considered the yard sale to be a success. We met a lot of interesting people. I got a little sunburn (not hard with my paleness). And we got a little extra dough out of it too.

Anyone else out there have a yard sale recently? Or maybe you're like some of our 'customers' who said that they really need to go ahead and have one of their own?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

St. Augustine Trip

During our wedding reception, we were invited to go to St. Augustine for a weekend trip with some friends. Yes, I know that's sort of a weird time to invite someone on a trip, but if you knew our friends, you would consider that to be totally normal.

So, about a month after our wedding, we loaded up our car with our weekend bags and headed out to the coast. Yes, that means that we went to St. Augustine in the middle of December. Yes, I know that this is the middle of January. Yes, I know I'm a little behind on posting.

We got a hotel suite with 4 other people and split the cost. Was it cheap? Yes. Was the hotel the nicest place on Earth? No. Was the complimentary breakfast something to write home about? Not even close. But, again, was it  cheap? Yes, and that's really all that matters to a bunch of broke college students and a newlywed couple working on paying off debt.

Some of the pros to the hotel we stayed at: It was home to one of the oldest trees in St. Augustine called the Senator. Our friends found it was the perfect spot to have picnic lunches while we were there (we packed as much food as possible to cut down on costs & only ate out 1 night as a group). 

The other benefit to having The Senator as your neighbor - it made our hotel one of the stops on the trolley tours. Which meant that we didn't have to pay for parking. Once you purchased a trolley ticket, you could ride it an unlimited amount of times for up to 3 days. Although the hubby & I chose not to take the trolley, our friends did, and they loved it. You get to hear the history of St. Augustine while you ride, and depending on the ticket package you purchase, you also get in to certain attractions for free.

Why didn't the hubby & I ride the trolley? Well, we both chaperoned a field trip last school year to St. Augustine and we had already visited all of the sites the trolley package got you into. We wanted to see other sites in the city. Besides, for the most part we walked everywhere we needed to go - the hotel wasn't all that far from the main shops and attractions of St. Augustine.

The only place we needed our car was to drive over to a nearby island to see the lighthouse. Let me tell you, the drive, admission fee, and climb up the stairs is definitely worth it once you get to the top and get to see St. Augustine from the top of the lighthouse.

 The gift shop & entrance to the lighthouse facilities

 War Ration Book in the on-site museum

 The bottom of the stairs

 From the bottom looking up

As you climbed the stairs, there were floors that you could stop on to rest. Some had benches, some had educational stops on their self-guided audio tour. And others had windows that you could look out of to see how high you were getting.

 Now, I'm not afraid of heights, but I am afraid of falling. That may sound silly to some. But when I say I'm afraid of falling, I mean I freak out when the hubby threatens to roll me off the side of a bed or couch. So, sometimes heights will get to me when I think about the fall that could happen if I took one little misstep. So I will admit, it was a little scary to look down once you reached the top, but once you got to see the coast, it was totally worth it. And for any of you afraid of heights, it's completely safe - there are railings the entire way that you hold onto and once you reach the top, there is a volunteer staff member there to keep everyone safe & answer questions.

After the climb, we walked around the grounds a little more before heading back to the main part of St. Augustine.

Our friends decided they didn't want to go to the lighthouse, so the hubby & I enjoyed a little time to ourselves. Really, it seemed like the only time we saw our friends was at night when we all made it back to the hotel. We could never really agree on what to do during the day, so we all went our separate ways. At first I felt bad about it, but the hubby reminded me that we were all getting what we wanted out of the trip, so there was nothing to feel bad about. 

One of the places we stopped and walked around was the Mission Nombre de Dios. It was literally blocks from our hotel and on the way to St. George Street. It is home to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche. When we visited this place, we really had no idea the special meaning behind it. Just recently Stephanie over at Mama and Baby Love wrote about this place, which is actually what reminded me that I still hadn't posted about our trip.

Here are some more random pictures from our first day in St. Augustine.

This is where we bought my mother-in-law's Christmas gift.

The second day we did a little more walking around the city. Right before lunch we all met up at the Fort and walked around for a little while. Even got to see a canon shot! Then we went to lunch together at Scarlett O'Hara's before going our separate ways one last time and heading home.

 The city gates

So, that was our weekend trip to St. Augustine. Even though the hubby & I live about 2 hours away from St. Augustine and there is no direct road connecting the two cities, we used maybe a half a tank all weekend? We only had to drive to one attraction the entire weekend, and the parking at the lighthouse was free. We also made a stop at an amazing chocolate shop (Whetstone, which is totally based out of the St. Augustine area- highly recommend it!) and another stop one day to eat lunch at a fast food place (sorry, I have a weakness for Zaxbys!). Other than that, we parked at the hotel and walked everywhere.

If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend visiting St. Augustine for a weekend. There isn't theme parks or anything like that, but it's one of those cities where you instantly relax when you get there. It's nice to walk around and just soak in all the history the place has to offer.

Anyone else been to St. Augustine? What was your favorite place to visit? I love hearing about others travels - helps me plan my next trip!


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