When Cleaning Turns into Tearing Down Drywall

It was a pretty crazy weekend at our house. I got a bug up my butt to start reorganizing the kitchen and start putting things aside for a tag sale. I should have taken before pictures but use your imagination. There was a lot of stuff in the kitchen. I was losing counter space and had trouble finding a spot for things in the cabinets. My goals were to go through all my kitchen stuff and PURGE. 2014-08-03 22.27.28

I purged a lot of stuff. This shelf was pretty much empty when I started. All of that is stuff that came out of the kitchen. Baking stuff, pots and pans, decorate stuff that was collecting dust. It all must go. I’m tired of having so much stuff in my kitchen, a lot of which I use very rarely. It’s time to go.

My kitchen was starting to feel claustrophobic. I hated cooking because I didn’t have space to prepare anything. The kitchen was becoming a dumping ground. I’m determined to stop that habit here and now.

2014-08-03 22.15.27My kitchen feels so much better now. I have counter space! I put all the jars away and kept it very sparse. The only things left on the counter now are the toaster, a knife block and my FoodSaver. Each of these items gets used multiple times a week and deserved a space on the counter. That’s my rule for determining what gets a prime spot on my limited counter space. Something must be used multiple times a week to get a piece of this hot real estate. These three items fit the bill.

2014-08-03 22.16.10 2014-08-03 22.15.45

I also cleaned out the “junk drawers”. Yup, I had multiple junk drawers. It’s amazing what you find in these things if you actually start to look at what’s inside. I found some Staples coupons that expired in 2009. I don’t think I need to hold on to those anymore. I found the manual for the oven that died in 2007. That got ditched as well. All the tools that were hiding in the draws when out to the garage, because that’s where the tools live. I had more free pens than one could ever use in a lifetime. Those are gone now.

I decided to use one drawer, with bins, for a few pens, batteries and a few odds and ends I use a lot, like giant binder clips that I use to close bags of chips. The second drawer became the cat drawer. I put the cat brushes, toys and the hairball stuff in that drawer. Now I know where to look for the hairball stuff when one of the kitties needs it. 2014-08-03 22.15.57

After I was done, I had two drawers left. One was holding miscellaneous kitchen tools. I reorganized that drawer and purged more! Since I now had an empty drawer, I decided to get my utensils off the counter and into the drawer. This opened up the counter by the sink. I had two containers filled with utensils. Now the utensils reside in the drawer and the containers are in the tag sale pile.

Look, more counter space without crap all over it! Now the only thing that will reside permanently on that part of the counter is the dirty dishes bucket, which you can kinda see on the right side of the picture. I love seeing more counter space.

2014-08-03 22.14.56I wiped down all the cabinets and cleaned the outside of the fridge. I took all the stuff off the front of the fridge, just leaving the menu board and the grocery list.

See? This is peace in the kitchen. Seriously, I can’t tell you how much peace I feel without all the notices, coupons, old notes and other crap stuck to the fridge.

You want more peace in your life? Get all the crap off your refrigerator doors. It’s like meditation only it doesn’t take up time that I don’t currently have to spare.

So you probably realized that this post is called “When cleaning turns into tearing down drywall.” So far, no drywall torn down. Well, that is because that is outside the kitchen. Come, follow me down the hall and up the stairs.  2014-08-03 19.17.14

This is where we started tearing down the drywall. There was a huge bulge in the wall and it was driving everyone in the house crazy. My nephew decided that today was the day we would start to fix it.

2014-08-03 22.16.50Meanwhile, my husband decided that since the wallpaper was now officially going to need to come down, he started taking down the wallpaper in the hallway downstairs.

So while I was cleaning, the boys were literally tearing apart the house. At least my house will finally be free of the centennial wallpaper that is probably older than I am. It will look much better when it is a nice warm beige.

Thankfully, the wall is coming together nicely. 2014-08-03 22.16.32The first piece is already in place. Soon, my wall will be back and we can wave goodbye to this home improvement project.

By the way, this will end up being a pretty frugal project. With materials, including new paint and primer, this should cost less than $250.  Hiring someone to do the drywall work and paint the entire hallway and stairway would have cost us thousands. Luckily, I have a very resourceful nephew and a husband with a wallpaper steamer.



A frugal weekend

We are finally getting some sun here in Connecticut after a cold, rainy spring. This weekend, I had a lot to do. Now that tax season and the spring semester are over and my summer class is running, I’ve got some time to get some things done around the house.

Homemade pastaFriday and Saturday, I did some cooking and prep for the week. I made a double batch of enchiladas. We had some for dinner on Friday night and I’ve got another pan for dinner tonight or tomorrow night. I also made some spaghetti, with my KitchenAid Mixer and pasta attachment. This pasta is half whole wheat. My husband is not a fan of whole wheat pasta but when I make pasta with whole wheat flour in it, he will eat it. I also made fresh tomato sauce, which I’ve found my husband will eat pretty much anything if I cover it in tomato sauce. salad

I also had a ton of lettuce in the fridge so I decided to make a big salad for the week. If I have salad in the fridge, I’ll eat it for lunch and with dinner but if I don’t prep it, my lettuce will go bad before I find time to eat it. I add shredded carrot and celery to the salad plus I cut up a red pepper so I can have salad very quickly. Salad makes me happy. I even made Russian dressing. Making the salad and pasta took about 2 hours on Saturday. I made the pasta first and while it was drying, I made the salad, the tomato sauce and cleaned up the kitchen a bit.

Saturday, I also planted my garden. I plant a tomato sauce garden (I’m a bit focused on Italian food). We planted four types of tomatoes, two types of peppers, four types of herbs and cucumbers. I promised my husband that I would not put cucumbers in the sauce. The cucumbers are for my salads which make me feel better about all the Italian food we eat. garden

I’m not the greatest gardener in the world but I do okay. We should have enough tomatoes to make sauce that will last about a year. We paid $24 for the plants which should save us a few hundred dollars that we would have spent on produce and sauce. With the rising price of groceries, I think it’s a decent investment and it gives me something to do outside in the summer to get me away from the computer.


Speaking of outside, am I the only one who goes insane when the helicopter seeds start falling from the trees? They are everywhere! On the ground, on the deck, the lawn and all over my floors in the house. Sunday, I decided I should probably vacuum the hundreds of helicopters that have infiltrated my house.

I HATE cleaning. It is probably my least favorite thing in the entire world. To keep myself going, I decided to see if Pandora had some music to keep me distracted. I found an awesome channel called 80’s Cardio in the workout section. That channel got me through four hours of cleaning and laundry. FOUR HOURS! I don’t know that I’ve ever spent four hours cleaning in a single day. I must say that cleaning is much more fun dancing out to Young MC.

My husband let me know that while I was jamming out with my headphones on, two of our neighbors were talking to him in the driveway and heard me singing Bon Jovi while dancing like a crazy crazy. Hey, at least I was productive even if the neighbors do think I’m nuts.

2014-06-01 13.05.55

I did so much laundry yesterday that I had to make more laundry detergent. Yeah, I make that, too. I told you it was a frugal weekend. I love how the soap curls when you shred it. Hey, after cleaning for four hours, soap curls would amuse you too!

By Sunday night, I was sore from all the dancing, gardening and cleaning. I was pretty pleased with all the progress I had made. The house was relatively clean, a lot of the laundry was done, food was prepped for the week and I even had a few dinners in the fridge for the week. I went to bed feeling very pleased.

I woke up this morning and the first thing I saw when I entered the kitchen: more helicopters.

more vacuuming in my future!

I see a lot more vacuuming in my future!

Did you do anything frugal this weekend? Do you listen to music when you clean? What keeps you going when working on a task you hate?


Do you ever get that feeling that there is not enough time in the day to get everything done? My to-do-list never seems to get shorter. Each time I knock a few things off the list, it feels like there are even more items to add. I’ve got a house to clean, grocery shopping to do, projects for work, mowing, laundry, some flowers to plant, repairs to do and a ton of organizing that needs to be completed.

Today, I’m going to make a list of all those things and just try to start knocking them off. I’m also going to make a list of things that need to be purchased or replaced and a space for things to sell or donate. The organizational journey starts today but I need your help. I need your best cleaning and organizational tips. I need to know how you keep your house in order. I’ve read a ton of books on the subject but none of them have ever gotten me organized or motivated to get organized. I’m sure you guys can do better.

Do you ever get that overwhelming feeling? How do you get past it even when you still have a long to-do-list? I don’t think I’m the only one who has too much list at the end of my day. Come vent with me!

If you do get yourself motivated and need an inexpensive night out, Restaurant.com is offering 60% off their certificates, so you can get a $25 certificate for $4. Just click the ad below and use the code GIFT at checkout.