Cheapest Way to Update a Room

The first time I ever painted a room was when I surprised my mom with a home office a few years ago. You may remember that I blogged about it. If not, check it out here. I swore, after painting that entire room TWICE all by myself, that I’d never paint again. I HATE painting. I’ve already painted our guest room and I knew I’d only need one coat so it wasn’t THAT bad. But when I finally made the decision to paint our dining room, I knew it was going to be a problem.

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Here’s a picture of our dining room right after we moved in. The color was nice but it made the room feel so dark and small. Sam actually liked this color and it truly wasn’t a bad color but I wanted my dining room to be light and airy. So after sampling about 6 or 7 different colors, we finally picked one! We landed on French Beige by Behr.

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I painted the whole damn room by myself. And you know that rickety, old ladder I was talking about in my last post about our office bookshelves? The one I refused to get on? Well guess whose big ass was up on it risking her life to paint around the ceiling. ME! But it came out so nice! We had to spring for the more expensive Behr Premium Ultra Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Extreme paint but it was worth it because I painted the whole dining room with ONE coat and ONE can of paint! Would definitely recommend the Behr Premium Plus Ultra for any tough paint jobs.

The next thing we needed to do was get rid of our small counter height table for two and get a dining room table that would sit more than just Sam and I. I went on Target.com to order a mirror and ended up buying a dining table and chairs. Isn’t that always the way?! But this table and chairs is amazing and I’m so pleased with our purchase.

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Moral of the story is that you can really make a room feel so much bigger, nicer, rejuvenated, etc. with a can of paint and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg! Unless you’re using an old, unstable ladder. Then it might cost you your life! -haha!

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Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram! 

@katiewelshphoto1

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Office: Project Bookshelves!

I have to start by saying, my favorite room in our old apartment was the office! I was able to get things done and it was just a cozy and pleasant place to be. At the end of the day, I could go in there with a glass of wine and to relieve some stress I’d check some emails, browse Pinterest, or catch up on an episode of Kardashians that I may have missed. Don’t judge me! -haha!

When we moved into our new house we knew that the small room in the front of the house was going to be the office. We got a couple desks and set up our computers and monitors and video game consoles and calendars. It was a nice amount of space for an office but it was soooo boring and empty. I knew that I needed some bookshelves because for some reason I feel so much better when I’ve got my books around me (nerdy, I know). But here’s a picture of the office before our bookshelves.

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You see what I mean? It’s almost embarrassing to show. So it was no wonder why I didn’t want to spend much time in there.

Long story short, I wanted to put up some kind of industrial, rustic style bookshelves. At first I was going to put up shelves like this:

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Which look gorgeous but after I found out the price of the galvanized piping, I had to check myself. Not only the price but all the time it would take to screw in all those flanges. So once I found these shelves, I literally jumped for joy!

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I was casually surfing Pinterest, with or without a glass of wine, I forget, but that’s besides the purpose. I came across this blog post over at 7th House on the Left and shed a tear because THIS is exactly what I was looking for without even knowing what I was looking for!

Basically followed the exact same instructions but got longer planks of wood and some different stain.

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I especially loved that she spray painted the pipes in a matte black. I think it really makes everything look so much better! And by the way, you should have seen me sanding these boards outside in like 98 degree heat, COVERED in that sandy wood crap. Ugh!

So after I was done staining and spray painting, I basically just turned it over to Sam to finish the project. We have a really old, really flimsy latter in the basement that I refuse to climb, so it just goes to show how wonderful my husband is that he’s willing to risk his life to put up some shelves for little, old me!

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He’ll kill me once he sees that I posted a picture of him on here, but he’s such a cutie!

Anyways, the outcome of the whole project was insane! Way better than I thought it was going to be.

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Overall, I spent about $250-$270 for all of the materials, which isn’t bad at all. I also have some left over wood boards and stain so I’m thinking about adding some of those to our dining room!

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New Home, New Home Improvement Projects!

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My husband Sam and I just purchased our very first home in Easton, PA! It’s an adorable 100+ year old, 3 bedroom house with an office and a really cute view of the city of Easton. We’ve been here for about two months now and we’re finally starting to make it our own. I think we’re moving a little fast on some of the projects, or at least my bank account is telling me to slow down, but we’re moving ahead full force! It’s so much fun to take a room, or a house for that matter, that feels like someone else’s and make it into a place that feels 100% and completely your own. It’s empowering and scary and expensive, all mixed together!

There wasn’t too much that NEEDED to be done in the house so our projects have been fairly small. But if you consider how un-handy both my husband and I actually are, it might as well have been extremely gigantic tasks. I thought since I haven’t blogged in FOREVER, that I’d start sharing some of the projects and where we got the inspiration and the costs and what not.

The best part about owning a home is just that. OWNING your own home. Also, my puggle Melo really enjoys the backyard. When we were living in our one bedroom apartment, Melo would take his bones and try to burying them in the corners of the couch cushions and we used to be so sad. Thinking that he probably wishes he had a backyard to bury his bones in. Luckily, he’s out in the backyard everyday digging up and burying his bones and it makes us so happy! He also enjoys some #frontporchchilling with us too 🙂

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Follow me on instagram for a sneak peak of some of the projects!

7 Things to Do When You’re Snowed In!

I was bamboozled by all of this hype of this historical blizzard we were supposed to get. I was actually a little nervous about the 18-24 inches that they were calling for, but here in Brick, NJ we probably got like 8 inches or so. But being snowed in can be so fun!

Here’s a glimpse into a few things that Sam and I did during our snow day!

1. Have some delicious coffee/tea/hot chocolate

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Sam is a coffee drinker and I’ve never really liked the stuff. I’m definitely a tea kinda gal, but usually I don’t drink any caffeine in the morning which would explain why I’m so tired and/or lazy ALL THE TIME! Have some nice conversations and relax because you’re not going anywhere!

2. Work on a project that you’ve been neglecting! 

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I’ve been working on this gigantic, ugly crochet blanket for like 4 months now and I think I’m on my last roll of yarn that I’ll need to complete it and I’m super excited. It’s just been taking up space on my couch and I really need to just get done with it already!

3. Read a book/Catch up on your magazine subscriptions/Journal your snowed in experience!

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I’m in the process of rereading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for the 30th time probably and also I just started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up which is sincerely blowing my mind and I plan on writing a review on it as soon as I’m done! Also, I journaled about my all-time favorite snow day today. It included me and Sam sneaking out of a bedroom window to play in the snow!

4. Make a snow day playlist!

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Or listen to one that Spotify has already created for you here! I decided to dig out my old, dinosaur of an iPod. I put it on shuffle and let it do it’s thang!

5. Have a drink… or two!

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Crack open a couple beers or uncork that bottle of wine and chill out! Today is your day to unwind a little bit and chill out, so do it!

6. FaceTime with friends that are also snowed in.

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We FaceTimed with family in Boston who are also snowed in. They were making some delicious looking food while we chatted and I felt like I was in an episode of Barefoot Contessa! (As a sidetone, if you want to mix a little bit of #5 and #6 on this list, go ahead!)

7. And when all else fails – GO PLAY IN THE SNOW!

I don’t have any pictures for this one but last night I put on a couple layers, wrapped my Uggs with grocery bags and spent a few minutes on my balcony and that was enough for me. It was actually beautiful and it made me feel so alive! Standing out in the quiet, thick winter air makes you realize how grateful you are for a lot of different things (the winter air also smells cleaner and fresher, am I right?).

I was snapping pics all day today and last night too! By the end of today I noticed that Sam was walking around the apartment making fun of me!

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I don’t blame him. I’m sure it was super annoying telling him to freeze so I can try and capture the moment – LOL!

Anyways, I hope that everyone had a great day and that you’re all safe!

Happy At-Least-It’s-Not-Monday Day!

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Random Sunday Post

Well, hello!

If you haven’t noticed I’ve given up on the Blog Everyday in May challenge. I’ve been a little busy and kinda gave up. I’m a quitter :(… Anyways, I’m completely obsessed with the show Flea Market Flip on the HGTV channel. I was watching it this weekend and Laura Spencer said that some of her own projects were on her website which you can find here. I quickly picked up my laptop and was on the website for like an hour. One of my favorite projects was this one:

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And the result was this:

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Isn’t it adorable?! I love the mirror that she put on the side and the lower hooks for purses and bags. I’m definitely going to try this project.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

EASY & CHEAP ways to organize sports equipment!

I read somewhere that 25% of Americans with a two car garage can no longer fit their cars in that garage anymore. I unfortunately don’t have a garage but I can only image the reason someone wouldn’t be able to fit their cars into their garage is because it may look a little something like this:

All that junk all over can definitely prevent you from being able to utilize the garage to, I don’t know, maybe park a car in it! Today I’m going to give you a few tips on storing some sporting equipment you may have or that your kids may have. Remember, vertical storage is key!

One inexpensive way is to use a garbage can for all the tall equipment like hockey sticks, baseball bats, ski poles, oars, lacrosse sticks, and whatever else you may be into. Don’t use anything that doubles the size of the garbage can, as it may tip the can over. This is a great way to get everything off the floor of the garage or from leaning up against the walls and into one place.

Keep balls from scattering all over the floor by keeping them all in a mesh bag, tall plastic hamper, or even a big duffel bag. I found a link to some really cheap mesh ball bags here. Also, keep a basketball/soccer ball pump somewhere near the bag of balls so you’re not running around looking for one when you need it. Nothing is worse than flat balls.

-If you or your children play a lot of sports I think it may be a great idea to have a duffel bag for each sport. Pack a duffel bag with your baseball bats, balls, helmet, and cleats. That way when it’s time to go to baseball practice you just grab the bag, throw it in the trunk, and you’re on your way. You can set up a vertical shelving unit to store all of your duffel bags.

-Scooters, skateboards, helmets, and knee pads can all be stored in a box or bin.

-Hang all of the soccer cleats, roller blades, skates, etc on hooks. Tie the pair together by their laces and make sure every pair gets their own hook for easy accessibility.

-OR, if you have a couple hundred or thousand dollars look into specialty racks that will store multiple skis, snowboards, bikes, fishing poles, etc. It may be pricey but it’s a more permanent solution.

I hope some of my tips help you get your garage back!

Happy Labor Day!

The Idiot Proof Grocery List!

Never forget any item at the grocery store again!

I break my grocery store into 4 sections.

Green – Produce/Bread/Bakery section

Pink – The sale items that they usually have in the middle of the store near the cold cuts counter.

Blue – The cold or freezer section of the store, where I usually shop right before I leave.

Yellow– Items that I’ll find down certain aisles.

Because of the layout of the store I’ll usually head to the produce/bakery section first. Then I’ll make my way to the sale items and then the aisles and I try to always make the freezer section the last place I shop so things obviously stay frozen while I transfer them home. This way when you think you’re done in a particular section you can look at the specific color on your list and make sure you got everything you came for.

I’ve been totally slacking!

I know, I know, I’m an awful blogger. The past couple weeks I’ve been so lazy. I was taking care of Sam for a week because he was sick (and acting like a 5 year old girl!) and then the next week I was taking care of myself because I had contracted whatever it was that he had. I totally goofed on my Clean Out Your Closet monthly challenge thing that I had set for myself and I’ve been hiding from all retail stores because some of these back-to-school sales are too good to pass up and I don’t wanna spend a million dollars on notebooks that I don’t need.

Luckily, this coming weekend is actually a four day weekend for me so hopefully I’ll be able to clean out the remanding closets in my apartment. I’ve also been talking to Lacee at work. I had mentioned her in an earlier Organization on a Budget post. Anyways, she tells me that I should start blogging a little bit about Christmas preparations. I thought about it and she’s right. Christmas will be here before you know it so I think I’m going to put together a Christmas gift budget spreadsheet and I’ll post it on here with a link for everyone to download. So stay tuned for that!

Inspiration and Motivation

Since I’ve started this blog I’ve been receiving really great feedback, not only from you, the readers, but also from some of my family members that I shared my blog with over emails and facebook. One of the greatest feelings is knowing that you’ve helped someone make a positive change in order to have a happier, less cluttered life. My mother just recently sent me a picture of a table that’s along the wall in her dinning room. It was cluttered with magazines, mail, reading glasses, iphone accessories, etc. You name it and it could probably be found on this table.

My mom doesn’t ask me for advice often so the fact that she asked me what she should do and the fact that I had so many ideas of ways to clean up the space made my day! I was texting her ideas and links to baskets and boxes on Amazon and just being a super big dork because I was so excited about this. So Sunday she texted me another picture.

What an improvement! It looks so good and I’m so happy that 1) my mom asked for my advice 2) took my advice and 3) was awesome enough to take before and after pictures so I could blog about it! -haha. It’s motivated me to really step up my game around my own house. Some days I feel like I may come off a little “preachy” with some of my tips and solutions when in reality my apartment is no where near perfect! I’ve been sick for the past week and a half so I’ve been slacking a little bit with my Clean Out Your Closet challenge, but now that I’m feeling better there should be nothing stopping me!

Organize your flood of incoming mail with ease

Everyday, except Sundays and most holidays, I can count on the mail always being in my mailbox. Sorting through incoming mail these days is a pain. Most of it is junk mail and the remaining mail is probably bills or statements. I sometimes imagine what mail was like back in the 30’s & 40’s when people would receive exciting telegrams and charming love letters. When mail was the primary source of communication between people that were far apart. Nowadays, my love letters come in the form of a text message, that is usually abbreviated. How romantic! Anyways, back to my point…

I’m going to help you sort through that mail!

1. What you want to do is set up a mail station in your home. Maybe near your front door or in your home office space. Something simple like a basket or open box.

I have my mail tray right near the front door and usually I’ll just drop everything off in the tray when I come home.

2. Sort through all the mail immediately. This doesn’t mean that you have to open every piece of mail as soon as you walk through the door but it does mean that you should finger through it. Put the mail into piles as you go. One pile should be for mail that you need to act on, like bills for example. Another pile should be for filing, like bank statements. And the last pile should be your garbage pile.

3. Recycle junk mail without even opening it! I get a lot of junk mail from Vonage and State Farm and stuff. Since my mail box is on the other side of my apartment building I usually just toss my junk mail in the dumpster before I even step foot in the house.

4. Once I’m done going through all my mail I’ll usually put whatever I need to keep back in the tray and go through it at the end of the week. Any bills I receive I’ll pay online, any statements I get I’ll file them away, and any advertisements that I want to look at will go in the tray as well. When I get home on Friday afternoon everything is pretty much all sorted out and all I need to do is act on it.

It’s pretty simple! There’s no need to have piles and piles of mail laying around. But if you are throwing away junk mail or any other mail that contains any personal identification information make sure you shred it or rip it up really good, because identity theft is no joke! Also, if you feel that you’re receiving a lot of junk mail you can go to the Direct Marketing Association website and fill out a form to remove yourself from a lot of the mass mailing lists.

Happy Monday, everyone!