August 20, 2012

One of these days, I'm going to learn...

One of these days I'm going to learn not to think up projects last minute. The past few weeks have been a blur or last minute back-to-school preparations.

Sneak working at our computer learning station.
A couple weeks ago, the girls asked to share a room, so they could have a room just for school. So, Hubby and I spent a little over a week not only attending to the usual late summer clear out and reorganizing frenzy where we swap out the girls' clothes, gather up anything we want to put in the semiannual family yard sale, and all around clear out the clutter accumulated in the first six or seven months of the year, but rearranging Sneak's former room into an office/school room and Boo's room to accommodate both girls. We also spent quite a bit of time scrubbing walls.

You see, back at the start of July, I was asked to take a break from cleaning the one house I was cleaning on a regular basis. This meant we went from having an average of $100 a week to get groceries and whatever we needed to clean or what not each week to having $160 and whatever we had in the pantry and freezer to last us for about six weeks. I had a bit of a freak out at first, but it did force me to get a bit better at pinching pennies and budgeting than I'd been before. Once I got to go back to cleaning that house again, and ended up getting another one on a monthly basis, Hubby and I talked it over and decided to adjust our spending.

Boo Bear taking her turn at the writing table.
There's been an ever growing list of things we wanted to do to spruce up the house, fix, or outright replace for several years now, but we've had a difficult time finding ways to save up to actually do more than talk about them. After the last month and a half, a budget of $50 per week for food, $20 for household cleaners or personal hygiene products, along with our usual contribution set aside beforehand seems luxurious and allows us to save up a little each week.

First up on our list was painting. The contractor who built our house used a flat paint throughout. One major problem with flat paint, especially if you have small children, is you can't wash it without damaging the paint. And Boo Bear was not happy about moving for the first couple years. She retaliated by marking up the walls by whatever means she could find. If she couldn't get to the pencils or crayons, she found painted wooden toys work just as well if you scrape them over the wall hard enough. Then Sneak hit the usual curiosity phase right as Boo Bear started simmering down and took her turn. Needless to say, we really needed to repaint. (I'd always wanted a warmer color anyway. The original beige was serviceable but cold and kind of boring.)

Here's the office bit of the school room.
So, guess what we spent all of last week doing. Yep, we painted the school room/office and the girls' room. We're going to work through the house as we can save up the money, so we figured we'd start with the hardest hit and smallest rooms first.

It took most of the month, and I'm still not back to 100% thanks to all the dust and fumes causing havoc with my sinuses. But both rooms look a thousand times better even though neither are completely finished. I'm still working on some of the artwork for the rooms, and the girls' room is going to be an ongoing project for the next year or so.

I wish now I'd thought to make before pictures of both rooms, but I didn't. I will do before and afters for the rest of the improvements, though, including some progress photos for the two rooms we've already started.

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