Painting, perusing, pondering, preparing, parenting, purchasing

This was yesterday’s theme song:

It was a scorcher:

This (sorta) Old Life:  4-day room challenge

No matter. I had an agenda. And this is how it went down:


Luckily, I was done painting by 1:00, just a little later than I’d hoped:

This (sorta) Old Life:  room challenge

Everything all white, just as requested.

The rest of the plan for day 2 was to spend it shopping (where the stores are air-conditioned!) Before I went there, though, I needed to spend a little more time gathering ideas, information, and inspiration.

Perusing & Pondering

I added quite a few items to this project’s Pinterest board, which is becoming a good resource for teen-girl bedroom storage ideas:

This (sorta) Old Life:  4-day room challenge

I know that some people are able to do their research, then make a plan and execute it perfectly. Those people would be able to collect all their ideas, then figure out exactly what to do for each kind of storage need in each space of the room.

Cane and I are not those people.

We need to see actual, physical stuff before we can really know. We need to see what’s available, and then make plans around available resources.

That means planning looks a bit different for us.


Before I left the house, I made sure I had these essential tools:

On those yellow sheets of paper were every conceivable measurement of the room I thought I might need. I know recording all that on paper is old-school. I don’t care. I didn’t want to take a chance of not being able to access this stuff through my phone. Because I know myself. (And, yes:  I ran out of phone battery while on my supply expedition.)

I also made sure that I had my phone, though, because in addition to the measurements, I also took photos of some tricky places in the room. Like this one:

I’ve found too many times that I think I remember how something in the room is, only to discover when I get home that it’s not at all how I pictured it. Which means that the thing I bought will not work. This one (with the weirdness going on at the ceiling and that fabric-covered piece of something that is nailed into the side of the shelving unit) saved me.

I also used my phone to communicate with my daughter (see Parenting, below) and to capture shots of things I wanted to remember. I’m going to be installing some closet hardware, and I snapped shots of the display at Lowe’s so I can see how it went together in their display. Again, compensating for a faulty memory:

Finally, I just love my little measuring tape. It’s about 4 square inches, and I carry it with me at all times. Not all products provide size information, and it’s so nice to be able to measure things and know before I get them home that they’ll actually fit.


If you read us regularly, you know that for us, nothing that we do in/to our home is ever only about decor or even function. There’s always some deeper thing going on. For me, this project has become an exercise in learning how to really listen to and collaborate with my daughter.

This (sorta) Old Life: Rita and Grace on stairs

It’s been about understanding in a deeper way that she is her own person–and that person is in some ways very different from me.

This (sorta) Old Life: Feeding Grace at Christmas

We are long past these days, when I got to make all the decisions about what she wore, what she ate, and what went in her room. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that.

Would I have chosen white walls? No. But it’s not my room, it’s hers. As she let me know, she’s the one who will be spending time in there, and I have the whole rest of the house to do what I want with.

I found a great little drawer unit at Ikea that would fit perfectly under the desk and provide great storage for her make-up and school supplies. I would have loved it–a clear counter and invisible storage for all those little, cluttery things.

Instead of throwing it in my cart, I remembered that I’m shopping for her, not me. The girl who had this to say about the pic I posted on FB yesterday:

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 9.24.44 AM.jpg.jpg


She was not being sarcastic or silly. She loved her room as it was. While I hate visual clutter, she loves to be able to see everything and access it easily. If her methods didn’t create problems with being able to clean the room, I’d have left it alone.

And, she did not like the idea of the little drawer unit. She wants her stuff on top of the counter, where she can see it. So I kept shopping.

And shopping, and shopping…which leads to the final “P” word of the day:


This is so not how we usually do things around here:

This (sorta) Old Life:  4-day room challenge

I left the house at 4:00, and I didn’t return until 9:40. I spent 3.5 hours at Ikea alone. That is not my idea of a good time. I’m glad, though, that I had that much time to spend, so I could look and think deeply and without distraction. (And really, if I had to do that, a 95 degree day is the perfect time to do it.)

After Ikea, I went to Lowe’s.

This feels like a project in which I am spending way more money than creative energy, which is the opposite of how Cane and I have made most of our home. I’m not entirely comfortable with that (at all!), but I’ve decided that’s (mostly) OK this time.

I want this room done when she returns. I know it will be a long time before I have another opportunity to do this, and it’s better for both of us to do it this way. So, I need to just get ‘er done. (I am also not a person who says things like “get ‘er done.” Maybe because I’m not a person who generally does things in this kind of quick-and-dirty way. Or because that makes me sound too much like George Bush.)

ANYWAY, I’m OK with going out and dropping what is for me a fair amount of money so that we can finish this project up. Also, please know that not all of that stuff will be staying. Because I didn’t have a set plan (see above) and I’m on a time crunch, I bought more than one option of some items. Part of this project will be a return trip to both stores to return things I won’t use. I would rather return to stores after the room is done and she is back home than do so today. Ikea is fairly close, but I don’t have time to run back there today.

So, what’s next?

Getting all of this…

The family room has become a holding zone for much of her stuff.

The family room has become a holding zone for much of her stuff.

This (sorta) Old Life:  4-day room challenge

Warm/dry weather bonus: We could store much of her stuff outside the past 2 days.

…back into the room before I have to pick her up from the airport tomorrow. Today is all about getting the furniture back in and figuring the storage out. The closet area will be first on our list of things to tackle.

We really can’t wait to have this done and the family room back. Because while I’ve been busy with this, we have another kid room torn apart and junking up another part of the house:

This (sorta) Old Life:  4-day room challenge

The hallway outside the upstairs bedrooms. Luckily, child #3 is also away this week, which means we’ve been able to use his room to store some things from the second bedroom project.

That’s because Cane is laying a new cork floor in that child’s bedroom:

This (sorta) Old Life:  4-day room challenge

Because we’re just kinda crazy/stupid like that. :-)

Next week we’ll kick back and enjoy our garden.

This (sorta) Old Life:  4-day room challenge

Had to get this shot because the garden made me so much happier than anything else I was taking photos of this morning!

But right now, I’ve got some work to do! Onward and upward! (And thanks so much for the encouraging words here and on FB. Really does help me power through. :-))

This (sorta) Old Life:  4-day room challenge

At least there won’t be any more of this today!

Update:  Here’s the whole project:

The project begins

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Questions to ask before beginning

Teen bedroom storage solutions