Help Has Arrived…Again

Did I mention that my father-in-law is back?  He arrived last Friday night, and is here for a three-week stay this time.  Every time he plans a trip and asks me what I want to work on while he’s here, I’m like a kid in a candy store.  “I want this!  Wait, no!  I want this!  Ooohhh, no I want this instead!  Or maybe this would be better!”  But I finally narrowed it down my list to the three or four projects that I feel are the most imperative right now.

First up on the list is my garage.  It’s a nightmare.

garage mess

And I’d probably be embarrassed to show y’all that photo except that I know probably half (or at least a quarter) of the garages in America look like that.

The thing is, I’m not a hoarder.  I’m a procrastinator.  I have absolutely no problem throwing things away (in fact, I love getting rid of junk), but I like to go through everything first to be sure that I’m not throwing away something that I really want or need.  And that’s where the procrastination comes in.

When we moved from the condo to the house, we also cleaned out a storage building and stuck so much furniture and so many boxes in here.  I wasn’t sure what furniture I’d need at the time, so I pretty much kept everything I had.  And I didn’t want to take the time to go through the boxes then, so I just stuck all of those in here as well, with the good intention of going through them as soon as I had a chance.  Well, now it’s two years later, and they’re still there.

Then I started remodeling the kitchen, and those cabinets and the old flooring went in here, as well as extra concrete countertop supplies, leftover MDF and plywood, etc.  And then just a couple of months ago, we finally got every last thing out of the condo, and more stuff got shoved in here.  Stuff keeps getting piled onto junk, and it’s to the point that it’s so out of control that it all needs to be removed, I need to go through everything, and probably get rid of most of it.

This packed garage is also the main reason that my house stays so chaotic.  I don’t have a place to keep all of my tools, paints, and building supplies, so they take over my house.

So our goal is to get this garage cleared out — trash thrown away, usable stuff given away or listed on Craigslist, and the “keep” stuff put where it should go in the house.  Then we want to add new outlets, drywall the walls (or at last part of them right now, and the rest later), and get all of my tools and building supplies OUT of the house and organized in the garage.

My father-in-law has already made good progress on this side of the garage…

new drywall in garage

He added three new outlets on this side, insulated and drywalled, taped and mudded, and then put one of the lower cabinets from the kitchen up against the wall.  And while he’s been working on that, I’ve been working my way through the junk.  I’ve already bagged up and thrown away quite a bit of junk, but I’ve only just begun.  Today I’ll be tackling this other side so that he can get to the wall and do the outlets, insulation, and drywall on this side.

garage mess 2

What amazes me the most is the huge difference drywall makes.  This garage, with it’s walls covered in black tar paper, has felt like a dark cave.  Just getting drywall up — even unprimed, unpainted drywall — makes things look so much brighter!  And we’ll also be adding more lighting.  Right now, the entire garage is only being lit by two light bulbs.  I’d like to install two large lights (like fluorescent lights, but hopefully NOT fluorescent) so that maybe I can actually work on projects in here even when it’s dark outside.

Our next big project will be re-drywalling the ceiling in the breakfast room.  That’s the room between the kitchen and the garage, and it’s the one that has the ceiling covered in dark plywood right now.

breakfast room ceiling before

This is also the room that has the low ceiling.  It’s at least six inches lower than the kitchen ceiling.  Since the first time I saw it, I’ve wondered why in the world the ceiling joists in this room were so much lower than the rest of the house.

Well, come to find out, they’re not!!!  The ceiling joists are higher (they look to be at the same height as the kitchen), but when this plywood was put onto the ceiling, whoever did it created a dropped ceiling by attaching 2 x 4’s to the joists and then attaching the plywood to the 2 x 4’s.  I’ve only gotten a glimpse at it, and I’m not really sure exactly how they did it (or why they did it), but I do know for sure that the ceiling joists are higher.

So I’m really hoping that we can just remove the plywood, remove those 2 x 4’s, and install the drywall at the normal height.  Of course, we may discover that there was a valid reason they did that, but hopefully we can come up with a better solution than dropping the entire ceiling six inches.

And finally, while we’re working on all of that, we’re also trying to get all of the drywall finished (taped, mudded, and skim coated) in the dining room, entryway, and music room.  Oh, and hopefully the hallway as well!  That way when he leaves this time, I’ll be ready to start on all of the fun, decorative stuff for those rooms, and will no longer have the drudgery of taping and mudding hanging over my head.

So that’s the fun we’re having over here right now.  Aren’t you sad you’re not here helping?  😀

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  1. So glad you’re getting help with the drywall. It sounds like a nightmare when done alone. I should probably clean my garage too before it gets cold.

  2. I’d LOVE to help! It would be a true honor of working with you and may motivate me to finish my stuff…Problem is I’m in Chicago and have to work… 🙁 good luck!

  3. What a good father in law you have! Let him know that your blog friends extend their admiration to him as well 🙂

  4. Here’s hoping for a nicer and higher breakfast room ceiling! Didn’t it have a weird bow on one end too? Hoping you can eliminate it if I am recalling correctly.

    1. I doubt we’ll be able to eliminate that, but at least that end will eventually be hidden in my future pantry. My main concern is that by raising the ceiling, we’ll be creating on of those angles at the front end of the room where the breakfast table will go. I’m hoping not, but I just have a feeling that that’s why they lowered it, so that at least one end wouldn’t have that angled ceiling.

      1. Without knowing exactly what the angle is, I wonder if you could create a tray ceiling, by duplicating the angle on the other sides of the room. Then it would look intentional, and you would still have the height in the middle of the room. Or maybe most of it depending on what you find when you remove the plywood. is kind of what I’m thinking, only on a smaller scale… like this one, The tray would start at the walls with crown moulding, and then angle up just as much as you needed. You could do a contrast technique, but I think the effect would be stunning regardless….

        (And hooray for extra help and getting the tedious but necessary tasks out of the way! And bless you for showing photos of your garage. I’ve been working in mine….)

  5. wow! I got almost as excited about reading that you are getting 3 weeks help as I would have had it been me! What a wonderful gift! I know you are going to make amazing progress and hope the weather isn’t so hot you harm yourselves!

  6. Like you I had a great father in law…ready and willing and able to help …he was truly a gem and you have that now. He sounds like a great man full of energy and a BIG BIG heart. You are blessed as I was…I miss Daddy Floyd…he was one in a million..that is until your Daddy in law… give him a great big hug…and tell him how blessed you are….

  7. That garage might just take up the whole 3 weeks… glad he is there to help out and kick that procrastinator in the butt!

  8. We got these great lights at Costco that we put in my husband’s workshop and they are really bright and are perfect for working in the shop (you know you really need to be able to see what you are doing with spinning saw blades and the such). . He ended up putting about six in the workshop (a bit of overkill, but there are no dark corners anymore) and loves all the light and since they are LEDs they are not a big power drain. They come with a plug in cord. Good luck on your wish list.

  9. I agree that the drywall makes a huge difference in the garage. I’m so glad you’ve got help with these difficult jobs, I know it makes a huge difference. Now I’m curious where he’s sleeping…!

  10. That is a great project wish list! Whatever you two accomplish will be amazing.

    Your references to the condo have me wondering…has it sold? If not, are you having much traffic? What has been the feedback? Inquiring minds want to know!

  11. You will be so happy when that garage is finished! More organization, especially when you work on those large projects, will take some stress off. You know (if you are reading my posts) that I have been wanting you to do that for quite a while 😉 Can’t wait to see what the outcome will be.

  12. Whew, I’m tired just reading all that. Those old kitchen cabinets will be great storage in your nice new garage! Have fun purging, and show us pics with it clean and organized. Nothing motivates me like seeing someone else get their workspace in better shape than mine.

  13. What a gerat guy your FIL is, coming back so soon and helping you with all the drudgery! Do give him frequent hugs, from your blog audience as well 🙂 I wish both of you happy moments, if not with the work itself then with the fact that it gets done and creates the background for a much tidier and even more beautiful house for you and Matt!

  14. Hi Kristi!
    Just wanted to share that we LOVE your Father in Law too! You are blessed our talented friend!

  15. u go girl !!! there is nothing that makes my heart happy than to clean things out and put them in order. I’d be there in a heartbeat, if I could, I think I should have been a professional organizer,It’s what make me happy, and a lot of my friends too 🙂 . I can’t wait to see your garage when you get it done. Wish I had a father in law, who could help me get some things done, you are blessed in so many ways, but you don’t need me to tell you that.I am so inspired by all you do.

  16. How wonderful that your F.I.L. has come back again for 3 weeks to help you. What an awesome F.I.L. you have, and what great progress he’s made already in your garage. You have made a really good wish list of ‘difficult’ jobs to be tackled while he’s there. It’s all going to make such a huge difference in such a short time. You are so lucky to have his help again and we, your blog fans, thank him too! I would definitely come to help you, but as I live in Ecuador…’s a long way! I’ve always thought that I’d love to visit Waco and meet you. You are such an inspiration to us all.

  17. I too have a garage that looked like yours. Although I was fortunate enough to have a garage that is already drywalled, and already has lighting in it. My garage has been a disaster for the last 8 years. Yes I said it. 8 years. We moved from Ohio here to North Carolina 8 years ago with the intention of cleaning out the garage after we got settled in. And it never happened. Until last year we rented a huge dumpster and just threw 75% of it away. I am now planning a garage sale or Craigslist adventure for the end of the summer and then it will be finished. Whoever thought I would be so excited about having a clean garage?! But I too decorate and do DIY projects and look forward to the day I can use my garage to do so instead of my dining room table!

  18. We were hunting for lamp shades last night at the big box hardware stores. We found LED porch lights, but for you, we noticed LED shop lights in various fluorescent-like configurations!

    You could have the whole garage light up like a workshop. Noticed them at the big orange store and the garage lights were branded “Lithonia”. Looks like they are the “never change the bulb” type for quite reasonable. Several different types too- hanging, flush mount, etc. I could see you having several work light “zones” in that garage. I Some days I wish our shelves were better lit here.

    If you still like changing bulbs, FEIT and Cree make T8 LED bulbs to work in the fluorescent mounts.

    For those who haven’t swapped their single bare garage bulb for better option, prepare to need sunglasses in your garage!

    Kristi, will you have some dedicated tool outlets out there? I always hated having the tool trip a breaker on one of ours.

  19. I too would love to come help and work alongside you, but since I live in Southern Louisiana, it’s a long way to come! Blessings on your FIL, and hope you all get it all done safely and efficiently. It will be such a boon to your projects to have your workshop in order and well lighted and relatively warm to work in even in the winter and rainy weather. Having a place to work outside your living areas will be great toward the goal of getting your home ‘presentable’ for the upcoming holidays.

    Looking forward to seeing the progress!

    Onward and Upward!

  20. It always thrills me when you have help. You’re such a hard working gal I can’t imagine the arm muscle you have have. I wanted to thank you for being so honest in your blogging! It makes me feel better knowing I’m not the only person who sometimes flip flops my decorating decisions. I could totally get your piano deliema! I was right there with ya! Love the gray and the yellow but in the end you’re right on with your decision. You’re so authentic I think that is part of why I enjoy your blog so much. You don’t “paint” the Lilly, couldn’t help myself with that pun! Looking forward to what’s next!

  21. From the sound of it, you have no plans to let your FIL sleep or eat. That is a big order to get done in three weeks for anyone. I would assume your FIL is in his 60’s. I think I suggested a long time ago that you should hire an assistant to help you. I think anyone, especially a woman, would jump at the chance to work as your assistant, gopher, clean up person, just to learn from you. You are like most creative people. We have a problem with getting to the end of a project. By that I mean all the clean up and nitty gritty. We reach a point where we see our vision almost complete and then we become bored with it. So it is onward and upward to the next thing, and we end up leaving a trail of uncovered outlets, unpainted trim etc. That is where an assistant could really come in handy. I am glad your FIL is there to help again, but I think you know that you need a long term and consistent answer to your creative procrastination. We all do. I have a girl come in once a week and just help me undo the messes I have created during the week. Hope you can find a long term answer instead of your FIL’s poping in every so often. Blessings.

    1. I don’t think that Kristi needs an assistant. Her FIL probably enjoys working with her. I would think they colaborate on the jobs. Her kitchen and bathroom are both completed projects. I fully believe that, with her FIL’s help on the 2 person projects, Kristi will be sharing a completed dining room and music room by the end of the year. (Just in time for her to host Christmas dinner……complete with carols sung round the piano! Lol)

    2. So, Kristi sounds like a great topic for a Lifetime movie or maybe a Dateline segment: The Untold Story Behind The Blogging Designer — Elder Abuser, Assistant Non-Hirer. Shocking footage of half-starved elderly man forced to paint long-neglected quarter round!

    3. LOL @ Julie B.!! : )
      Maybe her FIL wears a cape and LOVES to drywall??! Who can say…or judge.

      Kristi’s done an amazing job so far, and if that can be called “procrastination”, then I shudder to think what my lack of motivation should be labeled. ; )
      Some people work better on their own and delegating (creative) tasks to others is sometimes harder than doing it yourself.
      Just sayin’.

  22. Kristi, did you think of movable tool station?
    although I have entire room designated for the tools they are still scattered all around the house, this chaos is driving me crazy. To eliminate this I built movable caddy: turned chest of drawers to a necessary tool mobile station.
    It’s important to choose the chest in distentions which match doorway width. Add to it heavy duty silicon casters, handle, screw to it’s sides compact tool holder shelves- just perforated wood plank for few screwdrivers, chisel, hummer. Add to it strong magnets (from old speakers) for bits, a wood scrap holder. dedicate a drawer for painting tools, sanding tools, power tools, screws, string value etc. I take it with me everywhere I work and keep surrounded area organized.
    good luck in your clearance

    1. I do not know about Kristi but after reading your idea I immediately started scouring yard sales and junk shops for a dresser. Found one for $10! It is mid-century modern. So clean lines. I have scrap wood and extra wheels for the bottom in the garage. I plan on adding a plug strip for electric and a paper towel holder for shop towels. My husband suggested peg board on one side. OHHHHH WHAT A GREAT IDEA! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. That is great news. I’m sure once your garage is cleaned and organized you will enjoy your projects even more. At the end of 3 weeks there should be a huge difference in the garage and drywall. Yippee for fathers-in-law!

  24. Wow, what a blessing! Can I borrow him when you’re finished? 🙂
    We bought an led fixture that looks kind of like the fluorescent ones- it gives wonderful light in the garage. (We also have regular recessed along the sides.)

  25. What a wonderful time for you and Matt! Your FiL must be a heavenly angel! God bless you all! Please post a lot of pictures!

  26. Kristi,
    First, let me say I think more than half the population has a garage that acts as a (noncar) storage facility. IMHO.
    After living in our house (& 4 acres) for 20 years, I just this year gave myself permission to officially declare “it is no longer a garage, it has become our barn.” and to allow myself to organize it as a barn/storage area/ project area. Not quite finished yet, but 35 hours into the clean up, sort out, reorganization, I wonder what took so long to light a fire under me! Even though a garage clean up isn’t in the same league as a kitchen redo (that comes out looking as fabulous as yours did), the sense of satisfaction once you finish and can actually use that space will be worth every moment!

  27. Oh how wonderful it would be if I could be there helping . because I had a wonderful father in law like that,I learned so much each time we worked on a project. He passed away 4 yrs ago,miss him very much.I am sure I would learn many things helping on your project.Enjoy your blog very much.

  28. Awesome, so very pleased you’ll get this icky stuff out of the way. my husband picked up led lights from sams club. They are in the shape of garage florescent light but the bulbs are so pretty because the are strips of little dots of lights, it’s so much brighter. I love it, this is where I spend a lot of my time working on projects.

  29. I’m curious about the green chairs! Going or staying, if so what are your plans for them?
    Congratulations on the help by the way. This will make a huge difference for you!

  30. So glad u have some help…you work as hard as anybody i know…on top of all your talent..youre a force to be reckoned with young lady!!!!!

  31. I love the mid-century chair piled on the picture of “the other side of the garage”. Too bad I live in FL! Good Luck!

  32. I’ve got a fluorescent light in my garage and while it’s nice for doing laundry it’s not terribly good lighting. I’ve been toying with adding can lights so they’re recessed and pretty cheap to buy and install.

    Oh, and while you’re adding electrical, decide if you want an outlet on the ceiling! There’s usually one there already for the garage door opener box but we added a second for more lighting.

    Have a productive visit!

  33. OMG! Is he available for hire? I have a basement that looks like your garage! So glad you are making such progress!