Whew! Long day!! Today dad and I accomplished a lot at the house. We installed a new storm door leading to the back porch, tiled the backsplash behind the sink in the bathroom, and put up shelving in the shed.

After reflecting on my last post about accomplishing a to-do list, I decided to refine mine a bit further. It’s amazing what 6 months of living in your home can do for your priority list. I looked at my list, and starred the most important updates. By most important, I mean the things that are really affecting my life, every day, that could be repaired. This is what I came up with:

The old screen door was a mess, and rattled and banged when it shut.

Storm doors

The back storm door that we replaced was a rickety old aluminum door. No matter how much I tweaked the closing mechanism, I just couldn’t get it to stop slamming. Upon further investigation, I realized the door isn’t actually slamming; the aluminum was not fit tightly into the molding, so when the door shut, the aluminum would rattle, causing a loud banging when the door closed. Considering I use the back yard several times a day letting Roxy out, and when I have friends over they are in and out of the house grabbing drinks in the kitchen, this was something that made my priority list.

I purchased the door right off the shelf at the local big box store, for less than $200. It has a large window, and a mechanism that slides the glass down to reveal the screen using only 1 hand! The screen is only connected at the top and bottom, so if someone slams their [insert body part here] through it, it will give with the force and not rip a hole. I’d say this door was in the moderate -> high price range… you can get a basic one for under $100.

The new door!

Installation, even though the box says 1 hour, took about 3.5 hours. I wasn’t expecting the installation to be an hour, so this didn’t affect our schedule. I think if you installed about 15 of these doors, it would probably only take an hour per door if you didn’t run into any snags… but beware that the installation time will take longer for the average DIY’er. “Take your time, and do it right the first time,” is my motto.

When buying doors, they are typically “universal” anymore, meaning there is no right or left hinge. This makes it easier to pick the correct door, but it also means that you will have to drill through the door and set it up according to your needs, which takes more time than having it put together from the get-go. We took our time installing the hinges, checking and double-checking that the door was swinging correctly and that everything was lined up properly. I held the door in place while my dad screwed it in. Grab a buddy if you can — it will make your life much easier — but I assume it could be done alone. I’d also recommend taking the instructions out before hand and reading the tool list. At the very last step, we found out we didn’t have the correct drill bit size to finish putting on the handle. Apparently some drill bits, etc. are a little hard to find, so make sure you have everything before you start.

Before the backsplash

Tile Backsplash in Bathroom

I’m sure most of you are saying… yeah, that sounds real important… isn’t it just aesthetic? Well, yes, it is aesthetic, but also serves many other functions. For me, the biggest reason was because I was making a mess of the paint behind the sink with my makeup. It’s a girl thing. I just couldn’t scrub any more makeup off the paint… I was ruining it. By adding the backsplash and sealing the grout, it will make for easy clean up.

My second reason was because I wanted to learn how to tile. I’m not going to explain the tiling process… there’s a zillion and a half websites that will show you how to do it if you are interested. It’s actually very easy. For a creative, artsy person like me, it was really super fun! And now I have a new skill that I can use in other spaces in my house. I’ve already tiled the top of a glass end table that was cracked. It looks beautiful. I plan to also eventually tile the front porch and the kitchen backsplash, so learning how to do it was a must.

My third reason was an added bonus: increase of property value. The mosaic tile I picked out really, really updated the space, and made it look really special. I spent $24 on tile and with a little sweat-equity made a huge impact on the space which I’m sure will more than return my investment (although I never plan on leaving, haha!). I read on one website that for every $1 you spend on a tile project, you will get a $2 return on investment.

Shelving in the Shed

I used a locker pocket, a suspended rail, and matching baskets to complete the “garden center”

This project was easy-peasy. Buy some brackets, buy some wood, and screw everything in. The reason this made my priority list is because I’d like to organize the shed before the seasons change. Right now, all of my summer items are out in the yard, but come fall/winter, they will be in the shed. Lawn mower, patio furniture, hammock, chiminea, etc…. they ALL have to fit.  Before the shelving there was no way in H E Double Hockey Sticks this stuff would fit. Now that I have proper shelving, I can begin organizing everything.

locket pockets can be really useful for storing items on the wall

I already have pegboards in the shed, so I purchased some more hooks and things to use on it. I found a variety pack that includes about 50 accessories that will hang just about anything! I also  purchased some tool holder bars for the shovels, and rakes. I’ve been hitting up the local outlet stores to get more ideas for storage. I’ve discovered that August is the perfect month for this, since all the back-to-school stuff is out. Here are some ideas:

  • locker pockets: I found a locker pocket that has two large hooks that I screwed to the wall. It has 1 large and 2 small pockets, and a set of 4 little hooks below it.  I’ve used it for my gardening stuff: my gloves in the large pocket, my wire ties & twine in the smaller pockets, and I attached little pieces of twine to my mini garden tools and hung them from the hooks below. It’s a perfect solution to keep all those things together!
  • suspension rail with containers: I found this at Ikea about a year ago and grabbed two sets. One I’m already using in my office, and the other I’ve put up in my garage. Basically, it’s a $2.99 rail that looks like a towel holder and $.99 plastic containers with a lip that can hook onto the rail. They come in great colors too! For $6, you can have a place to store nuts, bolts, screws, washers, pencils, or whatever else your little heart desires.
  • hooks: You can buy all shapes and sizes of hooks anywhere. I got some really sturdy large ones from Ikea that I’m using to hold my ladder and electrical wire. I believe they were $.99 each.
  • shower caddy:  You know those shower caddys that college students bring to the public shower area in the dorms? They are plastic baskets and the middle has a handle that you can carry? Well, these are great. I filled one with miscellaneous spray paint cans for easy access and another I have just for carrying various things to wherever I need them. It’s easier than lugging the giant tool box, paintbrushes, rollers, drop cloths, rags, etc. all in your arms.
  • ball caddy: not a back-to-school item, but nonetheless these mesh hamper-like mesh containers will mount to the wall and corral all the sports equipment. I’m using it for my doggy’s soccer & tennis balls 🙂
  • paper towel and toilet paper holders: I think it’s an awesome idea to have a roll of paper towels in the shed. These holders can easily be mounted below one of my shelves. The toilet paper holders, if mounted TO the shelf, give you a vertical rod that can hold all types of things: like tape & spools of string.

 

Kitchen Faucet

Although we didn’t get to it this weekend, the kitchen faucet is on my priority list. It leaks, and leaks, and leaks. I spend probably 15-20 seconds every time I use it trying to set it “just right” so that it wont drip. Then I realized how ridiculous this is… and since it’s such an easy fix, I’ve purchased a new faucet and plan on installing it soon.

In Conclusion

By really critically examining my priority list I was able to successfully complete tasks that would have the most impact and take the least amount of time. In doing so, I was able to complete 3 priority times on my list in under 6 hours, and greatly improved the quality of my daily life!

Bathroom Tile Photos

Before the backsplash

Before the backsplash

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The bathroom is looking great after the tile was installed!

The bathroom is looking great after the tile was installed!

I can't believe what a difference it made!

I can’t believe what a difference it made!

With the leftover tile from the bathroom backsplash, I covered this cracked, glass end-table top.

With the leftover tile from the bathroom backsplash, I covered this cracked, glass end-table top.

New Back Porch Screen Door Photos

The old screen door was a mess, and rattled and banged when it shut.

The old screen door was a mess, and rattled and banged when it shut.

The old door was tired, crooked, and just plain O-L-D

The old door was tired, crooked, and just plain O-L-D

The new door!

The new door!

Shed Shelving & Storage Photos

I used a locker pocket, a suspended rail, and matching baskets to complete the "garden center"

I used a locker pocket, a suspended rail, and matching baskets to complete the “garden center”

The organization is still a work-in-progress, but the shed shelving is up!

The organization is still a work-in-progress, but the shed shelving is up!

I hung a giant hook to keep the ladder against the wall, and used some boxes from my office to store seasonal items high up.

I hung a giant hook to keep the ladder against the wall, and used some boxes from my office to store seasonal items high up.

 

 

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