Tag Archive | real-life

Building a garage shelf in 2 hours

(spoiler alert…. or NOT)

I think I have said before that there is no simple “Oh let’s do this” projects in my world.  I count myself lucky if I *only* need to gather tools not find them, or, buy them.  Things are getting better as we unpack and organize but it is a frustratingly slow process.

One thing I intended to start a full 2 weeks ago was build shelving in the garage.  I did my research, plumbed the Pinterest pit, and consulted friends and came out with a plan with few cool things to try but the hitch was that I needed full sheets of plywood and 8ft long 2×4 and my mini van is just not up for that.

Order it you say?  They deliver?  Yes!  I started down that path because I recall someone had free delivery.  Called around last week and no, not free, but $25 is ok.  Spent a few days building the cart, researching weight limits and looking at a few cool options for the next project because if I’m paying for shipping I’m getting everything for the next few projects in one shot.

Cart finally as perfect as I can make it and then I see delivery is $75….  put on the breaks, call, hear  “no, $25 was never a thing” (I swear it really was!) but this puts me in a mind to just buy a utility trailer.  Why shouldn’t we buy a >1K trailer to build a less than $100 garage shelf?  It has been on our list for a while, this just bumped it up.  NOW we need to research trailers!  I already had gone down the path so we just needed to actually do the looking.  That means 1 day lost to thinking, another to research, and on the third we went out at lunch and found the perfect trailer and a good price but they needed 1 more day for paperwork.


Look at that cute trailer and that (kinda) clean garage

Yesterday!  Yesterday we got the trailer and I got to push ‘buy’ on my cart so the lumber guys could pull everything and I finally got the wood at the house.  Now I can start?  Well almost….  It would be much easier to just pull the trailer full of wood into the garage but there is a pile of boxes (much smaller than it was, I’ve been working on it) in the way so I moved them all and walked in the trailer.  This trailer weighs practically nothing,  nearly 100% aluminum and I had no problem walking it full of lumber into the garage.

Finally! Finally, I can start!  I use my impact driver (love!) with a new star bit (love love) and some highly recommended lag screws that require no pre-drill (love love love!).  I put up my back supports and then… then the battery dies.  Oh well, I had to cook dinner anyway and tomorrow I think I can just get it done.

The night passes and morning comes; it is the next day.  Make breakfast, pack lunches, brush 3 sets of hair and find shoes/jackets/papers and bring all the children to school.  Come home and hear the beginning of the supreme court testimony and turn it off.  I can see both sides, I am glad I’m not in charge of that.  At 10am I get out there and by 11:15 I have this.


Lars for scale, and, to show strength.  He is not 300lb but he is also not 200….

So not 100% because I don’t have the short screws I thought I had to screw down the plywood but no project can be finished in just 1 trip to the store.  Given the time yesterday to anchor the backs, I would say this is a 2 hour project IF you have;

  • a clear plan on what you want and how to build it
  • ability to make the cuts and the joints without some youtube research
  • tools
  • materials
  • way to get materials to your house
  • clear space

It personally took me 2 weeks and 4 days to make a 2 hour set of shelves.  I think we need a bit more reality in our building expectations.  Those youtube people just skip right to the building part and make it look so easy.

My further plan is to extend right with top shelving only and to the left I’m torn between another section of 4, or, just another top shelf.  Either way I’ll be faster this time because I have 5 of the 6 necessary steps to get going done already.  It does feel good to finally check this one off the list.

Where do you put your stuff?

Constantly I feel the need to clean out or organize this place or that.  Usually, I have very organized storage, it is the ‘homeless’ stuff in my house that causes the clutter and mess.  I don’t even remember when I started but it hardly matters because like painting the Verrazano bridge, as soon as you get to the end you need to start again because where you started is messed up again.


Recently I’ve circled back to the kitchen.  It has been nearly a year since I took out ever piece of silverwear etc and this year I could part with over a dozen kid plastic stuff because only Fiona wants to use it now, so, don’t need plastic service for 12 anymore.  I know, how interesting!  I would never have mentioned it except yesterday a friend acutally asked my opinion on orginizing in her kitchen.  She noticed that I orginize by use of item.  I’m flattered she noticed but except for a few things I don’t know how else one could possibly orginize?  So that is the question; in your kitchen what do you put where?

For us, the kitchen isn’t that big so everything is pretty in reach.  When we made the pantry in the garage I moved all baking pans I didn’t use daily and the majority of the dry goods that are not needed for daily use, and, all the extra/duplicate stuff.  It is normal to put the extra things out there like when I buy a 3pack of ketchup or a double syrup 1 is inside and the other are stored.  The dry goods took some thinking, seriously, I don’t need a cake mix within arms reach so out it went.  In the pantry are; all baking mixes, jello, noodles of all variety, and, canned/jarred everything.  It is easier for me to go out and look at the options then go to the cupboard and dig around wondering if I have spaghetti in there somewhere.  My exception is open packs have a home and I try and use them first.


The other organized thing I do is that I put all the things I use together in the same spot.  I put all my baking spices on one shelf, including baking power/soda and all the not baking spices on the other.  My cupcake cups and all decorations are right above them. I have a shelf of all the lunch stuff for the kids so it is an easy selection when I’m packing 3 lunches in under 10min.  Dinner sides are also all together on the same shelf for easy finding.  My last is that I put the tea next to the teapots on a shelf near the coffee and the coffe and sugar together directly above the coffee maker. The worst thing is when the container that something comes in does not fit in the designated space…

Other then those little tricks, I’m not sure how other people organized and I’m interested!


ps.  the one thing that nobody has a real spot for; lightbulbs.  We keep ours in the bathroom closet by the towels but I’m open to suggestions.


Normal Today

I’m starting to really love time hop.  This app reinforces my tendency to compare now to last year or 4 years ago by literally telling me what I published in previous years.  Yesterday it noted a blog post and I semi-forgot what I wrote so I clicked.  When I read it I was transported to a time that I thought I would never forget, a time I have forgotten…  I wrote the post because I loved the messy snapshots that were with all the photos of baby Lars.  The unposed, un fixed.  That day I dissected a snapshot and I’m so glad I did because yesterday I remembered so much that I had forgotten.

Today I want to try again.  This probably isn’t too interesting to anyone else unless you also happen to be in the same situation as me, or, ever wondered what the stay at home mom house looks like at 11:30am…


This is the same corner of the house as 4 years ago but instead of a 1 year old Zoe you can see a 3 year old Fiona.  A person who didn’t even exist yet!  Instead of the constant interaction of the 1 year old crowd, Fiona is upstairs playing and fairly indipendant – I actually had to call her to be in the picture and she was busy ‘reading to her babies’.  She doesn’t really let me get away with doing my own thing for long, I need to be on call at all times for potty help, doll dressing, to look at something, or to kiss whatever part of her body she has hurt.

I feel like I have to say that our kitchen and stairs are suffering from us being away for the weekend and we just dumped things in the hall.  But yes… it is rare to have a perfect kitchen in our house and this is all about the real way not the way I like to see in pretty pictures.

The detail in the last post hooked me because I know I was writing totally mundane details but 4 years later I was so happy for the reminder.  Today you can see Halloween decorations up – the kids actually leave them alone and are glad of the glowing pumpkins.  Zoe helped make the paper flowers and the only decoration that gets messed with are the little Halloween ducks you can hardly see on the ledge.  I also like the look of my nice wood stairs and ledge, way better than builder grade carpet that was impossible to get clean.  I don’t miss that stuff!

The table has some breakfast still, Fiona and I eat second shift breakfast.  We send the bigger kids off to school and we eat before we go off to whatever we are doing.  We go out almost every day and this day we were out to a workout by 9:30 so it was an eat and run day.  Same goes for the cereal bags on the floor, I feel like I should leave them there, but I promise, they do go away daily.  The table also has a pile of school product – I’m not quite sure what to call the ‘bounty’ of paper we get daily from school but I sit every afternoon with them and go through it all.  Sometimes they love the snuggle and attention and tell me about each paper, other days they are too into playing and I peruse it solo.  I pull out the most important things and the rest gets recycled.

Speaking of recycling… the walmart bag on the back of the chair is full of walmart bags.  I’m bursting with the things and I’m never sure what to do with them.  They are not recyclable, I can only use so many trash bags and I hate throwing them away to just fill a landfill.  The other bag on the floor was just from that morning.  How it got on the floor I don’t know but it had a set of riding gloves in it.  Amazon prime has made us so spoiled with things arriving daily 🙂

The bag on the chair is from a playdate from last week.  It has moved from in the car to the hall and from the hall to storage but then it was used to pack animals for the trip and when it ripped (pre trip) it was abandoned.  I like to let the kids pack themselves, they are learning about space and what is good for packing into etc.  That bag now is holding the newest batch of recycling, waiting for a child chore time to bring it out.

And I want to remember the things you don’t see too.  There are no boosters, they rejected them a few weeks ago.  There are no sisters, they are in school every day.  There are no sippy cups or bottles or multiple sets of spoons because I need to feed someone.  There are no toys, no highchairs, no exersaucers…  I’m happy for every step forward but there is still a fond memory of the other things too.

My days now are busy in a new way.  I go workout 3 days a week at 9:30 and except for a rare day we have playdates the other 2.  We do school ‘stuff’ when the bigger girls get home but Fiona likes to play school in her room with her animals and barbies.  We do some housework together but usually I tidy wherever she wants to be and get the other things when she naps or is playing.  This is my last year with a full time child at home so next years ‘normal’ will be radically different again.

I don’t know if you will take my advice but take a picture of your life with no edits, you will be happy in about 4 years 🙂

Real-life Selfie-Saturday

A reader e-mailed me and said that they miss seeing me on the blog and they are right, the kids do tend to dominate and then come crafts so until there are more pictures of me then food on the site I’ll do a selfie- saturday post.


I almost decided agains doing this today because I don’t feel great, zero makeup, zero photoshop ambition- just arms length iPhone picture.  I either have a mild cold or I’m suffering from too many nights of bad sleep (attributable to all 3 kids taking turns waking me up… conspiracy?  maybe).  I know in 30 years I’ll think I look young and pretty here but right now I just think I really look tired.  I am doing it though because in the story of my life, this looks more like the real main character rather then the more perfect pictures I like better.  So, if you would like to join me in real-life selfie-saturday link to it in the comments

sweater credit to my mom.