Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New storage, first nursery purchase

Today's post is a bit of a mash-up because our lives are a bit of a mash-up these days...We took advantage of the holiday weekend and did a lot of Craigslisting (more on that in a bit).

We had cleaned out our backyard storage shed while the electricians were working on our master bathroom last week. Cleaning out the shed partially involved properly disposing of 12 gallon cans of latex paint, some fertilizer and engine oil left behind by the house's previous owners. So we investigated our county's household hazardous waste policies and came across this information. Somewhat surprisingly, according to the site, latex paint can be thrown in the regular trash, but I felt weird about kicking buckets and buckets of paint to the curb, so we loaded the items in the trunk of my little Protege and took it to the dump. (The timing also worked out, seeing as they accept household hazardous waste drop offs Thursday through Sunday only.)

Say adios to shed clutter!

There were a number of other still-usable items in our shed that we no longer needed (and a couple in our garage that we needed to clean out in order to make way in the garage for needed shed items). So we posted the following on Craigslist by Saturday afternoon and all were off our hands by Sunday afternoon:
  • Push lawnmower -- sold for $30 (Matt uses a GrassHog, currently housed in our garage, to cut our limited backyard grass)
  • Recycling bin -- free. Once we started our recycling can experiment successfully we no longer needed the open-air container.
  • Two brass fixtures -- free. One used to hang in our entryway, one used to be on our back porch.
  • Bag of gravel -- free
  • 41" by 57" mirror -- free. This actually came from our master bathroom and had been hanging out in our garage for the last week.

We also had a space heater and some gardening pots we weren't going to use, so Saturday morning while someone else in our neighborhood was having a yard sale Matt took the items to the curb with a sign marked "Free" figuring someone might want to pick them up, and sure enough within minutes they were gone. Genius strategy! I love getting rid of stuff we no longer need; it is so liberating.

With items Craigslisted or given away, we had only a few items we needed to fit into our garage, namely some gardening supplies (mulch, topsoil, grass seed, shovels, gloves), the aforementioned GrassHog, a plastic wheelbarrow and a giant blue tarp. After rearranging a little, we got the tarp and wheelbarrow into our pre-existing garage storage space, the GrassHog can easily rest in the corner with the rake and ladder, and we just needed something for our gardening supplies.

We clearly do not need that shed! Everything leftover from the shed has easily fit in our garage.

I searched online and found several ideal and affordable options for storing gardening supplies at Target, and while I was prepared to order an outdoor storage bin online I was pleased to discover the one I was looking for (this Suncast 50-gallon deck box) was actually in stock at our local store for $60. After taking the five minutes needed to assemble it (no tools required!) it perfectly lived up to our estimations of space and storage ability. So it's currently hanging out in another corner of our garage, though Matt would like to move it to our patio once it's installed. I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other.

You might notice in the above wide-angle garage shot that there's one other large item in our garage. That's right, on the left-hand side you may have spotted our first baby purchase. We'll be getting three big-ticket items for the nursery: a crib (obviously), a chair of some kind (exact type TBD), and a dresser that can double as a changing table. We (let's be honest...I) decided to start with the dresser/changing table. I knew I didn't want an actual changing table because of its limited functionality as the child grows. And, I don't care about things being all matchy-matchy in the nursery (and I don't have an absolute vision of what the nursery will look like either). So I thought the dresser would be the place to start. But what should I look for in a dresser that will double as a changing table?

I had a couple requirements:
  • Safety -- obviously, it should be well built.
  • Made out of real wood -- I figured a real wooden dresser could be more stable and therefore safer than one made of a lighter material, and I also hoped it could last for more than a few years.
  • Affordability -- whether I bought a new or used dresser, I didn't want to exceed $200.

Something I had to research was changing table size. How high should it be? How wide is a changing table pad? I found this useful post from one of the blogs I read, Ohdeedoh, and discovered that a changing table is approximately 36" high and that a changing table pad is 17" wide. The user comments at the bottom of the post were also helpful. It sounded like a lot of parents like the IKEA Hemnes 3-drawer chest, which is a cute option at $200 and meets the general dimension specifications, but it is not all made of wood. We had just been in World Market where I spotted this Dark Mahogany Chase 3-drawer dresser for $300, and then someone on Craigslist was selling it for $200. But as I kept scrolling through Craiglists postings I started to find a few dressers that were the right size that would work as changing tables if given a little TLC. So I settled on this $40 3-drawer wooden dresser.
I see lots of potential in this well-built piece of furniture. So we'll add "refinish changing table" to our summer bucket list. We haven't tried to tackle anything like this before, but the good news is that we have time on our side and this post from Young House Love to get us started (although their project and ours are not exactly identical in terms of the dresser materials we're trying to refinish). Do you have any additional advice for novice furniture refinishers?

1 comment:

  1. My step-mom uses an old dresser as a changing table for my brother. It makes so much more sense! I can give you details on what they did if you would like!