Monday, March 12, 2007

House-Proud on a Budget?

K and I took a field trip to Bed Bath & Beyond yesterday. I'd given him a $100 gift card for his birthday, which actually is sort of meaningless, in a here-I'll-pay-for-something-we'd-buy-together-anyway kind of way (but hey, I also threw him a great party!), and given a recent improvement in the clutter situation, we were feeling motivated to do some creative storage thinking.

Well, we weren't actually all that creative, but we did get some stuff we need: three under-bed storage bins and canisters for dry ingredients to free up cupboard space (also a second mixing bowl, a sifter, a whisk, a draining board, and a loaf pan). We spent about $80 above the gift certificate. An unbudgeted expense, but not a huge one. No big deal.

Here's the real problem: the more I spend on home stuff, the more I want to spend on home stuff. Our apartment is pretty spare (in the design-intensity sense, not in the not-a-lot-of-stuff sense), and we've lived in it just fine. Nevertheless, as soon as I waltz into a home-improvement store, suddenly, I want to do everything I've thought about. I want some mounted shelving, and an over-the-toilet unit for the bathroom so I don't have to keep my makeup under the sink, and a dresser (or other shelving) so that my closet isn't so chaotic. I think about what our bedroom could look like (awesome) versus what it does look like (imposingly cluttered), and I want to make the dream a reality. But not only is it not really my highest priority in terms of where I put my energy, it's also really expensive. Especially for a place I probably won't live very long.

I guess the thing to do is take it one project at a time. Once we've decluttered some more and gotten some things stored under the bed, we can think about hanging some of the decorative elements we have sitting around (we've already got 'em, so all we need is hardware for hanging heavy things, for one particularly heavy wall piece). Maybe then we can think about mounting shelves. If we just take it one piece at a time, hold off on buying until we're ready to do the work, and do some careful bargain-shopping, I think we can avoid dramatic overspending. That doesn't mean there won't be money involved, but at least that way we won't be wasting it.


Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

especially when you are in "temp" housing (and when I say that I mean moving frequently-I was military and we moved every 2 years or so-and of course every place had different sized rooms, differnet numbered and sizes of windows, etc etc etc) don't forget the glory of cardboard for organizing!

Can you actually "construct" some storage "units" out of sturdy packing boxes taped together or something in the closet? (noone but you will see them)

If you have a closet or cupboard that is a black hole (ie weird shape, deep, stuff in the back gets lost) use boxes cut down to size to containerize things like your makeup-then they can be slid out and slid back in when you need to use them. That's what I do with the cupboards under my mixer where all those baking supplies go (and things always get lost in the back) I cut standard "box" boxes down so they were about 4" tall and use them to keep stuff-slide them in and out so I can actually see everything.

Also, don't forget the joy of Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops when it comes to organizational stuff-lots of other folks have moved out of aparments where they had spent all that money for the Bed and bath closet organizer that now doesn't fit in their new apartment-so they chuck it to the goodwill.

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