How to Makeover a Room without Spending a Dime

It’s happened three times. We’ve had moved and had a baby at the same time, and a year later I looked around at our house and realize what a mess it was. Every. Single. Room.

I wanted to clear them out, throw away half the stuff in them, and give them a good makeover. The problem was, we didn’t have money in our budget for a makeover. My solution? Do it without spending any. During the past three months, I’ve been slowly working through each room in our house to clear it out and clean it up. This week I finished the whole house, just in time to get outside with the kids and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Not that I’m an expert on anything, but I thought it would be fun to share what exactly I do to makeover a room. Maybe someone out there has a room that needs some updating. 🙂

1. Survey the damage

I usually walk into a room days before I touch it and just marvel at how messy it’s gotten. Then I think about how nice and clean it’ll be when I’m done. Then I wait for a good day to move forward with my plans. This is the “get fired up” stage which I totally need to tackle any project with three little ones constantly trying to undo all my hard work. Here’s the girls’ room before I started…

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2. Clear it out

The morning I start my room makeover, I first clear everything out of the room. This is usually extremely entertaining to the kids, who then crawl all over the stuff that’s in a new place and is therefore much more fun to play with than it ever was before. They were thrilled when I dumped all the contents of Lydia and Abby’s room into the hallway. (I leave any big or bulky items and pieces of furniture in the room and work around them.)

This is also the time to make a trash pile, a giveaway pile, and a “this doesn’t belong in this room” pile. Items not worth owning (broken toys, ripped up pieces of paper, etc.) get dumped in the trash. Salvageable items I no longer want (books we don’t read, clothing we don’t wear etc.) get put in the giveaway pile, and things that don’t belong (ponytail holders, spare change etc.) get stashed together to be returned to their rightful locations later.

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4. Clean up

Depending on how long everything is taking, this is the prime time to dust, sweep the floor, mop, or wash marks off the walls. Usually I don’t spend a lot of time on this because the kids are already getting restless and Paul is already late for his nap. But it is nice to look around at the big, empty room because at this point it’s cleaner than it’ll ever be again.

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5. Rearrange

Now I move around any beds, tables, desks, chairs, dressers, or bulky toys to their newly selected location. Sometimes I move a lot. Sometimes I don’t move anything. The more I move, the more made-over the room feels.

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6. Put it back together

Next I put all the stuff back in the room. This is the hardest part if you have little Munchkins crawling around because they’ll want to come in the room and play with all the newly-put-away stuff. I happened to have a new toy shelf for the girls when I did their room, so that helped a lot with toy storage. I’m a sorter, so I love sorting through everything and grouping things together in their new storage spots.

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7. Admire your hard work

After you’re done admiring, get the kids outside so the room stays looking new for more than a few minutes! When I did the girls’ room, they were so excited to play with their new toys (which were not new at all, just sorted and put in nice, shiny, new bins) that I just let them play for a while. Don’t forget to take your pile of “things that didn’t belong” on your way out and put those items away too.

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And now you have a fresh, clean, made-over room without having spent a single dime. 🙂

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Birthday Reflections

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A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 28th birthday. Of course, birthdays are always a time to celebrate, but also a time to reflect. I went for a jog one day as my birthday was approaching, and on my way out of our driveway I passed some crocuses that had sprouted up in front of our house. It got me thinking about spring, and seasons, and life. I started to go through the whole “seasons of life” analogy in my head.

Spring is a time of new birth. The flowers spring up as the snow melts. The grass turns green again and the birds return from their winter vacations. There is a lot of rain and a lot of growth. There is Easter and all of the reminders of the new life we can have through Christ.

The spring of life is the season children are in. There is a lot of growth, lots of learning, and wonder, and messes, and fun. For those who grow up in a Christian home, this is when they first get to hear about Jesus and the new life they can have in Christ. There is so much activity during this season, and so much work, and so much to look forward to.

When Summer comes along, there’s lots and lots of sunshine. There are summer vacation plans, and beach outings, and work in the garden. There are flowers and animals everywhere you look. There are holidays and picnics, and lots and lots of baseball. Most people just love summer.

Summer in our lives is also full of life and busyness and fun. There are dreams to dream and work toward, there are years to look ahead to, and there are lessons in following the Lord. During summer most major life decisions are passed and we’re settling in to “normal”. For those of us blessed with children, these are the years we get to watch them be young, invest in our families, and enjoy the time we get to have living under one roof together.

Fall has always been my favorite season. Things cool down and slow down after summer activities wrap up. The leaves change into brilliant colors before falling off their trees. The harvest comes in and we get to celebrate with lots of good food and Thanksgiving.

In the fall of life we get to slow down a little (or maybe that’s just wishful thinking as I’m in toddler-season right now!). At least the busyness changes. We can enjoy the richness of our lives so far and thank God for the blessings we’ve enjoyed. For those following the Lord, there will hopefully be a harvest by now! A harvest of souls, led to Christ; a harvest of children turning into adults; a harvest of dreams saved for and fulfilled; and a harvest of the fruit of the Spirit in our own lives.

Then, there’s winter.

Now let me tell you, this is the part where I would often get stuck. I spent two years in Arkansas and the winters were dead, brown, and cold. I’ve spent many winters up North where the winters are bitter cold and bitter long. People seem grumpier, heat bills are higher, and my hands always get dry. Thinking about the end of my life as a winter season was just never appealing to me.

But as I was jogging and thinking on these things, I started to rethink winter. I decided instead to focus on the end of a calendar year. I LOVE the beginning of winter. It starts with the Thanksgiving feast and celebrations with the people we love most. Then there’s a whole month of excitement and build up toward Christmas: a celebration of Jesus come to us. There are quiet, snowy nights covered in the brilliant, glittering snow. There are festive days filled with Christmas music and Christmas baking. The house is decorated and everyone stays in more as the nights get darker sooner, but it gives me a good excuse to snuggle up and read quietly by the fireplace. Winter is peace and quiet, contentment and anticipation, fullness and joy.

Winter in our lives can be like that too. We enter a potentially quieter, stiller season. We can’t burn as much energy running around like we did in the summer, but we can learn and grow, and teach others. We can sit back and see the wonderful things God has accomplished in and through us. We can celebrate our walk with Christ and our anticipation of going home, going to meet Jesus.

I wrapped up these thoughts as I wrapped up my jog and walked back down the driveway to my waiting family. On the way inside I picked a crocus to put in a jar of water. Lydia, always full of questions, quickly inquired why I had picked a flower and I sat down to dinner to share with my family the thoughts I had during my jog. And I left that crocus sitting on the table as a reminder to enjoy this season as I celebrate another year.

So Much to Say…So Little Time!

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Even though I have a handful of blog posts practically written in my head, getting them typed up on the computer is another story!

The kids just keep me so busy. Right now Lydia is begging me to take her outside so she can ride her bike with its new training wheels. Getting training wheels is probably the most exciting thing that has happened in her life to date (at least from her point of view). Paul is crawling around looking for a snack, and Abby is (thankfully) still napping. Someday I will be old and my house might actually be clean, and I might actually have time to write again, but right now being Mom is just a bigger priority.

So, enjoy a few pictures and a new look on the blog. Paul finally made it into the header picture. Way to go Buddy!

I am off to watch my biggest Munchkin ride her bike while I feed the others orange slices to keep them happy despite the cold.