Dec 202017

We are now a one house family again!

We traveled this past weekend back to Small Town home. The main reason was to close on the sale of our house there. We also used the time to visit with friends we had not seen this past year.

How do you know someone is your friend? Usually one of the following two apply:

  1. they stop by (somewhat) unannounced for a visit and stay an hour or two, or three
  2. they let you in their house when you stop by (somewhat) unannounced for a visit and let you stay for an hour or two, or three.

The one visit I thought we had pre-planned was the one that actually didn’t work out. We showed up, but they didn’t. All the others where set up as such – “Hey, we are going to be in town this weekend.”, then we stopped by to see if they were home and visited. Even when it was around supper time or already 7 pm.

Thank you, Friends, for continuing to extend your generosity.

Something I got out of every visit, beyond the reminder that friendships do not have to be based on seeing someone constantly, is that we all have had things happen this past year which have been struggles and blessings.  Not one person said, “I went to work, I came home, I mowed the grass… everything is exactly as it was a year ago, there were no unusual events or struggles.” Everyone did say something different, no two struggles or unusual events were the same, but everyone had something(s) happen.

We drove in to town on Saturday, changed the furnace filter, turned on the heat, made sure all the toilets worked, turned on the refrigerator, carried in our bags, and inflated the air mattress. Then set out to visit friends.

We picked up supper and brought it back for a picnic meal on the kitchen floor – the house had NO furniture.

Sunday morning Jack was up earlier than George or my husband, which seemed to make a shower a good idea. And it was. Except we found out quickly that we had forgotten to turn on the water heater the day before.

Oh, the things you take for granted each day.

A trip to the grocery store resulted in a lighter (gas heater), paper plates and napkins, an extra roll of toilet paper (just in case the one left in the house ran out!), and cream cheese. A stop by McDonald’s filled the coffee request. Back at the house we, and YouTube, lit the water heater then proceeded with a breakfast of coffee, hot cocoa, beagles and cream cheese, again on the floor of the kitchen, while the water warmed up. Breakfast hit the spot.

By the time it was the adults turn for a shower we had to actually use some cold water to make the water temperature tolerable.

After replacing batteries in a few smoke detectors, fixing a door which wouldn’t stay shut…work at this house never seems to end…we headed out for lunch in Big Town.  We went to a restaurant where we frequented every Sunday after church for years. Pure nostalgia, as it is a chain restaurant you can find in most towns.

While in Big Town, after a few wrong turns delaying us, we saw a friend of ours crossing the street. We pulled over to offer a ride (this friend walks assisted, which can make getting places difficult), say hi, and extend an invite to lunch. As it turned out, this friend wasn’t feeling well and was headed home to rest. But it was a nice chance encounter.

More visiting with friends, a frustrating miscommunication, then supper of leftovers and a few premade items from the grocery store.

Monday we got up at our normal times, loaded the vehicle back up, cleaned up the house, fixed a fan (the codes had somehow changed between it and the remote – work is never done), and said final goodbyes to the house.

We had a couple hours till closing which we planned to fill with a delicious breakfast out. It did not disappoint. Added perk, no wait for a seat on a cold Monday morning.

Not all of us were as hungry as usual, which meant yummy leftovers!

We headed out to our closing destination, found ourselves checking in about 20 early, so took a walk. While out strolling a few blocks around our location, a former classmate of my husband’s saw us. He wasn’t able to chat with us, but did connect with my husband via text.

Closing went smoothly. A blessing in more ways than one – our attorney had been down south, headed back with his family via Atlanta airport. While they did not get stuck in the airport, their flight had been delayed. He found a different way back, arriving just in time.

Papers were signed. Hands were shaken. Informal details given. Ways parted.

We are no longer home owners in this particular state!

Being that it is a small-ish, rural-ish town, as well as winter time, cold, right before holidays…we thought for sure nothing would happen till spring. When this reasonable offer came in, we were shocked. It was at a time where things had been a bit rough (see “everyone had something this year” above). This was one of two large pieces of good news which came in the same week after months on quiet. Proof that you can not always make things happen in your timing.

So, that is what we have been up to these past few days.  Perhaps not the typical pre-christmas activities, but one that was a huge gift and blessing. We have said, “Thank you, God.” many times through the process.

Wherever you find yourself this week, look for ways to be a friend, as well as enjoy those you already have. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, or require a pristine house. Sometimes it is the small gestures which mean the most at that moment. (Thank you for letting us borrow your step ladder!)

Jun 152016

cutting closet woodInspiration can be like a wave, far away then suddenly crashing into you with such force you get knocked over. It seems to come while your attention to focused on something else in the opposite direction.

I have spent countless hours, usually while painting, trying to figure out what to do with our new, very large closet.  I looked at pictures online, looked for ideas with apps such as Houzz, and checked out This Old House for ideas and suggestions.  In the end I had a lot more idea than when I had began, but nothing seemed to fit my need.

I have turned it over and over in my mind to no avail. The back wall/ceiling angles toward the front of the closet, starting at about 4 feet up from the floor. I searched and searched the internet for ideas, but found nothing to fit our needs. Last night I changed my search terms and found the beginning of my wave.

The first trickle almost knocked my socks off with the cost; it was a $120 find. That was only for the supports for the rod. Hmm. Not quit what I wanted as my goal is to spend under $100 for the whole closet. BUT it meant there were options out there and I was on the right track.

I kept going.

Then I came across the Closet of Greatness.  I felt their pain on the closet issue. Then I saw their solution. Not only did it solve my dilemma, but it also fit my budget.

That is when the wave made my knees start to buckle.

This afternoon I was standing in front of the closet when the rest of the wave knocked me right over. See, I was working on the garage his morning , not even thinking about the closet. Well, except maybe to grumble about it to myself.

I was returning tools to the closet, not intending to think about the layout at all, when it hit me. I had been going about it all wrong.

Now that I no longer needed a floor-to-ceiling support half way through, I did not have to have a shelving unit between the doors going from the front to the back of the closet. “But what about shelving?” So I measured.

I should have enough room to make a two-tiered closet, a rod up high and one lower. The lower one will be set back some, supported by brackets along the flat wall.

“Brackets like I have in our current closet. …. Brackets that can have a shelf attached to them!”

The wave hit me full force.

All at once I found ourselves 13 feet of shelving space and 26 feet of hanging space. Given I barely use the 3 feet I currently have, I think we will be good on room to hang our clothes.

The shelf will serve as space for linens, shoes, etc. This will eliminate the need for a shoe rack and for storing our sheets in Jack’s closet.

I need to run the idea past my husband and get his input, of course, before moving forward. It is his closet, too, after all.

There are some details I have to iron out, like whether to add the lower rod right now or wait or whether to put our dressers in there and add rods and shelves on the extra space around them.



I have ordered the Angled Ceiling Supports from Groover and installed the closet.  I wanted to wait to post this till it was all in and I decided whether I was happy with the solution I had found.  Though there were several patience trying moments, most of them were of my own making or due to a previous contractor’s measuring issue. (more on that below.)

I have now had the closet in for a few weeks and am really happy with the supports for our closet.  Once I had the right tools, and no whining kids who did not understand why they could not just drill holes at will, things went well.

Before beginning I had called Groover Enterprises to ask a few questions.  David took the time to answer my questions, even though he was working on something else at that time.  I appreciated his attention and assurances on measurements.

Here is what the final result looks like:

diy closet system

A trip to the local hardware store resulted in a 16 foot rod to use for hanging clothes.  Thankfully it was the local store, as my car does not have the space to put a 16 foot pool inside. We took the side streets back to the house.

I also opted to go for a pine board for the shelf rather than a laminated board.  Not only did it cost less, but I could stain it to match the closet rods and the future, hopefully soon, doors and trim for the room.

staining closet wood

Another change I made was to place both of our dressers inside the closet.  My husband was not so sure of the idea, but I like that they will be behind closed doors.  They also add a horizontal surface at no additional cost.  If we do not like it, I can always go back and change it.

Having made that change, I was able to use a left over rod from our basement.  I am not sure why the previous owners had this, apparently there were plans for it that never transpired.  It has come in handy though and several projects have cut it down from 16+ feet long to now about 2 feet.

Using stain and polyurethane I already owned, I began the process of turning the unfinished wood into something that looked classier.  Setting up saw-horses in the garage over top a plastic sheeting gave me room to work.  The staining took the longest drying but not in application.  Adding the polyurethane meant the wood and stain would be protected and have a semi-gloss finish.  This is a step that you do not have to do, but which pays off over time and is a nice final touch.

Another time consuming step that I had not planned on, was finding the studs behind the drywall.  I measured and marked, having a good idea of where they should be.  As it turns out, they were off several times.  I played “find the stud” with the drill rather than use the stud finder.  Why? I find that the stud finder does not always find the stud and takes longer in the end.

Below: I had found one stud on the third try (on the right, marked with the check mark), measured the 12 inches to where I thought the other one was, then got really frustrated when I didn’t find it and decided to just drill in a line both directions till I did find it.  Turns out it was at 15 1/2 inches.  What you do not see is that the one after this was at 16 1/2 inches.  And the one after that?  Well, it was finally at the 16 inches it was supposed to be … if they were not at the 12 inches like I thought they were placed.  Honestly, this was the worst seek-and-find of all the places.  Thankfully it is hidden by the shelf.

finding closet studs

Below: This was more typical of me trying to find the studs.  In this case my first two holes ended up just on either side of the stud.  It took the rest of the holes for me to figure that out and make my last hole in the middle of the first two I had drilled.  Thankfully not all were like this, though there were enough to make me extremely frustrated by the process.  Out of the 6 upper supports, I had trouble finding 3.  Considering two were next to the wall, that is not a good average.closet remodel finding studs

I am glad I did not jump in with a more complicated arrangement.  Instead I have a nice base for adding to or changing in the future as we use the closet and see what our needs warrant.

So, did all this work really save money?


  • In all my costs were very near $100, about half of that being the supports for the clothes rods.  I may have gone over by a few dollars due to buying a new can of polyurethane.  I opted for the larger can, knowing I would be needing it in the near future and any unused product would keep for future, unknown projects.
  • We now have stained wood for our closet system rather than the coated wire option.  Even if we had wanted to go with the wire option, available at most stores, it would not have worked for our closet dimensions.  It also would have cost around $400 to find something for half of the closet.
  • While it took a bit longer for me to buy, cut, stain, and varnish the wood, I enjoyed the process and did not need to pay someone to do it.

child helping with closet

This project was also easy enough that I will do something similar with our now ‘old’ closet.  This closet has rods to hang clothes on, also double-tiered, but ones which were not stained nor attached to the brackets.  That particular project was a first for me, and more involved in a shorter amount of time than the closet above.

I am going to stain and add polyurethane to the rods with the kids’ help.  Being able to use rags instead of brushes as applicators makes it much more kid friendly.

While the kids may not appreciate the skill at this time, my hope is it will at least give them the confidence as they are older to tackle things on their own.  This is the same reason I let them help patch (small areas) of dry wall, use the drill to make holes and put in screws, paint, pull carpet, cut boards, etc.