Open thread: What’s on your to-do list for the house for this fall/winter?

garage sale

Leftovers from garage sale #1.

My house is in chaos. This summer, I did a lot of fun stuff, kept the blog going, and was successful at completing two big house tasks:

  • I had a big garage sale.
  • And, I donated a lotta furniture from two houses ago to a non-profit organization.

In rank order, following is my list of key projects for fall/winter. What projects are at the top of your list??

I need to get to my list stat, because my house arguably is in its worst tumult in years. Here it is:

  1. DONE — Have a second garage sale — Over the past few years I have cluttered up the back of the garage with vintage finds that honestly, I am never going to do anything with. Ditto, there’s plenty in the attic, basement and even garage hatch that needs to go. I am full of hot air when I say stuff like “when something comes in, something needs to go out.” I need to come to terms with the reality that I am a catch-and-release vintage treasure hunter — and plan more time in my schedule to “release”.
    1. SORT OF DONE. TWO CARS CAN GET IN, BUT I SHOVED STUFF ALL OVER THE PLACE TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. After the garage sale, I then clear out anything not sold so that we can get both cars in the house before it starts snowing.
    2. NOT DONE, SEE ABOVE. I also need to ensure the back of garage [work area] is free of my junk, so that my husband can use it as a work area. This was a promise I made to him in early summer. He does most of the snow blowing. It has not been fair of me to take this work space from him.
  2. DONE — (not on this original Sept. list; I forgot about this one and put it on this list after I did it so that I could type “DONE”) — Replace the kitchen faucet. Old faucet tweaky. New faucet in. Quite proud of my Dishmaster hack!
  3. Install new flooring into the basement area rec room where we watch TV most nights. We had some water damage in February and had to pull out half of the wall-to-wall carpet. Long boring story. But, yes, it’s been since FEBRUARY that we’ve been couch potatoes in a half-carpeted room. I need to finish my research, make a decision on what to use, and make it happen.
  4. Re-wallpaper my husband’s bathroom: Yes, after 13 years up the wall, it’s peeling. Only where the edges butt, but it bugs him. We found some wallpaper in my vintage hoard that he loves, so that makes me very happy. I can likely knock this project off in a weekend.

tiki decorThen, I can get to the project that really excites me! This summer I also “got started” on another project — converting my living room and dining room into a tropical paradise including a built-in wet bar. But that means that right now, that room is in chaos. The furniture is all moved around so’s I can imagine how the new furniture and bar placement will work… There’s a four-yard panel of curtain fabric hanging on one traverse rod, so’s I can start to matchy matchy it with other planned elements of the room… Art came down, some art went up — but it’s all just for “imagining” and getting visual ideas… Oh, and I have pulled out my entire hoard of Polynesian Pop decor to assess color combos, further cluttering up the place. This is a project that will take a while to complete, but after attending the Hukilau this summer, I really wanted to get started, so tossed this ball into the air, adding to the ones already there.

Alas, there are other things in front of it. I must keep reminding myself: Finish the things you already started — do what neeeeeds to be done — before launching into what I want to be done. So I guess I should add to my numbered list at the top:

  1. (b) Put the living room/dining room back in order so we can all enjoy it until I’m truly ready to get going with my “Mahalo Lounge” (working title).

I’d love to hear your stories!:

How much did you get done this summer?
What projects are on your list for fall/winter?

And remember, everyone,
there can be hazards in all
kinds of places:
Be Safe/Renovate Safe!


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  1. Justin says

    This one has a little back story to it.
    About 2 years ago, when my father-in-law passed away, he left us his house. We ended up moving from our 1949 brick house to his house. It is a nice house, but it is newer(2006) and larger(more to clean and take care of). We’ve tried it for 2 years now and we have decided we are going to sell it. So once it sells and we move back to our 1949 home, we plan on doing some things to it that we weren’t able to afford before.

    1. The concrete floor in the den is cracking and uneven. There was no footing placed on this section(it was originally a patio that was enclosed). We are going to tear down this complete section and re-pour the concrete and rebuild the den.
    2. We have this one room that was originally a bedroom to the house. However with the addition of the den, this room is not practical to use as a bedroom anymore. The master bedroom is right next to it. We are going to move the wall in between the two, to make the master bedroom larger and then this wasted room will be smaller. While we are at it, we will be redoing the master bathroom as well.
    3. Install hardwood flooring in the dining room, living room, and hallway.
    4. Install an in-ground pool.
    5. Build a garage in the backyard. Something for my collections, that won’t fit into the house.

    It is quite a bit of things to do and it won’t probably get done this winter, but we will at least start working on them once we sell the newer house.

  2. says

    I am currently refinishing two sets of Youngstown Cabinets to be installed in our new 50’s style kitchen. The official renovation is due to kick off in a couple of weeks and hopefully will be done by Christmas.

    The current kitchen will be taken down to studs, rewired and the floor straightened. We are turning or currently unused 3 season porch, into an eating area.

    We are still deciding on lighting, but have already decided on wall color (red), countertops (Wilson Art Retro Renovation Laminate, Delightful Jade, with metal trim), flooring (Tarkett VTC tiles in white, dark grey and green) and sink (Elkay Lustertone Sink with double drainboard)

    After this project is done, we will need a nice long break!

    • says

      1. I’ll be refinishing my Youngstown cabinets as well. They were painted by an auto body guy in a color that was supposed to look like Holiday Turquoise, but turned out like more like (lol) Holiday Jade. It’s a fine line, but I really would love turquoise cabinets.

      2. I’m also ordering some gorgeous palm leaf tropical barkcloth to upholster the cushions on my art deco bamboo furniture. I dream of a tropical deco room.

      3. Ordering bedroom curtains in Sanderson’s dreamy Dandelion Clocks to match the wallpapered accent wall and bedding. Best wallpaper decision I ever made-it’s beautiful and I still love it after two years.

  3. Lynn says

    Pam, my To Do List for this Fall/Winter is quite lengthy (too much to list), but I am optimistic that much of it will get done. I have had a pretty long list going since the beginning of 2015 and have accomplished most of what I set out to do. I credit this to my Dad who taught me to always have a plan. He always said, “Plan your work, and then work your plan”. He was the king of lists with all things. I will say this, yard sales were at the top of my list too. I sold a large house to buy a small two bedroom 1960’s ranch at the shore. I was willing to downsize because of the location (too good to pass up). My yard sales were a huge success due to inexpensive advertising (the key to a good yard sale). I have much more to do, but am pressing on! Good luck with your list. Stick with it. It’s a great feeling to accomplish what you set out to do!

  4. Jay says

    Late to the post, on vacation and no web connection, but lots of junktiquing. A new Mannington VCT floor in the kitchen, to be installed in two weeks. (I’m leaving it to the pros). I tore up the shag carpet in the basement in 2008, I so want to do something there. Due to the long hot summer, landscaping was on hold; I am currently replanting two barren beds that were full of weeds. I also want to recover the dining room chairs and maybe get that sputnik light.

  5. JaniceW says

    I’m going to move into my house that I bought 17 years ago, anticipating this day!

    Then I’m going to stain the new cedar fence, paint the breezeway, build a shed, and decorate.

    Can’t wait!

  6. Gerry Davis says

    We, too, have a basement which is most unusual in the part of the south we live in. Just recently, we had our first water come in and so my husband is painting the wall with a sealer. I hate basements because I feel they are nothing more than a place to store and store. After years of complaining, My husband has started really paring down and cleaning out and it looks totally different. Never have another basement. NOW, why wallpaper when there’s so many beautiful shades of paint? We’ve had wallpaper in the past, but never again. I notice that Chip and Joanna are also using some wallpaper which shocked me. To each his own. I too, am trying to decorate my kitchen in Retro/Vintage, but it’s hard to find items. I love red.

    • Lisa Compo says

      I find it so amusing the difference in people. I live in northern KY near Cincinnati and have always had a basement. I wouldn’t move to a house without one, even if it was free. LOL.
      We have had to hide out several times from tornado threats, it’s where the patio furniture goes in winter, all the Christmas decorations, hubby’s table saw, lots of tools, extra paint and such. The list goes on. It’s like a warehouse down there. I always wonder where people put these items who live on a slab.
      BTW…we used a product called Dry Lok to paint our walls and floor for safety from potential leaks and have had good results.

  7. Joe Felice says

    My goal is to get my money back for the wrong-colored benches that the merchant sent for Joe’s Diner, and which I returned. I sued my former credit union for not issuing a charge-back to my credit card, but lost that case. Now I’m off to a hearing in my suit against the merchant.

    And I’m going to have the porch/enclosed sun room painted. The doors will be Big-Bad Blue, and the walls will be Big-Bad Green. For those who are not car aficionados, those were 2 of the hot colors AMC introduced in 1969 for the Javelin and the AMX. Since I can’t have the cars, I’ll have to settle for the colors. There was a third: Big-Bad Orange. Shall I use that for the trim?

  8. MidMod Mary says

    I have to recover the dining room chairs of our 50’s Pennsylvania House set. Had the fabric for over a year!

    Take down 90’s wallpaper from our kitchen and paint

    Take down 70’s giant flower wallpaper in basement bathroom and paint along with painting vanity in there

    The list seems endless, but one project at a time!

  9. MidMod Mary says

    Pam, I have a question I hope you and your readers can help with. The wood trim in our 57 ranch has turned an ugly “orange-y” color over the years. Is there anything short of stripping and restaining that will help restore the maple color to the wood? Thanks so much for any help!!
    MidMod Mary

  10. Lisa Compo says

    Oooohhh, I wish I could root around in that garage! I love the lavanette but can’t tell the exact colors on my screen.
    Any way you could post some leftover items on the blog for us to buy? Like an online garage sale for readers. You could make one trip to the post office to ship stuff out then donate what doesn’t get claimed by your “flock”.
    Just an idea to find loving homes and make us happy.
    Please 🙂

  11. Rick G says

    This house was built in 1960, some parts OK, others; not so great. We’ve been here around 4 1/2 months; it’s 2650 square feet, big finished garage ( with separate furnace ) We moved from a 1500 square foot home that was stuffed with way too much !! – alot of the time in the first couple months were spent sorting & dumping clutter that should not have been brought over ( 2 massive trucks, 6 men, 12 hours ) I tried “The garage sale thing” over at the other house – That, was a bad, BAD nightmare. I’ve tried the Kijiji thing – That, is a real pain in the neck ( and I’m not too fond of the security risks involved either …..hate that, won’t do that again either ) – Now …… I simply load the car & donate, I did it for a solid week & feel great !!! – it really is nice to be able to see areas, which have been cluttered & have the freedom of future plans without the worry – it is the only way to go. Now, when I do go out once in awhile to VV, or wherever; I stay focused on exactly what item/s are needed & ignore everything thing else….. no matter how “kool” it may be. I enjoy the research, & decorating; not the torment clutter & inventory ………… that part sucks.

  12. Rick G says

    I’ll make my post a 2 part response. Thew first covered my thoughts of dealing with “leftovers” – This is where we’re at with renos on the house & future plans. So far, we’ve ripped out & replace a staircase, ( the old one was home built really badly, all the steps were different sizes !!! The basement floor was leveled & tile was installed. Main floor, 3 arches were made, carpet ripped up, floor leveled & flooring installed. One bedroom converted to dining room, Paint inside & exterior. Next on the list – finish top floor paint, redo main bathroom, I have near perfect Pink toilet, bath & wall mounted sink to go in there; & I think I’ll be going with a pastel yellow 4×4 inch wall tile, with black . The kitchen will undergo a small change, adding a couple cabinets, a little added counter , tile & teal paint ……. After that; I’ll set my sights on the basement washroom & be installing a blue 3 piece set down there. I’m hoping to have it mostly complete within 2 months & am really looking forward to it !!!

  13. Robbie Kendall says

    LOVE this post.
    The basement of our 1939 house flooded the day before closing on it last year and we are still working on getting this problem fixed; a single sump pump has helped and we made need another. Because of this, all of the boxes that are filling the garage have had no place to go, which I have found to be completely overwhelming. And like you, Pam, saying that it is ‘hot air’ when you think that you will get rid of something when you bring something else in, this is my problem thinking that I will just go through ‘one box a day.’ It is more like one box a week on average. In reality, it’s four-five boxes one afternoon, starting to think that it is impossible, and then stopping again for another month.
    So, I will take your advice to heart and “do what neeeeeds to be done — before I launch into what I want to be done.” I’ll also keep in mind that I am not the only one having to deal with the sorts of issues.
    Thanks, Pam, for bringing us all together!

  14. Katherine says

    My To-Do list includes the possibility of going to your garage sale, if you live close enough. For some reason I think you live nearish to Boston, which is where I am. Anyway, potentially taking some of your stuff home and making it my own is not a bad goal, really.

  15. Kathy says

    I live in a rural area and have been searching for two years to find someone willing to fix my limestone steps with concrete caps, built circa 1962. Called every concrete company in 3 counties and a number of handymen types and no one would touch it–most didn’t even bother to look, and when they did, told me to tear it all out and replace with wood. Most contractors don’t want to mess with old houses around here–mine dates from 1890 or so, with major whole house renovations completed in 1925 and 1962.

    Finally found an old-timer type who does work on our local historical society who was willing to take it on along with other items on my to-do list:

    1) Repoint, repair and repour back limestone and concrete steps.
    2) Repoint front steps (similar to back steps but in better shape) and spot repair cracked limestone facing and built-in flower box.
    3) Poured concrete bases for basement window wells. Our ground floor is quite high off the ground (which is nice in snow country), but that made our basement windows too high off the ground to cover up easily.
    4) Removed old wooden awning (sorry, it was beyond repair)
    5) Built new basement doors

    Hooray! My projects this winter are a lot of paper sorting and organizing, and finishing my bathroom update. Have the dreaded regrouting of the bathtub shower to do, plus electrical updates and painting. Finally did find the new budget and period-friendly fixtures I’ve been searching for online for three years. Might start a kitchen refresh as well.

  16. Carolyn says

    Got started on MY to-do list this past weekend to take advantage of the fine weather. Glass garden art doesn’t consist of enough material to do 10 projects so YEA!, can cut that down. All the empty cardboard boxes (wire coathanger syndrome) can be filled and donated. Saw that DH leaves at least 6″ around anything so pushed stuff together – gained a shipload of space! Hoping Fri. the weather is dry to take summer stuff (mower) to storage and that will open up more space.
    Thanks Pam and loyal readers for the impetus to identify and conquer!

  17. Patti says

    Please let me know what you decide on the flooring. I’m in the same situation with my basement floor. Thinking Marmoleum or similar. Your thoughts?
    Thanks for such a great site. I do home health care and recommend your site to alot of my patients who have “pink nathrooms”, metal cabinets, pink appliances, etc, etc, and “want to update”! NOOOOOOAAAHHHHH!!!!

  18. Rick G says

    Well, today I’m dragging out the X-mas decor to try & get the lights up, seeing as it’s mild out; then ….. I’ll be cleaning out the main bathroom. I tore the tiles that were there ( yucky newer junk ) …. along with the walls around the tub. The plumber is coming & although it’s really close to the holidays, I decided to go ahead and start it; so I can get to the kitchen after the new year. I really need to go back & go through my list & actually finish one thing, before starting the next.

    • Rick G says

      So much for that idea …. I just realized there’s no outside plugs here !!!! – I guess I’ll light the windows only, instead !!

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