A new basement office, a trip to Ikea, and a tart

I dismantled a bed today. Its pieces are now in the van to be driven, along with the girl and her several suitcases, to my parents’ place after hockey on Saturday. She gets to sleep over and I get to redo a little room downstairs that used to function as a guest room. The bed’s going into my parents’ crawl space because I have no space for it here, and then I get to decorate the room. Continue reading

What IKEA doesn’t tell you

IKEA may give you all kinds of neat items with mostly clear instructions and handy little tools to put together furniture, but they are neglectful in mentioning one key thing.

They do not tell you about the mess.

This picture does not do justice of what happened to my living room once I unpacked the new bed and left the kids unattended for under 10 minutes.

There was styrofoam everywhere…tiny bits of snow-like styrofoam all over my recently vacuumed living room.

Why could they not play with the pieces intact?

So I did the only natural thing I could: I made them clean it up and vacuum.

They cried at first, wanted to help assemble the bed. Then they fought over who got to vacuum first. Then they vacuumed up a piece large enough to get stuck in the vacuum pipe…

It is a clear example right here in black and white why every single thing I do every single waking moment of my day takes forever and ever to complete.

Everything is a production.

Everything.

And.

It never ends.

Ever.

But at least the girl now has a real bed. After I returned to IKEA with both kids in tow to return the incorrectly-sized slate things that go under the bed mattress.

Product review – Ikea Dignitet wire curtain rods

Well, I highly recommend these for odd-shaped windows like bay windows. They were affordable, easy to install, and look nice.

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In this last image you can see on the far left a larger rod along the wire curtain. This rod is used to adjust the tension. Having had these curtains up for a few months now, there is a natural tendency for the curtains to sag a bit over time. That, and the fact that the kids sometimes play behind the curtains, pulling on them. I found that simply adjusting the tension using this rod quickly fixed the sagging issue.

I’m happy with this product.

Product review – Gulliver Highchair

We used a clip-on chair for the baby so that she could sit with us at mealtimes. She’s been doing this ever since she could hold her head up, usually stuffed with pillows all around her. That’s probably the reason she has such strong back muscles today.

I loved that clip-on chair. I absolutely abhor those plastic contraption highchair things. They’re huge, they’re ugly, and as much as they may serve their purpose, I just could never bring myself to put one in my house. Not that I have room for it anyway, but that’s beside the point.

Many people like to feed their babies reclined. The ugly plastic highchairs have such an option, which facilitates the whole messy mealtimes for the parent handling the food. But the messiness never really bothered me all that much. Sure, there are days when I feel like I will snap their little necks the next time they drop another item on the floor, but mostly I just deal with it. My kids sit straight up at the table and that’s that.

Then I managed to break the clip-on chair. I leaned on it in such a way while cleaning crumbs underneath one of the clips that it snapped off. My bad, and the fact that the chair was about 5 years old and has gone through 3 kids probably didn’t help matters much.

Luckily, my parents had another one, but it had a different clip-on mechanism and didn’t fit our table.

So now I was stuck. Do I stick her in the Bumbo for mealtimes?

She really doesn’t like it much, especially now that she’s soooooo close to crawling. Anything keeping her immobile results in noisy protests which typically last a while.

My solution was to have look at the Ikea Gulliver highchair. I read some reviews and liked the fact that it was sleek, wood (not plastic!), had a straight back, and wasn’t expensive either. And I could push it right up against the table.

Putting it together wasn’t too difficult. But because I did it myself, the leveling of the legs was more than a little frustrating. Somehow I just couldn’t get all 4 legs to be flush with the floor. I tried taking it apart and putting it back together a few times, doing it the reverse from the instructions once as well, and still, it appeared like one leg was maybe half a cm too short. Given that our Sonja is rather fond of rocking, I couldn’t risk having her sit in that chair, even with the belt on, if the legs weren’t completely flush with the floor.

Having said that, once her daddy showed up, we managed, together, to get the legs to fit right. There is no rocking, sliding or any movement at all now, and she’s happy as a clam sitting in that thing at mealtimes.

I recommend that two adults put the chair together in order to save a lot of frustration. Following the instructions was not difficult, nor was the actual putting it together. But having that second set of adult hands help with the legs was, at least in our case, essential.

Interior closet organizers

This has kept me sleepless for days now.

All I want is for my new, empty closets in the newly renovated basement to be functional. You know, so I can see at a glance what is in it and take out what I need.

Because if I keep storing everything in bins, labeled or not, I will have wasted precious time and money having these closets built.

Because inevitably, there will be challenges with other members of the family having to commit to the responsibility of keeping the bins organized. One in particulary would probably make somewhat of an effort, but inevitably he will get frustrated with having to move the top bin to get to the bottom bin, spend time searching for a particular item inside the bin, then having to put it all back in the exact position it as in before.  Knowing what I know, he would get frustrated and simply end up going out to buy an identical product. And I do not need duplicate items in this tiny house thank you very much.

The other members of the family can’t read yet, so that poses additional challenges. How do you tell your 3yo to go downstairs, find the middle bin in the small room closet, move the top middle bin without breaking a bone in the process, take out item X, then put the lid back on the middle bin, replace the other bin back on top, close the door and don’t make a mess while you’re down there for god’s sake?

Ain’t going to happen.

So I started looking around. I really like the California Closet ads, but that’s just a tad out of my league.

I started with Ikea. They have good (enough) products, great space-saving ideas, and usually decent prices. But the choices were too many, and it required things like arithmetic and measuring tape, so I went to Canadian Tire (or Home Depot, or Wal-Mart, they’re all the same) and looked at the Rubbermaid options.

I ended up buying the Rubbermaid option. The closet kit for 50 bucks seemed simple and straight forward enough, so I bought it and took it home.

Carried it downstairs.

Savored what my empty closet looked like.

Left it for DH to put up.

It remained in the closet, in the box, for several days. DH doesn’t have time.

So I opened the box myself. The instruction sheet indicated that I needed to drill about a gazillion holes in the wall to accomodate some of the shelving. It was just daunting. I mean, I’m pretty handy, I can DO things, but this was just too time-consuming. I got babies for crying out loud. Finding 10 uninterrupted minutes is a luxury, but this kit would require several hours, if I’m estimating things correctly. And the baggies with the hardware? I’m not an engineer you know. I just want to put some shelving and a clothesrack in there, not reinvent the wheel. Or closet.

So back into the box it went.

Now I’m pouring over Ikea catalogues. Actually, I like some of their options, but the choices there are pretty daunting too.  Pax, Hopen, Stolmen, Komplement and Broder, to name a few of their funky product names. I think I’ve narrowed it down to Broder, but who knows what will happen when I get there.

I will need to buy each piece seperately, since that is the way of Ikea, which is fine, if you have time to do things without incessant interruptions. But the planning part too will take some time. It will require measuring tape, stud-finder gadgets, and some pre-visualizing of the final product. Then, it will require the actual shopping trip where one hopes that all the items one so carefully selected will be in stock.

Perhaps I will volunteer DH to take care of it. Bribe him with “I’m taking the kids for a playdate, go to Ikea and buy yourself a $1 breakfast, then buy me the friggin closet organizers, this is what I want, feel free to install it when you get home, yada…”. We’ll see how that pans out.

But it is kind of exciting. So exciting in fact that I spent the bulk of today organizing various kiddie clothes, making piles of “keep for future”, “donate”, “sell”, “send to nephew” and “keep for friend’s kid”. Now I have 3 empty (EMPTY!) bins, a few bags with clothes I will throw in the car to drop off here and there, and eternal hope for organization.

Maybe I’m kidding myself, but it’s worth a try at least.

Oh, and on that topic, I bought one of those storage-vacuum-bag thingies, that promises to reduce the size of the contents to mere inches. Can’t wait to try that out on all the heavy winter coats!