The entry way and hall are what people first see in our homes. It is their first impression of our life styles. And mine needs a facelift. Not that it awful or anything; it is functional for our family. But with me working hard to complete my leader training with La Leche League, I will soon be hosting monthly meetings for new mothers. I want my home to reflect order and peace. Of course, with me no longer working outside the home we cannot afford to spend a great deal of money on this project. That would not be in keeping with the Frugal Family core values either. Why spend a lot of money on new things when we can reuse and recycle older ones?
So I thought we would look at planning this project. First of all, I have the paint for walls and trim already. But we will definitely have to purchase another tin of floor paint to complete the stairs. That will cost us about twenty-five quid for the special non-slip floor paint. The plan would be touching up the walls first, which should easily be accomplished in a single morning while Emily is at nursery. Then the stairs would need to be completed in two stages; paint half one morning and the other half another so that there is always a part dry for walking on. Then the final step would be painting the doors and trim, which might actually take a couple of mornings. In addition, the downstairs and upstairs are lit by the old-fashioned bare light fixtures. So we need either something to cover these or new/used lighting.
But even once everything is freshly painted that is only half the issue. How can we maintain the functionality of the area…and add order? One thing that we have already and which I plan to keep is a wonderful shoe organiser. It does need a good cleaning, but since it is made of metal and plastic I will just toss it in the tub and use the shower head to wash it off. But one thing that continues to irritate me is how coats seem to constantly collect on the banisters. We need a huge coat rack, one that is sturdy. Of course, we also need more space for books; there never seems to be enough of that in my homes.
It is the little touches though that brings the peace I want to convey to my guests. One thing that I really want is to proudly display the hundreds of pictures that document my family’s growth and adventures. If you have looked at the price of picture frames lately you will realise that I could spend hundreds of pounds on this part of the project alone. Of course the finishing touches will be little what-nots that make our house a home.
So short of spending hundreds of pounds, how do I propose to deck my halls…on a Frugal Family budget? And in keeping with our core values?
Family first. I have begun with this one by keeping the functionality of our home. One of the nicest things I remember was the time I organised a major donor event in the home of a Duke and Duchess. The tables in their entry hall, which was larger than my whole flat, were antiques. There were paintings upon the wall worth more than most people make in a life time. And the most spectacular part for me was the wellies and muddy shoes lined up in neat rows beneath those priceless antique tables. That to me represents putting family first…and I have tried to do just that as I planned this make-over.
Saving money. I could not even begin this project if I needed to spend hundreds of pounds on it. My maximum budget is one-hundred pounds…twenty-five of which must go into paint. So my first stop will be FreeCycle, www.freecycle.org. I will be posting an advert requesting picture frames, coat rack, bookcase and light fixtures. Once I have gotten as many of those things as I can, I will then scour charity shops to fill out the rest. Of course, if any of my London local readers have any of those things then I am happy to accept those as well. If all else fails, then I will use bargain stores such as B&Q and Ikea as a last resort.
Environmentally friendly. Freecycle’s mission statement says it all: Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.
Healthier. Hmmm…this one is hard. But I suppose the mental health benefits of a more ordered and peaceful surroundings for my life would qualify.
So I’m off to post my Freecycle advert. And will keep you all posted on how the project progresses in a couple of weeks with pictures of the finished area as well as a final breakdown of the cost.