House Renovation: Cleaning Up Living Room Mess

I got an e-mail from a blog friend (who is also going through a big renovation) asking me how I deal with the mess? I don’t. At first it overwhelmed me. Tools, wood, work clothes, extension cords all over our house. I can’t contain it all to one room. And I don’t have it in me to keep it clean everyday. If I move something I hear the proverbially, “Kate where did you put my drill, screwdriver, chisel?” over and over. The problem we have right now is that nothing has a home. If only we had a garage??

My mission the last few months has been to get our first floor cleaned up. We lived in the house a year and half and it’s become a wasteland. Everything I don’t want to deal with on the second and third floors gets thrown down to the first. It’s out of control. If neighbors could peek in they might think scatters have taken over the space.

This week we finally got one room on the first floor cleaned. I can’t say I didn’t do some slinging of crap to other rooms but we did do 4 dump runs. We must of gotten rid of a few things, right? The room was full of wood and scraps. Check out the ugly beam below that was holding up part of the house. We organized everything into three piles. Keep, dump, and recycle.

Now we are thinking about moving our office to the first floor and converting our third floor office into a painting studio for me! The stove is in the room because the first floor was going to be an apartment. I think I finally won the single family battle. Wouldn’t the space make a lovely living room?

Update! I put together a quick little unedited video of the living room and a few more rooms (below). My videos are total amateur hour but I don’t really mind. I write a blog which to me means it should be a little informal. Thinking about getting a Flip so uploading would be even easier? And maybe I would share more? Scroll down to view or check out on

Click here to learn more about the upstairs den.

Related Posts:
Den Renovation: Paint, Ceiling, Electric…
Video: Paint In Den Stripped
Green Paint Samples On Wall
What Color Do I Paint The Molding?

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  1. I know I’m Johnny-come-lately but with all your fantastic work you do realize that the windows are 20th century replacements yes? It would have originally had (easily) twelve-over-eight sash (plank mortise and tenon pegged casings) in the upstairs under the eaves rooms like the one featured in your video where all the INCREDIBLY beautiful woodwork has been relieved of its paint) and twelve-over-twelve sash (pegged plank framed casings too) downstairs?

    I know I sound like a know-it-all but this is what I do and have been doing for thirty years plus and your house is so intact. I know the kind of work you’re taking on. You’re to be congratulated.

    My best, Richard


  2. Throughout the grand scheme of issues you secure an A for effort and hard work. Where you lost me personally ended up being on the specifics. As as the maxim goes, the devil is within the details… And it could not be a lot more correct proper here. Having said that, permit me inform you what did do the job. Your text is pretty engaging and that is possibly the reason why I’m creating the effort so that you can comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, although I can definitely notice the jumps in reason you make, I’m not actually confident of how you appear to unite your concepts that support to make the actual final result. For the moment I will yield to your position but trust inside the future you link your dots far better.


  3. I feel your pain! Just came across your blog today and can sympathize with trying to keep things clean but it just doesn’t work out. We’re living through working renovations ourselves and trying to keep the “finished” rooms clean is impossible. I’ve given up myself.


  4. Hey there

    Good clean up! Whole new room now. I have a question : Greg does look like a giant..Is it :
    1- He’s on a stool
    2- A photographic effect
    3- Low ceiling (like loooowww ceiling)

    ‘Cause I have loooowww ceiling and I was wondering how you would deal with that issue…

    Keep on the good work, both of you!


  5. I loved the video! Thanks for sharing, Katy. Congrats on getting a room cleared out. That will make such a pretty light-filled office. I sometimes get overwhelmed with my piles, so I can’t imagine if it was piles of wood and renovation junk rather than just paper stuff — you both are incredibly patient renovators!


  6. thanks for the vid, have a totally better idea of how the house now interconnects, never realised you didn’t have a hallway – is that on the third floor, I seem to remember you painted it last year?


  7. That is such a fabulous house, and I am full of admiration for the respect you are according it and the patience, the patience! Our house is 100 years old and a former shop (with a front “garden” much resembling yours) and we are just now, after four years, seeing it become what it was meant to be. At least the ground floor. :-S
    BTW: which green is the third from the right? The sage-y one?


  8. The floor has to get redone. The floor is badly warped and once the beams are redone below all the cheap non-wood sticks will pop up. We’ll figure something out. But overall the room is in really good shape.

    I think I might paint it different color for the summer. I’m not a red kinda girl.

    But honestly this room is totally fine for now. Come visit me in my summer office!


  9. Wow!!!! I was going to say, this room looks incredible. I don’t remember it being that color, I thought you painted it. Agree floors a bit hid, but throw a rug over it or something, noone will notice. :)

    Congrats on all your hard work. We paid $400 plus $350 for the cart to have our construction rubble hauled away.

    The real work (with our own bare hands, that is) starts Monday. I’m taking two weeks off to strip, skim coat, and prime.


  10. This room actually needs very little work.

    New paint job…not my colors.

    New floors. They actually don’t look bad in the picture but it’s a cheap floating floor. I don’t know if the original floor is underneath. Could have been ripped out?

    But that’s it. Oh and the fireplace needs some fixin. Right now it’s blocked and non functioning.


  11. oh, yeah! i will just say once again that i admire your undertaking this project so much. i envy you and am overwhelmed for you at the same time. but look at that! a clean room! and it kind of looks like it’s finished? or are the paint job and the pretty floors deceiving me?
    either way, i’m very impressed.