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But here we are, approaching the end of Week #1 of our kitchen renovation, and I thought I'd give some updates on what we've accomplished (although it doesn't seem like a lot at first glance, my husband has been gotten an unbelievable amount of work done considering he's also working full time).
Dealing with Ikea Issues: Well, we were missing two major pieces in our Ikea delivery: the dishwasher and the sink!
Leveling the Cabinets: This is a bit of a painstaking process, but totally necessary to ensure the counters don't crack later on. Converting the New Stove from Natural Gas to Propane: I'm not going to pretend I really understood this process, but I did run out to Home Depot to pick up an adapter and some tubing. Cutting One Section of Counter Top: Actually, this wasn't part of our DIY plan for this week. Experimenting with cabinet and counter top stain colors: Honestly, if I didn't get to play around with that, I don't think I would have survived the week. As you can see, I listed the kitchen in its entirety, and because I wasn't sure if I'd get any response, I also listed all of the appliances separately. I had offers to take everything, just certain things, offers to remove it all, even a couple offers from licensed contractors willing to remove it all. After that fell through, we went back through all the emails and started going through the rest of the people who met the criteria. Maybe now you're thinking, "With all that interest, why didn't you try to get any money out of it?" And the answer was simple: convenience. I think the best thing to do when you approach a new project like this is to go with your instincts (in this case, think like a DIYer). Be safe: While I firmly believe most people are good, I'm constantly shocked by the evil in our world. Ask the seller to meet you outside with the item (obviously this only works with smaller items).  Don't forget, in most cases they're going to be wary of you, too, so they probably don't even want you inside their house! Last but not least, break out those Clorox wipes or laundry detergent, and give your new item a good washing! And like I said, I will keep modifying this list as time goes on, but I'd love to hear your experiences, too: good or bad!  Give me your comments and help me prepare the Craigslist Newbies! When we first bought our cottage in 2008, I knew there was a lot of work we wanted to do, but the first thing on my list was an outdoor shower. On our somewhat regular walks around our neighborhood, we took time to look at other shower enclosures, took pictures, made notes, and agreed on generalities.
Before you go thinking I'm being ungrateful for my ongoing renovation (because really, I am immensely grateful), let me just preface this by saying I just cleaned a smashed, whole kiwi from a jute rug. I mean, I knew we'd have to shift some things around, etc., but I didn't realize how much it would affect our day-to-day routine. So we had to drive back to the store, load them into our car, and lug them into the house (ok, I won't pretend to take credit for all that). But the Laminate Installation Kit is definitely recommended (even though we had hardwood, the "clicking" process is the same. No, I don't want my old kitchen back, and now that I can finally see the kitchen looking like a kitchen again, there's at least an end in sight.

I popped on the Free Craigslist section today, and I noticed a headboard that was listed two days ago. Even though our cabinets and appliances were no longer going to serve our purposes, they could certainly serve someone else's. Before you go to the furniture store to pick out a new dining room set or sofa table (or really, anything else), check out Craigslist. But know what it takes to get there; I usually avoid searching in NYC because the GWB charges quite a toll! Choose your region, look under "For Sale," and click "Free." Beware, you usually have to act fact here. You don't need to tell them your whole life story, but a few personal details usually don't hurt. Often, by hearing their voice, you can get a sense of what they are like and feel better about meeting them in person. If you can't find anyone you know to help, consider hiring someone to pick up the item and deliver it to you (you can find them on CL, too)! I don't even think you need to live near a beach to need one, but because we do, it's really the only way we can feasibly hose down the children (and ourselves) without getting sand all over the house. You'd be trying to get clean (wearing your swimsuit) and people from the street behind us would be waltzing down to their beach and awkwardly wave hello to you. Since the plumbing was already installed where our deck is, it meant some work removing decking, boring holes, pouring concrete, and setting the posts.
Then later in the week we realized we had too many cabinets for the space (at least to use it comfortably), so I had to go back to the store and return all the pieces for that.
And for all this time that I dreamed of an updated kitchen, it never once occured to me (I know, I was totally ignorant) that for a period of time, I would be WITHOUT a working kitchen.
The ad clearly stated that they wouldn't hold it for anyone, so you had to get out there if you wanted it. But even with a designated budget, we needed to be careful about how we spent every dollar. I called the first person who met my criteria and talked with him for a few minutes (I think this step is REALLY important so you can get a sense of who you're dealing with), and we set up a pick-up date for the weekend. It's a dynamic list that will certainly keep changing, so feel free to make suggestions based on your experiences, too! I know I scored a free sleeper sofa over other people one time because I mentioned my 3 young kids and their aunt who would soon be visiting and would appreciate a place to sleep instead of the air mattress!
I'm pretty handy at assembling IKEA furniture (and will be tackling our now IKEA kitchen soon - stay tuned!); however, if you've read my wife's blog post on my car history, you'll know I'm a weekend mechanic. Those steps would take at least two days (and I only have weekends off from work) and involve renting some equipment.
In the meantime, email me if you're starting to embark on a similar project and have some questions.
We realized that the most cost-effective option was to DIY-it, but we couldn't do all the work ourselves (esp.

Unfortunately, he ended up flaking out on me (thus is the one of the many ups-and-downs of dealings on CL, especially the free section; ever see this hysterical CL post that kinda sums up the free section experience?).
We were contacted by a woman whose organization who was renovating a home to would be used as a halfway house for those recovering from addiction. And, really, when you start thinking like that, you lose track of the point: we got our kitchen demo done for free! Then a few nights later while I was laying in bed, I had an idea that ended up cutting two full days off of the project, made the install much simpler and cheaper, with no need to rent equipment, and we ended up with a nice, large, cedar shake shower enclosure for less than $600. We are using an absurd amount of paper products, and our trash is more full than it's been in years. I emailed them just to be sure it was still there, and it was (in fact, I was the first to inquire-I can't even believe that)! Even though so many of the people who contacted us may have benefited from our stuff, we knew that we made the right choice by giving it to this group, and we're so happy that we were able to make some people's lives a little more manageable, even if just in this little way.
And we lucked out double in this case, because we know the organization who received it is going to make good use of it all, and we feel good about that. My Craiglist Dining Table and Saved From the Dumpster Table didn't look like they do now when I first saw them for free on CL.
And thus, my heart was yearning for a shower house (as our 7-year old neighbor calls them, a term I have come to love). My first solution, which was quickly nixed, was to tap into the hose spigot and have a cold-water only shower.
We didn't have a sink for a while, but then my husband hooked up a utility sink, which has been a big help, but it's still not "smooth sailing" by any means.
They showed up that Saturday with a truck, a trailer, and tools, and in a little less than three hours, our kitchen was gone! So to "pay it forward," I'm creating this how-to post for all those others DIYers out there who may also be desperately yearning for a shower house.
The plumbing alone was quoted at $1100 to run the new hot and cold water lines to the right spot and the end corner of the house where our small outside deck is. We thought about using plastic fence panels instead if wood, and it would have saved some money, but it wasn't the look we were looking for at our beach home.
Instead, I promised my wife it would be on the top of next year's to-do list, and is quickly forgot about it. I mean, the shower worked - did we really need an enclosure?  My wife reminded me that the girls were okay running around in their birthday suits now, but those years don't last forever.

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