Those of you who know me, know that Madi, my daughter, recently went on a mission trip to Kenya and Tanzania for 18 days. She went with a group through college. She had a fabulous time, wanted to bring all the kids back with her, and she wants to go back again soon! She moved back home from school on May 4th and then left for her mission trip on May 6th. Close your eyes and visualize a 19 year old female’s bedroom on say, May 5th. Imagine her car as well. Exactly! The day she left, Mindy and I decided that we would do a major While You Were Out to her bedroom and car.
Phase one: Emptying her room. Really there is one word for this phase…WOW! I should also point out here that in January of 2012 she went to England on a literary tour and there were still many remnants from THAT trip. She returned two days before starting the spring semester at college and never truly unpacked. When we were halfway through this phase, we realized we had not taken before pictures. Oh well, we couldn’t go back and do that at this point. This empty phase was not a cleaning phase so we pretty much picked up things and stacked them elsewhere…Mindy’s room, my room, even Madi’s bathroom held her stuff. During phase one we went to Lowe’s to select carpeting and installation. We soon found out that the carpet we selected would take 10-14 business days for delivery to Lowe’s, then several days after that for installation; as Asteroid from the Jetson’s would say: Rut ro. We had to move to plan B: select carpet that is in stock at Lowe’s. There isn’t a wide selection, maybe 15 to 20 rolls in all. And of those there were really just a few that were options for Madi’s room. So, we selected one and placed our order. We realized that the selection was perfect when we brought home the 3”x3” sample: the right color tan and enough flecks to hide future spills and messes. We now had several days to get the room all the way empty and remove the old, nasty, stained, gross carpet. Luckily I mentioned that the tack strip around the perimeter is always a pain because Adam (Lowe’s flooring dept. worker) said they can be reused and to leave it! Praise God! A couple of days later, the room was empty. Phase one was complete.
Phase two: Paint the ceiling and have the carpeting installed. When Madi was a tween, she had a loft bed with a desk underneath to maximize her space. During that time she got those glow-in-the-dark stars that you stick on the ceiling. Well, she must have arranged them in a million different patterns on her ceiling because there was sticky stuff and dirty fingerprints all over the area just above where her loft bed used to be. After all, it was the only part she could reach. I had to scrape off some sticky residue that remained and spackle some areas around her room to prepare for the paint. The next night was paint night and the day after that was carpet installation day! Her ceiling fan blades were removed for painting and therefore washed while they were down. They get so dusty! During these days I also got mini blinds for her window. She had a pull shade that never quite worked. Finally, the ceiling was painted, the mini blinds were installed, and the carpet was installed. The Lowe’s carpet installers even vacuumed! Phase two was complete.
Phase three: Moving back the furniture we wanted to keep (bed, chest of drawers, under-bed drawer, and nightstand). Part of our goal was to prepare her room for a 20 year old and remove those items that were teenagery. So that meant the stripy mirror and fuchsia hooks had to go as well as the lime green and hot pink IKEA tables. Luckily we know a certain 12 year old girl who took them off our hands =) We purchased a white shelf unit along with purple and tan bins to replace the tables. She still had stuff that needed a home that everyone else didn’t have to look at. We thought the bins were a great way to pull in some color and make it look grown up. In essence, Phase three was complete.
Phase four: This phase was all me. Mindy thought it best to step out of this one. I would organize her stuff on her nightstand, shelving unit, chest, closet, and under-bed drawer. The under-bed drawer was never one to stay together before. The bottom would fall out from the weight of the stuff that Madi shoved in it. While her room was empty, I repaired the drawer with fabulous Gorilla Glue and clamps. That bottom will NEVER fall out again =) So night after night I would bring in bins, boxes, and baskets from other areas of the house and clean them out, stacking, organizing, throwing away items they contained. That gum wrapper may have come from that cute guy at that concert but it went in the trash when I found it! This took a while, maybe four evenings in all. It was coming together very nicely. During this entire time, we didn’t once post on fb that we were doing this. We told a few people but that is it. We didn’t want Madi catching a whiff of this on fb or from any of her friends. I believe all in all I did five loads of laundry and threw away about 50 individual socks that had no match. Everything finally had a home. I was proud to say that phase four was complete.
Phase five: The final touches. Madi took several hundred pictures when she was in England in January and never really posted them on fb. Mindy was in charge of this phase. She selected six pictures that Madi took and touched up using Lightroom. She played with the color and the composition, cropping them just so. She ordered them from a website to have a metallic finish and be mounted on styrene for frameless hanging. I brought a couple other posters that Madi had to The Learning Tree for Skip to laminate and also purchased some 3M poster hangers since duct tape never worked well. We hung her mirror, new hooks, various pictures/posters, as well as the England collage. Her room was looking very nice. Phase five complete.
Phase six: We decided that we needed to clean out her car too since most of that stuff either belonged in her room at home, or would go back to campus in the fall. We emptied her car and I carefully went through her things organizing them as I had the contents of her bedroom. The campus items went into the basement for safekeeping until late August, trash and recycling went to its appropriate location. As I sorted through her things Mindy armed herself with a roll of paper towels and cleaning sprays. She did call on me to use my putty knife to scrape the gunk out of the cup holders. We still have no clue what it was. It was white and waxy. No clue. We washed her car, vacuumed it out, and filled the gas tank.
Welcome home Mads! She absolutely loves her room and her clean car. This type of project will not be happening again.