From scrap wood to laundry room sign

After all the garage organization that’s been going on around here, I have been long overdue to take a break and get my craft on. The driftwood candle holder I built last week didn’t quite cure the itch, so I tackled another quick project I wanted to share with you today.

About two years ago (probably more), I bought an adhesive vinyl sign for our laundry room. It was just a few bucks on eBay. I never put it up because I didn’t like the idea of just slapping it on the wall. I wanted it framed by or mounted on something. But what?

Well last week, while puttering around the garage, I stumbled upon the perfect solution.


This board used to serve as a shelf on one side of the garage. But I have other plans for that wall (coming soon), so it was fair game for this project.

I feel about raw boards the same way a painter must feel about a blank canvas … so many amazing possibilities. 😉


I started by positioning the vinyl sign on the wood to see where I would need to trim it. Luckily, the width was perfect. I only needed to cut a bit off of one end of the board, which I did using my miter saw.


Next I went to town on the board with my orbital sander. I rounded the edges, too.


I applied my driftwood recipe to the piece to bring out the grain and give it an aged look.


To complete the driftwood finish, I added a coat of liming wax, buffing it to a soft sheen.


After that dried, I basically just lined up the vinyl on the wood and carefully peeled off the backing.


It turned out nearly perfect, which is extremely rare with any project I am involved in. 😉

I added two small screws and some wire to make it hang-able. Of course, you could go all fancy and use saw-tooth hangers or Command™ strips. I didn’t have either of those handy so …


Here’s the final result:





What do you think of my on-the-fly, DIY laundry room sign?

Where do missing socks go? 3 secrets to keeping pairs together

Most, if not all, of us have experienced the dreaded missing sock phenomenon. Two socks go into the washing machine (seemingly) together. Then after the clothes emerge from the dryer and are being folded … missing sock alert!

So where do missing socks go? There are many theories floating around the Internet about how socks disappear, including alien abductions, black holes and leprechauns. While these ideas are, well, interesting, the truth is that socks really don’t vanish into thin air. I mean, there is the real possibility they’ve gotten tangled in the agitator of the washing machine (to investigate this theory, click here), or statically trapped inside another garment. However, I’ve found that the No. 1 reason socks end up lonely is due to a flawed organization system on our part. I’ve also discovered (through trial and error) that there are three easy ways to fix that system and ultimately end up with more happy sock couples in the future.


1. DON’T place any socks in a sock drawer without a match.

I have four people (plus a dog who doesn’t wear socks, thank goodness) in my home. If I kept each person’s missing socks in his/her individual sock drawer, I would then have to travel around to each person’s drawer every.single.time. I did a load of laundry to check for pairs. This is an inefficient and time-consuming method and one that most folks would quickly give up trying to maintain. There’s a better way!

2. Designate ONE basket or bin where ALL missing socks are placed. Keep this bin near where laundry is typically folded.

I have one basket where I keep all missing socks from everyone in our family. Each time I do laundry, when I’m done folding, I check missing socks against what’s in the basket. It takes about one minute and I come out with a few happy pairs every time. Socks without pairs go back in the basket. The key is to keep this basket near where the laundry is folded because, let’s face it, we’re apt to skip this step if it’s too inconvenient to fetch the mother load.

3. Consider spreading out laundry duty throughout the week.

I know many of you are probably in the “10 loads on Saturday” crowd when it comes to laundry duty. I was, too, for many years. The problem was that I hated laundry duty but I loved Saturdays, so the two were always at odds with each other. Instead, I’ve found it much easier – and more maintainable – to do two loads of laundry each weekday.

How does this help keep socks together? First, it improves the odds that I’ll actually see the bottom of our laundry hampers each week, and lonely socks won’t be left lingering at the bottom forever. Secondly, it increases the likelihood that I’ll fold all the loads I’ve washed and check the sock basket for potential matches.

I realize these steps are pretty simple and probably won’t entirely eliminate all your missing socks. (Sometimes, it’s just time to say goodbye. :)) But I can say from experience that practicing these steps regularly will immensely reduce your number of missing socks. We currently have less than 10 missing socks for our entire family.

Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping sock pairs together?

My laundry room was destroyed and made over … again

I am apparently a glutton for punishment because I decided to join an online spring cleaning challenge this week. And in addition to being a glutton, I’m apparently also a sucker because I picked my laundry room as the space I was going to tackle.

If you’ve been following LROL for awhile, you may remember our big plans for the laundry room. In our quest for a more organized house, we will be busting out the back wall and expanding the space (there’s currently a garage closet on the other side). I’m excited about this renovation project because it will eventually mean a designated sewing/craft/blogging/command central room just for me. Yay! But I’m also realistic. As I look around at all the projects that need to get done around here before we can go to work on the laundry room, I’m thinking it will be a few months until we can get started on that space. In the meantime, this is what the room looked like before the spring cleaning challenge: (Warning: The following photos are not intended for viewing by “cleanies.”)

Laundry-room-before-1Laundry-room-before-2Needless to say, it was time to do some serious cleaning and organizing. I wanted to style the room so I could at least keep the door open when company is at our house. But I also faced the challenge of how to decorate it because I couldn’t spend any money, since it is getting a complete overhaul in the future. So I “shopped the house” for decorating ideas that would make the space more functional and pretty for now. Here’s how it ended up:


The room was in such sad shape, I actually had to patch and touch up the walls and trim in addition to giving the entire room a good scrub.

Laundry-room-renovation-book-bagI switched out the former set of coat hooks for a beefier one that holds more. Plus I cleaned and packed away all the winter coats that were clogging up the room. Now I have open hooks where we can hang our library book tote bag and Tiny’s school backpack.

Laundry-room-renovation-artI grabbed some artwork from around the house. The “P” came from the dining room, the beach prints were already in the laundry room, and the butterflies were collecting dust in the basement. Note: These butterfly collections are the real deal! As a hobby, my aunt and uncle travel around the world catching and documenting butterflies and moths. They often give away some of their work at our annual family reunions. That’s where we were able to score the two pieces above.

Laundry-room-renovation-decorationsI threw together a few more decorations for the top of the cabinet.

Laundry-room-renovation-basketThis basket from Target is one of my favorite storage pieces. I would honestly love to have about five more of these in my home. This one always gets put to good use. The rug was originally in the garage. I purchased it about a year ago from my all-time-favorite discount store: Gabriel Brothers.


I brought out this handmade wooden bowl to keep my laundry detergent pods handy near the washing machine. The Target basket and the handmade bowl are both easy and practical home organizing ideas that have simplified my laundry routine immensely.

So there you have it. I kicked off my spring cleaning with one of the scariest rooms in our house.


Look out, garage, I’m coming for you!

Have you started your spring cleaning yet? What is the biggest challenge you face this year?

I’m linking this up to House of Rose.