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Fixer-upper

I’m leading a valiant fight against my house in the self-titled War On Stuff that I began when I moved in with my partner two and a half years ago. If left to my own devices I’m not sure whether I would go full minimalist or disappear to occasionally emerge as a full time hoarder of “things I like and I’m sure will come in handy one day”, although if my 3 years at university are anything to go by I think it would probably be the latter. Tom is somewhere in between; while he also loves a bargain and hates throwing stuff away, he has moved around a lot in the last 10 years so can be pretty ruthless when it comes to the keep or save question when we’re due a clear out.

These ongoing battles sometimes temporarily subside as I shift my focus to storage. I keep arts and crafts materials in a variety of places around the house (telling myself and Tom that it’s for a project that hasn’t been born yet) and have stern conversations with myself along the lines of well if you’re not going to throw it out at least store it properly so it doesn’t pose a trip hazard to house visitors on a regular basis. I’m not going to pretend I’m a tidy person – which is surprisingly easy to admit in writing, one day maybe I’ll believe it in my head, too – so I need to find places to keep things.

I’ve been looking for a place to keep the towels since we’ve moved in. At first I rolled them up and put them in the bathroom on the floor. Then they moved to being hastily folded and shoved on available surfaces around the upstairs of the house (windowsills, wardrobes, the washing basket) where they would over time unravel and end up back on the floor looking sad about it. Up until recently they were stuffed into a freestanding Ikea solution to storage which takes up a lot of space and is unhappily placed in the corner of our bedroom gathering dust and despair.

So when I saw this lurking in the Oxfam shop just around the corner from us I couldn’t resist bringing it home. It was the least appropriate time, when I had Tom’s little boy in tow as well as library books, lunch, new socks and various cleaning products. I just had this feeling that it was now or never. And it was perfect.

Well, sort of.

A quick trip to Wilkos later (where the little one tried to persuade me to paint it yellow and green, which remind me of my secondary school… and vomit) and I had some white spray paint and a blue tester pot which matched the tiles in my bathroom. Not that I put the tiles up, we rent, but I wanted it to look like it had some purpose being in there. There’s nothing worse than sad furniture shoved into a room just because it has a purpose to fill.

And here’s the result:

I was planning to paint the feet blue as well but I think that would have been too much. In truth it was quite tedious going around the plait detail at the top and bottom of the basket, and the brush I had was rubbish. I needed a stenciling brush but couldn’t find one so instead used a craft knife to shorten the bristles on the cheap cutting in brush I already had. It was a vast improvement, but it still took a long time.

However, it is the perfect size to fit all of our towels AND a wash bag. It is in the bathroom, which makes sense. I knew that if I waited long enough the ideal solution would emerge. I could have just gone out and bought something new that would have suited my requirements and looked good in the space we had for it but I just think this is more fun. Make do and mend, or maybe make do until you find something you can mend?

What little projects do you have your heart set on?

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