The Great Home Improvement Project

I think that this may at least help understand the flooring-related Facebook posts lately.

For the record: I do not earn much at Day Job. I live with my mother, which enables me to support myself completely in every way but rent, and lets me stay current with my student loan payments. Our apartment is in one of the few, few, few parts of NY where it’s possible to have a 1-BR under four figures for rent cost, and we lived in that building for about 17 years now. Needless to say, it’s Our Place, and will stay that way for a long while. Also, it’s old, and it needs some sprucing up. We do the sprucing, and the rent stays low. Trust me: this is an awesome tradeoff.

Also bear in mind this: it’s a 400-square foot place. My room is exactly 1/4 of that, if even that much. It is SMALL.

About 5-6 years ago, when Mom and I both found out (the hard way) we’re allergic to carpet, we had the carpeting torn up from the small room and the big room. The apartment was repainted and, in the majority of the rooms, the floor was covered by vinyl tiles. Think linoleum, just the peel-and-stick sort. Looks great, easy-as-pie to clean, easy to maintain. And if it scuffs or get damaged, you can pull back the tile and replace it. When I say majority of the rooms, I am excluding the small room, which is technically mine. Floors there were simply painted, seeing as they were wood, and it was easier to paint and leave it be.

Except there’s one catch: those floors are next to impossible to clean. Sweeping doesn’t work, because I don’t have that much in the way of floor space if you consider furniture, and dust gets caught between the planks of wood. Most cleaning solvents dissolve the paint , so I can’t Swiffer either.

My idea was pretty simple: the same vinyl floor tiles, in my room.

Problem: I’m going at this project fully solo. Reason is pretty simple: I’m very handy with all sorts of home repairs, and Mom can’t lift. Also helps that I’ve been taking apart furniture and putting it back together since I was a kid. Grandpa taught me how to wield a hammer and a screwdriver, and trust me, people, I’m grateful for that skill set every day of my life.

Problem #2: …my back. For those who don’t know, I had a slipped lumbar disc since I was 22 and see the ye olde chiropractor regularly. Otherwise, plain and simply, I cannot bloody walk.

Nonetheless, I’m nothing if not ambitious, and over the course of the past week, I’ve unloaded the furniture, taken it apart, hauled it out, put down the new flooring, and hauled it back in and put it back together. To say that it’s a good workout is an understatement, I think I rediscovered my shoulder muscle.

I also discovered that the build of the apartment was shoddy, and the floors in my room are very uneven. Some planks are higher, some are lower, and I’m kinda worried on the account that the floor is…for the lack of better words…sagging in some places. Still, I see the difference already: where I laid down the new floors I can already sweep/Swiffer them, and I’m definitely breathing much clearer, since I eliminated a lot of surfaces where dust can collect. I’ve also set aside a good bunch of stuff to donate: books, clothing, shoes, etc. I still have the big bookcase (which I plan to toss) to move and the bed. This I’m putting off, and let me explain why.

The plan is also to get a wardrobe and a new bedframe, on the account that…well, having been taken apart and put back together much more than once, the frame is not  stable. Not stable at all. I really do not want to disassemble and reassemble it again, mostly because I know very well that this time, the frame won’t hold up. I am not thrilled at the idea of my bed collapsing under me because of hardware instability, not one whit. The wardrobe will store every bit as much as the big dresser that I have, and the dresser will pass to Mom – it’s in excellent condition, and she needs the storage. But best of all: with a little bit of space rearrangement, this can very well end up increasing the floor space and generally improving things for myself and Mom.

For now, though, I’ll nip at the fried wontons Mom and I ordered, and relax my back a bit. Tomorrow: the hunt for a shelf expansion (to the small bookcase…if I can find the expansion, I am one happy camper, because it seems to be out of production…and anywhere that I can get a bedframe with drawers on the cheap. The ‘net has some awesome links, but we’ll see…

K.G.

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2 thoughts on “The Great Home Improvement Project

  1. you might also consider joining a freecycle group in your area, they have all sorts of stuff, all at no cost

    1. I thought about that, but I found the exact things I needed already. Thanks though! I’ll join up with them to give stuff away.

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