Tales of a lazy DIY-er

When I had my first-ever job review way back in the day, my boss said to me,

Nancy, we like how efficient you are.  You get your work done in a very prompt and timely manner and we dig that… but… sometimes you sacrifice thoroughness.  In a rush to get your job done, sometimes you overlook the small details.

I couldn’t really argue.  I’ve never been terribly patient and I’m definitely not into details.  When it comes to shopping, say, why hem and haw and research 8,000 options for 3 weeks when you could just read a few reviews on Amazon and be done with it in 20 minutes?   Why try on everything in the store when you are already holding a shirt that fits?  Who’s got the time?

When it comes to work, I’ve always struggled with the same thing.  I’d rather get my project done ASAP and check it off my list than spend an extra day searching for accuracy and errors. It’s a double-edged sword.  A strength and a weakness rolled into one.  On the one hand, I really can get a job done.  You need it, I’m on it.  But if you need someone who is going to pay attention to every last detail, double- and triple-checking at every turn, I’m definitely not the gal for you.  I’ve gotten better over the years but it’s still a struggle.

I discovered that this character flaw attribute makes for a very lazy DIY-er.  I like the process of  looking at something and thinking about how I might be able to make it myself.  And I feel a tremendous amount of pride when I’m able to pull off a project, big or small.  But if a project has too many steps or you have to be particularly precise, I usually say “eh, not the project for me.”   If I can’t pull it off in a day, maybe 2, then I’ll pass.  I like results.  Immediate results.

Last month I decided that our closet needed… help.  We have a walk-in closet for the first time in our life and when we moved in, I had no idea what to do with the space.  It overwhelmed me.  Maximizing every last inch has always been my forte.  At every apartment and house since we got married, we’ve been focused on how to organize our storage and our closets because they’ve always been so scanty.   Now, suddenly, here was a whole room, just for our clothes?

There were clothing rods circling the room and one shelf overhead the rods.  I basically just threw in an old dresser from our garage and a few of those white wire organizers from our old house, like this one… 
13680754I also put some boxes up overhead for winter clothing and that was that.  But the space has always been kind of ugly.  I’ve been putting it off because, well, it is just a closet but I’ve decided that it’s time.  Most days I have a hard time waking up and I’d like to look at something slightly more appealing in the morning that overflowing wire organizers and clothes scattered all about.

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at re-finishing an old piece of wood furniture but the aforementioned impatience for sanding and priming and all that work has always turned me off.   But there was that old dresser sitting in there, in total disrepair, and another one in the garage.  I spent a good amount of time over our Christmas holiday scouring the interwebs for tips and tricks of the trade.  There had to be an easier way to do it.  And lo and behold, I found one.  Take a look at the dresser before…


DSC_0739My parents bought this dresser in the 70s.  It was in my room growing up.  If my memory serves, my parents bought it from an unfinished furniture store and my dad did the finish himself.   It was fun to think of my dad working on this very same piece all those years ago. 

I laid out an old sheet for a drop cloth, pulled out the drawers, scraped off the stickers and removed the old hardware, which took about 10 minutes.

DSC_0744I worked for about 45 minutes total after that.  And here’s the finished product, minus the hardware for the bottom drawer which I’ll be picking up today from Home Depot.  Not too shabby, eh?DSC_0749

DSC_0753Here’s the breakdown of what I did…

  • Purchased new hardware from Home Depot.  Total: $24
  • I used chalkboard paint.  Not because I plan to use chalk on them, though.  I picked chalkboard paint because it’s very durable and it requires NO sanding or priming. It goes on best when you’ve got a smooth surface.  Another bonus, it dries to the touch in less than 30 minutes.  It gives you a matte finish.
  • Here’s the can I bought.  It’s $9.67 and I used the can for THREE dressers.  I painted the one you see in the pictures, plus one that was in our garage and another one I procured at the beginning of the month for free off of Craigslist.
  • I used a foam roller.  This is the one I bought for $6.50. Foam rollers will give you a smooth finish, as opposed to the more traditional rollers you usually get.
  • I gave each drawer and the body of the dresser the first coat.  By the time I was done with all four, the first one was dry enough for me to start the second coat.  I did three coats total without pausing between rounds.  All said and done, I was finished painting within 45 minutes.  As soon as the paint was dry to the touch, I put the new hardware on and called it a day.
  • I was totally patient and I let it sit there for a couple hours before lugging it back upstairs.

So now our closet has three matching black dressers and the wire organizers are off to the donation pile.  I also put up a few frames and some other items to decorate the space. If you are lazy like me, I highly recommend trying out some chalkboard paint if you want to give some old furniture new life.   I’m telling ya, you can’t get much more immediate results than this!